Friday, February 11, 2005

Like everyone else, film majors like to lie about on sunny days casting imaginary movies. Years ago on just such a day, The League's film school pal, Justin L, suggested Seinfeld co-creator Larry David for a Spider-Man film. As whom?

Why, The Vulture, of course.

Could Justin L.'s prophecy be coming true?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

In case you missed it, Randy recently posted a photo of myself and Mrs. League on his site.
It's that time again kids (because we've got a lot of territory to cover)...

It's time for...


Instead of trying to do this in chronological order, I'm going to stick with a mystery theme to be revealed later (see if you can figure it out!).

This time around, The League investigates Knight Rider phenom Bonnie Barstow as portrayed by Patricia McPherson.

The lovely Patricia McPherson as Bonnie Barstow, world's greatest Jiffy-Lube employee.

Bonnie came into my life a few years on from Wonder Woman, when, I believe, I was maturing quite nicely in my taste in Dames. No longer did twirling seem to be such an attractive trait in a woman. Well, it was still important, but not as important.

So what did Bonnie have?

1) Bonnie didn't fall for Michael's nonsense. Sure, I loved Knight Rider, too, but I always thought Michael was sort of creepy. He showed more chest hair than I wanted to look at as an eight year old boy, and he usually spent the duration of most shows making goo-goo eyes at the dame of the week. And he was nice enough to Bonnie, and maybe a little flirty, but a) she didn't have badly frosted early 80's hair so Michael would never take her seriously, anyway, and b) she wasn't interested in his nonsense. You never once saw Bonnie show the slightest interest in Michael. No interest in creepy guy? Already I could feel the pitter-patter of my heart.

2) Hey, I was eight. I could not have cared less about Michael Knight's trials and tribulations. In fact, if the show had been about KITT and Dom DeLuise, I would have tuned in week after week just the same. For me, Knight Rider was about the Knight Industries Two-Thousand. And who was the genius behing K.I.T.T.? Bonnie Barstow.

Bonnie has trouble installing KITT's new 8-track.

Yes sir, Michael was just some jack-ass the Knight Foundation sent out there so draw fire away from their billion dollar, AI-infused car. Also, it would have been deeply suspicious if K.I.T.T. were zipping around southern California with no "driver" at the wheel. At the end of the day, those of us who knew the score knew that the Knight Foundation might as well have put a circus monkey in the cabin for all the good Michael did.

But, who had the brains and know-how to keep that car running? Surely not Michael (who was shot in the head in the pilot, as I recall). Nah, It was Bonnie who kept that show running. She was technically inclined and liked to chat it up with the talking car. My kind of lady.

Bonnie chats it up with KITT while replacing the windshield wiper-fluid.

3) They tried to replace Bonnie, and it didn't take. It's totally true. In the 1983-84 season, Bonnie wasn't on the show. I'm not sure why Bonnie bailed on KITT, or why Patricia McPherson wasn't on, but they brought in this sort of blonde woman to try to fill in for Bonnie. Rebecca Holden played fake -Bonnie April Curtis, but April just couldn't fill Bonnie's jumpsuit, and so, the next season, Bonnie triumphantly returned.

The evil, fake Bonnie, April Curtis, whose hair is a magnificent feat of architecture.

4) Bonnie apparently lived in the back of a semi, sort of like the truck in SpyHunter. Not only that, but she lived in the back of a semi which was constantly rolling, always nearby when needed, had every part conceivable to help fix KITT, and was always well-lit and spotlessly clean.

This is not to mention that the interior of the semi seemed to defy the laws of time and space, appearing to be much, much larger inside than outside.

One was, of course, left to wonder if the semi had a driver who had never taken a bathroom break, or if KITT's idiot cousin was up there muttering to himself.

5) No matter what, Bonnie's white jumpsuit always appeared spotless.

Sure, Bonnie had a lot of traits I didn't have at age 8. For example, had I had a white jump suit, it would have had Cheet-o finger stains down the front. But Bonnie was more than just another Jodie from The Fall Guy. Bonnie wasn't just eye-candy, she was also a mechanic and she was smarter than the rest of the morons on that show combined.

So a salute to Bonnie Barstow, finest TV mechanic to ever grace a white jumpsuit.

To read MORE about Bonnie, go here.

Go here to read up on Wonder Woman.
Y'know... sometimes I miss the cold, steely threat of mutually assured destruction which we enjoyed during the days of my youth. You sort of thought the USSR was probably puffing its feathers as much as the US (after all, nobody really benefits when the world ends up a smoking cinder looping around El Sol), and it gave us a big, spectral enemy to dislike. AND the Cold War also provided us with some neat movies.

I need to rent Firefox again.

Sadly, I haven't really had that "We're all doomed" feeling since I was 14 and Gorby made all nice with the west and the wall came down.

But, hey, Armageddon is not something which likes to lay still, and it's making a come-back in all new, wackier format.

Here and here coupled with here, here and here.

I only hope our movie producers are up to the task. Sadly, the German accent sported so often by the villains in Cold War flicks will be sadly inappropriate this time around.

So, make peace with your gods, mortals. I'm getting my lawn chair and bag of Stay Puffed Marshmallows ready.
All right you un-American swine, it's time to VOTE. So get in there and have your say...


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

That does it. I'm fashioning a series of 'US governor' carrots and retiring. Can someone send me a profile shot of Janet Napolitano? -- Mrs. League

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

So the doorbell rang surprisingly late this evening, probably around 7:45. I was watching American Idol, an episode in which contestants were being weeded out of the 200 who had been selected out of the hundreds of thousands who had auditioned.

"It's amazing," one of us had remarked. "These guys audition and they all really think they're going to be the finalist."

And later, when the lady who had sold her wedding ring to make it to the first set of auditions was told she was not going to go on... and she broke down and said something along the lines of "I guess I'm going to have to find something else to do..." and you couldn't help but feel bad, but at the same time... American Idol dominates television. It reigns supreme as the purest of signs of the image conscious, semi-talented bland vanilla of popular culture. Mostly, the show spotlights those aspiring to be popular entertainers for 9-14 year-olds, but mostly wanting to be as ubiquitous as Colgate. I don't think there are many people over the age of 25 buying the albums by the likes of Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson, but I might be wrong. These are people who have fashioned themselves into approximations of entertainers, without the staff available day and night to ensure they are constantly in the right pants and jacket. Something for nothing.

But this is the dream, and it's what American Idol holds out for the contestants before pushing them back, teary eyed and invariably embarrassed, back into the world of Wal-Marts and Papa Johns.

I got up and got the door.

This skinny little kid with a large guy was standing on the other side of the security door, and immediately, the kid launched into his prepared lines.

"Hello, sir. I am working with the (blank blank) youth sponsorship group. I am selling newspapers in order to raise funds for savings bonds for college, and to win points towards a trip to Magic Mountain."

Immediately the larger guy cut in.

"We're working with the (blank blank) organization, and we're selling the weekend edition of the East Valley Tribune. A lot of kids don't have a lot of guidance in their life..."

I nodded, caught the basic gist of what they were selling and why, asked how much, and went and got my check book. 1) I don't get the paper currently, and 2) I'm a sucker for kids pretending to save for college. Plus, the kid might go to Magic Mountain. I want to go to Magic Mountain, but if I can't go, someone should.

"Twenty bucks?" I said to the kid.
"Yeah," said the guy. "You play football?"
"No. A little basketball in high school. A little lacrosse."
"Yeah, you look like you played football."
"Ha. No."
"I played five seasons with the Cardinals."
I sort of blinked. Totally embarrassed and not wanting to ask him his name at all, because, honestly, I've never even watched my hometown team on TV. I've listened to them on the radio, but... No. I wasn't going to know who this guy was.
"Yeah, I'm not playing now, so I got involved with helping kids, doing stuff like this."
"Hey, that's great."
"Yeah, last year was really rough. I was going through a divorce, and I was riding my motorcycle and it spun out and I hurt my shoulder and so I'm not playing."
And, I didn't say, Dennis Green cleared house the day he got here. Not even bad players. He just started firing people.


I was reminded of the time I was buying plane tickets from this lady from Southwest Airlines, sometime just before Christmas. She told me as I was thanking her that I was her last customer. "Before the Holiday?" "No. After this call I go home and they close the office. They're closing this office permanently tonight." "Before Christmas?" "Yeah."


"But I'm going to get back into it," he said. "I had a shoulder surgery and I'm going to get back out there and play again."
He could. He was maybe pushing 30. He was big, but lean. He looked like a player.
"For Arizona?"
"No. Up north."
"I'm thinking Green Bay."
"Interesting year for them next year."
"I know Brett Favre," he was used to pulling this one out. It impressed the hell out of people. I love Brett Favre. He's my favorite quarterback. Whether I liked it or not, I was impressed as hell. Unsolicited, the guy went through his history with Brett and I nodded a lot.
And then he finished, and I said something vaguely supportive and impressed.
"I've had three knee surgeries, two shoulder surgeries and probably'll have back surgery before I can go back out there. But I'm training every day."
"You can get back out there for a few more years," I said, and I knew it sounded pretty lame.
"In the meantime I'm working with these kids, and I'm trying to help give them direction I never had."

And this guy, he wasn't like these kids on this show, jumping up and getting 15 minutes on AI, squawking out a few bars and trying to look good. He'd already been where he was going to go, and now he's standing on some guy's front porch spilling his guts, because maybe if he tells enough people and he believes it enough, maybe he's going to be back out there on the field again next season. The divorce and motorcycle accident will be behind him, and he can proudly talk about how he took time off helping kids, getting his head together. And when he's done, he can say he played with the great Brett Favre in his final season, and that all of this, being down with the rest of us fans, maybe that'll have been just a bump in the road.

So, you know, next fall I'll be looking for the guy in the pictures of the line-up of Green Bay.
I know nobody else saw the conclusion of the Suns/ Kings game, but that was freaking crazy.

Look for the last play on SportsCenter. That was insane.
Several interesting casting choices, the latest of which is here. Looks like the dude who played Kumar of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle is in the new Superman movie.

But as who? Doesn't say, but it sounds like he might be Pete Ross. Or, maybe Steel? Or Krypto? Or, maybe, some made-up guy. I'm hoping he's in a white doggy costume paying Krypto, but I'm cool like that.

Remember that good looking dame from North By Northwest? What ever happened to her? Eva Marie Saint is going to be Ma Kent. Seriously.

Kevin Spacey is Luthor. That dude from House, MD is Perry White. Sam Huntington from one movie or another is Jimmy Olsen. And Cyclops from X-Men is scheduled to play John Jameson... whoops. I mean, Perry White's kid. Who, I believe, croaked in the comics.

But rumors are swirling that the story involves Brainiac (which I applaud) teaming up with Luthor. So who is playing Brainiac?

While I vote for RHPT, I am not sure Randy would choose to wear the awesome costume.

There are various versions of Brainiac floating around in the Superman comics... but I am betting we get some mix of time-travelling Brainac 13 and Brainiac from JLU. Other versions just won't translate well to the big screen.
Not sure exactly what Warner Bros. Studios and DC Comics are up to...

As I was telling Randy the other day via e-mail, I really do try not to dwell too much on the business side of the comic book business. But, for the sake of clarity, it helps to know that DC Comics is owned by Mega-Monopoly AOL Time Warner. Specifically, DC Comics is not in the Warner Books section of the company, as you would suspect, but rather, DC Comics is part of the movie studio wing of the company.

What I'm not clear on is if this wing also includes the television networks which AOL Time Warner owns. These networks include the obvious WB network as well as Cartoon Network, Boomerang and a few others I am probably totally unaware of. But at one point, it also basically owned NBC's butt as the WB was responsible for much of NBC's line-up (Friends, Seinfeld, ER, and.. uh... Suddenly Susan).

So, Marvel Comics, which is publicly traded and is more or less it's own beast, has been pumping out a string of movies beginnign with Blade, now in it's unfortunate 3rd installment. Spider-Man made a truck load of dough, the sequel did likewise... X-Men and X-men United did well, so it seems like people are willing to drop a few clams to check out superheroes at the theater. Although, honestly, I think the soon-to-be-filmed Nic Cage Ghost Rider movie may change all of that.

So, where are the DC movies?

They're coming.

WB has had the brands out there to some extent. We know Smallville has been out there touting a pre-cape Superman for 3.5 seasons. And Justice League (now JLU) has been selling some of the major players for several years.

Batman Begins (the Bat-film for this summer) is now being edited, Superman is scheduled to begin shooting in very short order (in March, I think), A Flash movie is being scripted, Green lantern rumors abound, and... get this Buffy-geeks, Joss Whedon may be directing a Wonder Woman movie.

As Marvel's movies are already losing steam (the trailer for FF looks pretty bland to me, anyway) DC may be ready to assemble the JLA for the big screen. It's a pipe-dream, but dammit, I'm going with it.

While you chew on that, here's a story on a possible Wonder Woman movie, with a link to the actress most recently suggested for the starring role.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Hooray. I am no longer sick.

I feel kind of okay. And after a week of feeling like I'd been jumped by a troop of baboons, next week is going to be great.

Of course, as I am feeling better, Mel got two of his claws popped off jumping off the playground equipment. He had done this many times before with no ill-effect, but as you can imagine, my guilt is running pretty deep.

We just finished watching the Superbowl. Totally randomly we chose to cheer for the Eagles. Good choice, but, luckily, we don't care all that much that they lost. I feel a little weird since all I've done for a week is watch TV. First, the week of being sick. Then, yesterday, we did some grocery shopping and whatnot, but we stayed in and watched the Suns game. I do feel like a total traitor becoming a Suns fan, but they show almost all of their games here, so after a while you do get attached. Especially at the level of play these guys have been showing this season.

Of course, we started watching Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl about 3.5 hours before kick-off. For being, possibly, the most straight forward programming ever to appear on television, it was surprisingly entertaining.

Next weekend I PROMISE to be good and go do real stuff and go to the gym and whatnot, but I feel like I had a pretty good unofficial holiday weekend.

I wasn't nuts about too many commercials which ran this year, and I thought the Marvel Superheroes Visa commercial was a total dud. I suppose it was kind of okay... but I couldn't even tell who was supposed to be talking, and most of the characters were lit so poorly, I couldn't make out the second row anyway.

On the other hand, the half-time show (starring Sir Paul McCartney) wasn't half-bad in its simplicity. Hopefully they'll remember next year that you don't need to cover the stage in MTV approved stars, and that there are maybe a few musicians who most of a football stadium will agree to enjoy (and not, in fact, boo), and most of the millions of viewers won't actually spend the half-time show making fun of the musician... And, hey... I didn't even need to cynically use quotations marks around the word "musician."

Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed the game. Or party. Or snarkily doing anything BUT watching the Superbowl because, you know, you don't watch sports on TV (in which case I reserve the right to give you noogies and wedgies, nerd).

Psst! Hi Leaguers - Mrs. League here. The League is currently absorbed in an engaging program called the Puppy Bowl -- Animal Planet's answer to today's Super Bowl festivities. It involves dumping about 10 puppies in a minature stadium complete with toys, water bowl, and a 'referee' (read: pooper scooper) who occasionally makes an appearance and throws a penalty flag. By the League's mesmerized expression I'll be lucky if he'll let me switch over to the big game come 4:30.

In other news, Melbotis has had himself a lil' ol' accident. Poor fella lost 2 claws at the playground yesterday which involved a bloody paw and has been limping since. Let's all wish Mel a speedy recovery.