Three-feet thick

I really need to do something with Summing Up‘s theme. It bothers me. It’s been a nightmare so far. Possibly because I decided to start blogging on it again so soon before I did. I still remember when it was fun to set up a blog for anything. The ease of it, which still seems to be part of the narrative based on SquareSpace ads. But I really don’t enjoy it anymore. I’m used to how The Stop Button looks. It does what I want it to do. Comics Fondle is more complicated; I’ve never really known how I wanted it to look.

Summing Up I can’t even remember if I cared when I set it up initially. The thrill was long gone. Some of that lack of thrill is WordPress.com, which makes blogging a lot less geeky and a lot less difficult.

Comics Fondle is overdue for a change of some kind and I think I’m going to get around to thinking about it with the Love and Rockets retrospect ending this week. Drastic content change as well–no more single issues but runs or limited series discussed en masse. It was something I did when I started comics blogging and fell off once comics blogging got more standardized, right before it collapsed with the rest of blogging. I’ve always had a problem writing about… multi-sitting reads. And watches, actually. I’ve never had the impulse to sit and write about a binged TV season. But thanks in no small part to the Rockets retrospect, I think I’ve figured out a decent enough system. I kind of want to do an Alan Moore Swamp Thing readthrough the way I did L&R but not soon. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to write about Love and Rockets later. Like, I want to examine pieces of it.

Issue 50 being a bit of a stinker doesn’t help things. But whatever.

For Stop Button, I just got the idea of doing a “Year in Review.” I’ve done a best movies I watched last year post before and whatnot but nothing regular or annual. But I’ve got an actual essay coming up in a month on Stop Button so maybe try for one non-review post a month. The only problem is the topic for March. If I do a flashback year in review–like, once again going back to 2005–I don’t know… it seems like filler. But who knows. It might be nice to get it done with once and for all. And the stupid blog is old enough I’d have over a year’s worth of posts.

The Sum Up posts were supposed to do the same thing–longer form movie blogging–but the Godzilla drained the enthusiasm so much I shelved the Halloween one. I don’t care enough.

Yes, it’s because H40 sucked. If it had been great, I’d have been gung ho.


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If it’s not asking too much

Back in the days of pretending media piracy on the Internet wasn’t really piracy so much as… what the Internet was meant to do, I came across the Jon Brion-produced version of Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine. I had no idea what I’d gotten, because I was trying to get the two Beatles covers Apple did for the Pleasantville soundtrack. Because I am a sucker for cover versions. Started when I was a kid with Fine Young Cannibals covering “Suspicious Minds,” though probably earlier because, well, movie soundtracks. Nineties was really big on cover versions for movie soundtracks, even in the early nineties (right? I’m not checking).

And, of course, late eighties had, you know, Tiffany doing covers.

And there are differences between single song covers and tribute albums and so on. Leonard Cohen, for example, gets a lot of covers. So many it hasn’t even been a vague interest of mine. Other than some Vimeo-based web series with Greg Dulli doing a cover being taken down since Cohen’s death. But only then because I was sorting music files and trying to figure out where it had come from.

Around the same time I was cleaning up some other files, like the Twilight Zone: The Movie soundtrack and remembered that pop song from Jennifer Warnes (the auto-tagger didn’t put her name on it, instead just Jerry Goldsmith’s). I ended up on her wikipedia page and found out she did a Leonard Cohen cover album, Famous Blue Raincoat, with Cohen’s blessing and participation. She’d done some backup vocals for him on his own albums.

Original cover art

I just got around to listening to it today.

It’s out in a twentieth anniversary edition with four extra tracks (available streaming). So thirteen tracks total, twelve songs.

I’ve made it through one and a half of the songs. The first track, “First We Take Manhattan,” is so astoundingly bad I had to stop it to think about who I was going to share this terrible discovery with (lucky coworker). But I went through the entire cover of “Bird on a Wire” and apparently the entire album is Leonard Cohen songs done as inspirational movie songs from the eighties, complete with saxophones and Warnes going “mmmmmm” a lot. It’s Leonard Cohen… from the singer of the “Growing Pains” theme song. And it shows. Well, hears.

I’m not sure I recommend anyone listen to this… music unless it’s to tease someone near and dear. So near and dear this person won’t punch you for making them listen to it.

The eighties was a very, very, very dark time for music. The seventies was too. Every decade has its forgotten travesties no doubt, but this one… wow.

And Cohen signed off on it.

I’m honestly wondering if that ScarJo Tom Waits cover album can be much worse.


De facto

I’m really excited for the new Spider-Man movie. Homecoming was just about everything a Spider-Man movie ought to be, I assume the next one will be the same. Kevin Feige, bald cappy who needed to add P.G.A. behind his name on credits to feel special, he gets it. Because there’s only so good a Spider-Man movie can be. It only has so much potential. The character, I mean. Like, there are maybe two good Spider-Man stories. One is “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” The other one is… what, Gwen Stacey? They’re decades old. And Gwen Stacey was six or seven years into the character’s run. And I’ve never actually read it. So maybe it’s crap and everyone loves it with nostalgia glasses.

Marvel movies have, for the most part, stopped disappointing because they’ve gotten to be exactly what they need to be–Disney for teenage boys. Disney Princes if you would. And Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is a fantastic Disney Prince.

The original Superman and Batman movies spoiled the superhero genre to some degree. The first Superman was too good–then Chris Reeve was too good in the sequels, as well as the rest of the cast (mostly)–while it took Burton until Returns to really fulfill the artistic potential of what he’d implied in the first Batman. Superman makes sense for a grand epic thing. It’d be nice if Captain America could do the same but in hindsight, it probably can’t. Thor can’t. The DC movies all have this grandiosity which they don’t deserve, whereas the Marvel movies avoid it entirely (it’s a damn shame in some cases, Ed Norton’s Hulk deserved better). It’s always been easier to ascribe actual greatness to DC (Comics) while dismissing Marvel as entertainment fodder.

It’s entirely possible there will someday be a great Marvel movie. There won’t be a great DC movie. I was wrong back in 2005; David S. Goyer was DC’s last, best hope. Though at least Zack Snyder would’ve kept the failures interesting. And the first half of the extended Batman/Superman is almost a great Lois and Clark movie. It’s at least a good one.

tl;dr? I’m excited for Spider-Man: Far From Home.

And apparently this post is going to qualify for my daily writing.