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Friday, January 31, 2014

The Year Of the Magnificent Bastard

He’s suave.  He’s sneaky.  He's a cad.  He's a dick.  He’s lovable?

Yes, the magnificent bastard is a character.   He is one that has his own agenda and has every angle covered.  Just when you think you have him cornered, he slips through your grasp.  And you have to admire how he does it.  But there is more to being a Magnificent Bastard than being evil.

He’s lovable.  He’s the antihero.  He’s a swashbuckling, smuggling, whisky swilling sonofabitch that you just have to adore.   By the end of the story, you’ll be rooting for him.  He’ll probably take off with your purse, but come back to help save the hero when he’s most needed.

The Magnificent Bastard has morals and a code.  He’s not there to impress you, he’s there to get the job done.  He’ll be the one that walks into the bar and owns the place.  He’ll notice you, over there with an empty drink, trying to get service, and with a flash, he’ll have the bartender’s attention and will have your drink refilled along with his.   As much as you don’t agree with his stance or his methods, you have to respect the asshole for being true to his craft. 

He’s a lovable jerk with witty repartee that doesn’t mince words.  You better be of quick and rapier like wit if want to engage him.  And don’t think that brute force will be the best way to beat him, because the harder you come at him, the easier he has it evading attack.   And don’t worry, he’ll buy you a drink to celebrate your loss.

Even the staunchest lady in the room can’t help but smile when the Magnificent Bastard comes around.  She thinks he’s crude and inappropriate, but deep down, she’s on his level.  The Magnificent Bastard doesn’t waste his time with those who are so quick to be offended or aren’t on his level.   If he engages you, he knows that you aren’t porcelain.  He sees in your mind that you’re just as twisted and depraved as he is and it’s about time you two get to know each other.    He’s not out to treat you like a gentle lady, but he does abide by customs.  He’s not here to rescue you, he’s here to debate you.  He’s out to get under your skin and ruffle some feathers.  You may want to throttle him, but you’ll still be smiling as he steals your heart.   Will he goad you? Yes.  Will he tease?  Yes.  But that’s because he’s interested.  Debate and argue are part of his charm.  But he never aims to maim, just have a good time.  The thin skinned lass and lad should stay clear, because the Magnificent Bastard doesn’t pull punches or go easy on you.  He’ll push you to your limits just to get a rise out of you.   He’ll steal your cookies but you won’t go hungry.  He'll be inappropriate and will make you blush, but in a good way.

Try as you might to hate him, at the end of the day, when you’re all alone, you’ll find yourself smiling.   But why?  Twenty minutes ago he had you so pissed off about his not agreeing with you on such trivial matters, and now… smiling? Yup… that’s what happens.

Let us embrace the one, the only, Magnificent Bastard.  Friend to all, enemy to those who truly deserve it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Always Be Batman

Curiously, this comes on the heels of the news that the movie’s release date was pushed back to 2016.  So, is it real, rumor, or an example of how people just love to create buzz in order to keep something going?

Batman portrayals summon the hell fires of hate from fanboys almost as much as James Bond replacements do.   The news that Ben Affleck was taking on the role in an non-Batman centric film was simply a way for nerd rage to take its final form.  And now, after the anger has cooled, we are set upon again by “NEWS. FROM. THE. INTERWEBS!”  By all means, let’s go and vent some more about how much we hate someone else’s choice to play a role that we have no stake in from a business standpoint.  I jest, of course, I’ve raged in my own ways at Hollywood over the years, but someone people get a little… batty.

But, if it is indeed true and some weird coincidence of a story comes out stating something about Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder not sharing the same vision or whatever, be rest assured that the Internet will have a field day with its own casting wet dream.   I am not any different.  Batman is a hell of a lot cooler than Superman.  He’s an antihero.  He’s cynically heroic.  And the ideas that are being thrown around for the Man of Steel sequel have Batman being portrayed as an older version of Bruce Wayne.   He is somewhat of a mentor to Superman.  Perhaps this is a seasoned Batman, near the end of his career as the hero Gotham needs.

Here are my “Fifteen Batmans Better Than Ben” list.  


15.  Matthew Fox - "We have to go back, Alfred!"  The LOST star is 47 and has the look of a Bruce Wayne/Batman possibility.   He can be dark and mysterious and somewhat boyish.  


14.  Brad Pitt - I can see it.   After all, Val Kilmer filled the role in the first of the two Schumacher stinkers.  At 50, he has the age and could pull it off but I would worry that he'd point at everything and there would be crumbs stuck down in the seats of the Bat Mobile.

13.    Jensen Ackles – Dean Winchester fans might like the gravelly portrayal but at 35 he’s a bit young to play the role.  Still, he has the wit and sarcasm to carry the cowl.   But, he’d have to stretch it to really compete with an actor only five years younger than him.

12.    Vince Vaughn – The 43 old is probably the least likely to ever see the inside of the Bat Cave, but consider how well he wears a suit and carry himself as Bruce Wayne.  After all, the majority of the character will be in action and not talking.  He could give the performance of his career if done right.


11.   Gerard Butler - At 44, he definitely has the action chops.  And honestly, the look of the Dark Knight couldn't come easier to someone who once crooned "The Music Of the Night".   He could give the Bat some Scottish brooding and edge.


10.  Jon Hamm - 42 is somewhat young -ish, but he has the look and style of someone much more wise and sophisticated.  He does seem a bit stiff to portray the Dark Knight, but in the Batsuit, you can barely move anyway.  The Mad Men star could pull off a Batman.


9.      Idris Elba - Even younger than Hamm, your first inclination might be, "Oh, why would you go there?"  Why not?  He could certainly pull it off and it's not like we need to wait around for a reboot of Blade or a John Stewart / Green Lantern sequel for it to happen.  Although he could do it for Justice League.  At 41, Elba is every bit as talented as each actor on this list, if not more so.  I see no reason why he could not do justice to it.


8.   James Caviezel – At 45, James has all the stoicism of the Bat and all the badassery needed to portray the Dark Knight.  His man in the suit character, John Resse, from Person of Interest clearly shows a sense of ninja like skills and cool temperament to be a seasoned super hero.  Only issue... he's skinny.


7.    James Purefoy – The 49 year old Brit is currently in The Following, but you maybe remember him as the bad guy in Resident Evil or the Prince in A Knight’s Tale.  But he has the age and the acting chops to play Bruce Wayne as a crustier caped crusader.  


6.    Josh Brolin - At 45, he couldn't be at a better place to play the role.   He has the stature, the look, and the chin for the role.  He did do Jonah Hex, but we'll forgive that.  And I may be able to forgive him for going along with Spike Lee's vision to destroy a perfectly good movie like Oldboy, but this old boy might be better as a Bat.


5.  Bruce Willis – He may be bald, but he’s worn a hairpiece before.  Even at 58,  Red and Red 2 shows he still has some action left in him but can he play wise and brooding?  I give you Sin City and the Zack Snyder.  Think post Bane Chiropractic Batman.


4.    John Cusack – No one would wear black better than someone who was once Better Off Dead.  He has the brooding thing down pat.  And he can pull off the fighting or at least a stunt double could.  He is 47, but he has the perfect noire vocal delivery to play the Dark Knight, detective style.


3.   David Boreanaz –  The 44 year old Bones and Buffyverse star has a bit of bite playing a vampire and an FBI agent, so he has some experience with the material.  He also rumored to be up for the role in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy before Christian Bale was cast.  This was somewhat of a PR stunt I’ve read and that he was never really considered.


2.    Michael Keaton – I mean… why not?  He’s 62… so what?  What better way to get your fanboys in the seat than to pay homage to the original casting choice from 25 years ago.  Michael Keaton, to me, is almost as iconic in the role as Christopher Reeve was to Superman.  I see no reason why he couldn’t have a field day with this… Again.  CGI and stunt doubles.

1.   Jeffrey Dean Morgan – I really want this one to happen.  JDM has almost been the Sean Bean of television and film, nearly dying in every role he’s played.  As Papa Winchester on Supernatural he played father and demon hunter to Sam and Dean.  He’s got the age about right with 47 and he’s played comic book characters before with The Comedian in The Watchmen.

OK, there's my take.  Bring on the hate.  LOL.   Any suggestions?  Leave me a comment.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Strictly For The Teenage Boy

OK, so recently I wrote a long, sappy letter to my daughter for when she plans on dating.  And of course, I incurred the wrath of some.  One, who, until recently, I was pretty sure was, by all accounts was one of the most amazing creatures I had ever had the pleasure of getting to know.  Regardless of outcomes, I took the experience and used it to shape me.  That's what we do.  We get close to the fire, we get burnt, we learn how to avoid the danger or at least better prepare ourselves for the danger.

So, here you young man, you are now in your teens and you have got all of these conflicting feelings and thoughts racing through your brain like 3000 open tabs on your desktop. First all, slow down and take deep breaths.  I want you to enjoy this time because this will be the easiest it ever gets.   This is the last time you will ever have a chance to not be completely befuddled and bewildered by whoever it is you are attracted to.  In this case, because it's where I have experience... albeit not much... we are going to focus on women.

After the initial shock sets in and you finally realize they drive you insane, you can start to fully appreciate this gender and all it holds.  I cannot claim that I have any expertise anywhere.  It's obvious I am complete schmuck when it comes to what it is you're supposed to do or how you are supposed to act when it comes to women.  The best I can tell you is, put yourself in there shoes.

I don't mean literally like some Mel Gibson movie.  I mean, consider yourself the other side of this equation.  How do you feel?  How do you want to be treated?  Do you want someone looking at you like you're not as intelligent as them?  Do you want special treatment because you are supposed to be weaker?  Do you want to be feel as if there should be a ladies tee box in life because you just happen to be a woman?   So, why would you treat a woman any different?

If you're going to insist on picking up the check at dinner, regardless of how she feels, then you should pick up the tab for you and your guy friends when you go out?  I mean why not?  They are your equal.  Why would you treat them any different?

Now, I am not saying that you shouldn't be prepared or expected to be that way, because not everyone has this outlook, but just don't discount that the girl in this equation may be a little less willing to be subjected to an outdated practice.

Start to realize that if you want to be taken seriously and seen as someone a girl would want to be with, then you need to be the kind of guy that she would want.  Not the kind of guy you think she needs.  Here's the thing.  Any man can be needed.  So can any woman.  But, if you are unique and treat a person the way they should be treated.  Then you may be the person they WANT.  Now, granted it may not be in the cards.  Sometimes chemistry is harder to figure out than anything else.  Just because you think you've put in the required amount of effort, doesn't mean you are the right man.  It just means you did what was expected.

Stay loose, too.  Don't get too uptight.  I learned this hard way. Luckily, you can take every failure and use it to become better.  And you should.  Don't think for a minute that the next time will be any different if you make the same mistakes.   Make all new ones.   Sooner or later you're going to start doing things right.  It will suck that those you consider to have been worth the extraordinary effort are not looking for that kind of relationship and you can get discouraged fairly easy.  

But above all, don't let stupidity be an influence.  Some friends may tell you that you should treat a woman poorly in order to get her on your side.  Well, that's plain dumb.  First of all, let's say it works.  Then what?  Are you going to continue acting like a douchebag?  Why?  What do you stand to gain?  And even if they are continually in bad relationships, why would you want to be the guy?  Be better.  Be so damn good you can't be ignored.   And if that's the kind of thing they are destined to attracted to, why would you want to be there?  Remember, would you want to be on that side of the equation?    How would you want to be treated?

Learn and apply.  Be better.  Be a real man.  Let your actions be what defines you and remember that it's not just about you.  But be true to yourself or suffer the continual compromise of that which makes you special.  Be extraordinary.  And if that's not what they want, walk away.  You'll never convince them and why would you bother?  If it's a test, don't take it.  If it's some kind of hoop that will prove your intentions.  Make them known and walk away.  Don't be where you're not wanted because all you will do is make matters worse.   It's OK to wanna fight for something you think is worth it, but you can't make fetch happen.   Don't chase.  Walk away.  You're better off. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

What's In a Name

This will only make sense if you are the younger of two brothers or sisters.

I have had an identity crisis most of my life.  It’s probably one of the reasons why I thought that acting was a good career choice, albeit one I gave up years ago.   From the time I was in grade school, I really had trouble knowing if someone was talking to me.  This is because I have an older brother.

Now, older brothers are cool, like if you’re Ben Seaver on Growing Pains. And, unfortunately, sometimes they are shits like Wayne Arnold on The Wonder Years.  In any case, I don’t blame my older brother for my identity crisis growing up.  I blame everybody who knew him. 

There is a seven year difference in our ages and even with that gap, people had a hard time reconciling the two of us being different people.  I find this odd, in that we have a definite difference in looks.  We even have different hair color.  His is more brown and was even dirty blonde as a child, while I’ve had dark brown, even almost black since I was a child.  The only similarities in us is our voices and personalities.  We have the same traits that we probably got from our parents.  Yet, it’s odd that people had a hard time telling us apart.

Case in point, Ms. Nancy Jones, our grade school nurse was the biggest offender.  For six years, whenever she saw me in the school, she would call me by my brother’s name.  Sometimes she would catch herself, sometimes she wouldn’t.  When I was about 12, I sensed that she was being facetious as she would wink when she would call me the wrong name, but it was still a thing in my mind.  Even my own parents were guilty of doing it.   I would never know they were calling me, because they were calling me by the wrong name.

The identity issue continued as I followed my brother throughout schools and into graduation.  We even went to the same college, but by then, it was a different problem.   Apparently, there are a lot of me in this world.  None of us are related.  In fact, when I was registering for classes in college, I had another case of mistaken identity when first of all, the admissions office lost my records behind a filing cabinet for three days.  And after it was found, they proceeded to question my class choices, insisting that I should be in the pharmacy program because my father was a big name in the field.  I said, “No, that’s not even the right first name on that file and unless he’s paying for school, he’s not my dad.”  In 2011, when this doppelganger who shared my name died, one of my former  classmates posted a “RIP” message up on Facebook.   He happened to be a former boss and it led to a few of our mutual friends thinking I was dead.  I had to jump in and give the old Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote just to clear things up.

As I approached my 30s, I thought I was finished with the whole naming issue.  I was my own person with my own life.  My brother was his own.   Then, my sister had a son.  Not only did he have a completely different name, he looked nothing like the two of us.  Yet, one day, as I was visiting my parents, I hear my mother yelling out my name as if I had done something wrong.  It turned out she was correcting my nephew and using my name.   And so it began again.

This is why I have a daughter.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Click Click, Boom


Yes, you. 

I know you’re there. 

Of course you would come back, one last time.  You’re there, just at the foot of the shadows, close enough to see, but not be heard.   You couldn’t resist it.  You had to make sure there was no chance of survival, but I am still here.  And though I cannot see you out there, watching; your presence is felt, but don't feel sorry for me.

You fumed.  You boiled.  You raged against the restraints of your own design, because you thought you knew better.  You warned me and I didn’t listen.  I got in the path and paid the price.  But I survived the blast and you slunk off into the darkness.  But that wasn’t good enough.  You escaped only to come back and deal the final blow.   And as I knelt, gushing from my chest, you took one last swing just to make sure.  But don't feel sorry for me.

You built that cage, but who was it for?  Was it constructed to keep us out; the ones who sought to embrace the raw and awesome power of such a beautiful thing?  Or was it to keep you in, safe from your own monster.   I think that, locked away from your own existence after countless years of struggling to keep that beast in check, the hinges bent just enough to let something out.  You didn’t intend for it and it was the last thing you wanted, but it was almost inevitable.  It scared you enough to try and reinforce the door, but it was too late to stop it.  But don't feel sorry for me.

It’s much easier to keep something you think is so terrible locked away because you don’t have to witness the destruction and you don’t have to pick up the pieces when it goes ballistic and destroys everything in its path.   As long as it is under wraps nothing will go wrong.   We go about our business, blind to the power that bubbles just below the surface, because you know that time after time, there has been nothing but disaster left in its wake when it gets out.  It’s a wonder why it was ever created in the first place?

But what you don’t understand is that it didn’t have to be that way.   For every single ounce of rage, kept in that prison, there were twice as many in beauty and warmth.   And some may not know what it means to be in its presence.  It scares them.  But, I’ve seen it.  I felt it.  I know it was real, not just rumors told to me.  I hadn’t seen anything like it in so long that I went right towards it like a mosquito on the back porch heads towards a zapper.   And we all know how that ends for the bug.  But I didn’t care, because I thought I could control it.  I wanted to embrace it and see if I could harness it, because the same destructive force struggling to stay in your cage was slowly creeping out of mine.   

But you warned me.  Our mutually assured destruction was inevitable and I didn’t want to listen.  But you know what good lays inside those four walls and you can wield it like a master samurai.  I've seen it in practice. You choose not to.  Perhaps you’re scared to.  Perhaps you think that this will be the one time it turns on you and consumes you completely.   So, instead of it getting free, you chose the rage.  You chose to destroy, because it’s easier to just engulf those around you, leaving no traces, no chance for rebuttal.  But don't feel sorry for me.

I am destroyed.  I am here with a broken body, because I was wrong.   But while you will find some other prison to wall yourself up in, comfortable in the knowing that it’s safely away from those that wish to be in awe of what is truly there, behind the beast, I embrace mine.  I know its power and I know it’s meant to be free to influence and shape those around it.  It’s not a curse to have, it’s a gift.   It won’t be easy.  There will be times that I may not be able to control it and perhaps there will be the same destruction you left.  But you know as well as I do that there was a chance you were wrong;  that mutually assured destruction was not the outcome.  I showed you that.  In your life, you’ve seen how much others have taken advantage of that power and so maybe you think that it’s better to not ever go there, again.  Maybe someone out there has a better cage for it.   Maybe they’re better equipped.   Maybe they will just ignore it and you can go on about your business, silent and content in knowing that the monster is locked away from someone who could never fully appreciate it, but just wishes to keep it at bay.   

It’s the easy way out.  It’s lazy and you are so much stronger than that if only you’d look it right in its eyes.   There was another force willing to share in that burden.  It was there to temper yours, but you were too scared, or too far gone, and for that I feel sorry for you. 

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