Blasts from my Pasts
Here's three articles you probably thought you'd never see again:
There's more to come. Got any favorites?
WWE: The Movie
From the original No Holds Barred to the latest WWE Studios direct-to-DVD masterpiece, Vince McMahon follows a strict One-Wrestler-Per-Movie limit. Which is strange, because some wrestlers are only entertaining in a team, and seeing Triple H take on The Chaperone without his comedic sidekick Shawn Michaels is like watching a David Spade try to make a movie after the death of Chris Farley (Okay, Joe Dirt was good, but that had Christopher Walken.)
Enough of this nonsense. We need an Attitude-era take on The Expendables.
Let's start by ripping off A-Team's storyline. (Why not? Everyone else is doing it.) So, a team of Special Forces soldiers are framed for war crimes They Did Not Commit.
Pick an archetypical role for your favorite wrestler: Edge could be the grinning hacker. Big Show, the pilot who's touchy about his size (everyone glares at him as the chopper has trouble taking off.) Shawn Michaels, the smooth talking sniper in a cowboy hat. Leading the team of mercenaries, Steve Austin. Maybe get Ron Simmons to show up for a cameo, give them their mission and mutter, "Damn." Need a love interest? I hear Trish Stratus is doing B- action flicks. Just have her fall for Edge or Shawn, I couldn't handle a Stone Cold Sex Scene.
On the villain side, Christian could make a great sleazy underling; I can see him smirking across the table in an interrogation room. Jericho spent a year playing the stone-faced psycho, so make him a right-hand assassin. (He could have a tense sniper fight against Shawn Michaels.) Throw in a near-mute heavy like Mark Henry or Kane to round them out and you're good to go.
The Big Bad is a bit of a problem. He'd have to wear a suit: if there's anything The Expendables, The Losers and The A-Team have taught us, it's that the natural enemy of the heroic mercenary squad is a mastermind in an expensive suit. Triple H is the obvious choice, but in my humble opinion, he's just too damn big for the role. No one that wide could run a shadow government. If I could pick anyone, it'd be Ric Flair.
Ric Flair is styling, profiling, and since he predates the Rock, Wrestling & Steroids era, his body isn't bloated and deformed to the point of looking like some mid-transformation Tetsuo. Ric Flair may no longer be physically imposing, but he's the kind of guy with his finger on the button of a trap door.
I can think of a thousand cameos I'd like to see: Al Snow and Mick Foley, playing deranged locals who provide the team with a friendly infodump (Mick would return for the sequel in a larger role); Rob Van Damn as a stoner assassin; CM Punk as er, a chick magnet punk.
So why hasn't this happened? My brother pointed out that movies rarely star more than one singer or one athlete, one non-actor in other words. But non-WWE movies have featured whole squads of wrestlers, from The Longest Yard (Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Khali) to River of Darkness (Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, Glacier and "Psycho" Sid Vicious). The weird thing is, WWE Studios seem less willing to get a lot of wrestlers together than normal movie studios.
I think the real problem is that Vince McMahon treats his movies like products, rather than art. (Though the "art" thing is debatable, considering these movies star guys trained to take falls and stretch 30 second monologues out to fifteen minutes.) I believe WWE likes to have one wrestler per movie so they can more easily determine a wrestler's marketability. ("Knucklehead bombed? Big Show must be losing popularity!" Nevermind the script...) But movies aren't just products, they're stories, and stories live or die by their characters. The Rock proved that a wrestler can break out of corny kids movies and into the mainstream. Imagine what the Rock and Sock connection could do.
Link o' the Non-Standard Unit of Time: The Unknown Movies
I'm building a links page one site at a time. Here's the first entry.
I love reading reviews, but hate getting movies spoiled for me. What's a guy to do? Track down reviews of movies I'm probably never going to see. The Unknown Movies covers (or should I say uncovers) obscure movies that have never known the warm touch of a spotlight. It's a source of exclusive information: he prints tidbits from readers who caught alternate cuts in foreign lands or remember quirks from the theatrical release. He also covers non-genre stuff, so don't be surprised to find That Championship Season snuggling between Nightmare Weekend and Evil Aliens.
Want to read about movies they don't have on Netflix Instant? Don't have Netflix? Or a TV? Then visit The Unknown Movies and get a fix.
Misadventures in Morrowind
Written years ago, this fictional jounral of a game character was never meant to be shared with the general public. What began as a more or less earnest attempt to chronicle, in-character, my travels along Morrowind's Bitter Coast swiftly took a turn towards black comedy, especially towards the end.
The Smallest of Margins
I've always had to contend with my disparate interests scaring away potential readers. Back when my friends and compatriots were honing their laser focus on videogames, I was writing about Halloween costumes for kids, hard rock Japanese space operas and hilariously blasphemous articles about God found in women's magazines.
There's a great joke in a Cracked article by Mark Hill about the producers of Sweeny Todd, who found out the hard way that there's very little overlap between people who love incredibly gory horror movies and people who love musicals. It's always stuck with me, because I often find myself wedged in those slim margins, between groups of people who share my interests, but otherwise have nothing in common.
Speaking of, Scott Keith plugged this great video on his blog, and... remember that venn diagram?
Imagine a Venn diagram with WWE fans in one circle, Joss Whedon fans in the other, and where they overlap, this video chronicling C.M. Punk's recent rise to the top of the WWE, set to music from Dr. Horrible. I missed out on the Summer of Punk, so this was all new to me, and the the music is still completely awesome.
Updated (2012-02-01): For the small margin of those of you with no idea what the hell I'm talking about, but are brave enough to ask: The Summer of Punk is the name of a 2011 WWE story arc in which CM Punk, a talented wrestler recently mired in an awful "cult leader" storyline, fought his way to the top, despite being too small, talented and otherwise "indie" for most to believe he could be #1.
With The Rock and Steve Austin long gone, the WWE was dominated by John Cena -- part time rapper, full time patriot. Cena dresses like a twelve year old and refuses to put anyone over. Meaning that if he was in a match, the end result was always a win for Cena or an unsatisfying disqualification in which there are no winners, except for whoever raked in the $45 from that particular PPV.
Sounds like a good place for the fed to be for half a decade, right?
So along comes CM Punk, who was allowed a rare "worked shoot" interview, granted free reign to unleash a freestyle assault on his own company, even if it meant mentioning the competition by name or suggesting the company would be better off with Vince McMahon dead (two things you never, ever do). Punk echoed what many of us angry internet types had been saying for years: the product was stale, and while John Cena may appeal to little kids, fans of the "Attitude" era needed someone they could root for. All this lead up to a legendary 2011 Money in the Bank match, with a CM Punk/John Cena clash that topped many a "Best In Years" list, and ushered in the first era of wrestling that may not suck since back in the days of In The RAW.
12 Tips for the Young Games Journalists
2012-01-15I am by no means young -- except on the Antideluvian timescale -- nor do I want to be a videogame journalist anymore, but I do enjoy these tips from John Walker, of Rock, Paper, Shotgun (the blog that talked me into Mount & Blade). Especially Rule #8:
"[R]ead. Read and read. Because you’ll absorb, and learn. Reading a great writer who structures a great sentence is infectious. Noticing how writing is good is great for recognising how writing is bad. Actually study. Work out why it is that an article by Kieron Gillen is utterly compelling and entertaining. Absorb how Simon Parkin or Christian Donlan tells you a story. Understand what it is about Tom Bramwell’s writing that makes you feel like you’re his friend. And read the masters, study the all-time greats, the siphoned, hilarious anger of Stuart Campbell, or the astonishing eloquence of Jonathan Nash’s nonsense. Be a sponge to greatness, and then let it infect your own unique, distinct voice."
— John Walker.
Good writing is infectious, which is why I always take penicillin after reading Peter S. Beagle. And speaking of infection, I also like Rule #4:
4) If you’re trying to get into this career because you love playing games, go away and play games. Seriously, you’re wasting everyone’s time. If you love writing, communicating, entertaining and infecting others with your passion, then you’re in the right place.
Read the full article, 12 Tips for the Young Games Journalists, on John Walker's Blog.