Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Not the Movies You Remember.


With the constant barrage of blockbuster films assaulting our senses these days, I have been thinking back to another blockbuster-filled decade and wondering how many of these current films will stand the test of time as poorly as so many of those. Will people still use words such as “awesome” to describe “Iron Man” or the “Lord of the Rings” films in ten or fifteen years? Here are ten films people considered to be pretty damn incredible at the time that have not aged well at all:

 

The Fugitive- When news of this Harrison Ford starring remake of the classic TV series dropped, I’ll admit to reacting bitterly. After all, I’d already started work on a script with Dennis Quaid in mind (A Harrison Ford type to my way of thinking) and it was a far more grounded treatment than what we got. At the time, the film seemed exciting and riveting, but age has revealed it to be overblown and suffering from a ludicrous third act reveal.

Speed- Okay, I hated this one from the outset, but even I thought it had some production level merits. Not anymore. It was yet another overwrought descent into laughable mediocrity, featuring Dennis Hopper is an embarrassingly awful scenery chewing performance and more clich├ęd dialogue on that stupid bus than one would find in a screenwriting class.

Demolition Man- What once seemed like a refreshingly humorous take on a tired genre now feels forced, loud and severely compromised. Stallone’s fish out of water is fine but Snipes’ overacting is painful to watch.

Forrest Gump- I’m pretty sure this movie makes everybody’s list of overrated schlock. What a cloying piece of sentimental rubbish. Hanks has never been worse and neither has Zemeckis.

Titanic- Bill Paxton once referred to this movie as a 3-hour “romance novel crap-a-thon” in an SNL skit. Whether he meant it or not, he was right. Frankly, at the risk of offending idiots, they’re the only ones who could possibly still think this historical bastardization that was obviously filmed on a soundstage was anything other than James Cameron’s massive ego run amok.

The Matrix- Oh, look. It’s Keanu Reeves again. Never mind the fact that he seems to have just recently learned to act. Nobody could have changed my opinion of this pretentious, over-the-top pile of drek.

Jurassic Park- I never understand what thrilled people about this lackluster, phoned-in excuse to introduce people to the next generation of CGI. The story was dull, the action was stagey, the acting was better than the material and the dinosaurs failed to impress. Looking at it now, the skeletal plot and dull resolution remind us that it really was an excuse to practice using new technology. Boys and their toys…

The Silence of the Lambs- If ever one needs an example of bad melodramatic Nineties acting and “Face/Off” isn’t available, look no further than this overrated glorification of serial killers. Anthony Hopkins, an actor I’ve always found rather iffy, chews scenery so hard I’m surprised he still has his teeth. Taking a character another actor infused with a quiet, subtle dread and turning it into a farcical mockery must be a talent. The less said about an apparently half-asleep Jodie Foster the better.

Braveheart- Mel Gibson is a very good director, despite his personal problems, but this is not the movie to showcase his talent. While his acting in the film is quite good (everyone’s is) the visuals are so textbook symbolic and silly the movie suffers from an overabundance of self-indulgence. If not for the admittedly kick-ass battle sequences, this woefully inaccurate portrayal with its cartoonishly evil English and virtuous Scots would be a complete waste.

Men in Black- Here’s an idea: Let’s take something people have been reporting seeing for decades in the most negative manner possible, and turn them into a pale reflection of the Ghostbusters.  Let’s make the aliens wacky and almost harmless and throw a bunch of one-liners at everybody. Oh, and let’s make sure the movie is plotless. The only saving grace for this movie is that by the third installment, all involved had apparently learned how to make an actual movie with a plot.

 

 

 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

They Get Me in the UK, Man.






This hefty anthology, originally published in 2013, features one of my most intensely personal short stories called "In Green, Remembered." I usually pay an inordinate amount of attention to the American Amazon site when I apparently should be paying more attention to the UK version! British readers tend to have a firmer grasp on what I'm doing, as the below pull quote should indicate:

 "In Green Remembered", by Christopher Nadeau, is an unusual tale, evocative of memory and loss.



Friday, April 15, 2016

An Open Letter to Marvel That They Will Never Read


Dear Marvel,

 

This letter is more specifically aimed at your aptly named “Cinematic Universe” but it’s also to the overall Marvel Comics Corporation. And while I’m sure you couldn’t give a possum’s furry ass what I think of you, especially considering the enormous success you’ve achieved over the past eight years, I’m gonna share it with you anyway.

As a young boy, I read your comics all the time. I read DC, too, but yours contained an immediacy and a relatability I was drawn to on several levels. Spiderman’s youthful vulnerability, the Hulk’s doomed nobility, and of course Captain America’s struggle with never quite fitting in. Then there was the original X-Men team I was fortunate to read in reprinted form, a true metaphor for being born different and singled out because of it. Discriminated against mutants was a perfect source of relatability for this biracial young’n. The stories in these books were almost as compelling as the artwork.

As I entered my teen years, however, something changed my perspective.  A chance encounter at a comic convention, to be precise.  Conventions were different back then.  Smaller, more intimate, filled with genuine fans.  Not the pop culture ludicrousness that exists now. 

At the time, the biggest thing going in comics was your original “Secret Wars” mini-series, the epic clash between all of Marvel’s heroes and villains for the amusement of an omnipotent being known as the Beyonder. As I picked up a copy from a dealer’s table, he asked me if I liked the series. I shrugged and told him I did and he nodded. He then asked me the question I’d never asked myself: “Have you noticed how everything they claim is going to change is changed back one or two issues later?”

I stood there, mouth agape, book forgotten, staring at this seemingly wise comic sage.  What did he mean? Wasn’t that how comic book storytelling worked? Why was he making me think that was a bad thing?

Then he dropped the bomb: “Have you heard what DC’s doing?”

DC? I read their stuff, too. I loved the Justice League of America and Teen Titans. But Marvel was the king, right? That’s where all the cool stuff happened, like “Secret Wars.” Who was this guy?

Then he told me about DC’s plans to completely revamp its stagnating universe with a mini-series called “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” We didn’t have the term “Spoilers” back then but he dropped some on me anyway, including the fact that Supergirl was going to die.

“Die?” I said.

“And stay dead,” he said.

Whoa! As far as I knew, only one superhero had stayed dead and that was your Captain Marvel, who’d died of cancer a few years prior in a highly regarded graphic novel. But Mar-vell was never an A-List character like Supergirl or the next person he told me was going to die.

The Flash???”

My head spun with the possibilities of a comic book universe where heroes could die for good and multiple Earths could be permanently wiped out of existence. I had to see this! It wasn’t that I wasn’t going to still “Make Mine Marvel” but this sounded incredible.

The next few years saw a radical change in my tastes. “Crisis” was everything that convention guy said it would be and, sadly, so was “Secret Wars.” One felt like a revolution while the other felt like a total waste of time, money and talent.

Not much has changed since then. Your books slowly became unreadable until, by the late Nineties, I wasn’t reading any of them anymore. Until I stopped buying comics altogether, DC and a handful of Image titles got my money. You see, I fell out of love with you because you no longer felt genuine. Different names assumed different mantles but you always churned out that same regrettable paint-by-numbers pointlessness that caused me to stop reading back then.

Fast forward a few years and suddenly there are Marvel movies coming out which, until recently, reminded me of the comics I obsessed over when I was a kid. But now they’re starting to look more like the comics I stopped reading and that’s a hard thing to admit. Lately, as a friend remarked, my Marvel apathy is well-documented. I just can’t seem to work up the same excitement for your films and I think it’s because the convention guy’s comments have once again run true. As much as you try and convince us that big changes are in the wind, it looks like the same old bait and switch to me.

So, Marvel. Although I want to fall in love with you all over again, and while I certainly don’t blame you for doing what millions of others love, I don’t know that I can ever feel that way a third time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Readers who like me can't be wrong.

While Googling myself (it sounds much dirtier than it is, senior citizens) I came across this website that I'd never heard of before selling my novel, "Kaiju." And while that in itself wasn't a surprise, the fact that the book has an average of a 5-star rating certainly was a pleasant one!

Some of the English on this site indicates it's foreign, so I'm wondering if some of the readers are, too. I would love that.

 
Plot:
Walter Henderson didn't think things could get much worse He has a job he hates, a marriage that seems to be going nowhere except toward parenthood and a military past that haunts him to this day Not to mention an inappropriate workplace attraction Then someone nukes the city of Tokyo and the world is thrown into chaos For on the other side of the world, a man named Walter Henderson didn't think things could get much worse He has a job he hates, a marriage that seems to be going nowhere except toward parenthood and a military past that haunts him to this day Not to mention an inappropriate workplace attraction Then someone nukes the city of Tokyo and the world is thrown into chaos For on the other side of the world, a man named Tanaka single handedly fights a battle against an overwhelming, ancient force capable of harnessing humanity into a source of power that can literally rip open the Veil between worlds But Tanaka has grown old and cannot do it alone This follows a powerful man s quest for the next great ally in his cause, a quest that takes Tanaka from Japan to the Middle East to France and, finally, to a troubled man named Walter Henderson whose newly emerging powers just might engulf him before he can be of use