The Phantom? Not so much.

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A while back PLee posted about a new Phantom TV series coming soon. Now there's a trailer for it. Ugh. This looks potentially worse than that awful Flash Gordon TV Series from a year or so ago.

While I realize that neither Sky Captain nor The Spirit were commercially successful, there's no excuse to do these pulp-era characters wrong having seen the same style characters done correctly (The Spirit maybe less than Sky Captain, but still...).

I pass on this and hold out hope that the Sky Captain team will reemerge one day with some new awesomeness.

Jeeg’s Trip to the Mustard Museum

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Photo by Mark BrannanSince it’s now officially fall, I guess a tale of my summer vacation is finally untimely enough to be a good fit for this blog. Anyhow, my wife and I headed behind the Cheddar Curtain for our summer getaway and my guilty pleasure stop on the trip was the one and only Mount Horeb Mustard Museum.

As legend has it, museum founder Barry Levenson began collecting mustards in 1986 to take his mind off the Red Sox blowing the World Series. The collection has grown to several thousand bottles, jars, and cans making it the world’s largest display of prepared mustards. Beyond the shelf after shelf of mustards, visitors can also:

  • buy a bottle of mustard from the world’s only mustard vending machine
  • enjoy some mustard tastings
  • view thrilling videos in the Mustard Piece Theatre
  • pick up a degree from America’s College of Mustard, Poupon U

Obviously tongue is firmly in cheek, but make no mistake, the condiment is held in serious reverence as well. Check out one of Barry’s appearances on the Nick D Show to get a sense of the attitude at the Mustard Museum.

The whole experience is just about as bizarre as it sounds, but it is also a lot of fun. And what other road trip lets you bond with fellow ketchup haters and return with a jar of mustard as a souvenir?

Signing the Cast: Captain America

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I haven't done one of these in a while, but after finishing up Battlestar Galactica recently, I decided that Jamie Bamber should be playing Captain America in the movie. Although he's not blonde, that can be fixed. Bamber played Lee "Apollo" Adama who wound up being one of only two characters on that show I consistently liked throughout the series. He's got screen presence and could carry this franchise.

The biggest drawback is perhaps the fact that Bamber is British and so it might be a little weird for a British guy to be playing a walking American flag, but I kind of like irony so I'm okay with it.


Fanwalruses

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I recently had the opportunity to watch Fanboys a movie that I thought was going to seem oddly out of place and time, but probably came at the right time.

Story

The year is 1998, six months before the release of "The Phantom Menace" and four nerds who were primarily into Star Wars have entered their early 20s. One of them has seemingly shunned his friends and his dreams and moved to a little place called reality where he is rather unhappy. The other three still pal around and are mostly hanging out at the comic shop and playing video games. It turns out that one of the three "loser" friends has cancer and will likely die sometime before The Phantom Menace comes out. So, as a way to reconnect, the four of them get in a van and head to Skywalker Ranch in order to procure a working print of Episode I so that their friend can see it before he dies. From there, wackiness ensues.

Even though I've said it before, I feel that I should preface this by saying I am not really a fan of Star Wars as a property. I think the first movie is great, but everything since then just starts falling apart for me. But I did grow up watching the movies and collecting the toys and in my head is a large enough amount of information about Star Wars to where I could enjoy the jokes. Before The Phantom Menace came out, I did look forward to seeing the prequel trilogy and could place myself back in late 1998 just enough that I could accept the premise in spite of how that movie turned out.

In spite of the playful Trek-bashing and over-exuberance of Wars, I thought this story was great actually. The plot never took itself too seriously and yet the fact this is all for a guy who's going to die soon weighs on it just enough to give it some poignancy. The four main fanboys and the fangirl who winds up with them in the end are all well crafted characters each given some great moments. This is the type of story that could have easily lent itself to hacking out some really stereotypical nerdy types, but instead there is some depth to everyone.

Presentation

While the script is pretty strong, this is a movie that needed strong actors and Fanboys has it. This movie made me hate Superman Returns even more because of how that movie wasted Fanboys lead actor Sam Huntington's acting chops. The other three fanboys were well-cast, even the Jack Black wannabe was good. Although, the best of all of them is Kristen Bell. In fact, if there's a place where this movie went wrong, it was not including more of her. And not just because she looks good in the "Slave Leia" outfit (don't blink or you'll miss it), but Kristen Bell is full of spunk and sass and I wish they had never canceled Veronica Mars.

The cameos were fun for the most part. Of course William Shatner is always great, but the Carrie Fisher cameo might have been my favorite. I could have done without Kevin Smith. Believe it or not, there's also an odd deleted scene on the DVD with William Katt.

Other production values are good. Lots of good props and costuming from the Star Wars movies, especially once they get to the ranch. Lots of locations. This movie can't have had a huge budget, but it never really comes off looking too cheap.

STORY
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PRESENTATION
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REWATCHABLE
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I'll give this movie the rewatchable walrus although I could see it wearing out its welcome over time.

Everything's Archie

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When most people think of comic books, super heroes come to mind. Comics gave us Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and the Hulk, arguably five of the most popular characters in the world. While super heroes are the dominant force in comic books, a guy and his friends who live in a town called Riverdale have held their own since 1941.

There's something enduring about Archie Comics. And even though I've never really followed them, somehow I seem to know a lot about the Riverdale universe. While I doubt it was the first, this comic had to have been at least part inspiration for some of the things Jeeg and I would find as guilty pleasures later in life such as Saved By The Bell.

Perhaps the biggest contribution Archie Comics has given fandom is the classic argument "Betty v. Veronica." It seems like everyone has their opinion and generally, that opinion is strong. I have my own opinion about who Archie should choose, but the brilliance of the dilemma is that neither choice seems wrong...until it's been made. (I don't want to rehash the argument in this post, but feel free to give your opinion in the comments section here on the blog or on the Facebook fan page.)

I guess all of that to say, Archie Comics has been doing something for the past three years that has actually almost made me pick up a few issues. Starting in 2007, Archie Comics has been incorporating "New Look" stories into their comics. This series of stories have been setting aside the classic look of Archie and his pals in favor of a more realistic look by well-known comic artists. What has really piqued my interest is the current New Look story that is being drawn by Norm Breyfogle. Breyfogle is probably best known for his work on various Batman titles and has long been one of my favorites at drawing the Dark Knight.

My comic buying these days is so rare that you're more likely to see Bigfoot than you are to see me at a comic book shop counter, but for some reason, these are appealing.

Although, I'll probably just wait for the trade.

Farewell, Dirty Dancer

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It’s never a good thing when I have to be on obit duty here, but it’s especially bad today. We lost a Nerd Lunch favorite yesterday and well before we should have. Patrick Swayze was a great performer and, by all accounts, an even better man.

Sure I’ll watch Red Dawn, Road House, or Point Break anytime and anywhere, but Patrick Swayze could get me to watch a movie about dancing, drag queens, or a romance from beyond the grave. Call it a man-crush, but I say he was just that damn good.

 

 

Adios, amigo. You will be missed.

I love it when a cast comes together.

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The casting rumors regarding the A-Team movie have been circulating quite a bit recently. According to our stats, my Signing the Cast post about the A-Team is one of our more popular posts. Unfortunately, I'm 0 for 3 so far. Still, while I have my reservations, the current rumors aren't horrible. Liam Neeson as Hannibal...might be okay, but can he bring that controlled crazy to the role? Bradley Cooper as Faceman...has the looks, but can he bring the right level of swarminess to the role? Quentin "Rampage" Jackson as BA...looks great, but has this guy acted before? But then again, how much acting did Mr. T ever really do?

Still no word on Murdock as far as I can tell. Plee suggests Will Arnett who I have gladly thrown in the above graphic.

If the cast is reasonable, it's then all about the script. Will Hannibal be written correctly? Will the rumored 'Face as a villain' plotline be dropped? Will BA be able to be more than just a Mr. T clone? Will these guys be social misfits who together are something special?

Only time will tell if the plan comes together.

(Nerd) Lunch Special: I CLIMBED THE MOUNTAIN!

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Back in October of last year (has it been that long?), Jeeg posted about a little thing he called "The Mount Everest of Condiments." As a fan of both mayonnaise and bacon, I searched high and low for this amazing concoction for months. I began following the company on Twitter and tried to win some through a few of their contests. I always failed to beat other lovers of this fine product.

Finally, one of the folks I follow on Twitter mentioned seeing this at one of the local Publix grocery stores. Soon thereafter, I made my way to a Publix and there it was, BACONNAISE!


Sadly, it was the end of the month and none of the something like $20 we had left to spend on groceries could be allocated towards purchasing this $4.99 condiment. Then came payday followed by International Bacon Day. It seemed there was no better time to pull the trigger on climbing this mountain.

So yesterday, I went back to Publix and grabbed a jar and have since tried Baconnaise on a few things. Here are my thoughts:

Baconnaise itself is thick and creamy. The flavor is smoky and definitely tastes like bacon. I know that it is not filled with real bacon as this product is okay for vegetarians, but it could have fooled me.

Broccoli
On occasion I enjoy some raw broccoli but not without some sort of dip. Usually I opt for ranch dressing, but not last night. Last night I had something that could make pimento cheese spread palatable. Well, maybe not that. Baconnaise is the perfect dipping sauce for broccoli. As this was my first experience with the Baconnaise, I felt bad at first about wasting it on broccoli, but the broccoli was so good, I almost wanted to get more.



Crackers
I decided that I really needed to try the Baconnaise on its own. I didn't want any competing flavors but I hadn't yet taken to getting a spoon out and eating the stuff straight out of the jar. We had some Wheat Thins on hand and this seemed like a fairly neutral way to get the flavor of Baconnaise. There are other fairly neutral things like potato chips or pretzels that would be worth using as a vehicle to eat Baconnaise.



Bacon
To me this seemed like a natural thing to do, although I've gotten a bit of backlash for trying it. And that's fine. If no one else wants to do this, that leaves more Baconnaise-topped bacon for me. It was absolutely delightful. My only regret is that I didn't have some real bacon bits to sprinkle on this. Maybe next time.



Hamburger and French Fries
It was with the hamburger that I ran into my first real problem. The taste of the thick and juicy burger was actually drowning out the Baconnaise flavor. I had not put enough Baconnaise on my sandwich. Solution: dip that burger into the Baconnaise meant for the fries then scoop out more Baconnaise for the fries. Problem solved.

As for the fries, I'm a guy who likes mayo on my fries so imagine the sheer delight of a mayo with smoky bacon flavoring on these fries. Unlike the burger, the fries did not need to be drowned in the Baconnaise to get the flavor.



This stuff is great and I'm glad that I didn't have months of anticipation blow up in my face. It was better than I had expected and I was expecting something great. I hope the guys at J&D are successful with this (along with the other product of theirs I want to try, Baconsalt) and I look forward to the day I can walk into any sandwich establishment and ask for a few Baconnaise packets and add this stuff to virtually anything I eat.

Happy International Bacon Day, everyone!
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