Weekend Open Thread: It's Okay to Be Takei

By Luke Y. Thompson in Miscellaneous
Friday, June 26, 2015 at 3:25 pm

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George Takei

Oh my. What a day.

Geek Apparel of the Week: The Evolution of Mario

By Luke Y. Thompson in Merchandise, Video Games
Friday, June 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm

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Donkey Kong has met the enemy, and he is us, er, him.

Of course, there are religious fundamentalists out there who insist that this process as depicted did not happen, and that Mario and Kong were created independently from handfuls of pixels in some sort of Supreme Creator's hands...but what kind of reactionary believes THAT?

The shirt is $11 at Ript.

Nic Cage Bible Movie Gets YA Spin-Off Flick - Left Behind: The Next Generation

By Luke Y. Thompson in Books, Movies
Friday, June 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

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So this is how you do a sequel to a remake of a direct-to-video faith-based film that somehow managed to afford Nicolas Cage the first time around and flopped anyway. Vanished - Left Behind: The Next Generation, based on an actual teen skewing series of spin-off books from the main post-Rapture novel series, promises to be "a fresh and modern story for the post "Twilight" generation, and asks: What would happen if everyone you cared about suddenly vanished?"

I'd try to hook up with one of the people who's still around, but I'm thinking that's not what these teens do. The trailer seems like it has Satan Death Camps for parents, and the Antichrist appearing on TV - too bad Nic Cage isn't around, as he's been known to fight the devil a few times. Maybe when these younger actors refuse to return for part 3, the next one can be about babies. Because if you think babies are innocent, you never had one keep you up all night.

June GEEKFUEL Unboxing, Featuring A CUTE KITTEN!

Friday, June 26, 2015 at 9:30 am

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We are absolutely not above using the lure of our new, ultra-cute li'l feline pal Toby to get you to watch us opening the monthly subscription box. Kitten!

Geekfuel boxes start at $13.90. To grab some Geekfuel of your own, use our special link to get an extra bonus item.

Now, you can haz kitteh...

Marvel's Hulk Officially Goes From "Incredible" to "Totally Awesome"

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics
Friday, June 26, 2015 at 8:45 am

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In a move that seems linguistically a couple of decades too late - why not "the Sick Hulk, Bro"? - Marvel is changing up both the adjective clause and the identity of the big green guy. Via press release:

"For decades, Dr. Bruce Banner has buckled under the weight of his fearsome alter ego, the Incredible Hulk," Says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. "Now, someone else is going to take away Banner's burden, hoist it onto his frail shoulders like it weighs no more than a leaf, and embrace the pure fun being the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe. It's the Hulk like you've never seen him before: unleashed, unapologetic and totally awesome."
Alonso adds that the change will be "grounded in the history of the character" - so just like how female Thor turned out to be the most obvious contender of all for the role, I'm gonna just go ahead and call this as Rick Jones, sans any evidence beyond his being the easiest choice.

Who do you think Totally Awesome Hulk will be? And do you think Marvel just saw that another company had green superheroes who say "awesome," and wanted in on that deal? Hulk want pizza too? Why is the left hand blacked out? Who's gonna do my laundry today?

So many questions.

TR Review: Ted 2 Is Lazy but Funny

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Friday, June 26, 2015 at 8:00 am

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For Seth MacFarlane, strictly as a director, Ted 2 is his laziest effort to date. The production design is cheap and uninspired, the lighting basic, the editing and scene order occasionally awkward, and the three musical numbers fun for about five seconds before they outstay their welcome and stick out like a sore boner. Where the first Ted was genuinely inspired in its metaphor for clinging to childhood things, and A Million Ways to Die in the West both heartfelt and secure in its gimmick, Ted 2 - cinematically - is just an excuse to set up jokes, not all of them on topic (shocker!).

Here's the thing - a majority of those jokes are really funny. And when you pay to see a comedy, that's what you want. That Mister Smart Critic Guy over here doesn't think it's particularly artful...well, I doubt that matters to anybody, and perhaps it shouldn't. Just know that MacFarlane can do better.

The First 8 Minutes of MTV's Scream, and My Reaction

By Luke Y. Thompson in TV
Friday, June 26, 2015 at 6:30 am

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We're among friends here, so can I be honest and admit I never really cared for the Scream movies that much? My favorite is the fourth one, which took itself the least seriously; the rest of the time, I wanted to yell at writer Kevin Williamson, "POINTING OUT YOUR OWN CLICHES DOES NOT STOP THEM BEING CLICHES! AND DON'T POINT OUT NUDE SCENES THAT AREN'T ACTUAL NUDE SCENES!"

But they all had really fun opening scenes - on that, I think most of us can agree. And MTV has just put theirs online, so let's watch and see how it measures up.

9 Possible Re-Definitions of the Word "Nerd" for the Modern Age

Friday, June 26, 2015 at 5:00 am

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I'm perhaps the 10,000th person to observe this, but it bears repeating: The definition of "nerd" has, in the last 20 years, changed dramatically, perhaps even losing its meaning altogether.

I went to high school in the mid 1990s. At that time, my interests earned me scorn from most people. I enjoyed betting together with friends to play Dungeons & Dragons at lunch, had extensive conversations about Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I voraciously read superhero comics. I was a teenager, but I was still eager to watch Saturday morning cartoon shows. I was heavily involved in my school drama program. I played the flute. My favorite records were Broadway showtunes, "Weird Al" Yankovic albums, and anything that was played on The Dr. Demento Show. In addition to all this, I was a noisy, awkward, chubby weirdo. I doodled a lot and made bad jokes to anyone who would listen. I was a virgin. I was, by the parlance of the time, a nerd.

Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club for Kids (Sort of)

By Luke Y. Thompson in Books
Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

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In which the creator of Tyler Durden really, really tries to read a PG-version of his own story. Notably, doing so means deleting the major female character...and taking great pleasure in defacing Jared Leto.

TR Review: The Minions' Mirthful Money-Making Machine Moves Merrily Along

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Movies
Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

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It's okay to be leery of the fact that, after only two movies - one very fun, and one a lackluster product-mover - Universal declared Despicable Me's Minion characters to be their new Mickey Mouse. Already, they're theme-park mascots to be plastered on all manner of merchandise that, following the screening of the new movie, I was promptly told by the person who shares my bedroom to buy "as much as we can get our hands on."

Resist the commercial impulse if you like, and if you can. But don't let it needlessly sour you on the fact that Minions, the new movie, is a gleefully anarchic and just plain fun cartoon that's refreshing to enjoy in a world where Disney thinks it has to try and make you cry every time.