Stunt Granny Audio Presents: We Watch Stuff Podcast

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Yes you see that correctly as it is the dawn of a new era on Stunt Granny. Please welcome our newest Podcast: We Watch Stuff. After two successful runs on the unnamed show we decided to make this a permanent fixture so if you like TV, movies, comics or books then this is the place for you. Ok, not books because really, who the hell reads anymore? This week’s show consists primarily of the X-Men movie franchise. After X-Men: Days of Future Past is the future of Fox’s X-Men franchise secure or was this on par with X-Men: The Last Stand? Why is it that Shahid goes off on the typical comic fan? Would a spin-off movie off all of the X-Men a**hole characters work? What is the biggest missed opportunity in the new Amazing Spiderman franchise? (Yeah that slipped in the convo.) Was the lack of explanation on major plot threads a detriment to Days of Future Past? Why are comic fans such a whiny bunch? Is it even possible to make a movie they will enjoy? Well, all the answers rest in the link below so go ahead and click away already.

 

Stunt Granny Movie Review: The Wolverine

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I asked my wife her thoughts on The Wolverine shortly after we finished watching the movie.  Her response was simple yet telling – she enjoyed the film and characters, was able to follow the action and story, and had an overall entertaining experience.  She wasn’t a comic fan, hadn’t watched any of the other films, and barely knew anything about Wolverine.  Normally that would cause confusion and frustration in a comic movie, but in this case, she was given freedom to enjoy the film for its own merits. An ironic thing these days…

This movie came with more baggage than a displaced United jetliner.  A sequel to The Last (aka the movie that murdered/ruined/damaged the franchise) as well as a follow up to X-Men Origins (aka the film which may be worse than the Last Stand).  A solo story starring Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman played for the 6th time, or 1 more time than Robert Downey Jr has played Iron Man.  James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk The Line) replacing Darren Aronofsky, thus dredging up dour memories of Brett Ratner replacing Matthew Vaughn and giving us the Juggernaut meme we’ve never asked for.  A predominantly foreign cast consisting of two models (RIla Fukushima & Tao Okamoto) making their film debuts as the female leads; Hiroyuki Sanada aka the Japanese guy from the Last Samurai that wasn’t in Inception; Will Yun Lee, best known for starring in Elektra, Torque & Die Another Day (trifecta of mediocre action films) and a tall Russian who replaced Jessica Biel.  Add all of these ingredients to the fact that the X-Men film franchise has been polarizing at best, and sacrilege to the many members of nerd community, and it could’ve been a trainwreck.  Instead, it served as one of the best films in the franchise, and certainly the most thoughtful and grounded.

Instead of going the usual route of giving a synopsis and description, I decided to use the bullet point system on why the film works, as well as tackle certain criticisms of the film.  If you’re reading this, you either already have a general idea about what the film is about, or you’re going in as a neophyte, in which point I won’t spoil you with mundane details.

One of the hardest things to accomplish is a superhero film that isn’t an origin story nor a follow up to an origin story.  Often fatigue sets in toward the character, which leads to more action and characters being thrown into the mix to add spice to the franchise.  Sometimes it works (Iron Man 3, Dark Knight Rises), but usually it morphs into a toxic trainwreck of noise and nonsense (Spider Man 3, X-Men:The Last Stand, Blade Trinity).  The Wolverine avoids that by making it a strictly stand alone solo film.  There are probably a total of 7 characters in the entire film that play an important role.  It doesn’t make the mistake of cramming in a zillion characters for misplaced fan service – instead it allows the story and individuals to breath and live.  This is the Hugh Jackman show, and this is his most honest and authentic portrayal of Wolverine to date: a sad, tortured asshole who is a killing machine, while also struggling to be a man.

Setting – it’s amazing that we were given a mainstream action film set in Japan, with a predominantly Japanese cast, often speaking non-subtitled Japanese.  The setting is effective in taking both Wolverine and the audience out of their comfort zone.  This is a thoughtful, often subtle movie, interspersed with mostly authentic action pieces.  Adapted from what may be the best Wolverine story written, it follows him on a journey of suffering and redemption, struggling to deal with the curse of immortality and loss, while acclimating to a new environment and potential new love.  It’s not the typical save the world or save the girl story.  Instead, we get a Wolverine dealing with the aftermath of killing Jean Grey (payed in haunting dream scenes by Famke Jannsen), trying to find a reason to live….and still kicking ass.

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Stunt Granny Audio Show #223

Chun-Li_X-Men_vs_Street_Fighter_Char_Select--article_imageJeremy & Kevin start off by talking about Impact Wrestling. Yes, indeed there are other wrestling shows on TV and sometimes they’re worth talking about. How much time do the wrestlers have until Bound For Glory? Which host likes the concept behind this annual event? Does it help Impact that they only have four pay per views a year? Is it a good idea to have Destination X on free TV? Who wins in a battle between the Knockout’s Division and the Diva’s Division? Okay, that idea isn’t explored but they do talk about the poor quality of both even though they’re getting plenty of time. Impact Wrestling had some other poor decision making with the Main Event Mafia. Why are they banding together people that already hung out Sting to dry a mere two weeks ago? Who is going to be the fourth member? Who’s betting on Hulk Hogan and who’s got Jeff Hardy? Jeremy & Kevin start talking about the WWE and they start with someone they skipped last week, Alberto Del Rio? Can you smell the desperation on him? Is Dolph Ziggler ever going to get mic time to establish himself as a baby face? They move on to talk about follow up from Mark Henry and John Cena. How did Henry follow up his grand slam from last week? Did Cena go cheese factor or serious for his promo? Jeremy & Kevin finish by talking about Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. Did they have a good match? How much did Orton have to exhort the crowd? How many segments did Daniel Bryan get himself into? How definitive was his win? They close by not talking about two important people? Find out who when you click on the link below!

 

Stunt Granny Audio #223

The Art of Wrestling – WWE Comics

The Cover for X-Men #1 (V2) by Jim Lee from Marvel.com.

Jeremy graciously put a juicy leftover turkey sandwich on my table when covering the new WWE comic books. I’ll look at the limited sampling of artwork and break it down. I’m not even going to venture into the writing which seems to be linking famous historical happens to modern wrestling situations. I’ll leave that for March 23rd when the comics come out and I can properly piss on them.

In the first link Jeremy provided (I suggest enlarging it with a simple click) the top left cell shows a Mayan that is proportioned well. In the next cell over, HHH has an awfully small head in comparison. The artists didn’t look at HHH’s ring attire because he always wraps his right hand and forearm. HHH also has the iron cross on his elbow pads. Look at photos 8 and 9 for proof from this week’s Raw. John Cena is prominently featured in cells 4 and 6. They pulled the same issues with Cena’s attire because they forgot his wrist and arm bands, didn’t give him a belt for his clam diggers, didn’t show any underwear and they gave him high tops instead of low tops. Look at photo 17 for everything but the foot wear. I also feel like I’m playing a game of nude photo hunt at the bar because Cena doesn’t have wrist tape in cell 4 but does in cell 6. Hopefully, Mickie James will be missing articles of clothing in her issue of the comic.

This cover from Spawn #158 by Greg Capullo is an example of good comic book art.

In Jeremy’s second link, we have a scene in cell 2 with (from left to right) Matt Hardy,  Kofi Kinston, Batista, R Truth and I think CM Punk or John Morrison. The first problem I have with this picture is the fact that aside from skin pigmentation, the art work feels like “insert head here”. As the picture at the top of the article shows, one can show diverse body types while still making a great comic like X-Men. Wolverine is a great character but it was often pointed out how short he was. Batista should not be matched in size by our pudgy friend Matt Hardy. Cell 4 presents a couple of problems. The most glaring to me is that Batista and Randy Orton don’t have any tattoos. They don’t need to be as detailed as the real ones but they shouldn’t be presented without them. The second problem is that Batista goes from talking to swinging a chair. I realize that comics don’t show every action but he goes from standing still without a chair to swing one through the ropes at Randy Orton. They need to show some action in between those two events.

I can’t wait until March for further evaluation. Maybe by then, I’ll have brought my own art back to this site for people to mock. – Kevin

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