And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


The Rock (1996)
The devout Action Movie worshiper must face west five times a day and sing praise to their great god, the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet.

The devout Action Movie worshiper must face west five times a day and sing praises to their god: the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet.

Michael Bay didn’t know it at the time, but he made this movie for my mother. She’s an actor junkie who came of age in a time when movie stars were movie stars and the mainstream culture still surrounded them with auras of “respectability.” As such, she prefers her leading men play flawed-but-noble heroes…though she’s not opposed to the occasional flight of hyper-masculine fantasy (after all, she married my dad). So putting Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery in the same film was like ringing her personal dinner bell. And since I was thirteen at the time, I had no choice but to suffer through this at her side.

This was my – and a lot of people’s – real introduction to Michael Bay. Sure, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence might’ve headlined their own TV shows, but neither boasted the box office draw of the original James Bond…or the original Ben Sanderson. Continue reading

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Ghost Rider (2007)
And who says album covers never come to life?

And who says album covers never come to life?

You’ve gotta feel sorry for Satan. Back in the nineteenth century it took a whole host of angels, armed with Flaming Rose Pedals of Love, to keep Faust’s soul out of Hell. Before he could even think of redemption, Faust’s sinning ass required the intercession of a Divine Female Figure superstar tag team composed of St. Mary of Egypt, that chick who washed Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50, that Samaritan lady from John 4:3-42, and Faust’s own dead girlfriend.

That’s the kind of firepower you needed to break a deal with the devil…200 years ago. Nowadays, any asshole with a recognizable face can punch, shoot, or simply glower his way out of Hell. Even Keanu Reeves has escaped the devil’s bargain twice now, and no loss stings as hard as a loss to Ted “Theodore” Logan (just ask Satan himself). Continue reading



Kick-Ass (2010)

The Real-Life Superhero "Movement" Exposed.Of all the U.K. comic book writers ‘ported over during the 1980s, Mark Millar stands as an all-time champion of sorts, never missing a chance to destroy the goodwill he’s managed to build up with his audience. Kick-Ass, the book, is a perfect example of this, as well as everything wrong with modern comics in general and Millar’s comics in particular. A cynical, revisionist nightmare disguised as a superhero story, starring yet another morosely-unsympathetic protagonist who sublimates his own misanthropy, misogyny, and angst by dressing up in a silly costume and beating others bloody.

The twist? In the case, Our Hero is himself repeatedly beaten bloody, sent through physical, emotional, and psychological tortures most comic book writers reserve for their female supporting characters (before dutifully stuffing them into refrigerators). {More}