Monday various

Wednesday various

  • Patton Oswalt on the joy of failure:

    I never want to get to a point where I feel like I’m done. Or like I got it. You always want to have that, “Oh shit, this wall just collapsed, and there’s a whole room behind it to explore.”

    I posted a quote from the interview just the other day, but I think the whole thing’s worth checking out, even if you’re not immediately familiar with Oswalt’s comedy or acting. I also like what he says about the internet:

    We haven’t seen it yet, but there’s going to be a generation that comes up where the new trend will be complete anonymity. It’ll be cool to have never posted anything online, never commented, never opened a webpage or a MySpace, never Twittered. I think everyone in the future is going to be allowed to be obscure for 15 minutes. You’ll have 15 minutes where no one is watching you, and then you’ll be shoved back onto your reality show. I think Andy Warhol got it wrong.

    I’ve read mixed reviews of Oswalt’s new movie, Big Fan, but I’ve heard a couple of really intelligent interviews with him and director Robert D. Siegel, so I’m eager to check it out.

  • Fox rebooting Fantastic Four. This seems to be the new thinking in Hollywood: if your last attempt was a financial or critical failure — and the 2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie was arguably a little of both — don’t even wait, just re-boot the whole thing. Studios used to wait a respectable few years, time enough to slink away and let the shame and stink of failure dissipate, but that’s happening less and less. Eight years separate the abject failure of Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin and Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the franchise with Batman Begins, for instance, while only five years separate Ang Lee’s Hulk and Edward Norton’s (not so incredible) version. The gap is narrowing — and with the recently proposed Battlestar Galatica re-reboot and this Fantastic Four news, the gap seems to be disappearing altogether. As Gerry Canavan jokes, “In the future franchises will be rebooted before the first film even comes out.”

    Still, I guess one way of looking at this is that Hollywood is now committed to remaking movie franchises over and over again, no matter how many times it takes, until, finally, they don’t suck.

    Although, as the AV Club points out, this may just be fallout from the recent Disney acquisition of Marvel:

    Before Marvel settled down with Disney, it had tumultuous affairs with several other studios. With Sony, for instance, it had a baby called the Spider-Man series. And Marvel’s time with Fox produced several offspring, including film series based around the X-Men, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four. By the terms of that arrangement, Fox has the rights to make movies around those characters (plus Fantastic Four hanger-on the Silver Surfer) in perpetuity so long as it doesn’t stop making them.

    This too-soon reboot, then, might not go anywhere or even be expected to go anywhere. It may just be a ploy to hold on to some rights that would otherwise revert to the Mouse.

  • Speaking of the Disney/Marvel merger, while I think it’s too soon to know for sure what (if anything) this will mean for the future of Marvel, I tend to agree with Mark Evanier’s take:

    This isn’t about publishing. Disney didn’t say, “Gee, it would be great to own a comic book company!” They could have started fifty comic book companies for four billion clams. This is about characters and properties which can be exploited in many forms. The publishing of comic books may or may not always be one of them…..[T]he future of Spider-Man has very little to do with the Spider-Man comic book. That hasn’t mattered for a long time.

    And while I tried my own hand at some Marvel/Disney mashups two days ago, I think I prefer these more artistic ones. [via]

  • I worry that some future journalism students will see this story and wonder, “what’s the big deal with paying your sources?” [via]
  • And finally, some terrific photographs of the same spots in New York City, composited into a single shot based on similarity. It’s a neat trick. [via]

Saturday various

  • Who Pacs the Pacmen?” I’m not sure, but I think I want one of these t-shirts.
  • Superusless Superpowers [via]
  • John Sclazi offers some perfectly plausible reasons why George Lucas plans to re-release the Star Wars films in 3D. I still wish Lucas wouldn’t, though.
  • Typelizer seems to think I’m an ESTP personality type, at least based on my weblog, suggesting that I am “[t]he active and playful type….especially attuned to people and things around [me] and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.” [via]

    Several years ago, however, when I took the Meyers-Briggs test, I was pegged as INFJ, which is the direct opposite. So either I’ve radically changed in the seven years since, Typealyzer doesn’t really work, or one is not one’s weblog.

  • YourFonts. While on the one hand, a free personalized font creator sounds really cool, the idea of turning your signature into a font opens up all kinds of fears of forgery and identity theft. [via]
  • Tumbarumba is an add-on for Firefox web browsers. It quietly sits in the background, occasionally inserts a fragment of a story into a webpage that is being viewed. The result is an absurd sentence that is reminiscent of the surrealist exquisite corpse game.” [via]

    Which, I’ll admit, sounds and looks really interesting. There’s a pretty decent list of authors. But I wonder about plugins like this… What would happen if you installed this on someone else’s computer and didn’t tell them?


First, some links. It’s amazing how these things will accumulate, isn’t it?

On Saturday, I watched the original Dawn of the Dead. I’d rented it once before, years back, but for some reason never actually watched it. I’m very familiar with, but have never actually watched any of George Romero’s zombie movies before this.

It’s a really interesting movie — although, as Romero himself acknowledges on the DVD commentary, not a particularly frightening one. There’s more dark humor and social commentary than there are real scares. That’s not to detract from the film; those are precisely the things that have made it such an enduring classic, and arguably the quintessential film of the genre.

I definitely intend to watch Romero’s other zombie films. Although purists may be dismayed to learn that I’m also interested in seeing the 2004 Dawn remake.