Category Archives: Printed Stuff

‘Iron Fist’ in Theaters? Hmm…

Marvel's first Disney-produced film: Iron Fist?

Iron Fist is one of those Marvel Comics characters nobody outside of the comic reading minority has heard of, and while I’m a big fan of comic book movies, I bet Marvel Studios and Disney’s proposed Iron Fist movie will be a tough sell.

The comics are about a guy named Danny Rand who is a martial arts expert with a magical power that gives him a big glowing fist.  It can be done on the big screen, but this could be a recipe for cheese ball disaster, or it could be a Kill Bill-style romp of awesomeness, but we’ll just have to see.  Hopefully Marvel has another Iron Man up its sleeve with this one.

My casting vote goes to this guy.

I’m not an expert on martial arts movies by any means, so I’m out of ideas as to who would be a good director for this project, but I do have a sort of out-of-left-field idea about who could play Rand: Mark Pellegrino of Dexter and Lost fame.

Sure, Pellegrino’s a bit old to play a character in his late twenties, but a few tweaks here and there could make it work, especially with his background in martial arts like Judo, Thai boxing, and Ju-Jitsu.  Plus, he’s got some range, as he was great as Rita’s abusive ex-husband on Dexter and he nailed the mysteriousness and on-and-off benevolence of a thousand-year-old demigod on Lost.

If the producers find a capable writer/director team and nail a lead like Pellegrino, this could actually turn out well.

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‘Y: The Last Man’: Why Not Let Vaughan Direct?

See? Vaughan's already working with one of his leads.

If you haven't read the series, do it now.

New Line, if you’re listening: let Brian K. Vaughan direct Y: The Last Man. For the last few years, rumors have abounded about Disturbia director D.J. Caruso directing the big screen adaptation of Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s extremely entertaining comic book series, about an amateur escape artist named Yorick (and his pet monkey, Ampersand) who survives a worldwide plague that kills off every creature with a Y chromosome, and after months of inactivity, Caruso is still “kind of loosely attached,” according to this interview with

I want to know why New Line, the studio that owns the rights to the series, doesn’t let series writer and up-and-coming screenwriter Vaughan take the directorial reigns of the movies himself.  Obviously, if you want to replicate the magic of the source material, you can’t do much better than hiring that material’s creator.  Vaughan’s already written the Y script himself, so he’s been involved at every step of the movie making process.

Besides, Hollywood seems to be fawning all over Vaughan for the past couple years, as he’s been black listed for his Merlin comedy, Roundtable, and has another script, The Vault, in development.  Plus, his work as a producer-writer-executive story editor on Lost in seasons three through five was stellar and produced some of the best episodes of the series, which vaulted from spinning-its-wheels purgatory to throttling-to-a-conclusion cool during his time working there.

That resume speaks for itself.  Vaughan’s worked his way up the ranks to be one of the top screenwriters in the business, and I think he deserves his shot at the director’s chair of the series that got him to this point.

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‘I Write Like…’: Awesome. You'll like it.

My girlfriend sent me a link to this website, I Write Like, which analyzes a few paragraphs of your writing, be it fiction, blog posts, or what have you, and lets you know which literary legend in whose shoes you’re now treading.

Of course, I have no idea if I actually write like James Joyce.  In fact, I’ve never read anything by Joyce, so it’s not like I can list him as an influence.

However, I will gladly take any ego boosts I can get.

If you, too, enjoy a good ego stroking, check out I Write Like and find out who you write like.

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Harvey Pekar, R.I.P.

Harvey Pekar, the legendary writer known for his long-running autobiographical comic book, American Splendor, died today aged 70.

Pekar's life's work, 'American Splendor.'

I can’t say I’ve read much by him but I have seen the 2003 American Splendor film, starring Paul Giamatti as Pekar, and I tremendously enjoyed it, particularly for the ending, which featured the real Pekar’s retirement party from his job as a file clerk in Cleveland, a town that can’t seem to stay away from getting shit on lately in regard to its pop culture stars.

Giamatti’s performance was phenomenal in that film, but the entire time I spent watching it, I got the feeling most of that performance was informed by the real Pekar every step of the way, with the crux of everything being the depiction of Pekar’s battle with cancer.

Pekar wrote candidly and at length about that health scare and got plenty of accolades for it. That brave depiction of his fight was very harrowing and he deserved all the recognition he got for it.

But enough from me.  I don’t know the man’s work as well as Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker does.  Read his very nice article about Mr. Pekar and go ahead and check out the book that inspired the movie, American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar.

And, as always, the final word should come from the man himself.  Here’s a nice clip of the ultimate fish out of water, Pekar, appearing on David Letterman’s NBC show back in the ’80s.

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Where Did It Come From?

What's the big deal? Enlighten me.

This week’s Entertainment Weekly cover is yet another in a long line of instances in which I’ve heard raves about this book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s getting made into a movie by director David Fincher (the threepeat of awesome that is Se7en, The Game, and Fight Club, among others) and all these big names–Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, etc.–keep popping up in the casting rumors, but I have no idea what this “phenomenon” is about.

Anyone who has read it, is it actually good?  Or is is poorly written trash like the other massively-popular-for-no-good-reason Twilight books?  Feel free to comment because something that draws the attention of Fincher, whose directorial style is atmospheric, stylish, and altogether amazing, is something I am plenty willing to check out.

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Rob’s Book Club: Summer Reading, Yes!

I love summer and everything that goes with it, like barbecues and baseball, but this summer I’m especially pumped because of all the reading I’m going to do.

No summer school means I have plenty of time to sit back and enjoy some books, and I’ve already finished two in the last week and a half.

My new favorite book.

The first one is kind of cheating as far as summer reading is concerned, as I’d been reading it throughout the last month of school, but it’s worth noting because it may have eclipsed Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as my favorite novel of all time.  Its name is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, written by Michael Chabon, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on the novel.

As a big fan of comic books since the time I began reading, this book, which chronicles the lives of two fictional Jewish Golden Age comics creators before, during, and after World War II, really struck a chord in me.  Chabon makes Joe Kavalier, a part-time escape artist who uses his skills to get out of Prague as the Nazis were interning his family, and his New York-born cousin Sammy Clay incredibly well-rounded characters, and you can feel their relationship grow stronger as the book, and their bourgeoning comics empire, led by their star creation, The Escapist, continues.

Chabon weaves tales of The Escapist into the narrative and it’s bursting with the classic flavor of vintage comics.  When that storytelling is mixed with the main tale of Joe’s attempts to bring his family to New York while falling in love with a woman named Rosa, and Sammy coming to terms with who he really is, it is an amazing book I cannot recommend enough.

After finishing Chabon’s novel, I hopped right into a completely different kind of story: I began the search for Stephen King’s Dark Tower, starting with part one, The Gunslinger. I figured that, since Lost is ending, I would read the sprawling Western-sci-fi-fantasy epic that (partially) inspired the show I’ve loved so much.

Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger.

The novel kicks off quite nicely, with a gunslinger (sort of an alternate world Arthurian knight, but with guns!), whose name is later revealed to be Roland, chasing an unnamed man in black across a desert.  The gunslinger enters a town recently visited by the man in black, and weird things happened, including a resurrection.  There’s gunfights and gore and it’s pretty action-packed, which is always a good thing.

After leaving the town, Roland meets a young boy named Jake, who he finds out is from our version of New York, and this is when the seeds are planted for the rest of the series to live up to its mind-bending promise.  The last section of the book, in which Roland briefly catches up to the man in black, is fascinating and well-written, spawning a fantastic dialogue between the two.

I plan on reading the rest of the series over the summer, interspersing plenty of other books in between.  Currently I’m reading both Crime & Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien.  Both are good at this early stage for completely different reasons, the former for its vast poetic language courtesy of a nineteenth century Russian wordsmith, and the latter for its trippy-yet-funny quasi-science fiction nature.

I have plenty of other books to read, but I’m wondering if anyone else has any suggestions to add to my stack for this summer and beyond.  Feel free to comment.

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Rob’s Book Club: Adventures In The Screen Trade (Originally published January 10, 2010)

If you are at all interested in filmmaking, whether you just appreciate it or want to participate in it, you should read Adventures In The Screen Trade by William Goldman.

Goldman is the screenwriter behind such movies as Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and All The President’s Men.  He’s also got a laid back, conversational style of prose writing that is both informative and very funny.  He gives in depth analyses of how to construct a solid screenplay and gives advice on how to deal with people in Hollywood.

Those are the helpful portions of the book.  The parts that read more like memoirs are both interesting and hilarious.  He gives firsthand accounts of the weirdness he’s endured over the years working in movies, such as an unnamed female star who wouldn’t come out of her trailer because she accidentally murdered her poodle with a giant pork chop, and a producer that bought the rights to a book only because he wanted an excuse to visit New Zealand.

There are some problems with the book.  The first being that it is pretty outdated.  It was published in 1982 and hasn’t been updated since.  Hollywood has changed a great deal since then, but the main principles of how to deal with crazy people remain intact.  Goldman also has a proclivity to gush about certain stars in particular (Robert Redford especially), mostly because they worked together on many projects.  It gives a somewhat isolated feel to the story, as if all of Hollywood is exactly like Goldman’s circle of friends/partners.

Even with these problems, it is very apparent that Mr. Goldman had a lot of fun working in the picture business.  That comes accross very strong and his helpful advice and funny anecdotes make me even more determined to get into the filmmaking business.  If you feel like I do, go ahead and pick up the book.

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