Thursday, March 28, 2013

All my Drawers are Junk Drawers

Another lazy post. I was going through my desk drawers in the cave and realized again why I get nothing accomplished when I sit down to write anything in there. So I took a few quick pics of the top three drawers and I've decided to share them here with you. Squint and you'll probably find something fun in some dusty corner. I know I get lost in these three drawers all the time.

Here's my top middle drawer. Candy, several cards I use as book-marks, and various sundry office supplies. There's barely anything grown-up going on here. 

To the right of center we have a dish full of dice and bouncy balls, and other random junk. The most interesting thing in there is the wooden box under that Halloween coffin tin. I'll never reveal what's inside there. Well... maybe someday. 

Here's the best drawer of all. Everything in this drawer is some sort of boredom busting fidget item. Tops, decks of cards, squeaky toys, bouncy balls, and more all just piled in together in the best drawer I own. 

That's it! That's all for now! I've got a payday Friday coming tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have some actual Geeky Goodwill Goodies to share after that trip! Until then, Happy Hunting! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers - Young Love

It's League of Extraordinary Bloggers time again! What are we talking about this week?

Which to be honest, had me scratching my head. I know a lot of people in the League are going to list cartoons, comics, action figure lines, movies, candies, sodas, fast food chains, etc. I wanted to do something sort of unexpected. But I couldn't think of a darn thing.

Then I saw Chris Tupa's post over at Tupa's Treasuresabout his favorite stuffed animal as a kid. And it instantly clicked for me. Sometimes when you're a kid, your favorite something is actually something so personal it couldn't possibly really click for anyone else. It's all about that weird kid-connection you make to things.

Thanks to Chris Tupa, I had my answer.

If you were to wander around the Geek Cave you'd notice most of my random vintage toys sort of end up clumped together in one spot. You'd also notice that in the midst of that vintage chaos, there's this:

It's a little plastic case that my original iPod came in. I use it to display six tiny figures, "Usual Suspects" style, separate from all the other toys. There's a LEGO man, a MUSCLE guy, a ghost, a Pee-Wee's Playhouse figure, a GPK, and a robot.  These six seemingly unrelated toys were my WHOLE WORLD from about 10 years of age or so until... well... probably until I was older than I should have been to still be playing with them. Let's just put it that way. 

In late 1988 (November/December) I discovered The New Mutants and the X-Men. That spiraled into an obsession with all things super-hero. The way I played with my toys began to change at that very same time. Instead of just living in their own worlds, characters from my different toy lines began teaming up and developing mutant powers. 

I loved mini-figures as a child almost as much as I loved action figures. It's part of why I love to collect them so much now. One day I remember having to pick out a handful of toys to bring with me on a car trip to my grandmother's house, and when I looked down at the handful of figures I had selected (seemingly at random) it was these six figures. On the car ride, I began developing powers for each of them, and how they worked together. I never had a name for their team (I sort of just felt like they were the X-Men... but not) but each one of them had a name, powers, and a personality to aid in the super-hero soap-opera antics that my young brain would emulate from the pages of my favorite comic books. 


The leader of the group was Petey. Full name Petey Graffiti from the Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys (With Crummy Candy) line:

Image belongs to Midnight Cinephile.
Click on picture to visit their page.

I loved those toys, and I had all of the original line, some in various different colors.  This is not the original Petey from my Childhood. In fact, he's not even the original Petey from the group. My original Petey was red. He got lost. So I replaced him with a flesh-colored Petey. That Petey was chewed and cut and mutilated to the point where he was thrown away. But flesh colored Petey is the one I remembered most from my childhood, so he was the one I wanted to track down. The one you see here was bought from an online dealer for something like six bucks. 

Petey was my group's Cyclops. He had the shades, and the optic blasts. That was his mutant power. Everyone still called him Petey. He was the leader of the group, and he was romantically involved with: 


Chicky Baby from Pee-wee's playhouse. I didn't have very many female mini figures back then. I had a few of the aforementioned GPK toys, but not one of them was cool enough to catch Petey's eye. Chicky came in a 4-pack of Pee-wee toys, including the rest of the Puppet-land band, and Jambi, the genie head in a box.
The one you see here is also not my original. She had her little foot-stand chewed off as well as her hands (I had a horrible habit of chewing on my favorite toys until they were un-play-with-able) and got thrown away. In fact, this is not even a vintage toy. It's from a reproduction set that came out in either the late 90's or the very early 00's. 

Image belongs to Action Toys.
Click on the picture to visit their site.

Chicky was the team's Jean Grey. She had psychic powers and she often went all Phoenix-y on the group (I'm being dead serious here. Gods, how I wish I was kidding). She and Petey had a tumultuous romance (or as tumultuous as my experience with romance at 10 was, which pretty much meant what I had learned from the X-Men) and together they were the royal couple of my toys. They never had to have her put down Phoenix-style, but it was touch and go a few times.  

Vocal Chord

Quite possibly the weirdest (possibly second weirdest) member of the group was Vocal Chord. He is actually a "Tyrants of Wind Soldier" from the "Air Raiders" line:

Image Belongs to Virtual Toy Chest
Click on the Picture to visit their site.
I made up the name "Vocal Chord" back when I was a kid because I didn't know his real name. I am ashamed to admit he was one of two stolen toys I will feature in this post. In fact... I broke the first (and second...) figures of him that I stole, so this is the THIRD figure I stole from a friend's house. I feel sort of guilty, but in that "I did stupid stuff like this all the time when I was a kid" kind of way. He is however, the original. I have managed to hold onto this childhood contraband well into my adulthood.

Anyway V.C. (as his friends called him) was a robot with mutant powers. OH THE LENGTHS TO WHICH I WENT to justify his membership in my all mutant team. I think it turned out he was some sort of cyborg with mutant/human parts inside or something. His powers were sort of a cross between Doug Ramsey and Banshee. Anything to do with sound, language, and robot-stuff was his domain. He had a sonic scream, could translate alien languages, and was... well a robot so he could fly and shoot lasers and stuff too. Whenever he spoke it was in my best flat computer voice. My childhood approximation of Soundwave of the Decepticons.


Next up we have Blob. The figure you see here is in fact the tried and true one I had as a child as well. And I didn't steal him from anyone. He was originally the Gulper Ghost included with the basic Egon Spengler action figure from the first Real Ghostbusters line:

Image belongs to Comic Collector Live.
Click on the picture to visit their site.
He was sort of the Thing of the group. I know the Thing isn't an X-Man, but he was a tough guy with a gravelly voice (or at least, when I read F4 he had a gravelly voice in my head) and a heart of gold that was soft as gooey nougat... and that was Blob all the way.

Since he was not in fact a ghost at all, but instead a yellow mass of sentient gelatinous goo, he could shape-shift into form he wanted, EAT and digest anything (!) and fly. The reason he could fly was because Petey, Chicky, and a couple of the team-members you haven't met yet could comfortably sit in his mouth and he sort of looked like a little airplane. Thus went my 10-year old logic.


This guy was sort of inexplicable, to be honest. The figure you see here is not the original one I had. This is one I found somewhere along the way years later and kept because he reminded me of my original. I even scraped off the chest deco so he'd look more like the worn-down one I owned. The original one I had was from one of the Forestmen LEGO sets, similar to the one I found at Goodwill and featured here.

This picture is MINE dammit!

BUT he was... cough... ahem... another stolen toy. Yep. My childhood larceny knew no bounds. I stole the original Forestman LEGO guy from a friend who literally had a trash-can full of LEGO blocks and figures at his house. I know the quantity of LEGOs he did or did not own does not justify my crime... but it seemed pretty justified when I was a kid. That figure even had a Robin Hood hat, but I lost it. 

Anyway, Prince was named after... Prince. The singer. I had the cassingle of Bat-Dance from the Batman Soundtrack and listened to it incessantly. I have no idea what that had to do with a green LEGO man, but the name stuck. My little Prince was a confusing dude. I couldn't decide what his powers were, so he went through several different phases. For a while he literally could phase, like Shadowcat, through solid material. Then he was the team teleporter for a while. Then the fact that I could pull off his body parts sort of became a power in and of itself, where he could either turn parts of himself invisible, or shoot his hands, torso, or head at enemies for god-only-knows-why. He wasn't really powerful, but he had mad ninja fighting skills and he really was royalty, with an evil twin brother whom I'll introduce later. Prince is really in a duel with Vocal Chord for my weirdest toy in this group. 


Bulldozer is a M.U.S.C.L.E. Thing. If you go by the American marketing, he was known as Terri-Bull. If you go by the original Japanese Kinnikuman story-line he's known as Buffaloman. Either way he was supposed to be a villain. 

Not my picture.
Click it to go to the MUSCLE Collector's Archive. 
But not once I got my hands on him! For some reason I was in love with the version of the guy in his letter-man's jacket. And I never called him Terr-Bull. I called him Bulldozer. I thought it was incredibly clever and badass. He was my team's Wolverine. He had adamantium bones, a healing factor, and went absolutely ape-s--t on villains. His horns were adamantium as well, and much like the Juggernaut, once he got moving he couldn't be stopped. He and Blob would argue constantly, but Bulldozer never had an romantic designs on Chicky (a la Wolverine + Jean Grey) behind Petey's back. 

And just like the X-Men or the Avengers, they had allies and back-up members who would swing in and help out once in a while. Some of these for my group included Firefly (An Army Ants "Knockdown" figure), Blur (A Battle Beast "Jaded Jaguar"), and Flyboy (An accessory packed with the Napoleon Bonafrog TMNT figure). Firefly had bomb-creating powers, much like Boom-Boom from the New Mutants. Blur was named after the Transformer, and he was a speedster. And Bug-Boy was a feral bug-mutant who talked in screams, grunts, and single words much like Animal of the Muppets. They all spent time on the team only to be phased out at some later point. All three of these guys are ones I actually owned as a kid. 

And there's no better measurement of a team of heroes than the villains they fight, right? Here's Wendigo from the Monster in my Pocket Line, a LEGO reproduction of Vince, Prince's evil twin, an evil wizard, "The General" another Army Ant, and Slither, another MUSCLE. The arguable leader was The General, but Vince had all the ambition and ire. The one you see above is a newer LEGO man put together to sort of look like how I imagined Vince looked (his face is a Draco Malfoy head from LEGO Harry Potter, and I believe his staff is actually a WoW Mega-Bloks weapon) when I was younger. The blue and red is all vintage. The other three figures you see are ones I salvaged from my childhood all the way.  

Here's the main group as a whole. They make a dashing team of six don't they? They used the Ecto-1 as they're base of operations in a junk yard made up of every toy vehicle I owned. Yes. They lived in a junkyard. They mainly spent their time fighting off much larger villains than themselves. Villains like Hordak and Granny Gross and Big Boss from C.O.P.S. To them (and me) size truly didn't matter, and the villains were never any match for them. I spent HOURS... no DAYS... okay YEARS in a fantasy land populated by my toys when I was a kid. And these six characters were the stars of the show. 

That's it for my Young Love! I hope you actually enjoyed reading all this. 

Let's see what the othe League Members love waaaaay back when: 

- Jathniel over at Space For Rent had a big green love. A big Green Machine love. 

- Rich from Fortune and Glory (Days) posts some awesome photos of his old Action Figure loves. We had some very similar tastes if I'm to judge the photo of his four surviving childhood action figures. 

- And as I already mentioned, Chris Tupa of Tupa's Treasures just destroys ALL of his street cred with his post... but it's AWESOME!!! One of my favorite posts so far!

- Grey over at Achievements in Gaming tells us his memories of his free-wheeling days as a biker.

- The Geeky Vixen shares the story of her Endor Leia. It'll mist your eyes. 

Well, that's it for today! I'll be back soon with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! until then, Happy Hunting! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Some Lazy Shots of Stuff I Own

So I've recently gotten interested in digging into my old X-Men comics. It might have something to do with Shawn Robare on Twitter showing off some comics he recently tracked down from one of his favorite X-Men runs (Which led to me on Twitter, showing off the same thing). He writes all about it here on his blog, Branded in the 80's. 

Once I dug into those long boxes though, I didn't want to pack them all away again. So  I did what any full grown adult would do and I plastered a corner wall of the Geek Cave with them. It reminded me of the comic shop I used to frequent in Bar Harbor Maine, "Nostalgia Ink" back when these comics were actually coming out, because they would display pricier back issues on the wall behind the counter just like you see here. 

All of the issues I have displayed here are special for different reasons. The two New Mutants issues at the top are the very first comic books I ever bought that didn't star Harvey characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost or Hot Stuff the Lil' Devil. The entire 14 issue crossover of INFERNO is represented here (not including the INCREDIBLE Excalibur and X-Terminators issues, or the various and mostly awesome crossovers into books like Daredevil, Spider-Man, etc.) One of my absolute favorites is this little gem:

It features Illyana Rasputin in the most corrupted version of her Darkchylde persona, fighting her way through a demonically possessed city-scape. In one memorable scene she is tempted to drink a milkshake made of pureed nuns and priests. It doesn't get much better honestly. The green demon you see above is N'Astirh, one of the demonic big-bads of the event. 

But wait! There's more!

In addition, I felt like showing off the fact that I found another wooden CD case at Goodwill that is exactly like the other wooden CD case I already own and use to display toys. The new one is on the bottom, and has the Yo Gabba Gabba, Rescue Rangers, The Tick, and other various toys on it. That's all. Just wanted to show off yet another picture of my desk. I love my desk. It has some representation of almost everything I love on it. The only things I can think of that are missing would be classic toylines like MotU and GIJoe. But they show up elsewhere. And because I had the camera, and I was already taking pictures... I took some more. 

Here's the rest of my Star Wars stuff, Dreamworks toys, Knights and dragons, and robots. 

TMNT, Real Ghostbusters, McDonalds Happy Meal Toys (Actual McDonalds-themed toys only), Fisher Price Little People toys, and the beginnings of my Pirate display, which is not finished. 

The real purpose of this pic is to highlight the Super Hero Squad collection on the top shelf. But there's a ton of great vintage toys that I love here too. I've shown most of this stuff of before, but I've been making an effort to simplify and streamline things, so it doesn't look as cluttered. I've removed a lot of books to make shelf-space (a lot of them have been transplanted to a bookshelf in my bedroom, to my wife's delight). 

Here's my comic trades collection with all the rest of all my other, un-categorized stuff. There's a ton more to share, but like I said, I'm being lazy. So... here's a bunch of pictures of my stuff that you've probably already seen before, when I first unveiled the Geek Cave back in November

Sorry. I realize this post was all over the place. But... toys! Comic books! Enjoy.

I'll be back soon with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Motivational Growth Q&A With Don Thacker Pt. 2

Here's the second and final half of my Q&A with Don Thacker of (soon-to-be wild, uncontrollable, mouth-frothing) Motivational Growth fame. This will be wrapping up my coverage of this movie for now... but I want to recommend that everyone keep their eyes peeled for this film in the future.

I'd like to thank Don Thacker for approaching me, letting me get a look at Motivational Growth, and for taking the time to answer my questions about the film. Again, I've talked about the movie... here and here. And the first part of the Q&A can be found here.

Let me say once more: what follows is pretty much (save for a few grammatical or spelling errors) an unedited version of our Q&A. I've added a few little observations of my own to the mix, after receiving Don's e-mail, but I've placed these in parentheses. I should also point out that ALL of the images in this post, and the other posts I link to above are NOT MY IMAGES. They are all images belonging to Imagos Films or Don Thacker, that I've culled from the internet.

Here are my last 5 (or so) questions with this man:

Yes ladies of the internet, that was the sound
of all your panties hitting the floor simultaneously. 
Let's get this thing started. 

6.       I loved The Mold. Its appearance, its attitude, everything.

Thanks! That's huge. He's our shark. Our Jaws. If he doesn't sell by the end of the film, it was a waste of our time.

I don't think it was a waste of our time at all.

How did Jeffrey Combs get involved with a project where he would be voicing a crusty growth of bathroom fungus who only seems to speak in tough-guy hyperboles? 

Jeff was our first choice. We had a fallback position, but he was the man. There's a bit at the end of the film that I wrote in Jeff's voice. I am a massive Jeff Combs fan. (As am I -G.G.)

Once we got the script to him he read it on a plane to a festival, I think, and called me immediately  He told me he loved it and he was in. After that it was up to the money people to work it all out. Jeff an I spent the following weeks just talking about who The Mold was, and working out his center.

Ladies of the internet... you know the drill. 

One thing I thought was pretty solid was that Jeff wanted to do the script entirely as written. I think there's, like, a single ad-lib in the whole picture. The rest is word for word from the page.

30% of that slang is real. I made the rest up. I characterized The Mold as the father of a greaser from a late 50s hot-rod grease-monkey film. You know those guys with the greased Pompadour and the pack of Strikes rolled up in their sleeve? Super misogynistic muscle car dudes. The Mold is what I imagine one of their dads is like. The mess of a guy who can turn a sweet little kid with a bb-gun into a selfish raging ass-hat.
Jeff just ate it up. When we recorded him he'd do a take and be all super into it and right when he got to the end of the line he'd look over at me and crack this massive kid grin like he's just done the coolest thing ever. A number of times, he had.

It's thick stuff, The Mold's dialogue. Jeff makes it seem like it's totally natural. Not only the language, but that a 3' fungus is saying it.

Tell me more about working with a b-movie horror legend and how that effected the process of making Motivational Growth (if at all).

Jeff was a dream to work with. He'd been doing voices for Transformers Prime at the time, so he was totally prepared for vocal work. He came at it 100% and held nothing back. I pushed him in places as well.
It's an awesome actor who can step into a booth with some little indie director and just deliver for hour after hour. This guy's worked with Peter Jackson. This guy's headlined Stuart Gordon pictures. This guy's been on three different Star Trek franchises and has legions of fans at every con he goes to. He's in the booth nailing this esoteric fake-slang for some guy nobody's ever heard of. Just nailing it.

His facial expressions, some of the bigger "Combs" moments, were used by the puppeteers/creature effects team as a basis for performance as well. If you're a huge Jeffrey Combs fan, you can see some of his signature moves in The Mold. No small feat for an animatronic fungus I must say.

Mad props to Steve Tolin from Tolin FX on his amazing design/delivery.

We recorded Jeff first, edited his dialogue and delivered it to the creature team who practiced against the recordings. We piped his voice over loud speakers when we shot, so when The Mold speaks, The Mold is actually talking to Ian. The bathroom set is 4.5' off the ground. The creature team is under it controlling The Mold to video monitors with a feed from the set above them. If you're not looking down there, you're just seeing Adrian DiGiovanni talking to a living fungus with Jeff Combs's voice.

Jeff also influenced something totally unrelated to The Mold as well. He described the exact type and style of TV remote he remembered from growing up. For those console TVs, like Kent, the remotes were ultrasonic. They had little hammers that hit little metal bars inside - like really brittle bells - that would signal the TV to turn on or off or whatever at a frequency at the very upper range of human hearing. He said he used to jingle his keys at the TV while his dad was watching it to change channels or turn it off.

We spent ages finding the exact remote he described, and even more ages in sound design making a convincing (while technically inaccurate because it is audible) ring every time Ian clicks the remote. If you listen closely, it is never the same ring. Also, the ring changes with the darkness of Ian's situation.
All because of Jeff's remote story.

7.       The “Stay Tuned” style television sequences throughout the film seem sort of self-explanatory, what with the nature of Ian’s attachment to Kent (his T.V.). But there is a heavy use of video-game imagery, music, and actual 8-bit scenes featured in the film as well. Can you explain some of the reasoning behind this?

Technically, the game sequences are 16bit graphics. While the Vikingr99 SuperSystem (the MG world's invented game system) has an 8bit CPU, the graphical capabilities are 16bit (via coupled 8bit graphics processors.)

The film takes place in 1991. To some people that is crazy obvious. There are KMFDM posters in Ian's apartment. He mentions that Gene Rodenberry just died. He still uses a fax machine and plasma TVs are like something from the future. There's no "In the year 1991" title card in there, and no one ever says "because it's 1991"  at any point, but Leah is costumed pretty deeply in 1991 apparel and all of the junk in Ian's apartment (including his tape deck and Shreikback tapes) are pretty explicitly early 90s.

To me, the 90s was clouded in an 8-16bit haze. Not a day went by without some form of video game media. As such, Ian can't get away from it.

The Vikingr99 SuperSystem is a pretty bold ripoff of the Turbo Grafx 16.

The entire soundtrack for the film, save the cheesy TV show BGM, was created on NES and C64 hardware. As far as I know, MG is the only film that boasts that. An entire composed score in chiptunes. Real deal chiptunes, as well. Made/recorded on the hardware.

8.       Who do you see as your influences in developing your voice as a writer/director? What books/films/other media do you see yourself as having been weaned on as a creator?

I have to start with my mom. She trusted me with media as a kid. She trusted my little kid instincts. If I wanted to see something we'd talk it out. Something scary or a little hard for a kid. If I saw it and my little mind was broken we'd talk it out afterward. I wasn't watching Basic Instinct or anything - but I am sure I was allowed to see/experience stuff that most kids my age weren't trusted to be able to handle.

When I was super young, E.T. cracked my mind in half. When he looks at the screen and screams in that weird super-alien way, my little brain broke to pieces. I had nightmares forever. But that was a formative moment for me. If that was kept form me, I wouldn't be able to write something that scares me. I was trusted and supported. That's so essential.

The same goes for Alien. Terminator and Robocop - both super R movies - I was able to see with the provision that we talk any of the confusing stuff out. Before anyone starts accusing my mom of being irresponsible it has to be said that this was all informed decision making. This wasn't a videotape left on the TV at night or something. This was all managed.

My experience is that if you're a kid with a stable home scenario and you see Robocop, you see a movie about a robot guy and some bad guys and the robot guy saves the day. That's the takeaway. When you're 17 and you re-watch it you get the subtext and the corporate B-story and the really hideous gore and everything. When you're 22 and you watch it you start picking up on the satire and the dark comedy and the really multi-layered statements being made about everything from 80s mega-corporaiton culture to industrial design to Jesus Christ metaphors.

But when you're a kid, it's a robot guy. A super cool robot guy who looks real and saves the day and that is inspirational in ways that Saturday morning cartoons just can't deliver.

My mom also got me into Frank Herbert. Dune. Issac Asimov. Foundation. Books. Adult books. Thick thousand page books. Arthur C. Clark. The Martian Chronicles.

I'm also a huge nerd from the 80s. My ideal stories have some totally bonkers fantastical element. It doesn't need to be robots (thought robots effing RULE), but I'm not satisfied with a coming of age story about two kids who discover themselves against the backdrop of one sweltering summer in South Carolina. Unless one of them has a brother who's also a vampire, and the other one gets offered the command of a Gunstar to deploy the Death Blossom against the Ko-Dan armada under orders from General Xur.

It's just how I roll.

9.       If you could go back in time to your childhood and rescue one favorite item that you have no chance of simply buying on eBay now… what would it be?

I had this tape deck - the top loader kind with the handle that slid out of it. I took it everywhere. 

EVERYWHERE. I played the Knight Rider audio tapes in it under my pillow to listen to the adventures of KITT and Michael Knight while I went to sleep. I danced around the neighborhood singing AxelF. It was more than a tape deck. It was a spaceship that deployed tape shaped fighter craft if it was held upside down. It was a super cool dune skimmer from some alien planet if you popped the tape carriage up and pulled the battery pack off the back of it. It was, as Kent the TV would later be, my best friend for some time. I could always put the Beverly Hills Cop II tape in there if anything was messing up my little kid world and instantly be happy, even though I had no clue what George Michael was talking about in that one song I'd always skip until I started thinking about girls.

It's become a sort of myth to me, this tape deck. I'm sure I'd never recognize it if I saw it today. It would be too small, too light, the wrong color or just a plain old tape deck to my adult eyes - but I can close those eyes and be instantly transported to laying on the floor in my mom's townhouse making hyper-warp space jumps with nothing but that tape deck and a knockoff Star Battles tape from the library.

10.   What do you have coming up in the future? Any Spin-off plans for The Mold? Any other films in the pipeline, or is Motivational Growth still the center of your world right now?

The Mold is having his moment, with the rest of the Motivational Growth crew. The festival circuit is a long and arduous road wrought with success and peril. We took home the Best Feature trophy last month at the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, for instance, but the film was also shown at 4am to a totally different crowd who just weren't interested in Ian and his crazy world, and were quite vocal about it. At this point we've racked up far more praise than dislike, but both are expected in a film like MG.

As for films in the pipeline: yes. We have films in the pipeline. For instance, we have Flexure, that film we made Motivational Growth in place of. It's a thriller about particle physicists who accidentally create a fissure in reality with a particle collider. My writer and I have spent a couple days a week for the better part of a year with scientists at Fermilab in Batavia Illinois locking a set of actual physics circumstances to hang the weirdness on. It's been quite a blast.

Otherwise, we've got an entire pitch deck. Hopefully there will be some interested eyes after MG shows at a few more fests. We're bristling with ideas and just need to find someone who wants to support them.

11.   I’m going to cheat and throw in an eleventh question here in the interest of… self… interest. What exactly prompted you to contact the Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks blog? How desperate are you to promote this film? Your blunt honesty is appreciated.

This question is framed in such a manner as to imply that it would be hard to be bluntly honest in answering. This is not the case.

I've got an alert system set up. When anyone mentions MG on the internet, to the degree that other people can freely view it, I get a notification. I set this up specifically to find people like you. You're my audience.
I don't know if you even like the film. I only know that you were initially interested in it and that you are someone whose interests intersect with my own at enough vectors to convince me that you'd watch the film honestly and your opinion would be one whose weight would carry with me. Again, you're my audience.
MG is a hard film if your vectors don't intersect with mine. It's a hard sell, honestly, to a lot of people. I am convinced, however, that it's an easy sell - an attractive piece - to even more people. People, for instance, who go kifing through Goodwill bins for epic geek finds.

I don't contact everyone. I don't base this interaction on fan-base or reach. I am laser targeting the type of people that I would like to go see Motivational Growth in a movie theater with, and asking them what they think of it. Because I honestly care.

In staying true to the "brutal honesty" request, it is my sincere hope that those who love it will talk about it and get the word out to other people who they feel would also love it. Less as marketing, however, than as honest sharing of something cool.

There's this story - true or not - that I overheard in LA. It's about the original Evil Dead. Some people hated it. Some people loved the living hell out of it. Those that loved it taped it. They brought it to friends' houses and their friends taped it. In a year's time there were these 4th and 5th generation shitty tapes of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead that people would play late at night whenever anyone had a get together. The film resonated so hard with enough people that the messed up VHS copies, with roll and squiggle and crappy audio, were what people were watching.

That's magic to me. That's amazing.

I'm not comparing MG to Evil Dead. This is me laying on the floor with my tape deck hoping that one day someone will like one of my stories enough to tell everyone about it. And wondering what the hell George Michael is talking about.

(Soooo.... that's all I've got folks! There's a bit after this that I am including because I've had people express some interest in how they could see the film, and I contacted Don again to see what he had to say about it. -G.G.)

I have people asking me how they can go about seeing your film.

F**king awesome.

How do people go about seeing your film at this point?

Right now it's festival only, or through someone like you.

You don't have a distributor yet do you?

Nope, which is why I'm not just letting everyone see the thing. Once I get distro, it will be out in the wild!

You guys must still be running the festival circuit shopping around?

Exactly right. The festival circuit is a marketing gig. Non filmmakers think it's some big altruistic art party where we all get together and talk about film, but the awful truth is that it's a business (the festival) trying to make money by selling tickets, and charging filmmakers entry fees, and a bunch of filmmakers glomming on hoping someone with the ability to do something about it is there to love on their film.
Oddly, I think most non filmmakers think that a theatrical release is also not a marketing cost. Like, you make a movie and it just goes to theaters via some form of "you made a movie" magic. This is also not the case. It costs an egregious amount of money to place a film in a theatrical release schedule, and even more to tell people that it's in the theaters. As much as actually MAKING the film. Sometimes more. It's all marketing.

It's going to be a while before this gets a release? Maybe?

The hope is no. But, if we're bad at it, and people like you shut up about the film, it could be up to a year if it is going to happen at all. If not - if we can get a huge pre-audience, it's a better case to a distributor. If we have people begging for the film, someone will be much more likely to want to buy it and resell it to those people.

I don't know the industry admittedly. These are all words that sound semi-right to me.

Pretty good. For a human.

Anything I can share with others about where to see M.G. in the future?

Well, right now the best thing to tell people is that they need to see this film or they will be forever broken and empty inside. And that they can see the film at the upcoming fests it's going to, and that's cool - but that the best way to get the film is to start a grass roots internet furor about the thing. That's my best opportunity for a legit sales pitch. Walk into a distro meeting and tell them I know of 3,000 people who will buy it today. 30,000 would be better. 300,000 and I'll get another film budget out of the gig :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Guilty, Guilty Pleasures

Okay... it's League of Extraordinary Bloggers time once again! This week we're talking about something near and dear to my heart... but I'm ashamed to admit it.

league guilty pleasures

So... as Brian mentions over at Cool & Collected, I suggested this topic. 

Problem is, once I really got thinking about it there are few things that I am really ashamed to admit I like. I collect old Happy Meal toys and Little Golden books for crying out loud. I listen to Prince in a non-ironic way, keep They Might Be Giants CDs in my car proudly, and squeal with excitement when I see movies like Legend or Ladyhawk are on. For most people outside the Geek-o-sphere, I can't really get any lower. Within the Geek-o-sphere this is pretty tame, run-of-the-mill, someone's-top-10-favorites kind of stuff honestly. 

So I really had to dig. And man, once you unearth some things... you just can't rebury them. I decided to focus on 10 movies that I am the nearest thing to ashamed (even in geek circles... and in a couple of cases, especially in geek circles...) to admit I like. We're not even going to get into my undying love for Paula Abdul, my penchant for watching Celebrity Apprentice, or the fact that I can sing the theme-song to iCarly without even really having to think about it all that hard (I do have a 12 year old daughter, so I can at least explain that one if hard pressed)... 

So here they are in no particular order:

1. The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. 

I think we can all agree that this movie is complete $#!+. Pretty much universally panned across the board, even (I imagine) by those involved in its creation, the Garbage Pail Kids movie is terrible to look at, terrible to try to follow as a story with any kind of internal logic... and terrible for your soul. 

But when I was 9 years old, I was addicted to GPK, and I owned the movie magazine that went to this movie, and I wore it out looking at it. I drove my family insane with the obsession that was the Garbage Pail Kids. And it is the sense of nostalgia I have for this film, seen through the eyes of a lovesick 9 year old that will forever carve out a foul-smelling home in my heart for this $#!+ sandwich of a film. 

2. Joe Vs. The Volcano

This one I make absolutely no apologies for. I love this movie. Is it cool to like this movie now? Is it some sort of underground cult hit that I am not aware of yet? I honestly wish it was but I just don't think it is. From the infernal hell of Joe's workplace at the beginning of the film, to the myriad of bizarre roles that Meg Ryan plays in this film, the the soda-worshiping natives of the volcanic island at the end, everything just sings to me.

Every part of the movie that takes place on the Luggage raft (pictured above) is cinematic gold. 

I love this movie genuinely and unashamedly (well, a little ashamedly, to be honest, because it made this list) and at it's best it's a bizarre post-modern fairy tale about the hero's journey. At it's worst it it has Meg Ryan reciting a 14 word poem in a weird voice... twice. 

3. Hudson Hawk

Hudson Hawk is another one of those movies that I just don't think it will ever be "cool" to be a fan of. But I don't care. This movie is insane. It is balls to the walls full of ridiculous sequences, more villains than you can even attempt to count, and action sequences that even the characters participating in the story can't believe. 

Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello are a joy (for me and me alone apparently) to watch as they come up with insane solutions to death traps, murderous gangs named after candy-bars, and heist scenes they literally sing their way through. Andie Macdowell has to talk to the dolphins now. Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard as the scene-chewing villains make me laugh every time... and Bruce Willis Moonlights his way through the whole thing with his playboy smirk firmly in place and So. Many. Earrings. 

4. Fright Night 2

The collective gasp of the internet is palpable... even here in the past, when I wrote this. Yes. I love the sequel to Fright Night. I find it colorful, funny, and full of the same kind of charm that the first movie had. I do NOT feel that the second movie is a form of sacrilege. I love the gang of vampires and ghouls that accompanies the leading lady vamp in this one. There's the roller-skating vamp, the wolf-vamp whose weakness is roses, and the manservant who spends the film identifying the Latin terms for various insects... and then eating them. I love that Charlie's at risk this time around, Peter Vincent's world is taken away from him, and Charlie's new girlfriend is a kick-ass chick. I love that there is a direct connection between the vampires in this film, and the last film. I love the atmosphere, the story, and the return to a world I love to watch on screen. 

5. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas 

Most people don't really care about this movie one way or the other... but when you express strong positive feelings towards it, it's like a psychic venom you've just sprayed into their eyes. But I really enjoy this movie. The cast of interesting pirates, the monsters, the action sequences, the excellent villain played by Michelle Pfeiffer, all of this make for an entertaining adventure film I can pop in to keep my kids (and myself) entertained. WHY other people seem to hate this movie is beyond me. Is it Brad Pitt's voice acting? It's not great... but it passes. 

6. The Shadow

I love the visuals and the tone of this film. I think it's mostly reviled and hated for all the wrong reasons. It was just sort of... put out at the wrong time to be honest. I liked the off-kilter performances, and the crazy neo-pulp style they came up with that felt like the Shadow was a creature of both the time he was originally created, and the mad action of the post-Demolition Man era. Baldwin's Shadow comes off a s a bit crazy, a little out of control what with his weird rubber-ized face and insane cackling. But for me the whole thing is a crazy love-in of pulp/pop mash-ups with villains like the psychic last descendent of Ghengis Khan, and an invisible Hotel in the midst of a metropolis. Ian McKellan, Tim Curry, Alec Baldwin... I love the cast, and the (yes sometimes) goofy and/or over the top performances and dialogue they toss around in this movie. For some reason I always want to watch Billy Zane's Phantom movie right along with this one (they came out a couple of years apart). But I never do. 

7. Mario Brothers

I know you all just clicked over to Pinterest or something... but for those of you left, hear me out. I like the movie. I like how batchit insane it is. I love that it tries to be a post-modern Bladerunner version of an 80's video game. I love that Luigi's ethnicity doesn't even make sense. I love how every effort this movie makes to be cool or funny or intentionally weird fails in spectacular fashion. It completely drains all sense of the natural world from the Mario Brothers world and focuses on the pipes, the fungus, and the reptiles. It's a movie that spends so much of it's time trying to explain a game that is by its very nature completely inexplicable... by creating more questions than answers. And for all these reasons and more I am in love with this movie. I don't care how much you hate it. 

8. Sky High

I am fully aware of the fact that this is a schmaltzy, tween-pandering, Disney executive version of teen angst and superheroes. There are no songs, but it might as well by "Sky Highschool Musical (Without Music)". But honestly, I find that this is one of those movies that I will stop and watch when I see it's on Cable (usually on the Disney Channel when I'm searching for Gravity Falls). The characters are all one-note and pastiche, cliched archetypes thrown together around superheroes from all the usual sources. But it's set in a highschool full of superheroes, some of whom have some semi-imaginative takes and visuals on classic powers we all know and love... and Bruce Campbell's in it. So yeah. 

9. Love Actually

I can't take full responsibility for this one, actually. My wife makes me watch it every year while we wrap Christmas gifts. BUT I do like it. It is not the pile of crap that everyone seems to think it is. It is NOT a movie in the same vein as "Valentine's Day" or "New Years Eve" or even "He's Just Not That Into You". I think those movies tend to drag this one down in the mud with them and everyone forgets that this one is worth watching. This film has some great comedic performances, a stellar cast, and some moments that genuinely hit the heart in various different ways. It is a genuine exploration of love in all its many, sometimes (more often than not) self-destructive forms. There are no less than 9 different stories to follow over the course of the movie, some heart-breaking, some funny, and some get you in that classic, can't-help-but-love-it kind of romantic comedy way. Plus the performances by Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Rowan Atkinson, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, and Alan Rickman will ensure your genre-film cred will remain untarnished. 

10. This is where the crap hits the fan... Joel Schumaker's 2 Batman Films
I sort of just want to hand my Geek membership card over to be incinerated... 

But there's something about these two movies that makes me want to watch them. I know they're not good for me... more importantly, I know they're not good for Batman. But when I see them on TV I stop and watch them for awhile. I get a good laugh for the most part. But there's this undeniable appeal for me in these two movies... something that makes them a part of the pop-culture landscape for good or bad. I remember going to see Batman Forever in the theater... and when the bank guard that Batman is trying to save screams "Oh no! It's boiling acid!!!" I knew the movie was completely screwed. But... looking back on it now, I find that line hilarious, as I find the rest of the movie hilarious. 

There are even parts of Jim Carrey's performance that I find... entertaining. And when I see the street-bike race in Batman and Robin, I can't help but shout out loud: "Those bad-ass bikers put some bad-ass balloons in the street!" 

And Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze is almost beautiful to behold in his silvery sparkly glory. Yes, my love is an ironic love... NOT a genuine love based on craft or acting or plot... but even enjoying these movies for how bad they are is unwelcome when it comes to the Shumacher Batman films. They are to be hated without question, and never brought up in conversation. There is no serious conversation to be had in a movie where the Batmobile climbs up the side of a building... but I'm okay with that. It's a turn-you-brain-off and enjoy the stupid one-liners kind of movie. 

So that's it folks. Those are the skeletons in the closet... cinema-wise. I have plenty of other guilty pleasures in literary form (More than a handful of Dean Koontz Books... all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels... oh my God why can't I stop?) and even toy collecting: 

I own more of these than I am proud of admitting.
But I'll get to all of those in good time, some day... if anyone is even willing to continue reading this blog. 

Let's see what the other members of the League are feeling Guilty about: 

- Jaime Hood of Shezcrafti wants more than just another baby. She wants Ace of Base around fooooooreveeeer

- Calvin from the Canadian Cave of Cool will fight any young girl for the contents of his Guilty Pleasure. And I'm totally cool with that. 

- Underscoopfire's Roundtable Voltron shares a massive list of guilty pleasures... some of which make Joel Schumacher's Batman movies look like Nolan's The Dark Knight. 

I'll be back soon with more Geeky Goodwill Goodness! (I'm also posting part 2 of the Don Thacker/Motivational Growth Q&A sometime this week, so stay tuned for that) Until then, Happy Hunting! 
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