Cinema

The Requisite Post About That Movie

BB-8: Detail of image by Lucasfilm I did, in fact, see the film last night; Star Wars: The Force Awakens is unquestionably a marked improvement over the infamous episodes 1-3, though all I might say in specific review is that I am not ready to echo a friend who declared that Star Wars is back. Nonetheless, it was indeed better than I expected.

Meanwhile, a bit of something interesting, as Melissa Dahl at Science of Us explains why BB-8, the strangely adorable white and orange droid capturing consumers’ hearts everywhere, is “basically the textbook definition of cute”.

What is it about BB-8 that makes it so freaking cute? As it turns out, the little robot is practically a textbook example of Kindchenschema, or baby schema, the reigning theory describing just what features it takes to make someone or something appear adorable. This is something that scientists have been theorizing about since at least the 1940s, when ethologist Konrad Lorenz introduced the concept in a landmark paper.In his words — quoted later in an essay by popular science writer Stephen Jay Gould — for a creature to be considered cute, it must have the following: “a relatively large head … large and low-lying eyes, bulging cheek region, short and thick extremities … and clumsy movements.”

BB-8 nails every one of these characteristics. Its “head” is relatively large in proportion to its spherical “body,” and its “eye” — the black eyepiece, rather — is also pretty huge when compared to the size of the head. The area surrounding either side of the eyepiece bulge out like chubby cheeks, and while it doesn’t exactly have extremities, its rounded lower half definitely adds to the chubby effect. When it moves, it bobs and wobbles a bit as it rolls, making it look a little bit clumsy. In short, it’s got everything required to be scientifically classified as a total cutie pie.

Which sounds about right.

However, I would note BB-8 is also incredibly impractical. Honestly, its appearance is one suggesting marketplace novelty, as if people in that galaxy far, far away, who had already mastered gravity only recently figured out some notion of maglev. This thing is rolling around in a desert and apparently suffers no ill effects of sand. The upshot, of course, would involve a counterspoiler, but if you simply don’t think about it too hard, and attend the script by Lawrence Kasdan and J. J. Abrams, there is at least one occasion that … well, something about predictability goes here. And expectation. And seeing the joke coming only raises expectations. We will get a payoff on this point sometime during the new trilogy. Rather, we should. It really does seem inevitable, so the only remaining question is a matter of execution, and if they cannot pull it off we will know they have failed.

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Image note: BB-8, impractical as can be, but cute as anything. Detail of image by Lucasfilm.

Dahl, Melissa. “BB-8 Is Basically the Textbook Definition of Cute”. Science of Us. 17 December 2015.

The Bug Side of the Force

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 14 December 2015.Believe it or not, this one doesn’t actually go downhill from here. Adam pulls it out; it gets better―if, you know, better is a word used here to mean mildly less creepy.

Okay, that’s not fair. Considerably less creepy.

What? This is Star Wars we’re talking about, here.

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Image note: Kids ― Detail of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 14 December 2015.

Kermit and the Bug

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 25 November 2015.Uh-huh.

No, really, what am I supposed to do with that?

Then again, how could I not?

These are the days of our lives.

Tune in next time, and I might actually make sense.

Maybe.

I mean, you know.

Somebody has to.

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Image note: Detail of Bug Martini, by Adam Huber, 25 November 2015

What Bugs a Sith Lord

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 23 June 2015.Two words: Darth Bug.

Two more: Adam Huber.

Or maybe I should have gone with, Bug Martini.

Bug Vader?

Pfft. Whatever. You know what I mean.

Oh, c’mon, dude. Really. You know what I mean.

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Huber, Adam. “The Phantom Presence”. Bug Martini. 23 June 2015.

Awesome Reading (Master Mudede’s Ruby Rhod Remix)

Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod in 'The Fifth Element', directed by Luc Besson (1997).

Charles Mudede begins―

We must begin this brief line of thought on Chris Tucker’s electric performance in Luc Besson’s 1997 The Fifth Element with a little background on what I call the black elegance movement in black popular music.

―and only gets more awesome from there.

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Mudede, Charles. “Prince in Space”. The Stranger. 17 June 2015.

Your Morning Metal (Modern Day Cowboy)

Logo for the band Tesla

There did come a point at which it seems laughable to call it metal, yet we did. Still, we all had our favorites.

Stormy night, under jet black skies. Billy pulls into town. Thunder rolled and the lightnin’ bolts come crashin’ to the ground. Cold as ice, hard as stone as he walks into the room with another man who was feelin’ the same way; all Hell’s breakin’ loose. Bang, bang! Shoot ’em up! Bang, bang! Blow you away! It’s a showdown in a no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day. Come on, sundown, don’t be hangin’ ’round, ’cause the cowboy will blow you away, yeah. Al Capone and Bad Boy Jones, one the wrong side of the law. Johnny Dee and his company, always first to the draw. Gangster lean, feelin’ so mean. Tryin’ to take more than their share, ’cause all they saw was ruling it all. The scent of blood was in the air. Bang, bang! Shoot ’em up! Bang, bang! Blow you away! It’s a showdown in a no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day. Come on, sundown, don’t be hangin’ ’round, ’cause the cowboy will blow you away, yeah. So here we are, and we’ve come this far, but it’s only getting worse. Foreign lands with their terrorist demands, only cause the good to hurt. The USA, the USSR, with their six-guns to their side. I see the message written on the wall. Too much anger, deep inside. Bang, Bang! I’ll shoot ’em up. Bang, bang! Blow you away! It’s a showdown in a no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day. Come on, sundown, don’t be hangin’ ’round, ’cause the cowboy will blow you away, yeah.

Tesla, “Modern Day Cowboy” (1986)

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Your Morning Followup (Metal Bug Edition)

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 3 June 2015.(ahem!) Testing, testing … is this thing on? Um … ah … okay. Er … so, right. This seems like a followup apropos Your Morning Metal, but in truth it isn’t really what it looks like. Never mind.

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A Post in Need of a Title

Okay, I burned up all my bad suggestions for what to call that drink, though I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to have the word “Startini” in it. Yeah, that’s how bad my riffs were.

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 8 April 2015.One thing I cannot stress enough, however―though it seems Adam already understands―is that it really helps to include an awesome panel with an image that can easily be lifted, which in turn makes it easy for people like us to fill our blogs with quick-hit posts that bring the artists some measure of free advertising.

Nonetheless, we might be looking at a requisite t-shirt.

And you know what that would mean, right?

A Doctor Who mashup, of course, from those folks who can’t help but litter social media with all sorts of not-quite imaginitive crossovers even more predictable than Adam’s title puns.

Not that I’m criticizing the puns. It’s a comedic form that is dying in the new age of thoroughly disconnected irrelevance about our increasingly connected human endeavor.

I mean, think of it this way: If you absolutely had to choose, would you prefer Bug Martini for the whole of eternity, or a replay of Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s film career?

That’s what I thought.

Sure, the former California governor has The Terminator, but Adam has the bit about Switzerland. And plenty of fallback material. Where does Schwarzeneggar go next? The Last Action Hero? Oh, wait, I know: Commando.

Oh. Damn. That’s right: Twins.

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Huber, Adam. “I Got a Drone to Pick”. Bug Martini. 8 April 2015.

—————. “Why I Love Switzerland”. 26 March 2015.

A Worrisome Tingling Sensation

Detail of 'Mary Death' by Matt Tarpley, 20 March 2015.

If your Death Sense is tingling, it probably isn’t good news. But what is good news is a handy list of Mary Death episodes to click, read, and enjoy:

Detail of 'Mary Death' by Matt Tarpley, 17 March 2015.“True Form” (10 March 2015)

“Lost” (13 March 2015)

“Going on an Adventure” (17 March 2015)

“Where’s Waldo?” (20 March 2015)

“Some Answers, More Questions!” (24 March 2015)

“Exit” (27 March 2015)

“Game Time” (31 March 2015)

“Where To?” (1 April 2015)

“Stories” (3 April 2015)

No, really, that’s all a an ongoing story arc, and includes the beginning of a spinoff. Everybody say, “Thank you, Mr. Tarpley!”

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Image note: Top―Detail of “Where’s Waldo?”, 20 March 2015. Right―Detail of “Going on an Adventure”, 17 March 2015.

Update: Added “Stories” (3 April 2015), on 7 April 2015.

The Sort of Stupid Cowardice That Hindsight Suggests Was Inevitable

So much for that.

Sony Pictures is broadening the Ghostbusters franchise and the first order of business will be an action-centric comedy that is a counterpart to the Paul Feig-directed film that will start production in June. The studio is simultaneously forming Ghostcorps, a new production company whose principals include original Ghostbusters architects Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd; they will have offices at Sony with the mission to scare up branding opportunities based on the 1984 comedy classic.

(Fleming Jr.)

STAND AGAINST MISOGYNY: Just say No to the Ghostbusters reboot.Sony Pictures has just made it clear that they don’t want anybody to watch their Ghostbusters reboot. Very well; we don’t require a second invitation.

Seriously, now we can’t even undertake a movie reboot without crying, “What about the men?”

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Fleming Jr., Mike. “Sony Plans New ‘Ghostbusters’ Film With Russo Brothers, Channing Tatum & ‘IM3’ Scribe Drew Pearce”. Deadline. 9 March 2015.