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Monday, February 20, 2012

Deadspin: The Making Of “Homer At The Bat”

How big was this episode:

On Feb. 20, 1992, more American homes tuned into The Simpsons than they did The Cosby Show or the Winter Olympics from Albertville, France. A foul-mouthed cartoon on a fourth-place network bested the Huxtables and the world’s best amateur athletes. Fox over NBC and CBS—its first-ever victory in prime time. New over old.

And how were the players who were on the show:

Showrunner Al Jean has said the players who committed were more than happy to do the show. Well, almost of all of them. “They were all really nice,” Jean said on the DVD commentary, “except for one whose name rhymes with Manseco.”

Mark S. is bored Posted: February 20, 2012 at 08:30 PM | 1075 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: television

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   201. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4066141)
One way of thinking of it is...how many action movies can you think of that are better than Die Hard 3?
   202. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4066145)
No one ever mentions soundtracks. am I the only one who gets off on those things? If so, studios could save a crapload of money by not pandering to...me.


I love soundtracks, but John Williams is more in the 'grudging respect' category for me. He's clearly brilliant, but it's just not for me.

Hans Zimmer has got a lot more depth than his reputation (though 'Gladiator' is a great, brassy soundtrack no matter what). 'The Thin Red Line' and 'A League Of Their Own' show quite a bit of range, and I think his 'Batman Begins' work is pretty classy, too.

James Horner appears to have lost it completely, but 'Field of Dreams', 'Star Trek II' and 'Sneakers' are an incredible peak in my book.

And the Daft Punk score for 'Tron: Legacy' must be a very good contender for "best score in worst movie".
   203. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4066147)
On a related note, does everyone also hate Revenge of the Sith? Attack of the Clones is almost unwatchable in a lot of spots, but I think Revenge of the Sith was better. I would go with something like:

ESB: ****
SW: ***1/2
RoTJ: ***
ROTS: **1/2
PM: **
AoTC: *
   204. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4066149)
You don't think learning about Obi-Wan's apprenticeship with Qui-Gon was the least bit interesting?


I didn't really learn anything about it, other than that he was an apprentice. What did you get out of it?

Or that Obi-Wan was so brash as an apprentice?


It didn't seem as much like Obi-Wan was brash as it did that Qui-Gon was under some kind of heavy sedation.

In the original trilogy, the action sequences supported the plot and character development whereas the plot only served to link action sequences together in the Phantom Menace.


That is, in essence, my biggest complaint about Phantom Menace. Just because a summer blockbuster needs to have lasers and explosions and stuff doesn't mean that there can't be interesting, believable reasons for all the lasers and explosions to happen. Without plot or character, effects are just a big ol' tech demo.
   205. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4066150)
On a related note, does everyone also hate Revenge of the Sith?


Yes, though not quite as much.
   206. UCCF Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4066153)
Note on Community: I did not like Remedial Chaos Theory. Go figure.

The thing that I liked: so many shows do the "alternate timeline" thing, and inevitably they do it the same way. People are very different in the alternate timeline, but during the 30 (or 60) minutes things slowly change within that world so that, by the end of the show, you can see that most everything will merge with things as they are in the real timeline. There's no effort made to consider how changing an event in the alternate timeline would change the person or the group - it's as if these characters have a single destiny with an incredibly strong gravitational pull, and no matter how hard you fling them away from it (into an alternate universe), they'll slowly get sucked back to where they should be. It provides a happy ending for the viewers, who can reaffirm their relationships with the characters unfettered by learning anything about them. (Grey's Anatomy just did this in a truly insipid hour of TV.)

Community took it to the extreme - 7 characters, 7 timelines, see what effect removing each one has on the others. In many cases the differences were subtle, but they showed real insight into the role that each person plays in the group. It was no mistake that the group fell apart the most when Troy was out of the room, or that they came together the most when Jeff was gone. To be able to pull all of that off in 23 minutes was just amazing. I think the only other show that's come close to doing an alternate timeline episode this well was Buffy in "The Wish" - take her out of Sunnydale, and things really were different, and they made no effort to reconcile to a happy ending at the end of the episode.

I've rewatched Remedial Chaos Theory a dozen times, and I feel like I see something new every time. It's like watching the bottle episode and finally noticing the monkey steal the pen.
   207. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4066154)
So would you say my ranking/ratings in #203 is too high?

I do see your point about Obi-Wan in the Phantom Menace. The more I think about it the less there is.
   208. UCCF Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4066155)
No one ever mentions soundtracks. am I the only one who gets off on those things? If so, studios could save a crapload of money by not pandering to...me.

Big fan - half of my iPod is filled with movie soundtracks. I like Jon Brion and Mark Mothersbaugh.
   209. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4066157)
But if you show me one like Basil Poledouris's soundtrack for "Conan the Barbarian"? Or some good Morricone? Yeah, I'm all over that.


Speaking of Poledouris, the Amazon-ordered soundtrack to 'Starship Troopers' has just arrived at home, according to my wife. Excellent. There's some great 2nd-hand bargains available for movie soundtracks on Amazon, it seems.

And The Phantom Menace was awful, largely because instead of telling a story in which you grow attached to the characters and therefore have emotional investment in them, it told a story in which the characters made stupid decisions and said stupid things, and therefore you felt no connection.

I mean - and this is one of the bits that I hear people defend in the movie - Darth Maul has just spent 10 minutes bouncing around platforms with two Jedi warriors, seeing them leap everywhere like Ricochet Rabbit, and then he turns his back on Obi-Wan because he's dangling over a drop, and is surprised when he leaps out of it? That's your big action finale? "Oh, you did the thing again that you've been doing for the last 10 minutes! I guess that means I'm dead now."
   210. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4066160)
One way of thinking of it is...how many action movies can you think of that are better than Die Hard 3?


Quite a few. That's why I picked it as a "middling" one.

Going exclusively from the curriculum vitae of Mr. Schwarzenegger (in chronological order):

Conan the Barbarian
The Terminator
Predator
Total Recall
Terminator 2
True Lies
   211. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4066161)
But if you show me one like Basil Poledouris's soundtrack for "Conan the Barbarian"? Or some good Morricone? Yeah, I'm all over that.


**** yeah!
   212. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4066165)
So you can actually see the monkey stealing the pen? Interesting.
   213. Karl from NY Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4066168)
I've argued before that Futurama had a higher peak than the Simpsons (no knock on either show, believe me), though I no longer watch either.

Futurama's peak is now, with the Comedy Central revival that started in 2010. (Not the chopped-up movies, the real seasons.)

Count me among those that didn't care for Futurama getting sentimental, "Jurassic Bark" and "Luck of the Fryrish". Futurama works better with amused detachment, not dwelling on the fact that Fry's original family lost a son.
   214. zenbitz Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4066169)
There are dozens of horrible kid movies produced every year that are worse than phantom menance. Compare it too "shark boy and lava girl" or even "how to train a dragon", and its certainly in their league. My son loved it when he was 5. The other star wars movies had "too much talking"

The problem with PM was simply that it was blasphemous.
   215. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4066171)
So you can actually see the monkey stealing the pen? Interesting.


Not only can you see Annie's Boobs steal the pen, but have 'Community'-watchers seen the Beetlejuice gag? It's a rare show that takes three seasons to set up a 2-second background joke, but it's kind of wonderful.
   216. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4066172)
So would you say my ranking/ratings in #203 is too high?


About right for Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, about one star too high for Revenge of the Sith. It wasn't literally the worst movie ever created, but it was pretty bad, and I have no real desire to ever see it again.

I mean - and this is one of the bits that I hear people defend in the movie - Darth Maul has just spent 10 minutes bouncing around platforms with two Jedi warriors, seeing them leap everywhere like Ricochet Rabbit, and then he turns his back on Obi-Wan because he's dangling over a drop, and is surprised when he leaps out of it? That's your big action finale? "Oh, you did the thing again that you've been doing for the last 10 minutes! I guess that means I'm dead now."


When I first saw that, I had two thoughts. The first was that Lucas was trying to draw some kind of bizarre parallel to the scene in A New Hope when Obi-Wan allows himself to be killed by Vader. The second was that maybe Darth Maul could regenerate, and that both halves could re-grow into a new Sith, giving him no reason to worry about bodily injury (with the double light saber maybe reinforcing that idea?). Because otherwise, what he did made no sense.
   217. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4066174)
I enjoyed large portions of ROTS. Cumulatively i think it's better than ROTJ, which is weighed down by, "Leia is Luke's sister", Han's emasculation, Ewoks, "Another Death Star?*"

While ROTS has amazing light saber fights, great soundtrack. I think the opera scene is one of the finest Sci-Fi scenes ever made (Yup, I said it.)

*Over time, it's fit into my minds narrative, but at the time my reaction was "(Groan) bigger and better hunh?".
   218. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4066177)
And re: Starship Troopers. We're a pretty smart bunch here, but it amazes me that people outside this forum Still. Don't. Get. It.
   219. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4066179)
#217

When I go back and watch RoTJ now, I cringe every time they mention the new Death Star. Was that really the best Lucas could do?
   220. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4066182)
I forgot to mention, Vader is badly emasculated in ROTJ also.....and someone might have told Luke that the Emperor can shoot ####### lighting out of his hands.
   221. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4066184)
So, basically what we're looking at is a 6 film series propped up by a really good movie and a masterpiece?
   222. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4066185)
That's a lot of masculinity getting blown out the airlock for one movie.

Does Wedge get to keep his manhood?
   223. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4066186)
Revenge of the Sith was all right, aside from Padme dying for no reason and the "NOOOOOOOo!". Other than that, pretty decent.
   224. BDC Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4066188)
Film scores are an overlooked and very subtle artform. I don't notice them very often, and am often not sure if it's a good thing when I do. The typewriter in Atonement was memorable, but was that because it was skillful, or corny? The most interesting score I can remember from a recent film was in The Social Network, and I was pleased to see it win an Oscar. That film was an example of everybody involved wanting to make the score integral to the feel of the movie, rather than just highlight the action in a by-the-numbers kind of way.
   225. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4066190)
So, basically what we're looking at is a 6 film series propped up by a really good movie and a masterpiece?

No, we're looking at a 3 film series followed by some unpleasantness that we all should just pretend didn't happen.
   226. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4066191)
The plot is nonsensical, the pace is uneven (and in general, glacially slow), the dialogue is awkward, the characters are two-dimensional cutouts punctuated by the occasional uncomfortable ethnic stereotype, the acting exists on a continuum stretching from "tepid" to "embarrassingly amateurish", and the big digital action set pieces are too confusing and crowded to easily follow.


The first four at least apply to the first three movies as well.
   227. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4066192)
Padme dying for no reason was also odd in that it finalized Anakin's transformation into Vader. He was so angry that he had lost control over his emotions and fraternized with Palpatine enough to endanger Padme that he decides the best way to express this anger is to completely align himself with Palpatine and the Dark Side. It doesn't make any sense at all. Padme dying would seem to be an event that would sway Anakin back in the direction of the Jedi. You know, like a metaphorical wake-up call. Maybe I'm looking at this in the wrong way.
   228. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4066197)
#225

RotJ ties the original trilogy together without really developing anything new. In fact, as several here have mentioned, it damaged the characters of the episodes IV and V. I don't really see how RotJ strengthens Star Wars' claim as a great series of movies.
   229. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4066201)
#225

RotJ ties the original trilogy together without really developing anything new. In fact, as several here have mentioned, it damaged the characters of the episodes IV and V. I don't really see how RotJ strengthens Star Wars' claim as a great series of movies.


It doesn't. It was mediocre at best, but there has to be some resolution after ESB.
   230. Eddo Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4066206)
Film scores are an overlooked and very subtle artform. I don't notice them very often, and am often not sure if it's a good thing when I do. The typewriter in Atonement was memorable, but was that because it was skillful, or corny? The most interesting score I can remember from a recent film was in The Social Network, and I was pleased to see it win an Oscar. That film was an example of everybody involved wanting to make the score integral to the feel of the movie, rather than just highlight the action in a by-the-numbers kind of way.

I would place the Brokeback Mountain score along with The Social Network's in the inner circle of movie scores.
   231. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4066209)
Wow, what a thread. Just to get you all caught up because I know you care very much what I think...

The Phantom Menace was an abortion. Terrible movie. Terrible!
Archer is awesome. Season 3 is uneven but the scene with Archer arguing with the ocelot kills me.
I like the Life and Times of Tim, but season 3 was pretty weak and I'm sure the series won't get a reprieve. It had it's moments, though.
The Simpsons really lost it when they decided to do a long montage set to a pop song in EVERY GODDAMMED ESPISODE. Blargh!
I watched the premier of Life's Too Short and was very unimpressed. However, I recommend watching it for the Liam Neeson attempts improvisational comedy scene. Best gag I've seen this year.
   232. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4066212)
Oh, and American Dad is definitely my favorite of the Sunday lineup followed by Bob's Burgers. Roger the Alien makes American Dad go.
   233. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4066213)
I watched the premier of Life's Too Short and was very unimpressed. However, I recommend watching it for the Liam Neeson attempts improvisational comedy scene. Best gag I've seen this year.

I was very disappointed in that show. It's 20 minutes of blah and then a funny scene at the end with Gervais/Merchant and a guest star (Neeson's was the best hands down). This is probably the first time Gervais has been accused of lack of ego, but he made the crucial mistake of making a show that he's not in enough.
   234. Gamingboy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4066214)

I'm curious whether there has ever been a cartoon series where the characters aged.


Not really a single "series", but the DCAU had some aging in it, although never inside a single series.



My summing up of Star Wars:
Phantom Menace: There are some good things in there- Darth Maul was cool, the final lightsaber fight was kind of fun, Liam Neeson is good anything and "Duel of the Fates" was and is one of the greatest things John Williams has ever done. But that doesn't make up for the fact that basically everything else in it is a steaming pile of crap. D+

Attack of the Clones: Better than PM, has some genuinely good moments and is more-or-less a entertaining movie (although not necessarily a good one). Would have been better if the Anakin/Padme storyline had been with even a slightest bit of competency (George Lucas can't do romance to save his effing life). C

Revenge of the Sith: The only prequel that can really stand with the originals. Is it cheesy and over the top at times? Yes. But at least it shows us the stuff we actually wanted to see in the prequels: namely, the true birth of Darth Vader and the fall of the Jedi. Solid B.

New Hope: Is there really anything that can be said about this that hasn't already been said? High-A (but not A+)

Empire Strikes Back: Better than New Hope. Not just one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, but one of the greatest films period. A+

Return of the Jedi: Despite the Ewoks, "Leia is your sister" and such, it's still a pretty good film, and probably the best way to tie up the original series as they could have done. Not great like NH and ESB, but pretty good. B+
   235. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4066216)
RotJ is just like RotS in that it has some pretty action scenes that you get to by fast forwarding through anything that involves dialogue. The biggest difference between the two is that you actually like the characters in RotJ and want to see them triumph. Whereas RotS is basically just an extended video game cut scene.
   236. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4066217)
I will sign up to gamingboy's newsletter
   237. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4066218)
#234

If you switch the grades on I & II, those are pretty much my feelings on the series as well.
   238. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4066219)
As far as comic strips go the comic strip For Better or For Worse had/have all of their characters aging.
   239. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4066220)
Yeah, I saw the the Beetlejuice gag. Didn't catch the previous sightings ('til later, online) which led up to it - but I got it at the time.

Futurama works better with amused detachment, not dwelling on the fact that Fry's original family lost a son.

I think it's good to remind the viewer of that every once in awhile, myself.
I've only seen two or three of the post-video episodes. They were okay - too small a sample to come to a strong conclusion, but enough to make me not go out of my way to add the show back.

It was no mistake that the group fell apart the most when Troy was out of the room, or that they came together the most when Jeff was gone.

Sure - but there wasn't much surprise there - it told me things I already knew about the characters (or were no big surprise, like Britta's drug use).
I'm not criticizing it, per se - I'm not even using a "different strokes for different folks" argument - but I didn't enjoy watching it, felt anxious/bored during it. Which was a little weird, I do like the ambition and I think they did a good job of what they were trying to do. It just didn't reasonate with me.
Go figure.
   240. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4066224)

It's hard to say enough terrible things about Phantom Menace. Stupid plot, laughably bad dialogue, racial stereotypes, it really has everything. They turned the force into a medical condition. And the worst sin of all, for a Star Wars movie, is that it's boring.

As someone who hasn't dabbled in the Star Wars expanded universe, I wish there was more material covering the events before the end of the Old Republic. I feel like there is such an opportunity to explore the backstories on characters like Qui-Gon Jinn and Yoda in addition to unmentioned (and yet-to-be-invented Sith-Jedi conflicts).

I agree that more information on the end of the Old Republic would have been interesting, but at this point that well is poisoned for me. At least the post-Jedi cannon is pretty good (at least, the stuff that came out 15-20 years ago). I also can't fathom how anyone would care about the backstory on Qui-Gon Jinn.

- I agree, but that's the danger with any prequel. You could argue we had figured out the plot of the prequels whenever people discovered they were going to focus on Anakin.

I was still surprised at how stupid the ultimate reveal was...Anakin turned to the Dark Side in order to save his wife from dying during childbirth?
   241. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4066225)
The first four at least apply to the first three movies as well.

I don't know about pacing...I can see maybe the trip to the Degoba system dragging in Empire Strikes Back but I don't see pacing as a problem in the originals.

And come on! The first three have some great lines.

"Boring conversation anyway. Luke we're gonna have company!"
"Aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?"
"Let the wookie win"
"Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder."
"Keep your distance Chewie but don't look like you're trying to keep your distance....I don't know, fly casual"

And many more that, while they may not be Oscar writing exactly, are eminently quotable.
   242. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4066226)
I think ROTJ ages well in that we fit the whole story in our head over time...Robot Chicken making some scenes iconic...etc..etc...

I should also mention that "Phineas and Ferb" is damn good. Maybe not to everyones taste since we're talking about Archer and Simpsons...but as a stay-at-home with kids dad, I go out of my way to watch the new episodes.
   243. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4066228)
Yeah, the episodes that got mentioned earlier I wasn't all that into. I respect and appreciate that they are trying to be unconventional but when they try to go hardcore meta they lose me a bit. Plus as someone else said the show has gotten darker and darker with the relationships as the series goes on which kills the comedy a good deal since yelling at each other is generally not funny and then required makeup at the end is generally not funny either. And I'll second the opinion that Chevy Chase brings virtually nothing to the show and was a poor choice for the "old guy" character. I think the character could have been amusing but Chevy failed at making the character so. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that that is why his character had less and less lines as the show went on.
   244. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4066232)
#240

I'm interested in stuff like Qui-Gon's backstory precisely to get the taste of the prequels' failings out of my mouth. There is surely a writer who can make those characters interesting in a different context and hopefully redeem some of what was lost in the prequels.
   245. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4066233)
And many more that, while they may not be Oscar writing exactly, are eminently quotable.


That's the single point I grant in a certain franchise vs another certain franchise debate. I could probably play part IV in my head, music and all...and I haven't even seen it that many times. 8? Maybe?
   246. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4066234)
I've been getting into Regular Show lately. It's ostensibly a kid's show, but there's some pretty weird stuff going on there that'd definitely be over the head of any kids watching.
   247. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4066235)
I was still surprised at how stupid the ultimate reveal was...Anakin turned to the Dark Side in order to save his wife from dying during childbirth?

The prequels were never a good idea. The great thing about Star Wars is it drops you right in the middle of the story. We don't need to know the specifics, in fact, knowing the specifics of Darth Vader just detracts from his mysterious power. Darth Vader is not the kind of character you want to know more about. You especially don't want to find out he's just a whiny douche with a viral infection.
   248. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4066236)
I've always said that the prequels should have had nothing to do with Darth or any of the characters from the original trilogy outside of the Emperor. It should have taken place 80 years before or something like that and they should have scrapped the whole good turning into evil character study thing. It should have been quite obvious to George that he can't do those kind of stories.
   249. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4066238)
The first four at least apply to the first three movies as well.


Not nearly to the same extent, no. Just to take one of those and look at it for a moment: "the characters are two-dimensional cutouts punctuated by the occasional uncomfortable ethnic stereotype".

The main characters of the first three films may not be hugely sophisticated, but they're plausible people with intuitive, comprehensible motivations that exist as a part of a coherent whole. They do things, and you never really have to stop and wonder why they're doing those things, because they're usually what an actual person would do in the same situation. And the aliens who are meant to be strange and exotic DON'T SPEAK HEAVILY ACCENTED ENGLISH. They make language-like nonsense sounds that either get subtitled (like Jabba the Hut) or get interpreted by third parties (like Chewbacca).
   250. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4066239)

I was still surprised at how stupid the ultimate reveal was...Anakin turned to the Dark Side in order to save his wife from dying during childbirth?


That's pretty simplistic. I hate the "newer" trilogy, but the one thing I do like is the rationale for Vader turning to the Dark Side. He wants ultimate control to save people he cares about from suffering - his mom, his wife. You could argue its a critique of fascist Communism. He's not evil for some lame reason like his dad beat him, or some cartoonish reason like he wants to hoard all the gold. I thought the trilogy actually did a fine job of setting up the turn to the Dark Side and exploring themes of freedom vs. security.

It failed at many, many, many other things.
   251. zonk Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4066241)
The Stonecutters song is just awesome. That's still probably my favorite episode. Patrick Stewart's seemingly serious character calling out, "Now let's all get drunk and play ping-pong!" cracks me up every time.


Yes, yes, a thousand times yes... I'm ashamed that as I sat here trying to think of Simpsons musical numbers on par with those already mentioned that this one did not immediately.

Who made Steve Guttenberg aaaa star? We do, we dooooo...

Clip shows generally suck - but the Simpsons musical numbers clip show is awesome -- even the backdrop...

"They're singing! They're singing, Marge! Why aren't they killing each other?.... Oh good, here comes Lee Marvin. Thank God. He's always drunk and violent."
   252. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4066244)
I also can't fathom how anyone would care about the backstory on Qui-Gon Jinn.


He's an outsider, he seems to have his own ideas that run contrary to the council. He swallows this prophecy stuff very quickly. He discovered Jedi Life After Death...whatever it's called.

Would have gone a long way also to make us actually give a #### about Anakin. When will franchises learn...We don't want to see our heroes* or villianous badasses emascualted or beat-up. If Anakin turns to the dark-side it should be on his terms, not kneeling to Darth Candleface. That would make his fall that much more poignant. Christ...it's amazing how some films can be vastly improved by the slightest of tweeks.

*See Captain Archer or the NX-Enterprise. Kirk is a badass cause he's a great tactician and hand-to-hand fighter. We don't want to see our heroes get beat up. At least they got that with Sisko who usually didn't lose unless vastly outnumbered.
   253. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4066245)
I really agree with McCoy/#248. That would have given the prequel trilogy a much greater chance at success.
   254. zenbitz Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4066246)
One of the only soundtracks that I actually really NOTICED (in an enhancing way) was 28 Days Later.
   255. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4066262)
Hans Zimmer has got a lot more depth than his reputation


Did you know he played keyboards on "Video Killed the Radio Star"? He's even in the video!
   256. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4066264)
Would have gone a long way also to make us actually give a #### about Anakin. When will franchises learn...We don't want to see our heroes* or villianous badasses emascualted or beat-up.

I seem to recall this complaint being made about John Locke in Lost*, though I think in that case it was actually really effective.

*Depends what you mean by "emasculated" of course.

   257. Squash Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4066267)
I'd like to nominate the episode of Cowboy Bebop where Radical Edward and Ein leave to be with Ed's father for Heartbreaking Moments in Adult Cartoons.

Really the whole end of the series is pretty deep and jarring.


The episode where they find the old Beta tape from Faye's past is pretty great. There are a lot of great moments in that series. One of the very few shows out there that was truly too short.

I do find it a little funny that everyone's searching for (and finding) complexity and depth in It's Always Sunny. A great, great show, but huh?
   258. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4066268)
When will franchises learn...We don't want to see our heroes* or villianous badasses emascualted or beat-up.


It can work if it's done correctly (look at young Conan being beaten and enslaved at the start of Conan the Barbarian, for example, or Han Solo being frozen in carbonite at the end of Empire Strikes Back), but it's definitely a tough trick to pull off.
   259. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4066270)
*Depends what you mean by "emasculated" of course.


I've only ever seen one decent script with a literal emasculation in it: Walon Green's one for "Crusade", which has been stuck in development hell for ages upon ages.
   260. Squash Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4066272)
No, we're looking at a 3 film series followed by some unpleasantness that we all should just pretend didn't happen.

I'm with Snapper. The first three were good. The second three were horrible. It seems like we should all know this.
   261. Kyle S at work Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4066275)
I thought the scores to 'Drive' and 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' were both excellent this year. Of course, neither received an Oscar nom, while John Williams got two for doing what he always does.
   262. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4066278)
And the aliens who are meant to be strange and exotic DON'T SPEAK HEAVILY ACCENTED ENGLISH.


C-3PO?
   263. Gamingboy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4066286)
See Captain Archer or the NX-Enterprise. Kirk is a badass cause he's a great tactician and hand-to-hand fighter. We don't want to see our heroes get beat up.


Although, to be fair, Kirk did have lots of tribbles fall on his head and was routinely humiliated by god-like entities (who he usually would beat up at the end of the episode as punishment).
   264. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4066296)
As far as comic strips go the comic strip For Better or For Worse had/have all of their characters aging.

Likewise Doonesbury, at least the second incarnation.

Movie soundtracks, or scores?
Scores: kind of Bernard Herrmann, then everyone else.
Williams tends to sound distractingly like Holst. What would a Williams fan recommend as Williams' least Holst-tastic score?

Soundtracks: this is something Spike Lee does really well. Both the original music and the borrowed music tend to be well-chosen, interesting without being distracting. I like that he's as willing to use original music (often by his father, the composer Bill Lee) as Gershwin or 70's R&B - whatever works, works.

EDIT: add one, drop one.
   265. Lassus Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4066302)
I thought the scores to 'Drive' and 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' were both excellent this year. Of course, neither received an Oscar nom, while John Williams got two for doing what he always does.

I was shocked at how absolutely unremarkable I found Drive.


The Prequels were are never a good idea.

Ever.
   266. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4066303)
When will franchises learn...We don't want to see our heroes* or villianous badasses emascualted or beat-up.

Indiana Jones spends the first movie of the series getting the crap kicked out of him by everything, including the furniture. And then griping about how everything hurts.
Not to mention, after one point (SPOILER ALERT) he has apparently died of drowning, so everything we see after that is I guess his last thoughts or whatever.
   267. jyjjy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4066304)
With a thread this long about animation I'm surprised no one has mentioned Adventure Time. It's quite unique and often pretty special IMO.
   268. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4066307)
Not to mention, after one point (SPOILER ALERT) he has apparently died of drowning,


Ooh that has always bugged me.
   269. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4066308)
Does Titan: Maximum count as an animated show? Because I loved that.
   270. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4066315)
While we're on animation, what did people think of "The Adventures of Tintin" movie? I thought the scenery and backdrops were amazing.
   271. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4066316)
Prequels are never a good idea.

Ever.


Godfather II?
   272. Lassus Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4066319)
Ever.

I am, however, prepared to revise my opinion, briefly, if Prometheus doesn't suck.


Godfather II?

I wouldn't count that as a prequel. Sequel with backstory/flashbacks.
   273. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4066321)
Godfather II?

I wouldn't count that as a prequel. Sequel with backstory/flashbacks.


Yeah, but the flashbacks/DeNiro mad the movie.

I thought the sequel parts were incoherent. The move to Nevada/going legit, etc. never made any damn sense.
   274. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4066335)
C-3PO?


He's a robot, not an alien. And if he sounds British, it's because the actor who voiced him is from England.
   275. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4066341)
Prequels are never a good idea.

The thing about Star Wars is that George could have done all the exact same themes and storylines that he used in the prequels and instead put them in new sequels and if anything it would be more relevant with the times.

A rebellion that overthrows an evil empire but then must figure out a way to move forward and ward against encroaching evil through corruption and power grabs.
   276. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4066348)
I would've kind of enjoyed seeing Luke and Leia and Han corrupted by power, and overthrown in turn by a rebellion that rose up against them.

Or maybe their kids/grandkids, if not them.
   277. Booey Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4066354)
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes... I'm ashamed that as I sat here trying to think of Simpsons musical numbers on par with those already mentioned that this one did not immediately.

Who made Steve Guttenberg aaaa star? We do, we dooooo...


That episode also had the best ever line for dealing with the rejection of not being allowed into a group or function: "Oh, why won't those stupid idiots let me in their crappy club for jerks?!!"

Different episode, but I think Homers line describing the team they just beat in the Pin Pals episode should become the universally accepted new way of referring to a cellar dwelling team when he calls them "The suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked!"

Awesome.
   278. Swedish Chef Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4066357)
It came out today that the faster-than-light neutrino measurement was caused by insufficiently tightened connection between a fiberoptic cable and a computer, so if you want to go to the stars, Einstein still is the last word.
   279. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4066364)

Different episode, but I think Homers line describing the team they just beat in the Pin Pals episode should become the universally accepted new way of referring to a cellar dwelling team when he calls them "The suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked!"


That was another team he was describing in front of his damn wiener kids after Marge chastized him for cursing. I believe it was someone's handle on here for awhile, and I know it has been used to describe several bad teams.


The thing about Star Wars is that George could have done all the exact same themes and storylines that he used in the prequels and instead put them in new sequels and if anything it would be more relevant with the times.

A rebellion that overthrows an evil empire but then must figure out a way to move forward and ward against encroaching evil through corruption and power grabs.


Agree. I do think prequels when done well can be quite entertaining as a backstory and less of a gimmick.
   280. Gamingboy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4066374)
Prequels. I was going to write something about "good" prequels, but I'm busy right now. Later.
   281. Lassus Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4066375)
It came out today that the faster-than-light neutrino measurement was caused by insufficiently tightened connection between a fiberoptic cable and a computer, so if you want to go to the stars, Einstein still is the last word.

MOTHERFUKKING SONSOFBITCHES

Prequels. I was going to write something about "good" prequels, but I'm busy right now. Later.

Bring it.
   282. Red Menace Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4066381)
Re: emotion stirring Futurama episodes

Jurassic Bark never did it for me. Yes, it's heartbreaking and hard to rewatch, but I feel it's unearned. I have a hard time accepting the anthropomorphizing of animals (I wasn't crying at War Horse for this same reason). The idea of a dog waiting its entire life for its lost owner to return is wrenching, but dogs just don't do that.

Luck of the Fryish really pulls the ol' heartstrings though.

   283. Morty Causa Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4066382)
That's not the way to create a fairy tale, though.
   284. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4066383)
The idea of a dog waiting its entire life for its lost owner to return is wrenching, but dogs just don't do that.


Hachiko.
   285. zenbitz Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4066385)
The latest (Norwegian!) "The Thing" is a rare prequel-remake-homage. I thought it was pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty dang good.
   286. zenbitz Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4066389)
It came out today that the faster-than-light neutrino measurement was caused by insufficiently tightened connection between a fiberoptic cable and a computer, so if you want to go to the stars, Einstein still is the last word.


The googles are mum on this as of 12:45 PST
   287. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4066390)
The idea of a dog waiting its entire life for its lost owner to return is wrenching, but dogs just don't do that.


Yes, they do.
   288. Swedish Chef Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4066392)
The googles are mum on this as of 12:45 PST

Yeah, but I'm faster than a speeding neutrino, Google has no chance.

Here it is.
   289. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4066398)
I think Pavlov would have something to say about that.
   290. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4066426)
It came out today that the faster-than-light neutrino measurement was caused by insufficiently tightened connection between a fiberoptic cable and a computer, so if you want to go to the stars, Einstein still is the last word.


That's.... anticlimactic.
   291. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4066436)
It came out today that the faster-than-light neutrino measurement was caused by insufficiently tightened connection between a fiberoptic cable and a computer, so if you want to go to the stars, Einstein still is the last word.


You're going to have nothing but false starts and disappointment until we discover dilithium crystals. Just live with it.
   292. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4066438)
Hans Zimmer has got a lot more depth than his reputation (though 'Gladiator' is a great, brassy soundtrack no matter what). 'The Thin Red Line' and 'A League Of Their Own' show quite a bit of range, and I think his 'Batman Begins' work is pretty classy, too.

I'm still convinced that the soundtrack for "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" is among the greatest soundtracks for a movie that I've seen.
   293. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4066464)
   294. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4066477)
Can't forget this Simpsons musical moment.


That's the opening gag to my favorite episode, where Bart sells his soul to Milhouse. The secondary plot was Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag which carried its own weight with ease. "Ow, my freaking ears!"

The best part of this opening number is watching the congregation get progressively more disheveled. Poor Mrs. Feesh.
   295. Daunte Vicknabbit! Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4066481)
Isn't "The Hobbit" a pretty awesome prequel? Or was it written before LotR?

We need more discussion of how amazing Boondocks season one is. Pilot episodes are often throwaway, more a teaser than actual meat and potatoes, but the first episode of season one starts with a bang and never stops. The show is full of actually insightful social commentary (read: not South Park) and is even decent at the sentimental stuff (I really love the S1 finale, and the episode where Robert forgives his ####### war buddy).
   296. Zach Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4066485)
Would have gone a long way also to make us actually give a #### about Anakin. When will fran,chises learn...We don't want to see our heroes* or villianous badasses emascualted or beat-up.

I seem to recall this complaint being made about John Locke in Lost*, though I think in that case it was actually really effective.

It's an interesing point. I think part of what made it so effective was that most of the emasculation occurred in flashbacks. It added a lot of depth to the character because it gave an emotional foundation for why Locke is such a true believer in the island and all it represents. And of course, Terry O'Quinn is fantastic at playing a tormented character.

I think the key to Locke's character is that life on the island seems much more real to him than life outside ever did. He has a strong feeling of destiny, but life outside the island is a constant stream of humiliation. Then he wakes up on the island and everything makes sense.
   297. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4066487)
Hobbit came first, originally as a story for his kids as I recall. It was later "discovered" by a publishing company and sold commercially followed by the Lord of the Rings several years later.
   298. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4066488)
We need more discussion of how amazing Boondocks season one is. Pilot episodes are often throwaway, more a teaser than actual meat and potatoes, but the first episode of season one starts with a bang and never stops.


I thought the pilot was the worst episode of the season, but it did its job of introducing the Wunclers, who were not, IIRC, in the comic strip. For comparison, the second episode was "The Trial of R. Kelly" which was about a zillion times better. The episode after that introduced A Pimp Named Slickback.

I really love the S1 finale, and the episode where Robert forgives his ####### war buddy


Robert was just jealous that he couldn't live up to the standard of the man known as "Moe #######."
   299. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4066490)
If they let *ME* do the prequel to Star Trek 11, it'd be amazing...of course I'd chop out all the silly bits like telepathiclly contacting his borg-enhanced ship.
   300. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4066495)
It's an interesing point. I think part of what made it so effective was that most of the emasculation occurred in flashbacks. It added a lot of depth to the character because it gave an emotional foundation for why Locke is such a true believer in the island and all it represents. And of course, Terry O'Quinn is fantastic at playing a tormented character.

I think the key to Locke's character is that life on the island seems much more real to him than life outside ever did. He has a strong feeling of destiny, but life outside the island is a constant stream of humiliation. Then he wakes up on the island and everything makes sense.

I do think Locke is one of the most interesting characters in the show for exactly that reason. The island him and the "reality" him are totally different people, though one naturally flows from the other.

If I recall correctly the imasculation complaint was directed at Locke's loss of faith while on the island (culminating in him crying after Eko had unceremoniously booted him out of the hatch). But I think it's entirely in character for him for the exact reasons you lay out. For all his island bad assery self-doubt and weakness are always within Locke, and I think ultimately play a role in his demise.

EDIT: In other words...a clumsy repitition of your post. I forget now why I thought that was a worthwhile response.
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