Friday, March 28, 2008

The Truth Is Out There...

Wow. This is shaping up to be a geek-tastic summer for films.

First we have the Hellboy sequel, production has begun on Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, The Watchmen is finally coming to film, and Stephen King has approved a Dark Tower film. Add into that the Dark Knight/Batman sequel and other assorted goodness; and I'm one very happy sci-fi, comic book, horror geek!

But - topping all of that off... word has leaked on the internet of a sequel to something that consumed every friday night of my life back in the 90's.

I'm talking about X-Files 2.

Some trailer's have leaked to the internet and can be found over at this blogger site devoted to the film.

This has me so damned excited! I'm in a fanboy frenzy about this one.

I'll admit it - - I loved X-Files. And I hung with the show all the way to the end - even after Duchovny all but disappeared and Gillian - dear, sweet Gillian made just some random token appearances. And indeed - the show jumped the shark when Robert Patrick and Annabelle Gish too over, but I was a devoted fan throughout. And - like I said, my prime single years back in my twenties were based on The X-Files. If anybody planned on parties, or drinking, or clubbing on a Friday night; it HAD to wait until after 10 and after The X-Files was over.

How much of an X-Files geek am I? Here's how much. I can tell you when I saw the first X-Files movie. It was June 19th, 1998.

And why do I know that?

Because I went to a 1 pm showing of the movie with my brother Aron, and was hard pressed to pick up my tuxedo and make my own wedding rehearsal. Yes, I had to revel in the wonder that is Dana Scully. And yes, that's right - my wedding (which was on June 20th)had to have a viewing of the X-Files movie worked into the plans.

And Mrs. Zombie wonders to this day why she married me (when, in fact, I've told her from day one she would be very quickly the Ex-Mrs. Zombie if I ever had a shot with Gillian Anderson.)

She should have run, but I guess she - like all women - is powerless when faced with the awesomeness of Doctor Zombie. (Maybe not so much that as the power of my patented, oscillating, Scramblomatic Hypno-ray. It's like Roofies without the bad headache and confusing sense of shame the morning after.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Name... Is Dalton!

So I’ve been meaning to write about this since I heard about it, but just haven’t had the time.

So anyway, I read last week that Patrick Swayze has cancer. This makes the good Doctor kind of sad.

I’ve talked before about guilty pleasures, and I think old Patrick falls squarely into the realm of guilty pleasures. I’ll admit it, and although it may make me look gay, I dig the Patrick Swayze. I don't care what you think...

I mean, seriously, how can you NOT dig Patrick Swayze?!? This is the man who brought us such awesome 80’s staples as Point Break and Steel Dawn. And don’t even get me started on his early work in the great American classics Uncommon Valor and The Outsiders.

Swayze took his special breed of hillbilly charm to new heights with his turn in Next of Kin, and he was only outshone in that movie by Liam Neeson. Neeson, by the way, may have done a more convincing job as a redneck then Swayze did - but Liam Neeson’s a serious actor who was only slumming in Next of Kin to get some action movie credentials. So what if he totally lost his Irish accent and did a better Kentucky accent than Swayze. Swayze was the star, man. Plus Swayze got to wear that totally cool fucking trench coat.

And then you have his breathtaking showing in Red Dawn. Red Dawn is still one of the coolest movies ever made and, I suspect, it is completely lost on anyone born after the mid-80’s. For those who never lived under the skulking threat of a nuclear cloud, Red Dawn must seem strange and foreign. But – for those of us who grew up during the Cold War - Red Dawn completely captured all of our worst nightmares. And the Swayze-meister was right there, waving a stolen AK47 and yelling, “WOLVERINES!!!” He was an encapsulation of all that is good and right and decent in the American character – and fuck those dirty commies. No other actor could have pulled off the emotion he did when his father, played by Harry Dean Stanton, screamed at him, “Avenge me!”

Jesus Christ in a casket! I’ve got goosebumps thinking about it.

Which brings us to his greatest movie ever… and no I’m not talking about Ghost, or Dirty Dancing. Although Mrs. Zombie might argue that was his best movie – she’s totally wrong.

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner”? Please!

That movie did nothing to showcase the wonder and awe that is Swayze. No movie did it better than his piece de’ resistance. I’m talking about the one movie that was the epitome of his career and the one movie that he should have won an Academy Award for – if the Academy wasn’t so blind. Hell, they wouldn’t know brilliance if it molested them like Adrian Brody did Halle Barrie. I’m talking about the greatest movie to EVER come out of the 80’s.

I’m talking about Road House.

That’s right – Road House. The. Greatest. Movie. Of. All. Time.

Why is Road House the greatest movie of all time? Let me list the ways. It had rednecks in a town that wouldn’t exist anywhere else in the world. It had a villain so evil he would have made a Bond villain flinch. It had sluts, it had a sexy doctor, it had attacking polar bears, it even had motherfucking Sam Elliot. It had an evil ex-special forces guy lounging around some podunk town and who apparently did some time in prison where he practiced unsafe sex with other muscular guys. And there – amidst it all – wearing a mullet of epic McGuyver-like proportions, strode Patrick Swayze as Dalton. A poet philosopher and warrior, he brought his own justice to the bar, ripped out Mr. Gay Special Forces’ throat with his bare hands, beds the villain’s woman, and avenges the death of his friend and mentor.

Holy crap! Road House is damn near Shakespearean in scope!!!

And – last week – it was announced that Patrick Swayze’s got pancreatic cancer. What a fucking tragedy, man. And it’s pancreatic too – which means it’s some hardcore cancer. Not that any cancer’s ever good – but there’s different degrees of the big C, know what I mean? I mean it’s not like the little skin cancer moles that, say Dick Cheney, gets on his bald dome. No siree Bob!

I mean, if there were any justice in the world, Cheney’s moles would metastasize and grow until his head looked like a cross between the Elephant Man and an angry, rotten, red and purple turnip. His upper torso would be a swollen mass of pulsing flesh, and his eyes would squint angrily from between the puffy folds of his Jabba the Hut head.

But, alas, no.

Cheney gets a cancer that can be cut off with a scalpel and some local anaesthetic – while the great and awesome Patrick Swayze gets the kind that kills everyone who gets it within a couple of months.

This further proves my assertion that there is no such thing as a fair and just God.

That’s all right though. If anyone can beat the odds, it’s my man Dalton. Hell – I saw a picture of him last week that showed him still smoking. That’s right – Patrick Swayze is so cool he’s still smoking, even though he’s probably doing so many chemo and radiation treatments he’s as hairless as a baby panda. That’s what I’m talking about, brother. You keep it up, man! Hollywood’s not ready for the loss of so great a talent as you.

You hold on, Dalton… and remember – “Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he’ll drop like a stone”.

You kick that cancer in its big, throbbing, fleshy knee. Shatter that cancer’s knee, man. Shatter it!

(Author’s Note: And yes, I just made some cancer jokes. If you haven’t figured it out yet, there is no depth to which I’ll not sink to make my audience laugh. If you’re offended, get over yourself. If you can’t get over yourself and your self -inflated sense of righteousness, I hope you burn to death in a fire.)

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In Memorium...

It is a sad day in all of geekdom... Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, has passed at the age of 69.

I would write something myself, but it would just be rehashing what others have already said. Instead, I give you this fitting and totally loving tribute by The Underground Revolutionaries.

Gary Gygax Passes On
By the UnderGround Revolutionaries

The original Dungeon Master, Gary Gygax, has died. For those of you not familiar with the man, he is the creator of Dungeons & Dragons. As I write this, it is unknown how he passed. I'm going to assume he failed his saving throw against dragon breath. I also like to think that somewhere in the nether-realms, a battle for his immortal soul is being waged between the fell armies of Hez'rugoth, the Balor Arch-Duke of Bloodswill and the angelic forces of Silvergold the Favored Son. Be brave, Gary Gygax! You will soon be cradled in the bosom of the All-Mother. May Lord Ao watch over you.

Gary Gygax published the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974. Gygax and his buddies were table-top war gamers and in an effort to personalize their armies, they developed a method to expand their characters through math and storytelling. They invented the whole pen-and-paper role-playing phenomenon and their contribution to nerd-dom not only changed the way games are played, it added a mythos of monsters and heroes that ranks up there with the pantheons of Marvel Comics and the Star Wars Universe. Culling elements from numerous fantasy sources, the system created by Arneson and Gygax would lay the foundation for role-playing hobbyists around the world.

Dungeons&Dragons is pure heavy metal. Heavy metal would have never have of taken off if it wasn't for angry parents and the same goes for Dungeons & Dragons. The first rule of awesomeness is if it makes your parents uncomfortable, scared or upset, then it's probably awesome. Hence, D&D is awesome. The game received a huge boost in the public consciousness when it was deemed Satanic by uninformed parents in the 1970s and early '80s. Without that sense of taboo, many a nerdling would have never rolled a single dodecahedron. Look at the cover of the original Dungeon Master's Guide. It has a red, almost naked giant devil holding a blonde, almost naked warrior chick in his hand. The naked red devil also has a giant sword. That is pure heavy metal devil awesomeness.

What those parents (and the mainstream media, who never saw the game as anything more than an opportunity for sensationalist alarmism) were missing was the way in which Dungeons & Dragons brought people together and helped them develop important skills. Everyone talks about sports and the way in which they build character and develop socialization, but nobody ever gives D&D enough credit for uniting and educating the nerds of the world. To play D&D, you had to have an active imagination. You had to deal with math, creative writing, and the solving of complex puzzles and problems. You had to learn to work together in teams. And nothing got across the random nature of life and the need to be able to deal with hard knocks and disappointment better than one bad roll of the 20-sided die. Most importantly, everlasting friendships were forged over graph-paper maps, fold-out charts and reams of character sheets; all tools that gave many who might not otherwise have had the best communication skills a common language to speak and a way to relate to one another. When you met a fellow D&D player, you knew immediately that you stood on common ground. For a lot of kids (and, let's face it, no shortage of adults), the value of that kind of thing cannot be underestimated.

Of course, the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons isn't just emotional. Without Gary Gygax's contribution to mankind, we wouldn't have the video game RPGs of today, as the earliest examples of the form were directly inspired by pen-and-paper role-playing. No Mass Effect, no Final Fantasy, no World of Warcraft, no Everquest. There would be no Magic the Gathering. There would be no Shadowrun or Vampire: the Masquerade, no Ravenloft, no Rifts, no G.U.R.P.S.. Nerds worldwide might not have ever advanced past chess. The dude invented going up levels. He invented hit points, armor class and critical hits. All these concepts are born from Dungeons & Dragons and are cornerstones of modern gaming. From D&D came AD&D, the Monsters Manual and millions of hours of enjoyment for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Finally, I would never have had the opportunity to purchase a +5 Shirt of Invisibility or a coffee mug that reads "Potion of Greater Restoration."

Thank you, Gary Gygax. Without you, there would be no Gelatinous Cubes, Rust Monsters, Displacer Beasts, Lurkers Above, Mimics, Githyanki, Githzerai, Mind Flayers, Umber Hulks, Archons, Beholders, Drow, Owlbears, Gnolls, Kobolds, Jon Irenicus, Drizzt, Slaads, Black Puddings, Green Jellies, Warforged, Ankhegs, Liches, Water Weirds, Tiamt, Platinum Dragons, Tieflings, Assymars, Ogre Magi, Baatezu, Iron Golems, Winter Wolves, Psuedodragons, Elminster, Hook Horrors, Effreeti, Eyes of the Deep, Xvarts, Bone Nagas, Ice Giants, Stone Giants, Fire Giants, Cloud Giants, Hill Giants, all Giantkin not mentioned herein and Grells. No d20s, magic missiles, knock spells, saving throws or any of it.

I will now be observing a 1D4+6 moment of silence for the grandfather of modern geekiness.

Goodbye, Gary. Without you, Doctor Z. would not be the man I am today and I most likely would have probably gotten laid a whole lot more in high school.

Requiescat In Pace, Gary.