Remember The Rocketeer!

The Rocketeer is the crowning achievement of comic book cinema, a bold statement considering it was released in 1991.  There hasn’t been a more faithful translation from comic to screen since Richard Donner’s original Superman — and The Rocketeer has the added benefit of not having Marlon Brando sans pants crazying up the cast.  Hyperbole aside, every comic book movie that’s followed The Rocketeer is treading the same well-worn footprints, only they have to walk where The Rocketeer soars.

Actually, that was more hyperbole.  But it’s true, nonetheless.
If you look at the comic book history of The Rocketeer, it seems like a strange property for Disney to adapt to the screen.  The character is obscure at best, having been created in 1981 by Dave Stevens as an homage to Doc Savage.  The comic was by no means a bestseller, and while the idea of a man strapping a rocket to his back to fight Nazi’s is a pulp lover’s dream come true, it’s hardly the recipe for box office success.

At the time of release, the only successful comic book movies were Batman, Superman, and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, three of the most popular comic book properties of our time.  With that in mind, you’ve got to admire the bulbous balls it must’ve taken for Disney executives to pluck The Rocketeer from obscurity and give him a shot at prime time.  If you released The Rocketeer today, even with the popularity of Iron Man and The Avengers, it would still be a hard sell for audiences.

Whether it was a lack of comic book properties to adapt or a serious gambling disorder, Disney executives took a chance and The Rocketeer was released.  As with most films ahead of their time, the gamble didn’t pay off and The Rocketeer failed to ignite with audiences.  A damn shame because it’s a freaking classic.
If Steven Spielberg ever directed a superhero movie, it would look and feel exactly like The Rocketeer.  It has Nazi secret agents, gangsters, tommy guns, bigger-than-life henchmen, damsels in distress, bi-planes, and whimsy to spare.  The Rocketeer has the look and feel of an early Spielberg movie, possibly because director Joe Johnston drew the storyboards and production art for Raiders of the Lost Ark.  And for fans of Star Wars, particularly The Empire Strikes Back, Johnston was the person responsible for the creation and design of Boba Fett.  Which makes him a God in human form.

Like the Doc Savage stories that served as inspiration, The Rocketeer is a rollicking pulp adventure that doesn’t exist anymore.  The story is from a less complicated time when the good guys were good and the bad guys were bad.  There is no gray area.  The Rocketeer doesn’t break rules and question his heroic morality.  He punches Nazis in the face and looks cool doing it.  Simple.  Effective.
The script is pitch perfect and captures the goodie-goodie nature of the character without coming across as cheesy or overly sentimental.  Marvel’s recent Captain America: The First Avenger is a cinematic soul mate, in that it takes a hokey premise and turns it into a fun throwback to classic adventure serials.  And would you believe that both were directed by Joe Johnston?  Can’t be a coincidence.

Johnston remembers that reading a comic book is supposed to be fun!  Watching a comic book movie should provide the same experience.  What child wants to watch scenes of prolonged angst and self-loathing in a superhero movie?  Kids want to see Spider-man swinging from rooftops, not tossing his costume in the trash.

After watching years of gritty and realistic comic book movies, it’s refreshing to find nothing resembling grit or realism in The Rocketeer.  The movie plays better now than when it was originally released, precisely because of how simple and pure the plot is: an adventurous test pilot discovers a rocket prototype sought by Nazi spies.  That description is more fun than anything from Christopher Nolan’s Batman films — which are great but don’t hold a candle to the animated series.

Fans herald Christopher Nolan as the savior of comic book movies but the truth is Joe Johnston already filled that position twenty years ago.  The Rocketeer is a comic book movie that needs and deserves to be rediscovered.  And after three dour Batman films and an equally serious Spider-man reboot, would it kill you to have some fun?

Fun Fact: Johnny Depp was nearly cast as The Rocketeer but lost out to Billy Campbell.  Thank God.

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5 Movie Detectives That Deserve Another Movie

Joe Hallenbeck from The Last Boy Scout

Few things in life are as enjoyable as Shane Black’s criminally underrated The Last Boy Scout.  The birth of your first child.  Maybe a good steak.  But that’s it.  Nothing else beats The Last Boy Scout.  It’s a Molotov cocktail of hilarious dialogue, Halle Berry stripping, a killer stuffed animal named Furry Tom, and Bruce Willis f*cking a squirrel to death.  So yeah, it’s pretty much the greatest movie ever made.

If we lived in a perfect world, The Last Boy Scout would’ve garnered universal acclaim and generated a lasting franchise.  As it stands, the movie is a forgotten gem that doesn’t even have its own Blu-ray — you have to purchase it in a two-pack with Last Man Standing.  For shame, Warner Brothers.

As much as John McClane is Bruce’s signature character, it’s Detective Joe Hallenbeck that deserves his own franchise.  Hallenbeck is a natural fit for Willis: sarcastic, down-on-his-luck, hard to kill, and full of witty one-liners.  He also dances a mean jig.  Actually, he’s pretty much cut from the same cloth as McClane, but with the benefit of Shane Black’s superior tailoring.  How can you not want to see another movie with a detective that says, “You even look at my daughter and I’m going to stick an umbrella up your ass and open it.”  Everyone should talk like that.

Ford Fairlane from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane

Say what you will about Andrew Dice Clay, but there was a brief moment in time where the man was a comedy God.  At the height of his popularity, legendary producer Joel Silver thought it would be a good idea to make an action movie starring Andrew Dice Clay.  God bless him for the audacity and stupidity.

There’s nothing about The Adventures of Ford Fairlane that’s particularly well made.  Or subtle.  It’s a movie that coasts on the fumes generated by the sleazy charm of Andrew Dice Clay.  His Ford Fairlane is a vulgar, misogynistic dickhead that makes no apologies for being a complete prick to every man, woman, and child that crosses his path.  There’s little to no difference between Ford Fairlane and Andrew Dice Clay, which is fine because they’re both equally hilarious.

Similar to Detective Joe Hallenbeck in The Last Boy Scout, Ford Fairlane is a character that exists to spout off great one-liners.  “Hey, great pipes, huh?  I’ve heard cats f*ck with more harmony.”  Or even better, “What are your names, Neil and Bob, or is that just what you do?”  Unfortunately, audiences were unwilling to take the case and doomed The Adventures of Ford Fairlane to obscurity.
Mitch Henessey from The Long Kiss Goodnight

“The last time I got blown candy bars cost a nickel.”  That’s one of the many colorful pearls of wisdom tossed out by Samuel L. Jackson’s perpetually put-upon private detective Mitch Henessey.  He’s a chain-smoking, shot-drinking, womanizing son-of-a-bitch and Jackson absolutely kills it.  Other than his star-making role in Pulp Fiction, this is Jackson’s finest hour.  Unless you count Coach Carter.  In which case, you’re a moron.

What’s so great about Henessey is that he’s not good at his job.  He’s a below average detective, fresh out of prison, recently divorced, and barely scraping by.  The guy can’t even afford to give his son a proper Christmas present, which is precisely what makes him so endearing.  He’s a complete f*ckup.  So many times we see the private detective presented as a smooth operator, deftly maneuvering around the bad guys.  Not Henessey.  He was born to lose.

Henessey may not be the most qualified detective for the job, but he’ll give it his best shot, and may even die trying.  Actually, scratch that.  Henessey is indestructible and can’t die.  For real.  During the course of The Long Kiss Goodnight he’s tortured, shot, blown-up, and then some.  And by the end, he’s miraculously still ticking.  Let’s see Phillip Marlowe top that.
Harry Lockhart and Gay Perry from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Next to The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the most under-appreciated detective movie since…The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight.  So much for variety.  Random coincidence: all three of those movies were written by Shane Black.  What is it with Black and poorly received detective movies?  At least Lethal Weapon was successful.

For those of you that don’t know, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was the movie that relaunched the career of Robert Downey Jr.  If it wasn’t for this little detective movie, there wouldn’t be an Iron Man.  Or at least it wouldn’t have starred Robert Downey Jr.  Not only is the guy a phenomenal actor, but he’s an inspiration to drug addicts everywhere — even if you snort a line of coke off a public urinal there’s still a place for you in Hollywood.  Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Val Kilmer.  Apparently, if you’re fat there’s no place for you in the entertainment industry.  Maybe Kilmer should snort coke.

Like the cheap detective novels that Shane Black draws his inspiration from, the plot of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is convoluted and difficult to sum up without being confusing.  And frankly, who really gives a sh*t about the story.  It’s all about Downey and Kilmer bouncing off one another.  Figuratively, not literally.  Cliff notes version: Robert Downey Jr. plays Harry Lockhart, an idiot thief turned private detective-in-training under the cruel tutelage of the brilliantly named Gay Perry, Val Kilmer.  And yes, Gay Perry is actually gay.

The stroke of genius, however, is that Gay Perry is the action hero and Robert Downey Jr. is an ineffectual schmuck.  The chemistry between the two partners — and that’s partners in the non-homosexual sense — is electric.  You can’t watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and not cry out for a sequel.  It’s the crowning achievement of Shane Black’s long and storied career, and when you’re the screenwriter of Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and even f*king Monster Squad, that’s saying something.

Underrated Sequels That Deserve More Love

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

For children of the 80’s that grew up during the glory days of HBO and Cinemax, this is the best and only Indiana Jones sequel.  You can keep your saccharine sweet Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and your fridge nuking Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  They’re inferior sequels and you have chosen poorly.  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a f*cking classic.  Like the drunken relative at your family reunion — it’s dark, funny, and entertaining as hell.  And who doesn’t love a fun drunk?

Why It’s Hated:

The Darkness.  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the reason we have a PG-13 rating.  Apparently child slavery and ripping the hearts out of bodies as a sacrifice to a Pagan God is crossing the line.  Who knew?

Short Round.  Audiences were unwilling to accept Indy having a child as a sidekick.  They were wrong.  Short Round has never been topped.  He is a likeable and funny character,  and most importantly, he’s capable.  So many movies make the mistake of having the child be nothing more than a plot device — someone for the hero to rescue — but not Short Round.  He kicks almost as much ass as Indy!

Kate Capshaw.  Or as she’s better known: Mrs. Spielberg.  She is the one element that’s hard to defend.  It’s not that Capshaw is bad, it’s just that the character is written as the stereotypical, hapless female — something that Karen Allen in Raiders was definitely not.

Let’s face it, any sequel that followed Raiders of the Lost Ark was going to pale in comparison.

Why You Should Love It:

The Mine cart chase.  Almost thirty years later and the sequence is still as gripping and fantastic as it was when it first premiered.  In fact, the entire third act of Temple of Doom is better than the finale of Raiders.  Blasphemy?  Maybe.  But at least Temple of Doom has the good sense to deliver a rousing finale in which the main character is actively kicking ass and taking names instead of being tied to a post with his eyes closed.

The iconic shot of Indy punching the sh*t out of the hapless Thugee cult member and emerging out of the shadows to reveal that he has broken free of the black sleep of Kali and is ready to kick ass once again.  Goosebumps.

Mola Ram.  The best villain of the franchise.  Search your feelings, you know it to be true.  Sure, Nazis are the most evil bad guys on the planet, but there’s nothing scarier than a voodoo priest that can rip your heart out and make it catch fire.  Oh, and by the way, you’re still alive while that happens.  “Kali-ma…Kali-ma…Kali-ma, shakthi deh!”

Crank 2

Not exactly a highbrow choice but damn if this isn’t a fun little bit of insanity.  Such a better movie than the first.  Crank 2 is an attention deficit love letter to excess, bad taste, and low budget creativity.  In fact, the only disappointing aspect of Crank 2 is that it did so poorly at the box office we’ll probably never see another sequel.

Why It’s Hated:

Good question.  More than likely people felt cheated at the very idea of a sequel considering Jason Statham plummeted thousands of feet to his death at the end of the original.  What these people fail to understand is that this is precisely why Crank 2 is awesome — it literally gives sense and logic the middle finger.  Seriously, that’s basically the final shot of the movie.

Why You Should Love It:

Within the first five minutes Jason Statham has shoved a shotgun completely up someone’s ass.  So it has that going for it.

Self-indulgent creativity.  Not since the original black and white Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic by Eastman and Laird has an artistic work been so rife with the fetishes of its creators.  8-bit video game references?  Check.  Cheesy, Man-in-suit Godzilla antics?  Yep, you got it.  Nothing is off limits for the writing and directing duo of Neveldine & Taylor, and it’s invigorating to watch a movie where anything, no matter how stupid or disturbing, can happen.

On a side note: why is it that when Tarantino makes a film that’s obviously made by himself for himself that it’s perfectly acceptable, but when Neveldine And Taylor make something like Crank 2 it’s considered self-indulgent crap?

Die Hard With A Vengeance

Yes, the one with Samuel L. Jackson.  Keep in mind this was before Jackson became a shouting parody of himself.  He’s actually quite good in the film and his chemistry with Bruce Willis is one of the many things that makes this a superior sequel.

Why It’s Hated:

A lot of fans dislike Die Hard With A Vengeance because it eschews the series’ penchant for enclosed spaces, opting instead for New York City as McClane’s playground.  The addition of Samuel L. Jackson as McClane’s reluctant partner is frequently, and incorrectly, cited as a negative.

Why You Should Love It:

Because it drops the Die Hard formula for something far more interesting and visceral than a simple retread in a new confined location.  We’ve already seen Willis trapped in a building and an airport, not to mention all the Die Hard knockoffs like Speed and Under Siege, let’s shake it up a little.  Allowing Willis to rampage through New York, running over mimes and destroying central park, is precisely why this is the only good sequel.  It’s not a carbon copy.  While Die Hard 2 is a moderately entertaining sequel, it’s an exact replica of the first and follows the original beat for beat — was it really necessary to bring back William Atherton as the dickhead reporter?!?

Die Hard With A Vengeance wastes absolutely no time getting McClane good and f*cked up.  Within the first ten minutes Willis is bleeding, hungover, and knee deep in yet another really bad day.  The addition of Samuel L. Jackson and the subtraction of McClane’s wife and other familiar sequel trappings elevate Die Hard With A Vengeance to stand almost toe to toe with the original.  If only the ending wasn’t so anti-climatic…

The French Connection II

Most people don’t even know that a sequel exists.  And you know what?  It’s actually pretty damn good.  Gene Hackman reprises his Academy Award winning role of Detective Popeye Doyle and delivers a performance that’s even more impressive and demanding than his last.  The story posits Doyle in France trying to track down the drug dealing Frenchman that got away at the end of the first French Connection.  While that may sound like a routine sequel, The French Connection II takes Doyle and audiences to places that you wouldn’t think a major studio release would go: like giving the main character an addiction to heroin.

Why It’s Hated:

The aforementioned drug addiction was probably a factor.  Almost the entire second act of the film is consumed by Doyle’s forced addiction and subsequent detoxification of heroin.  It’s not fun to watch, and it’s not supposed to be.  Popeye Doyle has become the very thing he hates.  And Gene Hackman knocks it out of the park.  He’s even more deserving of an Academy Award for his work here than he was in the original French Connection.

Why You Should Love It:

This is ballsy, take-no-prisoners filmmaking.  Fans of Joe Carnahan or early Michael Mann will absolutely love this.  You don’t get sequels this outside of the box.  It’s a risky move to have your main character addicted to heroin for the latter half of your movie, but it makes it all the more rewarding when Popeye Doyle finally snaps out of his heroin haze and gets revenge on the dastardly Frenchman he’s been chasing for two films.  And what a chase!  The original French Connection is arguably most famous for its vehicular carnage, and the sequel doesn’t disappoint.  However, this time the chase is on foot.  And it’s bad ass.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let the Kraken know.

Dumb Ideas In Great Movies: The Fugitive And The One Armed Man

The Fugitive is a bravura work of cat-and-mouse tension.  Director Andrew Davis stages the action sequences with a practiced eye and a sure hand, no doubt honed in his early days directing Steven Seagal movies.  Both Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones turn in career best work, with Jones in particular snatching an Academy Award for playing the taciturn authority figure he’s played for his entire career.  Love the guy, but you’ve got to admit he has the acting range of a household appliance.

The writing is above average for this type of venture, with three heavy hitting screenwriters contributing to the script: Jeb Stuart, David Twohy, and Walter Hill.  No question, these guys aren’t slouches in the story department.  Which makes it all the more perplexing when you realize they made the villain a one armed man.  Granted, The Fugitive is based upon a television series in which the bad guy was also a one armed man, but just because the film is faithful to what’s come before doesn’t make it any less stupid.

You’d expect that writers of their caliber would revise the story and make the one armed man aspect more believable.  These are smart guys.  They get paid millions.  Surely, they had a script meeting where someone suggested that a fight scene between Harrison Ford and a man with a rubber hand was going to look exactly how it sounds: ridiculous.  And yet there it is in the final film — a fight scene between Harrison Ford and a man with a rubber hand.  And it does, indeed, look exactly how it sounds: ridiculous.

What they should’ve done, besides ditching the one armed man completely, is give the guy a f*cking hook.  A rubber hand is not intimidating.  Yes, it makes you half as likely to leave finger prints at the scene of a crime, but the hook would serve the same purpose.  What’s the point of having a rubber hand?  To blend in?  Look at that f*cking thing:
Was it made by Mattel?  It looks like it was manufactured from leftover Barbee dolls or that pink stuff they put inside portable vaginas.  That hand ain’t fooling anyone.  It doesn’t even match his skin color!  He might as well have gone to an adult XXX store and ripped the arm off an ebony sex doll.  At least then he could do something useful with it like masturbate.  Or wave.

If you were in the shoes of Andrew Davis and had to remake The Fugitive, would you have kept the one armed man?  The idea of a guy with a rubber hand posing a credible threat is ridiculous, but it is unique.  There are few movies, if any, that feature a villain with a rubber hand.  Perhaps the filmmakers were right to include the one armed man.  What do you think?

Why Commando is the Most Fun Action Movie of the 80’s

Commando is the most fun action movie of the 80’s.  Is it a better movie than Die Hard or Rambo?  No.  Is it more fun?  Hell yes!  Commando is one of the most entertaining action movies ever made.

The plot is dumb.  Basically Ahnuld’s daughter is kidnapped and he wipes out an entire country of brown people to get her back.  And I don’t mean brown people in a racist way.  Commando actually takes place in the fictional country of Valverde, so even the script doesn’t know what the f*ck they are.

And what a script!  Written by 80’s action god Steven E. de Souza (he wrote Die Hard which makes him better than you), Commando doesn’t offer much in the way of extravagant plotting but does give us ample bodies to be bagged and a badass main character to bag ’em: John Matrix.  You know Matrix is a wrecker of sh*t when he’s introduced to us carrying a tree.  Not a log.  A tree.
But what really makes Commando so damn watchable is the collection of inept bad guys.  We’re supposed to believe these guys are a crack team of mercenaries and all of them look like they just walked off the set of Xanadu.  Apparently, all it takes to be a mercenary in the world of Commando is the ability to pirouette when shot.  Arnold kills over eighty bad guys and forty of them spin.  And the ones that aren’t shot die in the most over the top kills since Kane Hodder strapped on a hockey mask.

Their fashion sense is also terrible.  Even for the 80’s.

But enough foreplay, Bennett.  “Let’s party,” and meet the henchmen:

Sully (David Patrick Kelly)

If you couldn’t tell from the picture, Sully is kind of a douche.  The guy’s roughly four feet of sleaze and horrible pickup lines: “You know, I’ve got something I’d like to give you”.  By something he means penis, and by give you, he means intercourse.

Why He Sucks: because Sully is supposed to be a trained mercenary and he can’t even shoot his way out of a phone booth.  Because he tries and fails to hook up with Rae Dawn Chong and who hasn’t slept with her?  Because he drives a Porsche.

Lame Wardrobe: the suit is so 80’s it needs to be shoved back into the rectum of Phillip Michael Thomas from whence it came.

Dumb Dialogue: “This place used to be great for hunting slash.”

Method of Demise: a long fall off a short cliff.  Remember when Arnold said that he would kill Sully last?  He lied.

Cooke (Bill Duke)

Notable for being the only mercenary in Commando that poses a credible threat, until you realize that he’s a complete moron.

Why He Sucks: because Cooke’s idea of careful planning and assassination is to steal a garbage truck, drive it outside the target’s house, and somehow convince the target to run outside with his garbage to get riddled with bullets.  What if the target didn’t realize it was garbage day?  What if he didn’t hear the truck?  What if he wasn’t home?  Cooke is so stupid he leaves the dead bastard in the middle of the street when he could’ve disposed of the body in the garbage truck.  Sh*t for brains.

Lame Wardrobe: actually, Cooke’s wardrobe isn’t too bad.  He wears stupid well.

Dumb Dialogue: right before he steals a car: “You know what I like best about this car?  The price.”

Method of Demise: impalement after being uppercutted onto a piece of steel rebar.

Bennett (Vernon Wells)

You may recognize him as that mohawk guy from Road Warrior that wears assless chaps.  Actually, that doesn’t narrow it down any.  Usually when actors are cast in action movies they get in shape.  Not Vernon Wells.  Dude spills out of his costume like a fat Freddy Mercury.  According to imdb, Vernon was the second choice for Bennett — the costume was originally tailored for a skinnier actor that dropped out.  Personally, Wells owns the role and Commando wouldn’t be half as good without his presence.  Even if he is fat.

Why he sucks: because the dude has Schwarzenegger dead in his sights with a freaking Uzi and instead of shooting him in the face, he drops the gun in favor of a knife.  Dumbass.

Lame Wardrobe: the chain mail tank top.  Really, chain mail?  What the f*ck purpose does it serve?  It can’t stop bullets.  It can’t even hide Bennett’s fat.  And where the hell did he get that thing?  Have you ever seen chain mail for sale?  In the form of a tank top?  Ridiculous.

Dumb Dialogue: “John, I’m not going to shoot you between the eyes.  I’m going to shoot you between the balls!”

Method of Demise: a steam pipe through the sternum followed by Arnold’s classic, “Let off some steam, Bennett.”

It may not be high art, but Commando is without a doubt the most fun action movie of the 80’s.  A sequel was written but never made it to production.  Rumor has it that a lot of the ideas for the Commando sequel were rolled into what eventually became Die Hard.  David Ayer was attached to a Commando remake a few years ago, but there’s been no forward movement on the project.  Oh well, at least we’ll always have Valverde.

Cinema Obscura Presents: Megaforce

Remember when major studios ponied up serious dough and rolled the dice on absurd ideas like Megaforce?  I do.  It was called the 80’s, and it was a glorious time for cheese-ball cinema.

Take one look at that poster and imagine the ball of cocaine it took to greenlight a sci-fi adventure movie starring Barry Bostwick.  Yes, that Barry Bostwick. The mayor from Spin City.  Throw in Michael Beck from The Warriors and you’ve got yourself a cult classic in the making.

The plot is simple.  Bostwick stars as Ace Hunter, the fearless leader of the titular Megaforce — an elite band of super soldiers that travel the world to fight evil.  Megaforce is tasked with eliminating a power mad dictator before he can spread his seed tyranny across the peace loving Republic of Sardun.  That’s it.  That’s the plot.  If this sounds ridiculous and stupid, it is.  But delightfully so.

The great thing about Megaforce is that it knows it’s a bad movie, but it has a large enough budget to actually make it a fun, bad movie.  That’s the key.  If you released Megaforce today, it would cost fourteen dollars and premiere on syfy.  And probably still feature Barry Bostwick and Michael Beck.  But back in the 80’s, Megaforce was a big deal.  Or at least it was supposed to be.

Megaforce was conceived as a tentpole release for 20th Century Fox.  Famed stuntman and Smokey and the Bandit director, Hal Needham, wrote and directed.  Needham may not sound like a big deal, but he was hot sh*t back in the day.  Remember, Smokey and the Bandit was one of the highest grossing movies of that time.  Needham could’ve made any movie he wanted.  And he willingly made Megaforce.  That fascinates me.

Serious money was spent.  And serious money was lost.

Megaforce was not the franchise starter that Fox hoped it would be.  The film cost over twenty million dollars and only grossed five.  A sequel, Deeds Not Words, was planned and subsequently cancelled.  Unfortunately, the world was not ready for the sheer awesomeness of Barry Bostwick flying a jet-motorcycle.  But I’d like to think we have evolved.  Perhaps our civilization is now sophisticated enough to appreciate Barry Bostwick as a superhero.  Behold:

So is Megaforce any good?  No.  Not remotely.  It’s one of the worst movies ever made.  But damn if it isn’t fun.  And howlingly hilarious.  Sadly, the film is currently unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray.  However, if you can stand the low quality, Megaforce is on YouTube in its entirety.  In all honesty, the streaming adds to the hilarity of the effects.

Little Known Fact:  In the years since release, Megaforce has obtained cult movie status, and was even cited by Matt Stone and Trey Parker as inspiration for the hilarious Team America.

Christopher Nolan Says Goodbye to Batman

Now that Christopher Nolan has concluded his Batman trilogy in spectacular fashion and mothballed the cape and cowl, he’s penned a goodbye letter to the Caped Crusader.  While some Dark Knight fans may have issues with Nolan’s vision of the character, you can’t read this and say Nolan did it for a paycheck.  Dude is a class act.  Thanks to Superhero Hype for originally publishing:

“Alfred.  Gordon.  Lucius.  Bruce…Wayne.  Names that have come to mean so much to me.  Today, I’m three weeks from saying a final good-bye to these characters and their world.  It’s my son’s ninth birthday.  He was born as the Tumbler was being glued together in my garage from random parts of model kits.  Much time, many changes.  A shift from sets where some gunplay or a helicopter were extraordinary events to working days where crowds of extras, building demolitions, or mayhem thousands of feet in the air have become familiar.

People ask if we’d always planned a trilogy.  This is like being asked whether you had planned on growing up, getting married, having kids.  The answer is complicated.  When David and I first started cracking open Bruce’s story, we flirted with what might come after, then backed away, not wanting to look too deep into the future.  I didn’t want to know everything that Bruce couldn’t; I wanted to live it with him.  I told David and Jonah to put everything they knew into each film as we made it.  The entire cast and crew put all they had into the first film.  Nothing held back.  Nothing saved for next time.  They built an entire city.  Then Christian and Michael and Gary and Morgan and Liam and Cillian started living in it.

Christian bit off a big chunk of Bruce Wayne’s life and made it utterly compelling. He took us into a pop icon’s mind and never let us notice for an instant the fanciful nature of Bruce’s methods.  I never thought we’d do a second—how many good sequels are there? Why roll those dice? But once I knew where it would take Bruce, and when I started to see glimpses of the antagonist, it became essential. We re-assembled the team and went back to Gotham. It had changed in three years. Bigger. More real. More modern. And a new force of chaos was coming to the fore. The ultimate scary clown, as brought to terrifying life by Heath. We’d held nothing back, but there were things we hadn’t been able to do the first time out—a Batsuit with a flexible neck, shooting on Imax. And things we’d chickened out on—destroying the Batmobile, burning up the villain’s blood money to show a complete disregard for conventional motivation. We took the supposed security of a sequel as license to throw caution to the wind and headed for the darkest corners of Gotham.

I never thought we’d do a third — are there any great second sequels? But I kept wondering about the end of Bruce’s journey, and once David and I discovered it, I had to see it for myself. We had come back to what we had barely dared whisper about in those first days in my garage. We had been making a trilogy. I called everyone back together for another tour of Gotham. Four years later, it was still there. It even seemed a little cleaner, a little more polished. Wayne Manor had been rebuilt. Familiar faces were back—a little older, a little wiser . . . but not all was as it seemed.  Gotham was rotting away at its foundations. A new evil bubbling up from beneath. Bruce had thought Batman was not needed anymore, but Bruce was wrong, just as I had been wrong. The Batman had to come back. I suppose he always will.

Michael, Morgan, Gary, Cillian, Liam, Heath, Christian . . . Bale. Names that have come to mean so much to me. My time in Gotham, looking after one of the greatest and most enduring figures in pop culture, has been the most challenging and rewarding experience a filmmaker could hope for. I will miss the Batman. I like to think that he’ll miss me, but he’s never been particularly sentimental.”

If I ever meet Christopher Nolan and thank him for giving us a thrilling Batman trilogy, I like to imagine his response will be: “you’ll never have to,” before jumping off a rooftop and gliding into the night.