Thursday, December 29, 2011

Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are true architects of the imagination.  To say that they helped shape a generation does not really scratch the surface as to the sphere of their influence on culture; both ‘pop’ and otherwise.  People’s lives changed after viewing their work and it struck a chord.  These people now wanted to be a part of the magic of film, of mythmaking, of storytelling.  I was one of those people.  

But this is not about me; NO.  It’s about Mr. Frank Darabont and how his script was almost the fourth Indiana Jones movie.  Now if you are a movie-geek then you know the name.  He is the man responsible for films such as “the Shawshank Redemption”, “The Mist”, and TV shows like, “The Walking Dead”.  He is a writer, he knows what he is doing, and back when the script was being circulated it caused a lot of excitement in certain circles (geekdom).  For whatever reason in 2008, Lucas and Spielberg passed on Darabont’s script and instead went with David Koepp, who is a fine writer as well.  Now the way that Indy movies work is that George Lucas (and please stop me if I’m wrong here, Mr. Lucas) comes up with a story and then farms it out to writers to connect the dots.  It has been a brilliant strategy and has been more than a successful formula since, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981.

Now a lot of people snipe at the fourth movie.  I’m not going to do that here.  I had a good time at the movies when I saw Indy 4 and, at the end of the day or when the credits roll, that’s the experience I want to have.  There will never be another “Raiders” and that’s ok.  “Raiders” is pure, transcendent magic – lightning in a bottle.  The sequels are icing on the cake and if you approach them expecting to have a good time at the movies - that is exactly what you will have. 

Well, this morning I’m horsing around on Twitter (at OMG Facts to be precise) and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a link to the Frank Darabont script!  I threw on my trusty John Williams score, sat back with a few cups of coffee and read it.  I encourage you to do the same, Gentle Reader, if you are a fan of the craft that is.  Some of it will seem familiar and some of it will not.  It is the Indiana Jones movie that didn’t happen.  Here it is in its entirety:  It is interesting to see how Darabont approached Lucas's story verses how Koepp did.  The big plot points are there but there is no Mutt and Marion is married to some other archeologist who is not Indiana Jones.  I loved the explanation as to what happened to Willie Scott.  Read it.  It's the script that never was now available for consumption. 

THAT being said, Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Lucas, and Mr. Ford, adventure still has a name; that name is Indiana Jones and I would LOVE to see him on the big screen one more time.  From one member of the generation that you helped to shape to you three gentlemen, I’m ready for Indy 5!  I don’t think I’m alone. 


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Gentle Reader!

I don't believe it is Christmas time once again.  I have reached that age where one's brain perceives the passage as time much differently than one may have in days of yore.  Translation: I'm old.




Very fast.

I appreciate that better now than I ever have.  I'll probably appreciated it better in the next ten years, Lord willing.  But that is a blog of another day; that is then and THIS is now.

These are the good old days, Gentle Reader.  May your holiday be blessed and joyous this season and may those blessings and joyfulness last the whole year through.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Level Up Entertainment & Farpoint Toys

In the very beginning of the film, “A Christmas Story” Ralphie and his family are looking into the intricate holiday display at the local department store in rapt wonder at the trains, the toys and, of course, that Red Rider BB Gun.  The film is set in the fifties and is really a love letter to that period in time. 

Retailers these days could take a page from that old ‘five and dime’ store window.  It seems that the farther our drive and desire for material things comes the less imagination retailers use in their window fronts.  Their corporate entities must just channel all that creativity from the stores to their ad campaigns.

I am happy to report that my cynicism towards storefronts was put completely and utterly on hold this past week.  Yes, it’s true; I had a Ralphie moment and it all happened at the Hamilton Mall at the shop window of Level Up Entertainment and Far Point Toys & Collectables.  If you are a card-carrying geek such as myself you owe it to yourself to make the pilgrimage.   

This is not merely a storefront; NO, it is an assemblage of art.  The skill and forethought that went into the execution of this piece shows the depth of love for the subject matter.  I love the care that went into this piece – it all interconnects and tells this epic tale of comic book glory.  It is simply brilliant.  The pictures I took have the glare of the storefront window so it really is best seeing it up close and personal.  Of course you could also check them out on Facebook by clicking right here: and here:

Level Up Entertainment and Farpoint Toys & Collectables, as you may have surmised, specializes in video games, comics, toys and collectables.  So if there is a piece missing from your collection, if you’re seeking a particular videogame or if you are looking for that last Avenger figure to complete the security for around your computer – then these are the people you need to see.  I went in to compliment the man who put the whole diorama together and, while in the process of geeking out, I let slip that I needed three stands for the Avengers figures that protect my laptop.  He was kind enough to give me some spares that he had lying around.  That was a kindness that I truly appreciated, Gentle Reader.  These guys get it.  They love what they do and they love sharing that love with the world.  That being said I wanted to share them with YOU. 

Level Up Entertainment / Farpoint Toys & Collectables is located in the Hamilton Mall, 4403 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, NJ 08330, Suite 1129.  Their number is 609-569-9200.  They are located on the first level via the main entrance – make a right before the escalators and prepare to have your jaw drop.  Show ‘em some love. 

When you visit just ask me to move over so we can both share a Ralphie moment at the storefront window together. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thin the Herd

"Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue..." - Billy Joel

I like social media.  Facebook & Twitter are convenient ways for me to communicate the way I prefer to (i.e. without using a phone).  That being said every once in a while I run into moments where it is obvious that I must thin the herd, so to speak.  If you have been involved with social media for a while then you know what I mean.  The “friend” from another country who contacts you, tells you nothing but lies and then asks for money or the cell phone updates that keep chirping and chirping and chirping but only for ONE single person that you happen to be following.  There are times when you must separate the wheat from the chaff.    

The thinning of the herd became much easier for me after I saw an article by WIRED Magazine’s Erin Biba, entitled, “Twitter’s Fame Machine: Confessions of a Celebrity Ghost Tweeter”.  You can read it for yourself here:  Ms. Annie Colbert is a Ghost Tweeter and her job is to find technology addled celebrities who cannot figure out how to use Twitter and make them look less stupid by tweeting for them.  She is good at what she does - brilliant, really.  She provides these celebrities easy access to self-promotion and twenty-first century communication without the celebrities actually having to dirty their hands in trying to figure out how to text. 

That got me thinking about whom I follow on Twitter.  Who was real, who was phony, and who just showed up on Twitter one day at the request of a PR person, conglomerate, studio, or publishing house who told them that they “Need a Twitter account”?  So that’s what I did.  If their feed was sterile or generic – GONE.  If they didn’t care about their feed – GONE.  Oh, I still follow a bunch of people but now I am slightly more confidant that that is exactly what they are: people.  Social media provides new avenues for lying, falseness, and fakery, I see enough of that in my real life; I don’t need it when I’m kicking back trying to read my Twitter feed.  No, I crave the actual, genuine article.  I respect the truth; especially since these days I find myself relying on Twitter more and more for up to the moment news (not to mention keeping my finger on the pulse of all things GEEK).  

I’m not going to lie to you; some of the cuts hurt me.  Case in point, America’s weatherman, Mr. Al Roker.  For whatever reason he was the ONLY person on Twitter that my phone recognized; further he or whomever else Tweets for him really, really likes that Twitter account.  This really wasn’t Al’s fault.  I’m sure that it has something to do with my settings but we have come to far to turn back now.  My cell phone would alert me to one message, then another and another and one more and people would ask, “Who keeps texting you?”

“Al Roker,” I would tell them, “America’s weatherman.”

“No.  Really.  Who keeps texting you?”

Forgive me Al.  Know that it’s not you; it’s me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wear Star Wars Share Star Wars

A long time ago (well, last year, really) in a galaxy far, far away (actually somewhere close to Chicago) a first grade girl was bullied for wearing a Star Wars shirt.  Here is the harrowing tale of her adventures:

That was last year.  THIS year geeks are uniting to proudly display their Star Wars (and sci-fi) finest.  The saga continues… the young Jedi found that she was not alone and that thousands of others wanted to help her make a stand not simply for the love of Star Wars but also to put an end to tyranny (and bullying) from one side of this galaxy to the other.  Wear Star Wars Share Star Wars was born:

Tomorrow don’t grab your polo or button down shirt, no; grab your Star Wars (or other sci-fi) tee and wear it proudly.  Let your geek flag fly and let Katie know that she is not alone.

“The Force will be with you… always.”