Cartoon Network to Reboot Johnny Bravo In 2017

Deadline has reported that Cartoon Network will move forward with a new version of their late 90s hit, Johnny Bravo.  The show is being retooled for modern audiences and will be released in 2017.

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Johnny Bravo debuted in 1997

We reached out to Christy Millhouse, president of Cartoon Network, for further details on the new show.

The show will be titled, Suzy and Johnny and is geared to be a more woman-friendly show. The Johnny Bravo character will be a sidekick to a young woman named Suzy. Suzy, a little girl in the original series will be the same age as Johnny in this new series and the new main character. The show will explore the dangers of street harassment and the struggles that the modern woman faces today.

The pilot episode will start with an apology to the audience from Van Partible, the original creator of Johnny Bravo. The rest of the episode will be Suzy explaining to Johnny why his approach to women is wrong.

During our online correspondence, Ms. Millhouse let us know what this new cartoon meant for the legacy of Cartoon Network.

“Johnny Bravo was a dark chapter in Cartoon Network’s history. We had this musclehead character harassing and sexually objectifying women for laughs. He was a symbol of the toxic masculinity that permeates our society,” stated Christy Millhouse. “He kissed a girl in one episode without her consent. We’re not proud of that. We influenced a generation of young men. We have Johnny Bravos out there now who think approaching women aggressively with bad pick up lines while flexing their muscles and dancing is okay. It is not. ”

As part of the modernization process, the old writing and animation teams will not be brought back for Suzy and Johnny. The new creative team is headlined by Andromeda Antony, a woman with a bachelor’s degree in woman’s studies, a master’s degree in gender studies, and a doctorate in woman’s gender studies.

We did not reach out to her for comment. She called us up. We still don’t know how she got our number.

“I’m loving this chance to change history. 2017 will have a new Johnny Bravo that women will love. I can’t share all the details now but expect a softer more feminist Johnny. The muscles and ugly yellow hair fin are gone. And with that goes the chauvinistic humor too. The influence of the old show is felt to this day. Some man tried to holler at me as I biked to work. He said ‘how it’s cooking, good looking.’ He objectified me sexually and assumed that I cooked. I do not cook. I am a strong proud independent woman who orders take-out every night. No woman should feel as threatened as I did when that man said that to me. Events like this occur because of shows like the old Johnny Bravo. ” said Ms. Antony.

With a new Johnny comes a new catchphrase. Fans of the show may remember Johnny Bravo would say “do the monkey with me”. His new catch phrase will be “fight the wage gap with me. ” We didn’t ask Ms. Antony for any more details, but she let us know the new show has had its conflicts behind the scenes already.

“One of the women on the writing staff said she found the old show funny. She said it was humorous for a muscly guy to be a dumb wimp who was terrible with women. She said she found the pick-up lines to be witty. I told her none of that is ever funny. Johnny once got in a woman’s view, moved in close to sniff her and then said ‘You smell kind of pretty. Want to smell me?’ That is not funny. She had to be let go. She thought the misogynistic comments were funny because society pressured her to find that funny. The poor girl had no mind of her own.”

Suzy and Johnny is expected to be shown on Cartoon Network in fall of 2017.

To Snap Or Not To Snap?

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy are responsible for dark reboots we’ve been getting of classic characters. Nolan is a good director. Memento is still his best. The Dark Knight is a close second. I liked the trilogy. Batman Begins is a reintroduction to Batman and an establishing of the gritty realism that would permeate the rest of the trilogy. The Dark Knight is a legitimately good movie. Heath Ledger’s Joker deserved that Oscar. The Dark Knight Rises is a follow-up that Nolan’s heart was not into. The theme of rise is redundant and I could not get into the stakes of the film. It had a weird commentary on the 99 percent and Occupy Wallstreet movement. I felt that was out of place. His take on Batman toned down the supernatural more comic-booky elements and focused on the crime drama of Gotham. I appreciated Nolan’s vision but not every hero should be dark like this.

If only someone told Zack Snyder. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is an attempt to do for Superman what Nolan did for Batman. I don’t want to talk the movie. I saw it when it came out. The movie tries to portray what life would be like for Superman if he was real? What would it be like for him growing up? I think there could be a good story here, but Snyder’s take was not doing it for me. He was trying to tell too many stories at once. Alien Invasion. Superman’s Origins. The Legacy of Krypton. Should the government trust Superman? Pa Kent is crazy. Will Superman have to kill? It wasn’t hard to keep up with them. It was that none of them were executed well. The fights were cool the first time around, but I barely remember any of them.

The one scene I do remember is the climax.  Superman is put in a moral dilemma. General Zod won’t stop until he kills every person. So Superman snaps General Zod’s neck. He violates his moral code and takes a life to save a family. This scene encapsulates everything wrong with this movie.

It’s an attempt to bring Superman out of his black and white comic book morality and into world of grey. Snyder wants to ground Superman from being a symbol for truth, justice and the American way into a person like us with more power. We’d make the same choice that Superman does. We’d snap General Zod’s neck too.

It’s a depressing as hell scene. Superman is mentally bothered by his murder. He’s on the verge of the tears The family he saves is not grateful. I don’t think they’re seen again.

There is no triumph to this. And I think triumph is a part of Superman. People should be excited when they see him flying through the city. He’s an ideal to live up to. People may not be able to fly and be strong like Superman, but they should aspire to be moral like him. That’s what I always got from the Superman side of the character. He needs to triumph and the people in Metropolis should be there to celebrate his fights against evil.  The human side is that he’s a corny boy scout from Kansas. Humble and wants to help people. He takes a job as a journalist to keep up appearances, hit on Lois and keep his ear close to trouble.

I don’t hate the idea of Superman murdering Zod, but I hate it in an origin story. Superman needed to triumph in the first story.  This movie should have been about learning who Superman is. He needs to be established. Snyder jumped the gun. He wanted to have this Superman kill scene in this movie. Maybe in a Man of Steel 2 this scene would work. It’s too early for Superman to kill. In my opinion.

In this movie Pa Kent commits suicide in front of Clark. Metropolis and Smallville are decimated. Superman has to kill Zod to stop him. Give the character a bone. Let him have a moral victory to ride off into the sun on. I watch the ending of others superhero movies like The Avengers and The Dark Knight and it feels like the heroes were super heroic.

The Avengers put aside their differences and save New York from an alien invasion. It felt like without the Avengers, the world would have ended.  Batman proves to the Joker that everyone is not like him and that he is alone. He does kill Harvey Dent but the appreciation for his sacrifice is there from Commissioner Gordon and his son.

Man of Steel‘s Superman never feels like a hero to me.

Movement in “Ghostbusters”

My copy of Robert Towne’s screenplay of Chinatown has a foreword from the man himself; An essay on the role of the screenplay in the film-making process and the importance of movement by actors. Here are a few noteworthy excerpts from that foreword.

“But it has always struck me that in movies, far more than in any other dramatic medium movement, not simply action, is the most defining of character.”

“Consider Fonda in Clementine again. His way of moving embodied paradox: at once awkward and graceful, diffident yet full of purpose, his ambling walk would shift effortlessly – like a powerful thoroughbred changing gaits to a long stride straight and relentless as a plumbine.”

“No one, I think, can really say what makes an effective screenplay because no one really knows what makes a screenplay effective. Certainly part of the problem stems from the fact that screenplays can’t be judged by reading them. They may read well or badly but that often says more about the reader than the screenplay.

The only way a screenplay can be evaluated, almost by definition is not on the page, but by viewing the movie it caused to be made. It certainly can be read and even enjoyed, but you’re stuck with the inescapable fact that it was written to be seen.”

The first quote is the one that stuck with me. Movement is the most important character aspect on the screen. It is fitting. Movies are moving pictures after all. The words on the page help the actor internalize the character and bring them to life.

1984’s Ghostbusters relies on the gifts of its talented acting staff, in particular Bill Murray. Murray is known for his one-liners and comedy. His movement is as essential as his voice to getting the audience behind Peter Venkman. gb1

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The “manic gleam” and “underlying instability” (this latter of the two would be considered cheating by an old writing professor of mine) are the information the page gives to the reader on the Peter Venkman character.

The scene flows well on the page, but is so much funnier on the screen.

I watched the scene with the sound off and watched all the little nuances he put into his performance. The little smiles he gives to the blonde Co-Ed. His eyes go wide when he’s talking to her. He’s encouraging her as he talks. He feigns amazement at her answers. Contrast that to how quickly he turns the cards around for the guy. He relishes in the electroshocks he gives the guy. He moves his hand over slowly and pretends like he’s not going to shock him. He moves his eyebrows to get the co-ed’s attention. Winks at her and Then he shock the kid. With no sound, it’s apparent that he wants the guy to go and for the co-ed to spend some time with him.

This is a just a damn good introductory scene because we’re given information about the supernatural and introduced to a character in a unique humorous way. By the end of the scene, we know Venkman. We can’t wait to see this guy bust some ghosts

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Trumped.

How has Donald Trump done it? How has he cemented his place as the front runner of the Republican Party? He was dismissed as a joke. The rhetoric spewed for months was that he’s peaked and will taper off soon. As each month goes by, he gets closer to gathering the delegates he needs to be on the ballot.

News organization are going bonkers with their Trump hate in their opinions sections.

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He is endlessly parodied on television. He is mocked day in and day out. He is called a racist, a misogynist, and the next coming of Adolf Hitler. His support base is said to be made up on uneducated racists. Barack Obama has come out and chatised Trump. Yet he continues to win.

The media is fueling Trump’s campaign. Their coverage of his insults and outlandish comments are endearing him to the general public. Trump’s success is an example that no publicity is bad publicity.

The hate that is thrown on Trump reminds me of the hate Obama received during his 2008 election. Barack Obama was called a Muslim. People said he was popular not because of his policies but because of the color of his skin. He was said to be the Anti-Christ.

The key to Donald Trump’s campaign is frustration with the establishment. People are pissed off. Voting for Donald Trump is giving the political system the finger. It’s why he keeps winning and winning.

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Can Donald Trump win? Can he go all the way? Will he be our next president?

We will find out in November.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Silver Screen, Deadpool.

20th Century Fox has done the unthinkable. They have opened Pandora’s Box and unleashed the Merc with A Mouth on the masses. Bad parents will  rue the day they let their children watch a masked psychopath cut off his own hand in the theater.

Fox’s Deadpool works. It will not win any Oscars. It was not made to. It was a gift to the fans of the character and an apology for a past wrong-doing.

In 2009, 20th Century Fox plopped a turd in the lap of every Deadpool fan with his portrayal in X-men Origins: Wolverine. A character known for his talking had his mouth sewn shut and turned into the unspeakable.

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The portrayal was universally panned. The movie was highly offensive to not only Deadpool fans but movie fans everywhere. The only enjoyable version of X-men Origins: Wolverine was the leaked workprint version. That may be the greatest comedy film ever created. Certainly in the same league as Some Like It Hot.

A Deadpool movie had been rumored for years after the butchering of the character. A script floated around online. I  got my hands on it while in college.  It was decent. This new movie has scenes from that script. I like this movie a lot more than that old script.

Deadpool is a relatively faithful adaptation of Joe Kelly’s run of Deadpool. Adaptations should focus on bringing the spirit of the story to another medium. Fans want a 1:1 reproduction of the source material and that is not feasible in most cases. What works in one medium does not necessarily work in another.

Deadpool has the spirit of the character down. Deadpool is a tortured psychopath masquerading his insecurities and fears with sardonic wit. The Deadpool character is known for his humor and breaking the fourth wall. It is forgotten by many  that he is a man who has cancer eating away at his insides everyday and he has killed many people. He is a mercenary, not a comedian.

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Joe Kelly’s run focused on Deadpool’s insecurities. Deadpool was not a hero. He’s your prototypical anti-hero on acid. He detested the word, “hero”. He once beat a woman to a bloody pulp for continuing to call him one.

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The humor in the comic book was strong. It was very much a part of the book and character’s success. Joe Kelly seamlessly added in references to television shows, celebrities, and more. Some of which have stood the test of time.

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Deadpool takes the best of Joe Kelly’s run.

All the elements of that Deadpool character are in this movie.His checkered past. His aversion to the word, “hero”. His mangled face. His fourth-wall breaking. His scumbag friend, Weasel. The gratuitous violence. The old blind woman that he keeps locked in his house for company.

Blind Al and Weasel made it to the movie screen. We have come a long way from 1978’s Superman.

Deadpool is at its best when the title character is running around in his red tights and mask. Ryan Reynolds is having a lot of fun with the role. He brings the insanity and tragedy of Deadpool. The way Deadpool fights and acts is straight out of one of his comic books. Reynolds’ timing is impeccable. He gets the character. I appreciate the love he’s shown Deadpool.

I have one gripe with Deadpool in this movie. He’s not ugly enough.

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He should have looked more like an eighties horror movie villain. Closer to Jason Voorhees than Ryan Reynolds with a bad rash. The audience should have had the same reaction as the characters when Deadpool removes his mask. His face should be stomach-churning. I also think we shouldn’t have seen his face until the final scene. It should have been a running joke that we see only the characters’ reaction to it. I know they had a lower budget for this film so I’ll let this slide.

The movie does struggle when Deadpool is not on the screen. The flashback scenes showing his romance with Vanessa were some of the weaker scenes of the movie. They are funny, but not gripping.  The movie starts us off with him in the suit. He’s gunning and slicing mooks. Every flashback scene pulled us away the present to deliver us the past.

The film should have started where the story started. Instead we get a little bit of present Deadpool and then some flashback. More Deadpool, more flashback. Once the flashbacks stopped and the movie could just go, it flowed. The movie had to do the origin story which hurt it. It tried to do A Day in the Life of Deadpool and Deadpool’s Origin all at same time. It should have tried to be one or the other.

If they went down that path,  it would have been thirty minutes without Deadpool in the suit. The audience might have grown restless. So maybe in medias res is the better way to start.

The movie throws a busload of jokes at you. Most of them work. The ones that don’t, you forget about quickly. Every audience will react to this movie differently. The jokes about Blade 2, Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine went over the heads of my audience. Everyone will find something funny. I could see people disliking all the dick jokes and over-the-top swearing. It is very sophomoric but the tone fits Deadpool.

The film was more sexually-charged than I was expecting for a comic book film. There were jokes about masturbation and pegging. They were funny, but I hope they don’t turn some people off to the movie.

The film is a fun time in the theater. If you’re looking for  sweet film with decent action, questionable acts around stuffed animals, and a ton of humor, you should check out Deadpool.

I do have one thing about the ending though.  Spoiler Alert.

 

Deadpool gets the girl. He’s a character who’s not supposed to get the Hollywood Ending. The scene prior to it was an attempt to define Deadpool as not a hero. Colossus, an X-man, tells Deadpool to not shoot the main villain in the head. Deadpool can define himself as a hero by sparing a life. Deadpool does not hesitate and blasts him in the head in the middle of Colossus’s speech. This is telling us Deadpool is no hero. However he is given the hero’s ending by having Vanessa accept him despite his ugly looks.

For a movie that prided itself on deviating from the traditional path, it had a traditional ending. To be Deadpool is to suffer. He can’t get the girl. What will they do with her in the sequel? Kill her off? It seems like they have to. Will Deadpool get married?

I have high expectations for the sequel.

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Pride Cometh.

The Carolina Panthers lost Superbowl 50. I had favored them to win by twenty points. On paper, it looked like the great defense and anemic offense of the Denver Broncos would fall to Carolina’s good defense and dynamic offense. But the pressure got to Cam figuratively and literally.

The Panthers were the villains of this game going in. Everyone in The United States except for people in Massachusetts and North Carolina were rooting for the humble Peyton Manning to ride off into the sunset. All season long Cam Newton had danced and dabbed. His celebrations were called excessive and rubbed people the wrong way. He was said to be arrogant and self-absorbed.

I did not dislike Cam for his excessive dancing. I was in the camp that other teams should stop him so he has no reason to dance. The Broncos did in astounding fashion. They made the league MVP look like a frightened child playing football for the first time. I do find the backlash to Cam Newton’s dancing to be worthy of discussion.

There were people who believed it was that Cam Newton was being criticized because he was black. A proud black man celebrating and having fun was too much for some of the NFL’s fanbase.

When Richard Sherman had his rant about being the best corner in the game on live television two years ago, people went nuts. On twitter, he was insulted and called a thug by many people. He did not curse. He did not throw up any gang signs. He was caught up in the heat of the moment and spoke with passion. There was not a thing thuggish about his behavior that night. People characterized him as a thug because of the color of his skin.

Cam Newton is not the same as Sherman. There are those who do criticize him because he is black, but it’s mostly people seeing his confidence as arrogance. I’m a believer that a person can only be arrogant after they have failed. Confidence before the fact is okay with me. If you say you’re going to be the best at something and you do it, that’s confidence. If you say you’re going to be the best at something and you fail, then you were arrogant.

If what you said matches up with what you’ve accomplished, then it can’t be arrogance. People want the humble person who thanks his mom and kisses babies, but not everyone has to be like that. The world would be boring if everyone was the same. Peyton isn’t right and Cam is wrong. If you want to shout to the world that you are awesome, that’s cool with me. So long as you aren’t swearing or trying to hurt someone, say you what want. If that’s what fires you up to succeed, then it shouldn’t be frowned upon. It’s just you will have to deal with the consequences of what you say if you don’t live up to it.

Here’s a video of Tom Brady and Plaxico Burress from before Super Bowl 42. 18-1.

In this interview, Plaxico Burress predicts that the Giants would win 23-17. Tom Brady  laughs at the absurdity of the 2007 Patriots only scoring 17 points. The Patriots scored only 14 points in Super Bowl 42. Tom Brady was arrogant.

When Lebron James joined the Miami Heat, he predicted they would win countless championships. He promised more than seven championships to the Miami Heat fans.

This was really arrogant in retrospect because they only won two.

Football being a team sport contributes to the hate on Newton. His dancing puts a lot of focus on him so to some people he comes off as caring more about himself and not the team. His play in the Super Bowl gave his haters more fire.

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Cam Newton debates diving for ball in Super Bowl

Being prideful is not a reason to be worthy of scorn or dislike. If you can back up what you say, you can talk and dance all you want. But if you can’t, then you have to eat crow. Cam is learning that lesson the hard way right now.

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True Horror

David Fincher’s Zodiac is at its best when it uses the power of the screen to dramatize the horror and brutality of the Zodiac Killer’s killing spree in the 1970s.

I consider the depiction of the Lake Berrysea attack to be the film’s strongest scene. The scene where Robert Graysmith flees from the cellar as he hears steps above is a close second.

The horror in the scene is in the powerlessness of the two victims. Held at gunpoint, they have no choice but to listen to the demands of a hooded man. Horror films rely on excessive gore and creative murders to engage the audience. Unconventional deaths and weapons are used to shock the audience into jumping or grimacing at the violence on the screen.

In this scene, all we have is a pistol. It gives the Zodiac Killer all the power he needs to impose his twisted fantasies on this innocent couple. He does not need to shoot it. The threat of violence is enough to subdue them.

Fincher could have chosen to show us the backs of the the victims being pierced by the giant knife of the Zodiac Killer.  We could have seen blood splattering all over the place. Instead Fincher keeps us on the faces of the couple. They do not lose their humanity as the attack occurs. And that is why this scene works so well.

In your traditional horror film, humanity is stripped from the victims. We want to see them smashed, bashed, sliced, and crushed in crazy new ways. The killer becomes the hero. We root for them. How are they going to dish out the pain? Much like how we turn our heads as we drive to see the aftermath of car crashes, we watch horror films to see blood and gore. We want those stupid people to get what is coming to them.

Take this scene from Jason X.

Does anyone care about this blonde as her face is frozen and then smashed to pieces? We aren’t supposed to. She’s attractive but the lure and appeal of this franchise is the murder of attractive young teenagers. She is killed and then thrown away unceremoniously. She becomes an object for the audience’s blood lust.

These two films are wildly different in execution and concept but that is why I am comparing and contrasting them. They do both have the same job of trying to engage the audience using horror.

To go back to scene from Zodiac, Fincher does not give the audience a chance to turn the Zodiac Killer into a hero. The sound of the knife entering and exiting their bodies is terrifying. It’s unnerving to watch the couple’s reactions to the attack. No score is played underneath the attacks. The events play out like they did on September 27th, 1969. All we hear are the sounds of nature, the knife stabs, and the screams of the victims.

If one is to succeed at horrifying the audience, they must allow the victims of violence to retain their humanity.