Twi-Hard: Twilight Liveblog Edition


Tonight I present to you a special post, one so steeped in scientific nous and socio-political importance that it might just make you take this blog seriously. Tonight I am going to liveblog my very first watching of shiny-vamp extravaganza Twilight.

For those not in the know, Twilight was released in December 2008 and is based on the book by Stephenie Meyer. Being girlie tween fiction mixed with vampires with their shirts off the film went on to gross an estimated $70 million in its opening weekend and gained a score of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. A sequel to the first film was released this summer, New Moon, which managed 28% at RT and a $72mil opening weekend.

Twilight has been responsible for a lot of nerd rage, and it occurs to me that there may be a lot of people who have passed judgement on the film without actually seeing it. I intend to address that fact by watching the film and scribbling internet-crayon thoughts as I do. I’ll admit at going into this with a bias towards disliking the film, I’ve watched and loved enough vampire films and books to think that watering down the horror of the vampire with a wishy washy kids love story is a bit shit.

Anyways, join me at 20:30 to begin my journey into the unknown world of tween-romance-horror-flicks.

UPDATE Spell checked!


OK, I’m in good shape having just watched the somewhat excellent Gruffalo. I have a glass of G&T, the cat is asleep and I’m settled in.

It’s starting. OOOH!
First though, washed out acid look = overused.

First line is about dying. Now a deer is dead. That’s what happens.

EXPOSITION. Also, was that that wrestler with no neck?

Monologuing about forks. Sorry, Forks. I misunderstood. Dad is chief of police. Music is like VAST on weed.

‘Charlie don’t hover.’ Also cripple is a joker. Jacob tries harder but can’t avoid having the same hair as protagonisto-lass. Fortunately this girl knows how to double de-clutch. Who still does that?

Apparently the prot is called Isobel. Aww, she’s shy! Also just beaned a dude on the head. Call her Bella (like Belladonna? Deadly nightshade? Hmm)

Wow everybody likes the new lass. New lass likes the effete, angelic types from Alasks (ARE THEY VAMPIRES? I AM NOT SURE!) They are ‘weird’ apparently, because they are pretty? Main squeeze boy looks constipated. There is now a fan with slow-mo and what looks like main squeeze vomiting.

Shot with the pretty boy with wings behind him. ART? No. Just no.

For reasons I can’t understand Bella is pissed off that everybody likes her. Rommel is a vampire.Now Bella shuns her new friends for an ill tempered boy who thinks she smells. ?

Another acid burn shot industrial scene, someone is dead. We don’t care who.Bella falls over IS THIS ALLEGORY FOR HER WHOLE LIFE? So far moping > acting.

Angry mopey guy is back. His name is Ed (or Edward). I think he is constipated, also high.

“Do you enjoy the rain” “Are you asking me about the weather?” “Yeah I guess I am” “Not really. I don’t like things wet and cold”

Acoustic guitar, close ups on eyes. Awkward silences. Talking about biology lessons. IS THIS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT?

Pause for booze!

Ed is like low rent superman liek OMG. They are playing I am the Walrus backwards.

I take it back, the effete pale doctor who is obv. a vampire scares the shit out of me.

The dialogue is causing me pain. I am failing to understand why this lass is so attracted to a passive aggressive weirdo who thinks she smells. Now she’s dreaming about him. Turns out you can tell a vampire by their elaborate hair. And the posing.

“Compost is cool!” Best line yet.

Bella fell over agin. I’m thinking she’s permanently wasted.

Bella dropped her bag. I am sensing a new drinking game! Now she’s dropped an apple but Ed has saved it. Does that count?

DC and Marvel comics references at last. I can see fom this film why women end up with wife beaters, Bella seems to think that a moody guy who doesn’t tell her anything but is insanely hot is the best thing evar.

Ooh, ominous music and the history of the vamp kids. The injun kids are descended from wolves and the vamps were a rival clan who they made friends with for some reason. It’s a lot less spooky than the score would have you believe.

Vampire whore is fun. Black vampire wears a cravat. Man on boat is dead. Nobody misses him.

HINTS! Whenever the weather is nice the Cullens (Ed’s mates) don’t come out. Hmmmmm. Also Asian lass needs to eat some pies. We are trying on dresses. In a turn of acting skill Bella is as bored as I.

Drunken bigger boys. I wonder if Ed will save her?

HOLY CRAP HE DID, in his awesome car which looks to be a small Volvo which sounds like it’s had it’s engine replaced by the one from the Batmobile.

Bella to firends in front of Ed: “Yeah, I should eat something.” Pause. [snigger]

Ed doesn’t eat no ravioli, hes on an [ahem] SPECIAL DIET, nudge nudge.

Bella frustrates Ed because he allegedly can’t read her mind. “I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore.” This is ROMANCE at it’s best.

Ed has cold hands.

A man is dead, let’s try to emote shall we? She almost managed to look sad. Like that time she fell down.

Old indian book talks about ‘cold ones’. Bella didn’t know what a vampire was until she googled it. Now she’s got a bigger horny pants for Ed. I hear in the sequel she dates Ed Gein and Ted Bundy simultaneously. IT’S A LAFF RIOT!

Tee-hee “You’re impossibly fast”

“I know what you are” “Say it. Out loud. Say it” “Vampire” “Are you afraid?” “No” Bah.

Ooh we get to see what Ed looks like in the sunlight. “This is why we don’t show ourselves in sunlight” He looks like david Bowie has sprayed him with body glitter. “I’m a killer” A glittery killer.

New film idea: Twilight vs. Predator. EPIC!

Ed is now showing off by running around. Bella is like a drug, interesting how he’s so pale and thin and likens her to his own personal heroin. Hmmmmmmmmm.

Overblown washed out romance scene. Ed cops a feel. Now Bella sits with a vampire who admits to killing folks in a field of flowers. They sit and stare at each other a lot. Ed is shiny again. I throw up a bit. Camera pulls out. Cue the strings!

“There are a few things I am sure about. First, Ed is a vampire” Writing genius! 4th G&T

Ed is smiling and wearing 80’s sunglasses. Some lass just said “Oh. My. God.” It’s like the Breakfast Club! But bad.

Apparently to turn a dude a vamp just has to bit them, then the ‘venom’ turns ’em. Vamps have to stop drinking to turn them, which is hard because they love them some blood. Ed and his chums are, and I quote “vegetarian vampires” “like a man eating only tofu”

Ed has a special power to read minds. One can see the future. One can make salad out of biscuits. The other can make a noise that sounds exactly like Chewbacca. I may have made the last two up.

Ed’s house is also like an architect’s we dream. Vamps are cooking. Moodily. People are laughing! This may be the first time in the film!

Ed’s room is an Ikea catalogue. Hey; like my house! Wait, it’s tidy. Boo.

Bella has reminded us for the second time that she can’t dance. This man predicts she’ll be dancing like a fucking ballerina before the end of the film.

Ed is playing Bella piano. Invisible violins make it sound emotional.

Vampire prostitute is back!

Bit of actual drama. There are lots of veggies in this movie. Bella is dishing about Ed with her mum. Ed has broken in to listen. IT’S A PLOT TO SET UP THE BEST ‘YOUR MUM’ JOKE IN FILM HISTORY!

Fail. Instead we have heavy breathing. Oh and kissing. No sex because Ed is like the makai (bonus! Anyone who isn’t Ralph who knows where the like “You makai are all the same. One smell of pussy and you fucking lose it” gets a free slice of toast)

Dad will allow Bella to bring Ed to meet him, but he is also cleaning his shotgun. HOHOHO! Funny times. Now Bella is going to play baseball with vamps.

‘Supermassive black hole’ and vampires playing baseball during a thunderstorm. This montage is awful. Bugger me this is crap.

Yay! baddie vampires are here to break it up!

NOOOOOOOOOO! The baddie vampires are going to play too. Bella looks constipated again. At least she hasn’t dropped anything for a while.

Saved by delicious human blood. the EdBell (BellEd?) hivemind has to run away for some reason.

Aww for no real reason Bella has to be nasty to her dad so she can run away with Ed. TBH I wasn’t concentrating very hard.

OK, I’m really not sure why 2 of the three baddie vampires have to track down Bella for some reason.

Petulant blond vampire is petulant.

Bella is now Ed’s life despite only knowing her for a month or so. Vamps are wearing Bella’s clothes to keep the evil vamps off her scent, but are running down the side of the same road she’s driving down. BUH.

Deus ex machinaRandom lass who can seethe future tells us there’s at a place with mirrors. TURNS OUT IT’S WHERE BELLA TOOK BALLET LESSONS AS A SPROG. HA! This is the best writing evar.

Bella is going to meet the vampire who wants to eat her without her vampire friends. It’s OK she has her can of mace. She’s doing it so that evil vamp #1 won’t eat her mum. WHUT?

Baddie vamp #1 is filming Bella being sad. Sadly Bella’s actress has only a passing knowledge of how to look sad. Now she’s supposed to be scared but she still just looks constipated.

Baddie has just broken Bella’s leg, but she still can’t sell it. It’s OK though Ed’s here to distract us! Bella has been bit and she’s writhing in pain. I like this bit!

On the upside he’s getting leathered. On the downside now his bit of fluff is dying he’s found the ‘inner strength’ to beat the baddie. Scary vamp doctor knows Bella is dying from the ‘venom’. But it’s OK, Ed can suck out the venom! It’s been a good 3 minutes since she was bitten.

Ed is sucking on her wrist, she’s sucking her cheeks in and going cross eyed. It’s like a 5 year old pretending to be drained.


It’s not that moving because Bella isn’t dead. Despite having her femoral arery severed for 3 minutes and a fuckton of her blood sucked out by her man she’s still OK!

Bella has discovered acting! she’s still no good at it though.

Back in Forks it’s time for the prom! Ferfuck’ssake. Bella’s Indian friend is back. DO YOU THINK HE MIGHT BE A WEREWOLF? HMMM?

Prom montage! All Bella’s norm friends still like her despite her not having talked to them in ages. Bella is slow dancing with Ed. They are playing mopecore.

Bella wants to be a vamp but Ed thinks it might be a bit like marriage and tells her he thinks it wouldn’t be right in order to cover his tracks. Ed worries about Bella becoming a monster, a sparkly monster that has superpowers and for some reason never seems to have to drink blood.

Actually, they’ve never explained what the veggie vamps do eat. Was it that deer at the start? I dunno.

vampire whore is at the end when it goes all balck and white in order to add a bit of respectability. They montage black and white shorts from the film over the credits.

I have wasted 2 hours of my life on a poorly written nonsensical love story with a tacked on supernatural twist which had had it’s guts removed to make it palatable. If I’d paid for it I’d feel let down. Not an awful film, but not any good by a long chalk. Avoid unless you’re a 16 year old girl.

I have your movies…

Hey guys and gals and none gender specific trolls (I’m lookin at you Squeil). I just came up with a lovely new game I’ve been playing with myself (please do not insert your own grammar into that sentence and that’s not new, it’s the second oldest game, just behind the game*). It involves entering a message into your mobile/cell** phone and then using the predictive text to deliberately alter the meaning to obscure your true intentions, thus rendering the recipient blissfully unaware of truth that lies beneath…

This can be done for best effect when having something horribly hateful to say but simply disguising it as an informational text or, even better, something nice and complimentary.

80s Style!!!
80s Style!!!

If you want to have a go and then wish to share that go with the world*** post your best tries in the comments section, either with the actual message you have subtly camouflaged in [square brackets] or leaving us all to hazard foolish guesses.

* not the wrestler
** delete as applicable
*** world may only extend to the three people that read this blog ever now and then

A Brief History of the Rjandberg-Smythe Scale

Dr Rjandberg and Mr Smythe as Youths
Dr Rjandberg and Mr Smythe as Youths
As you all know, the Rjandberg-Smythe Scale is the preeminent method of rating an entertainment piece. Below is an article I wrote for Harper’s earlier this year (don’t look for it onlne, it was a print-only deal). I’ve talked to the editors and they’re OK with me republishing it here:

In 1918 two men, sick of the inexact measures of quality of pipe tobacco, began work on a ground breaking new system to gauge brands of smoking matter. Dr Clive M. Rjandberg, Professor emeritus of Kings College London and noted moustache enthusiast first mooted the idea to his close friend Mr Samuel ‘Bunty’ Smythe (noted cad, raconteur, womanizer and rumoured American) at the Reform Club. The two found that the aromas of pipe tobacco varied wildly, as did descriptions of them. The pair, profoundly moved by a discussion as to whether ‘Woodrow’s Finest No. 6’ smelled ‘like the arse end of a mule’ or ‘akin to scent of your mater’s thighs’, decided a more empirical method of measurement was needed.

The original scale ranged from -37 to +49, reflecting the relative grades given to the pairs favourite tobacco. The system failed to take off however, and the pair were described as ‘barmy as Welshmen’ by their peers. It was only two years later when they created the Revised Rjandberg-Smythe Tobacco Aroma Gradation Rating System (commonly referred to as the Rjandberg-Smythe Scale, or Randy-Smie Number) that people began to take notice, eschewing the previous values, the pair settled on a -12 to +12 scale, with 0 being the median, or starting point. Over the next few months the system gained impetus, spreading around Gentleman’s Clubs throughout the country and many tobacconists began labelling their wares according to the pair’s new system. This practice continued for some years until, in 1924, Professor Eustace Dorricott of Oxford University created the Oxford Rjandberg-Smythe Plain Language Translation Formulae. It was around this time that Mr Smythe began working on ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to the Revised Rjandberg-Smythe Tobacco Aroma Gradation Rating System and Smutty Flickbook’, a definitive work on the application of the Scale, along with pictures of French Ladies of Ill Repute.

Doricott’s Formulae, specifically created for the mathematically challenged, assigned a word in common parlance to each rating, cross referenced with many other factors. The exact formulae was lost when Professor Doricott was eaten by cannibals in the Congo, his notes on the matter are said to be used as divine teachings for the tribe to this day. The Formulae apparently gave results ranging from ‘Positively Rancid’ to ‘Verifiably Top Hole’, which allowed the working class and women to understand the system. In November of 1924 the failing Wellson & Sons Tobacco Company of Great Britain began marking their products with the Rjandberg-Smythe number and the Oxford Formulae rating in an attempt to bolster their sales. Sadly the ruse failed. Possibly due to the fact that a good selection of Wellson & Sons’ products proudly bore the inscription ‘Immaculately Feculent’. Thanks to the Oxford Formulae the company folded. Afraid that the same fate may befall them other tobacco companies began barring their brands from being sold with an associated Rjandberg-Smythe number, forcing the practice underground.

Despite having many adherents at its place of creation, the Reform Club, the Rjandberg-Smythe Scale eventually fell out of favour. Mr Smythe’s book on the subject remained unpublished and the manuscript languished in his modest four storey mansion.

The Rjandberg-Smythe Scale was lost for a long period, and the populace returned to haphazardly rating tobacco by unempirical standards. It was only in 1952 when film reviewer Terry ‘Ted’ Pepper was asked to write his opinion on Fritz Lang’s western ‘The Legend of Chuck-a-Luck’ (later renamed Rancho Notorious) that the Scale was returned to the popular consciousness. Pepper, a journalist and frequent gambler, had won the title deed to the Smythe Mansion in a game of craps against American columnist Arthur “Bugs” Baer. Among the possessions left in the mansion by the American Pepper found Smythe’s original manuscript for ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to the Revised Rjandberg-Smythe Tobacco Aroma Gradation Rating System and Smutty Flickbook’. Drawn in by the promise of Gallic nipple, Pepper became entranced by the idea of an empirical ratings system. He first implemented the Rjandberg-Smythe Scale in his review of Rancho Notorious, giving it a -8 and stating “Who thought naming their female lead ‘Chuck-a-Luck was a wise decision?”.

Pepper continued to use the scale in his reviews, and went as far as to copyright his idea in 1953 as ‘Pepper’s Numbers’. Other film reviewers, inspired by Pepper’s success, began to emulate him using various methods. Hunter S. Thompson famously used a scale of e to 7.34 in his early ‘zine work. Others settled into using either a 0 to 5 or a 0 to 10 scale as they were prevented from using ‘Pepper’s Numbers’, a tradition that has continued to this day.

It was in December of 2008 that famed Numerology Historian M. Dennis Mellenkampf discovered Pepper’s lost copy of ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to the Revised Rjandberg-Smythe Tobacco Aroma Gradation Rating System and Smutty Flickbook’ at an Oxfam shop in the West End. Amazed by the pictorial content of the book Mellenkampf quickly purchased the book and consumed its contents with gusto. It was only by chance that Mellenkampf happened to be a fan of Dick Powell’s ill fated ‘The Conqueror’ and had recently read Ted Pepper’s review on the internet (he gave it a +3, noting that ‘Wayne was dynamite!’) that he noticed the similarity between ‘Pepper’s Numbers’ and the Rjandberg-Smythe Scale. Taking his findings to the patent office, Mellenkampf was able to provide proof of prior art using Smythe’s manuscript and Pepper’s estate’s copyright on the system was rescinded.

Now the Rjandberg-Smythe Scale is in the public domain reviewers are free, and encouraged to, adapt it to rating any product, service or event. The recognised implementation of the scale gives 0 as absolute average, +12 as the pinnacle of quality and -12 the epitome of awful. To grade against the Scale one begins at 0 then assigns a value to positive and negative traits of the piece. Once all factors are considered, the values are tallied to give the final score. Below is an example using the fictional period film ‘The Ghost of Mary Stamford’ directed by Michael Bay:

3 – Megan Fox is very hot
1 – The ghost effects were very good

3 – Slow motion action scenes were an ill fit for a period drama
3 – Christian Bale’ performance as Mr. Blaringsworthworth was at best poor and at worst soul destroying
3 – The political power struggle subplot was poorly written and entirely unnecessary
2 – The ghost sex scene was ill thought through
2 – The casting of Sean-William Scott as Roger the Stable Boy was ill advised
1 – The Uzi was not invented until the late 1940’s
1 – There are no 6 lane highways in Elizabethan England

We now total the positives for a score of +4, and total the negatives for a score of -15. Adding the scores together we get -11, one up form the lowest rating on the Scale. Casting anyone except for Megan Fox as Mary Stamford and her comedy ghost buddy Xirraxgranithikkor Queen of The Pit would have led to a -12 and a critical drubbing form the cognoscenti.

Image courtesy of Louisville International Airport.

…All’s right with the world.

You know how it is when you spend so long waiting for something that eventually you stop checking?

A couple of years ago Hideaki Anno, Gainax and Studio Khara announced the Rebuild of Evangelion project. It’s aim to retell Neon Genesis Evangelion across four theatrical movies. The first three focusing on updating the original series with the addition of several new elements including new characters and at least two new EVA’s. The fourth film is intended to give the franchise an alternative ending(at least its fourth variation across all Media).

Grand plans indeed. The first of the four movies was released in September of 2007 and was pretty much a straight remake of the first six episodes of the series, none of Anno’s plans became apparent in the actual movie, its not until the teaser trailer for part two at thee end of the movie that there is anything for the fan to get greasey-excited about. Here we are treated to glimpses of a new Eva model. our first look at the redesign of Eva 02 and our first glimpse of a young girl with brown hair and spectacles who may or may not be a new pilot. Pretty exciting stuff.

Then things went quiet though. The originally planned release date of January 2008 came and went, anime magazine Newtype anounced that the film would now be released in December 2008, almost a whole year after the original date. October 2008 the official website published enigmaticly that the second film wouldn’t be released until “Early summer 2009”, it was starting to look like the rebuild project was going the same way as the ill-fated western Movie.

That’s what I thought any way, an as time went on I stopped checking, until today I tapped it into Google looking for a UK release date for Book 12 of the manga, what I found instead was a new trailer for the second movie, and a confirmed release date of June 27 2009.

While I realise that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, since I first saw the series I’ve loved it, it features a complexity to it’s characters that I find fascinating and while many of it’s themes are cod philosophy, psychology and theology at best it’s still probably more thought provoking than your average Dan Brown adaptation.  And it has giant robots (sort of), take that Hanks!

Why hit a Corgi?

Yes I know YouTube’s rife with stuff like this but I feel the need to push this on the world just cos it made me chuckle, also somebody’s got to continue supporting the Mon-stars of rock.

Also while you’re there check out the Saturday morning Watchmen video posted up by the same guy.  A tribute I feel more in tune with Alan Moore’s original intention for the material than the lackluster movie.

Wrestle Jam

A couple of weeks ago I managed to spend every night of the week at the cinema catching up with the Oscar nominations. While I didn’t get to see the Oscars, as subscribing to Sky movies is daylight robbery, I did manage to see some excellent films such as Frost/Nixon (my movie of the year) and Darren Aronofsky,‘s The Wrestler, otherwise known as Mickey Rourke Strikes Back.

For those not into watching excellent pieces of cinema; The Wrestler is the story of a washed up 1980’s wrestling superstar. Now destitute, Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson is living life the only way he knows, and how that affects the relationship with his daughter and would-be squeeze. A major part of the film is Randy’s ties to his past fame, with one particular scene showing him and a young boy playing Wrestle Jam ’88, a fictional NES game from The Ram’s heyday. Kotaku ran a great article about the making of this piece of game art, I suggest you read it and be enlightened. I also suggest you see The Wrestler, it is not bobbins.

Apparently Aronofsky demanded a playable game, which was provided by brother and sister team Kristyn Hume and Randall Furino. All in all the game was a lightly featured clone of Wrestlemania, and even had it’s own 8-bit theme song (linked below). I adore this kind of commitment to building a film’s versimilitude, sure you could have run a video of any old game, or cobbled together some footage but here the production team seem to have gone one step further and made a work of homage from something many would consider no more than set dressing. Bravo!

Serenity: Back in Space

Gentlegeeks, but a few times in our lives can we indellibly stamp our mark upon this world dominated by those with fine motor control and the ability to supress excitement at 80’s arcade machines. This is our Waterloo!

Do your duty now, and vote for the name of the new node of the International Space Station. Your choices are Earthrise (pish), Legacy (ohmigodno), Venture (is this Star Trek?) and Serenity. Yes true believer, using the power of the internet we can once again launch Serenity into the black (kinda).

In other Serenity related news I watched Sands of Oblivion this weekend, featuring Adam Baldwin and Morena Baccarin. Don’t bother, even though it has Homer Simpson as the legendary Cecil B. DeMille it still be tripe.

Also, speaking of Waterloo.

Muchos danke to Cinematical

5 Films You (Maybe) Didn’t Know Were Based on Graphic Novels

American Splendor #1Hollywood seems to have picked up a new habit; that of adapting comic books into films. There’s Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman, Superman, the X-Men… OK, so I jest about the unfortunate name legacy left to some of these franchises, but a lot of them have translated successfully into high grossing films.

Now you may be seeing a trend in these movies, there’s a large showing for Marvel and DC’s finest, but there’s still a lot of love out there for the more obscure, more adult comics. I’ve already mentioned the WE3 movie on these digital pages and works like From Hell, Sin City, V for Vendetta and 30 Days of Night have shown that the graphic novel format can translate just as well.

I have to admit I’m not a fan of superheroes in comic books, the trappings of the underwear pervert have formed a gestalt of ideas it seems hard to break out of (with the exception of Animal Man.) Don’t get me wrong, I like the films that have grown from these established characters, but I’m more of a Transmetropolitan kind of guy. With this in mind I went to see The Spirit last week and was thoroughly disappointed; with Frank Miller, a man with an amazing eye for using shadow contrasts, and the source material from Will Eisner, the father of comics I expected a triumph, instead I left the theatre bored and bemused.

To this end I’ve decided to list, for your delectation, 5 movies that you may not know were based on comic books…

A History of Violence

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, A History of Violence tells the story of a cafe owner trying to escape the repercussions of a horrendous crime he committed as a youth. The comic was written by John Wagner, one of the creators of British comics icon Judge Dredd (which also became a film, but a truly abysmal one) and drawn by Vince Locke, famous for his work on the Brief Lives run of Sandman. the film holds an 87% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for two Oscars, one of them for Josh Olsen’s adaptation of the original comic’s script. The film differs quite a lot from the graphic novel, but the central themes and tone are retained effectively.

Road to Perdition

The original Road to Perdition was written by Max Allan Collins, an insanely talented writer of novels and script, as well as directing and writing for a band. The bast. The art for the books was drawn by Richard Piers Rayner, an old DC/Marvel hand and now Middlesborough FC’s resident artist. The books themselves tell the story of a disgraced mafia enforcer trying to raise his son in a world of violence, a theme which is retained in the film version. Sadly David Self‘s treatment of the adaptation was tinkered about with by a rotating group of writers at the behest of Spielberg and resulted in the dilution of the film’s message.

The Crow

Perennial goth posterboy Eric started life as the main character of J. O’Barr‘s The Crow. As the writer and artist James created The Crow as a way of dealing with the death of his fiancée at the hands of a drunk driver, a fact mirrored in the fiction as Eric’s fiancée is killed in the book. In this case I feel the film outshines the comic. O’Barr’s personal misery is evident in the book, but comes across as a little too goth for my tastes. The film was directed by Alex Proyas, director of the fantastic Dark City, and the production of the film famously led to the death of it’s star Brandon Lee.

American Splendor

Yeah, if you’ve seen this then you know it’s a biopic of autobiographic comic creator Harvey Pekar. the film takes aspects of Pekar’s life and mixes them with the elements of his American Splendor series to tell the story of Pekar’s life and the creation of the series he’s famous for. Drawn by different artists, including legendary underground comics genius R. Crumb the comic series is to my mind one of the best examples of exactly what can be done with the graphic novel medium. The film currently enjoys a 94% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. See it, its bloody good.

Ghost World

Not strictly its own comic book, Ghost World was a story arc from creator Daniel Clowes‘ alt comic Eightball. It tells the tale of two 90’s high school graduates and the decline of their friendship as they transition into adulthood. Directed by Terry Zwigoff the man responsible for Crumb, a documentary about the life of R. Crumb (which I’ve not managed to see yet) the movie garnered Clowes an Oscar nomination for his treatment of his own work.

More of 2008 in list-form.

One of us had to, and I thought I’d jump on the end of the year bandwagon.

2008 will for me be known as the year I stopped reading, apart from my usual cover to cover of The Hogfather in the run up to Xmas I can’t think of another new (or new to me) novel I read in 2008, there must have been one, but seriously I can’t think which.

2008 was also the year I re-discovered Heavy Metal, both the film and the genre.  In the first instance all thanks to a recent episode of South Park, and the latter just because every album I’ve heard this year has been pretty damned Awesome, also the fact that 2008 was another year without a new Green Day album (Unless you count Stop, Drop and Roll by the Foxboro Hot Tubs, which I don’t) led me down a darker more head-bangery route.

In Movies 2008 showed us all that Pan’s Labyrinth Wasn’t a fluke and when it comes to horror movies Spain is really where it’s at at the moment Rec and The Orphanage really push home everything that’s wrong with Hollywood horror movies and the current trend for SFX in creating what is essentially (Daily Mail Moment Warning) torture porn.  (Ban this sick filth.)

Gigs in 2008 were fewer and further between than I’d would’ve liked, but what are you gonna do?  This year was dominated by the fact that I finally went to see Bon Jovi (no, I’m not being ironic).  Bon Jovi was like a gateway to harder rock’s, the first hit my mum approves of but the rest is gonna cost me, sort of thing.  To finally see them live was akin to being ten years old again only with access to a hell of a lot of beer.  On that note my hero of the year award goes to Twickenham, the home of British Rugby, a fine venue for a gig, and sponsored by Greene King so therefore having the best gig beer tents ever.

Gaming in 2008 saw me first abandon my Xbox 360 in favor of PC gaming, then abandon my PC in favor of the Wii and DS, then abandon Nintendo and buy another 360 (the circle is now complete).  On all formats however RPG’s held sway.

Right.  Enough pre-amble, list time.


  • Wall e (A Stanton)
  • The Orphanage (Technically 2007, but not released in the UK ’till 2008) (J A Bayona)
  • The Mist (F Darabont)


  • Guitar Hero World Tour (Activision)
  • Fable II (Lionhead)
  • The World Ends With You (Square Enix)


  • Death Magnetic (Metallica)
  • Black Ice (AC/DC)
  • Along Came a Spider (Alice Cooper)


  • The Kaiser Chiefs (Turns out they’re not all that great)
  • Living in a hotel (gets real old real fast)
  • Green Day (It’s been four years now FFS!)

Going Forward…

  • New Green Day album in 2009.
  • Blogging more, sorry Ralph-fans.
  • Fighting my crippling WOW addiction (just 20 more levels man.)

All the best for 2009 y’s all.