October Grab Bag…or else!

Whew…it’s been a crazy month, and it with some hesitation that I peek into the Grab Bag to see what’s what. I can already tell that it’s gonna be random…but first, I have to tell a story.  I was talking to a guy I work with–he’s in charge of a bunch of development and we were doing an interview with him–and he made a comment about reading comic books when I asked him what he was reading (he had a ton of books on his desk).  I got all excited–I tend to get really excited when I find out someone else is reading comics–and asked him which books he was reading, he quickly explained that he was joking…that he randomly bought a few comics and “really loved them!” He started picking up Spider-Man and Batman and was totally into it, but then his friends started giving him a hard time, saying that comics were for kids, and then, sadly, he stopped reading them.  I was so disappointed, you know? Like, it’s amazing to me that people still feel embarrassed about reading comics–and I think the publishers should try to figure how to do something about this.  Has there ever been a marketing campaign by DC and Marvel addressing this?  Empower your readers!  I dunno…an article for another day, I guess.

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I am not sure what George Lucas thinks about people recutting his work and making scenes really, really funny, but I assume it’s just a matter of time before clips like this and this are taken off the ‘net, so give them a look-see. I always go back and forth in my head about whether or not the audience has the right to change the vision of a creator–I honestly don’t think they do, that as good as it sounds, the democratization of media could actually backfire and just cheapen the integrity of the finished product (again, a good discussion for later, maybe). Anyway, both of these struck me as quite fun.

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I realize how old-fashioned I sound
when I say I still like buying movies on discs, but I do, and I still like the idea of Special Collector’s Editions. I don’t like how I rarely watch any of the extras on the Special Editions, or in the case of The Lord of the Rings, I don’t like how I really haven’t looked at the longer cuts of the movies at all (I keep waiting for a rainy weekend to have a nice Hobbitfest but it never seems to rain in LA).  Despite it all, I still like ’em and two that I find myself looking forward to are the Watchmen-totally-crazy-super-long-version with-the-cartoon-embedded-in-it-version and this very cool Star Trek Blu Ray with the pewter statue of the USS Enterprise that looks pretty big but is probably really tiny special edition.  I am a total sucker, I know, but it’s a limited edition! (And check out this version of Up!  — it comes with an actual Luxo lamp! That lights up! Because it’s a lamp!)

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I had to dig a bit for interesting news in movies, and I am not sure I succeeded.  First, we have Sam Raimi explaining that perhaps there were too many villains in Spider-Man 3. I am not sure if that’s really true–the movie had many problems, and an extra villain wasn’t one of them. Like the iFanboys said in the podcast, the movie did have the first real superhero teamup that we’ve seen in the movies, so that was cool, but otherwise…yawner.  I dunno.  I don’t have my hopes up about this fourth installment of Sony’s cash cow, but we’ll see.  Slashfilm picks some nuggets out of an AICN interview with Spider-Man alum Willem DaFoe and reports a little news on John Carter of Mars, which is a hybrid film (whatever the hell that means, I guess it means that Disney is dealing with the live action and Pixar is doing the animation, which, okay, is pretty obvious now that I have typed it out) and features 9′ tall aliens, just like Avatar. Just like Avatar!!!  I don’t have a huge history with John Carter, but for some reason…I am drawn to it. Or her. Maybe’s it the Mars princess.  Hmm. That’s it for movies. Told you I didn’t have much.

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Finally, in the toy and gadgets department, I had to highlight two items that I think are kind of cool, but are both probably more annoying than anything else. But still, the idea of a magic wand that is actually a universal remote control is pretty cool. Maybe you know a Harry Potter fan that would like it for the holidays or something.  Maybe not, but they certainly worked on that website! But the Lego Taj-Mahal–that’s pretty cool. As a kid, I really liked Legos, but I was never one of those kids that had any of the truly cool sets. Mostly I made spaceships, but they were more of the small fighter kind, made of old firetruck parts. Still, it’s nice to know that there is some kid out there that’s gonna build this Taj Mahal only to have a sibling blow it up or force its creator to eat a few of the towers…oh! Speaking of tower(ing)–check out this 60′ statue of Gundam!  I hear they have since taken it down, but honestly–why?!

Well, that’s it for the Grab Bag. A bit on the lean side, but I hope you found something of use in it.  Have a great week!

Mike Romo is an actor in LA who really needs to book something before his agent drops him.  He can be followed on twitter or drop him a friendly note by email.


  1. Maybe it’s just me, but I think a piece of art is cheapened more by a creator like Lucas reediting over and over. A fan with a laptop isn’t going to replace Star Wars, but that is all Lucas is interested in. Every new official edition that is released kills my interest, while something somebody who actually cares makes me remember why I was a fan in the first place.

    …a bit of a soapbox, I’ll admit.

  2. I think the best time to watch the extended Lord of the Rings triology is during the holidays.  Maybe its the time off of work, but I always enjoy them more during that time.

    And I agree, empower the readers and challenge the stereotypes!

  3. Marvel attempts to challenge the usual stereotypes sometimes on their site. They feature actors, musicians, MMA fighters and such. They interview them as kind of a "Hey, look these guys read comics too!" thing. Though most the time the people have a very limited experience.

  4. Those SW clips are funny, but still the best one out there is jackass Darth Vader.  Do a youtube search for it if you haven’t seen it yet.  Classic.

  5. @Mustbedamned-But do they only show those interviews on their site? If so, that won’t help to attract new people to buy comics.  Should extend out to social networking sites and what not.

  6. I love that Gundam statue.  In my mind it is the Japanese Statue of Liberty.  They need to hollow it out and let people live in it (They are going to have to start stacking vertically anyway with their population growth and lack of land.)

    For some reason I can’t bring myself to watch the Star Wars videos.  Something inside me won’t let me (it might be the Star Wars fruit snacks I ate for lunch). 

  7. I hear Lucas is actually very happy to see parodies of his work. Maybe not this directly like the videos you provided; but he has always given the ‘thumbs up’ for people making jokes. It’s why Family Guy and Robot Chicken were able to the parodies that they did, with his help mind you.

    I cannot wait for this ‘Super Incredible yadda yadda’ version of the Watchmen DVD to come out. Thank god it’s not a blu-ray exclusive because for a second I thought it was. I held myself back from getting the DVD that’s out now because I have been waiting for this particular version. The mistake I made with Sin City will not happen again!

  8. That Gundam statue is frickin awesome.

  9. I’m all for re-mixing and changing a creators work(rap, remix artists, graffiti).

  10. Wait, watching movies on DVD is *old-fashioned* now?

  11. Mike…were you not here for the rain last week?

    It rains every autumn and winter here, you know. Granted, it’s not enough, but it does happen.


  12. That second Star Wars clip was pretty rad.  It’s good for some giggles.

  13. I love Special Edition DVDs, but I don’t have a Blu-Ray, so I MAN the frustration of seeing that regular DVDs are becoming old school VHS (no Special Features). Gah!

  14. @Diabhol — oh that’s right–I mean, okay, it DID rain last week..but then it was 90° two days later so I forgot about it.

     I am with @jurassicalien — it’s so frustrating to have these special editions, these ULTIMATE editions only to have something even MORE special and even more ULTIMATEr with the bluray crap.

     no physical media will absorb us all eventually, but until then, gimme the mini posters, the passport holders (Casablanca came with one), the statues, the movie stills, the comics, the 3d glasses and figurines…bring it!!

  15. Having media in hard copy form can create problems. The conversion from VHS to DVD comes to mind.  I don’t need it in physical form to enjoy the movie but I understand why a "collector" would want a hard copy.  The one advantage I do like from having a DVD collection is browsing for movies to watch.  I find it easier to look through my self instead of browsing on Netflix or my Computer or DVR.

    @mikeromo:  I like to get the extra stuff we I get a DVD but sometimes it’s hard to wait for a special edition DVD to come out.  If I already own a standard edition I rarely "trade up".  Boondock Saints is the only movie I think I ever bought the extra fancy edition after already owning a previous copy.

  16. I think Spiderman 3’s problem was that it focused on a very weak romance plot and did not focus enough on the conflict between the heroes and villains. And they repeated the same villain from the first movie (Goblin).  And the director phoend it in (yes, Sam, you). The actors clearly were not into their parts. And the whole thing stank of studio exec mentality.

  17. @mike

    You kids and your short-term memories! It’s all that TV and junk food what does it to ya…