Comic Book Villains Reviews
Comic Book Villains is an original and dark movie. Although obviously steered toward the comic book fan; I was able to enjoy it and I've read only around a dozen or so comic books in my life. What makes this movie so likable for me is the cast; it's pretty amazing. Cary Elwes, Donal Logue, D.J. Qualls, Michael Rapaport, Danny Masterson, Eileen Brennan, and James Duvall(Yeah Frank from Donnie Darko). For an independent film that has absolutely no following this is an all-star cast. The plot is pretty straightforward. There are two rival comic book owners trying to get a huge and priceless collection of comic books from an old lady. To do so they try being nice to her for awhile; fixing stuff around the hous, bringing her groceries, but after awhile they see she's never going to sell. The last 30 minutes get a little too crazy for the movies own good, but I still see it as a diamond in the rough. Obviously, I'm in the minority of the few people that have seen it.
Actually, we have two comic book stores here in Olympia, and they aren't bad analogues to the stores in this movie. At least visually and regarding the merchandise. Danger Room, downtown, is small and cramped and kind of dark. So much of the store is full of underground comics no one's ever heard of, possibly not even the people who work there, that it doesn't seem they can possibly have room for even just the current Marvel list, let alone DC, Dark Horse, and anybody's backlog. Then, there's Olympic Cards and Comics, across town in Lacey. Gaby bought a new building not that long ago. In the sense that she bought a plot of land, had the building which used to be there torn down, and had another built to her specifications. It's essentially a warehouse, and a lot of it is comics, yes, but there are sports cards, Magic cards, tons and tons of merchandise, and an enormous gaming area. So yeah.
Archie (the vaguely familiar DJ Qualls) lives in a town of two comic book stores as well. The one he frequents is run by Raymond McGilicudy (Donal Logue), a loner who's just that devoted to comics. Across town, there's a store run by Judy (Natasha Lyonne) and Norman (Michael Rapaport) Link. Their store is light and airy, and they sell, well, actions figures and Magic cards. This is on the sensible grounds that parents are more likely to go into that kind of store, bringing their checkbooks with them. Then local troublemaker "Conan" (Danny Masterson) tells all concerned that a local man died recently, having spent forty years collecting comic books. Conveniently, he stopped collecting long enough ago so that none of the store-owners know about him. But he is said to have all those years' worth of comics locked away, so they all want them. Only his mother, Mrs. Cresswell (Eileen Brennan), doesn't want to sell. It's what she has of her son, after all.
I have to tell you, I can kind of see where she's coming from. Her son doesn't seem to have made much of an impression on the world. I mean, okay, one assumes he must have made the money to buy all those comics somehow, but he doesn't seem to have friends. Certainly his mother is left with his belongings apparently without anyone else who might be interested. To be fair, she doesn't really have anyone herself, presumably because she put so much into her son. The only people in the movie who seem to have any sort of mature, intelligent relationship are Archie and Mrs. Cresswell. Yes, he's sent to talk to her by Ray, but instead of pressuring her about comics, he actually talks to her. What's more, he actually listens. It's never specified what her son died of, but it's generally agreed that outliving your child is one of the worst possible things. She is left alone, and even if she doesn't read all those comics, she has them.
And then of course, there is escalation. Oh, it starts out all tame. Norman washes Mrs. Cresswell's car, but while he is getting her to show her how squeaky clean it is, Ray splashes paint all over it. Heck, even Ray's turning the power back on while Norman is fixing her wiring isn't a huge thing, because it merely leaves to a live-action-cartoon moment, and while I don't like those, things could be worse. And when things are worse, it is because Ray has invited in Carter (Cary Elwes). Who turns out to have been a comic book fan of old. So he wasn't a mindless thug. He had a mind! Obviously, this is when the movie gets really silly, not just moderately silly. It's not even pretending that you should take it seriously anymore. On the other hand, there are a lot of intelligent but pretentious things I could say on the subject. It is, after all, our old friend Obsession returned to say hi, only this time, it's wearing tights and a cape.
I know there are a lot of people who would scoff at the outset, simply because they don't understand why anyone would care that much about comics. Fair enough. I think it's true that caring as much about comics as these people do is a little much. On the other hand, you should hear how giggly I get whenever I have personal contact, however minor and fleeting, with Roger Ebert. (He thinks I'm eloquent!) I think most people have something they're a little odd about. Yes, this movie is about taking it up to eleven; that's the point. It's also worth noting that it's only in part about the comics. Oh, Ray really cares about the comics, true. And to a certain extent, maybe Norman does. But Judy's only in it for the money. Carter happens to really like hurting people. The comics, as is so often the case, are really only there to represent a dream and being held back from it. So this time, they're the Marvel (and DC, and probably EC, and so forth) MacGuffin.
Man with the Screaming Brain: Almost entirely unwatchable. The sequences are so slow that they need to be on 2x speed. No redeeming qualities. So bad it's bad.
The Aristocrats: Crass, but I found it very interesting to see the famous comedians analyze a joke to death. Except for the old man with the naked teenage girl in the tub, wtf was that?
Comic Book Villans: Seems like it'll be ok, but eventually falls apart. Very solid B cast, but the script isn't good enough.
I took off my shoe and sock, and saw no visible damage. So I thought I had just pulled a muscle similar to the way I had done in the past with my left foot (a sensation that went away after I walked it off). Like I said, that was two days ago.
Today, it hurts just as much, if not worse than it did when it happened. According to the great VC, it's easy to tear blood vessels in your feet after standing for a long time when you haven't done so much in the past. I don't know the validity of that, but I gather it's accurate. My foot is ablaze in pain with almost every movement. There's still no visible change (VC says there is a slight swelling, but I can't see it), but I silently yelp in pain when I even slightly misplace my balance on that foot.
All this in the same week in which my precious van (see previous entries for details on my love of the vehicle) developed a severe case of the broksies. After topping the gigantic gas tank off (to the tune of 100 bucks) it started having stuttering problems. Which are tolerable, just as long as it gets me where I need to go. Except when the carbuerator is having problems and I achieve a top speed of 2 mph going up our mountain. That stretches the trip up to roughly 30 minutes. Not fun.
Dropped it off yesterday to a mechanic, who cleaned it and discovered more dirt in there than there is in our own backyard. Additionally, several head valves need replacement, the oil is blacker than midnight, and it still isn't insured or properly signed over.
Oh, last thing for tonight....if you play games, I urge you to check out [b]The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction[/b] at the earliest possible time. Not only did it come completely out of left field, but it's easily among the best comic book based games ever made. Rarely are games this true to the source material. The cathartic effect of vicariously destroying a city with near-impunity is a treasure. The depth is absurd, the gameplay is about 98% perfect (running up the side of skyscrapers is slightly problematic...the game should have a better idea of where you want to go), and the sheer amount of carnage you can cause is unbelieveably entertaining. In the comics, the Hulk is just about unstoppable, and that fact is transferred beautifully as you unlock more and more moves that allow you to crush, bash, smash, and mangle virtually anything in the game.
Combined with Medal of Honor: European Assault last week, games are starting to look up a little bit.