Tag Archives: x-men

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Logan, Kong, and the Beasts of March

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Traditionally, March goes in like a lion and out like a lamb, but this year it’s been pretty beastly the whole way through, with Hugh Jackman’s feral superhero Wolverine taking a last stand in Logan, a sorta-live-action retelling of Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast, and the King himself, Kong, returning for Kong: Skull Island. The SportsAlcohol.com crew saw all three of March’s beast-driven blockbusters and got together for a wide-ranging conversation about these animals and their respective franchises. Nathaniel, Marisa, Jesse, and Rob discuss the X-Men movies, the long history of Kong movies (see also: our Kongtent), and the Disney industrial remake complex, and a whole lot of nerdy more.

How To Listen

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The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Star Wars, Rogue One, and the Forever Franchise

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Just as TV shows don’t really end anymore, the new platonic ideal for a movie series, at least for some fans and/or execs, is one that keeps going indefinitely, with no end designed or in sight. That’s what seems to have happened to the Star Wars series following its 2012 sale to the Walt Disney Company, resulting in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first Star Wars movie without an “episode” designation. Naturally, Rob and Sabrina and Nathaniel and Marisa and Jesse went to see it and naturally we all had some opinions.

Our second Star Wars podcast, then, examines Rogue One and our thoughts on it, along with how it fits into this new mass-media landscape of franchises that just don’t know when to quit. Glory to our thoughts on Rogue One as a prequel, the uncanny valley, our internal squabbling over the status of the various Extended Universes, and our many impromptu pitches for further Star Wars spinoffs, and that’s before we even get to talking about the Fox X-Men movies and the DCEU. It’s all very nerdy and spoilery and you’re gonna love it.

How To Listen

We are now up to SIX (6) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

Falkor, Longshot, and Teela Brown: A Meditation on Luck

Michael

Michael

Michael likes The Fountain and does not like Pay It Forward. If you meet him in person, he will let you know about it.
Michael

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Americans, at least some of us, have trouble with the idea of luck. John Chait once observed that “the argument that getting rich often entails a great deal of luck tends to drive conservatives to apoplexy.” Maybe this is because theodicy undergirds much of our society, or maybe because luck is a confusing and even possibly disturbing concept. After all, what is luck but a nametag-friendly moniker for that dark spirit: chance? Or, worse: random chance. Hence the derision in Obi-Wan’s sneering: “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck,” the word itself spat out from the wise beard of a man who knows how things work. Then again, Obi-Wan can deflect lasers with his lightsaber and also live, albeit with diminished opacity, beyond death.
Continue reading Falkor, Longshot, and Teela Brown: A Meditation on Luck

Let’s Talk about X[-Men: Days of Future Past], Baby

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

So: X-Men Days of Future Past came out. It got some good reviews and made some good money and generally re-affirmed the X-Men as a big franchise for Fox that nonetheless doesn’t have quite the same cross-demographic appeal as an Iron Man or Batman movie (it may, however, become the first X-Men movie to outgross a Spider-Man movie — then again, X-Men: The Last Stand may retroactively gain that title against Amazing Spider-Man 2, too).

In an ideal world, we’d have a post-movie podcast for you, but 2/5 of the SportsAlcohol.com founding editors have been afflicted with a variety of maladies over the past two weeks, and that’s not counting whatever other diseases may be circulating our upstate offices. Our healing factor is decidedly unWolverinelike and I can’t really hear out of my left ear at the moment so any podcast would be like forty percent me going WHAT?! (though if we had done a podcast after X-Men: The Last Stand, that number would have been more like 78%, for different reasons).

What we can offer is a little X-Men discussion forum, so please, by all means, respond to the prompts below or just talk about your unrelated X-Men experience. Spoilers likely abound.

Stray Comments:

–While the movies insist on making Wolverine a major character in most of their stories, this may be the first X-Men movie to really use Wolverine as part of the X-team and without working in his personal issues or feelings of ambiguity toward the idea of X-Men into the center of the story (though his personal issues do loom in the background).

–I think it’s probably safe to say the “Singer is OK but he can’t really direct action” stuff should be put to bed considering the portal-hopping sequence and the Quicksilver sequence. I would have been fine with putting it to bed after X2; on the other hand, I’m sure this will somehow be a chief objection to X-Men: Apocalypse in two years, assuming he gets to make that movie.

–It’s easy to imagine a version of this series that turns Xavier/Charles/Mystique into a Bad YA-style love triangle, so extra props for that being dramatically fertile material both here and in First Class.

–I’ve heard lots of talk of how this movie actually makes the credits stinger from The Wolverine make zero sense, but after talking it out, actually, I think it totally makes sense. When we join the future X-Men in DOFP, Wolverine is fully committed to fighting with them against the Sentinels. So when he’s approached by Professor X and Magneto two years after the events of The Wolverine, they’re recruiting him when the Sentinels are starting to become a threat. This does not explain how Xavier got his body back from where we left him post-credits in X-Men: The Last Stand, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m not saying there aren’t continuity hiccups here and there, but I think the Wolverine thing is actually solid.

Stray Questions:

–Is McAvoy now officially your favorite Professor X? Much love to Patrick Stewart, who I’m pretty sure was the original (and only?) oft-fan-cast actor to actually work out, but McAvoy does a lot of the heavy lifting in this new movie, acting-wise.

–Quicksilver: Everyone’s new favorite X-Man? I never read any comics with him. What’s he like in them and how might he be different in The Avengers 2, which somehow also has the rights to use him?

–By actually doing a time-travel story that changes whether previous movies have happened or not, did the X-Men series actually and possibly accidentally become the most comics-faithful movie series ever?

–Who do you want to see on the team in X-Men: Apocalypse? And what will be credit-teased in that movie? X-Men Origins: Gambit?

–There are now seven X-Men movies. Rank ’em out!

Why the X-Men Movies Are Better than the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

When Bryan Singer’s X-Men was released on July 14, 2000, it was the first big superhero movie of that summer. It was also the first big superhero movie of the year. It was also the first big superhero movie since Mystery Men, a superhero spoof based on a comic book hardly anyone had heard of, flopped a year earlier. The last superhero/comics movie to hit before X-Men was the first Blade movie in 1998. The summer before that, the major superhero movies were Batman & Robin, Spawn, and Steel, starring Shaquille O’Neal.

X-Men‘s unexpected status as the most financially successful superhero movie that did not feature Batman or Superman emboldened movie studios to produce additional superhero movies, no longer mortally afraid that they were making the next Steel. Likewise, the fact that X-Men took the X-Men seriously encouraged audiences to attend superhero movies, no longer mortally afraid that they would wind up seeing a movie starring Shaquille O’Neal or Spawn. Spider-Man followed in 2002, hitting even bigger; Daredevil, Hulk, Fantastic Four, a new Batman series, some more Superman, and two even bigger X-Men movies followed — all before Iron Man re-kickstarted the genre by establishing Marvel Studios in 2008.

I begin by establishing the lineage of Singer’s X-Men because given the deluge that followed, for a lot of people, that’s what it represents: the laying of respectable groundwork for what followed. To be sure, the series as a whole has its fans, and probably some of those fans think back fondly on the first movie. But with its middling special effects, abbreviated running time, lack of massive spectacle, and reputation as a movie exceeded both by its immediate sequel and many superhero adventures that followed, I think it’s safe to say that most fans of comic book movies would place that first movie (and likely most if not all of its sequels) somewhere below The Avengers, the Captain Americas, at least two of the Iron Mans, and one or two Thors, and maybe somewhere above Spider-Man 3, Elektra, or the various attempts to start a Hulk franchise on the Marvel Movie Continuum.

I think it’s also safe to say most fans of comic book movies are incorrect.

The subject of the most ardent fan and even critical approval these days — among movies based on Marvel Comics — are the ones that come directly from Marvel Studios. Here I should note that I like all of those movies, with the possible exception of The Incredible Hulk, which I would have a stronger opinion about if I could remember at all. I would even venture to say that I like Iron Man 2 far more than anyone you know, and that I was on board with Captain America even before Winter Soldier. But when The Avengers, a movie that very nearly made my Ten Best list for 2012, came out, one of my main thoughts about it was: Finally! A Marvel Studios movie that I like nearly as much as the best X-Men and Spider-Man movies!

Let me explain.
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What the X-Men Movies Get Wrong About Westchester

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

I grew up in Westchester County.  I still work there, and my family still lives there. I know Westchester.

So, while Queens has Spider-Man, Metropolis has Superman, and Gotham has Batman—though the nickname “Gotham” was given to New York City by Washington Irving, a writer who lived in Westchester—Westchester has the X-Men. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the X-Men HQ, is said to be in “Salem Center,” a fictional hamlet in North Salem, a real town in northern Westchester County.

Out in the suburbs, we support our superhero team. I remember seeing X-Men with an excited crowd on opening night, in a theater that’s now a fancy Alamo Drafthouse. (Back then, it was a dinky UA/Regal.) When they mentioned that Xaviar’s school was in Westchester, the theater broke out into applause.

And yet, none of the X-Men movies have, to my expert opinion, really captured the spirit of living out in Westchester. Here’s why.

Continue reading What the X-Men Movies Get Wrong About Westchester