With other comic characters, I usually simply refer to the costumed name, but so much of what makes Iron Man compelling is the man behind and under the armor. Tony Stark is a study in dichotomy, a man both shallow and deep, brilliant and surprisingly obtuse. Stan Lee's 1960's Marvel Comics were rarely subtle, and Stark was no different. A heartless playboy who invented weapons, they attacked his heart and made him a weapon, and the result was a belated maturation for Stark, a
Say Anything is a seminal movie for folks of my vintage. For the most part, it's a formulaic teen love story, a Cameron Crowe paint-by-numbers paean to unearned wisdom and post-adolescent panic. It enjoys John Cusack's signature performance, including the iconic boom box scene that firmly entrenched Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes as the serenading anthem of a generation. But while Cusack's Lloyd Dobler is a favorite of many, and not without reason, I've always been partial to D
There are two reasons I love The Martian. First and foremost, it's a great story. Fresh, original, somehow weaving dense science into a compelling, readable narrative. Second, it's something of a miracle that any of us have read it. If you're not familiar with the story of how Andy Weir's novel came into being, check it out. Put briefly, he did it on his own, and the publishers and moviemakers came calling. It is a Cinderella tale to writers, and I both salute and envy him. B
Sergio Aragone's Groo is a childish, ludicrous figure. He is irredeemably stupid, slovenly, and clumsy, an intentional homage to Conan with all the heroic elements redacted. Much like another, more celebrated comic character, he is the best at what he does, and what he does is visit mindless mayhem on any poor souls unfortunate enough to enter his cheese-dip-redolent orbit. Groo wanders the landscape in search of food, women, and glory, and despite (sometimes due to) his enor
Let's face it - Ripley is a badass. She's not getting rescued by the hero, she's the hero doing the saving and surviving. All of this has become more popular in recent years, but with a sort of flawless-femme flavor that dehumanizes woman as much as the damsel in distress trope. Creating realistic female action protagonists is difficult, probably because it's men doing most of the writing and directing in Hollywood. I know it challenges me in my own writing. But Ripley, start
My attachment to Gone With The Wind stems largely (though not entirely) from a 1989 viewing in the balcony of the late, lamented Ioka Theater in Exeter, NH. It's a long story (as befits a long movie). Needless to say, the seductive skills of my 14-year old self paled next to those of Rhett Butler. To be honest, I'm quite certain they still do. Rhett Butler, infused with the charm and understated swagger of Clark Gable, is a fast-talking rogue with a twinkle in both eyes, read
Let's face it, we all know Smurf Village is a Communist enclave. It's not even a Democratic Socialist society, with elements of regulated capitalism (yes, they are different things, for those of you not following along). No, the Smurfs are Communists. From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. They are a joyful, benighted proletariat, so defined by their roles in the strictly regimented community that their names often refer to their functions.