Friday Flashbacks!

Ok, first of all, I apologize for having gone missing for so long. The job switch, scheduling conflicts, and holiday all got the best of me. That was totally my bad. I’ll be more careful from now on. So sorry.

Now that the apologies are out of the way, we can move on to the next order of business…Friday Flashbacks! As always, I present to you a few entertainment suggestions to help get you through your weekend. Follow my advice this week – it’s way too hot to be outside. Onward…

THE MOVIE
The Fly
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I saw The Amazing Spider-Man last night, and for some reason this movie popped into my head first thing this morning. It’s a fair enough comparison, I suppose. If Spider-Man is what happens through chance and the wonders of science, The Fly is the darker, more horrifying reality of what often happens when scientists don’t fully understand what they’re working with.

In The Fly, Jeff Goldblum is (surprise) an eccentric scientist, working on unlocking the secrets of teleportation. His intentions are noble – along with the other potential global benefits, he wants to be able to provide food and aid to third-world countries. A pretty great setup for a movie about science, but, since David Cronenberg is the director, we know this is all about to head south.

Due to, one can imagine, the dirty, hipster-style NYC loft apartment Goldblum lives in, he ends up merging himself at the cellular level with a house fly, which is reason #46 why most scientists of the non-mad variety work in clean, sterile labs. Hilarity ensues.

No, wait, I mean horror. Horror ensues. Seriously, if you’ve ever squirmed looking at a nasty zit or sore on someone’s face, or felt faint while looking at somebody’s severe burn, or projectile vomited while watching ugly people kissing, this movie isn’t for you. For those of you who don’t know the guy, director David Cronenberg is as good as Carrie White’s mother at making you feel uncomfortable about your body. Check out his filmography: Rabid, The Brood, Dead Ringers. Fun stuff.

What makes The Fly brilliant, though, isn’t simply Cronenberg’s always-masterful execution, or Goldblum’s nuanced performance, or even that guy with the shotgun. As with any great 80s horror film worth its weight in blood, The Fly is made great through special effects. Chris Walas, the make-up designer for this film, created a horrifying progression for the film, transforming Goldblum from man to monster in every scene. There’s a particularly gruesome sequence towards the end when Goldblum’s character begins to molt. Ugh. And, just in case you thought Walas’ work was a flash in the pan, check out these pictures. He pretty much defined the 80s for me.

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THE COMIC BOOK
The Invincible Iron Man

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I started reading this, the newest Iron Man series, after discovering Matt Fraction’s writing on The Immortal Iron Fist. I hadn’t ever really read Iron Man comics before. Before the movies, I always thought Iron Man was sort of lame. Just a guy in a suit of armor who had a drinking problem.

Fraction’s take on the character changed my opinion. You see, I’ve always liked smart characters. Whether in comics, movies, or literature, the intelligent characters are always my favorites. The problem with them, though, is that they tend to be caricatures of smart people, instead of actually being fully-developed, three-dimensional characters. I was about to go on a rant here, but I’ll save it for another post.

Anyway, Fraction writes Tony Stark as a more interesting character than I think he’s ever been. The character is forced to use his brain to overcome obstacles and to create some truly big ideas, and Fraction’s handling of ethics, future sciences, and straight-up science fiction are masterful. Sure, there are a lot of “super hero” moments, and lots of fantastic art from Salvadore Larrocca, but the real star of this book is Tony Stark and his incredible supporting cast.

This series starts shortly before the events of “Secret Invasion,” so it’s a little old, but the stories work really well even if you know the last five years of Marvel continuity. It’s available in trade format, or my new favorite, digital download.

That’s all for this week. I know, I know, I usually throw a gaming suggestion your way, but I really couldn’t think of anything appropriate for this week. You really want something? Sigh. Alright. Go grab an NES emulator (or an NES, if you’re made of luck and money) and download Maniac Mansion. Many have heard of it, few have played it, fewer still have beaten it. Drop me a line when you beat it (no cheating!). I’ll start an 80s movie slow clap for you.

As always, feel free to drop me a line or a comment. And while you’re here, CHECK OUT AN ARTICLE from one of my fellow bloggers in The League of Extraordinary Bloggers! It’s a great little write-up about Solid Snake.
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