Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is something of a miracle.
Ostensibly a remake of J. Lee Thompson’s Battles For the Planet of the Apes(the fifth film in the original series), Matt Reeves’ refashioning of that picture is nothing less than a stirring marvel of a movie, brimming with emotion and style in equal measure. Daring in ways many modern big budget franchise films would never dare, Dawn is the result of putting cinema and character first, a rarity in an age where commitment to brand is usually priority number one for studios when expanding upon previous summer cash cows. But beyond showcasing Reeves as being one of the most exciting directorial talents in mainstream American filmmaking, the second installment in this new series of Apes films yet again proves that Andy Serkis is a God working amongst mere mortals, pushing the craft of performance capture acting into uncharted qualitative territories. In short, it’s the movie of the summer and will easily end up being one of 2014′s best. (more…)
The tag line for Game of Thrones’ fourth season doesn’t read like a warning so much as it does a maxim of inevitability. Last season saw the end of Robb Stark, along with his mother, Catelyn, his wife, Talisa, and an army of Stark banner-men, as they were slaughtered by Walder Frey and Roose Bolton (with a nice tactical assist from the Lannisters) at the now infamous “Red Wedding” (the second event, after the beheading of Ned Stark, that launched a thousand hilarious YouTube “reaction videos”). The Stark rebellion has been crushed, it seems, and there are no more imminent threats to the Iron Throne (unless you count that pesky “Mother of Dragons”, who still needs to cross a vast ocean in order to make a serious play). For once, the characters in the show (as well as the folks who root for them from their couches) can finally sit back and relax — nobody’s going to die anytime soon, it seems. The Lannisters are all in King’s Landing, settling into their domestic roles and midlife crises as their sneering boy king plans for his wedding.
But all men must die. And all peace, as well as the comfort that goes along with it, is only temporary.
The best thing about Captain America is that he’s a human being, protected by nothing more than a thin layer of spandex. Where Bruce Banner turns into the impenetrable beast that is the Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark is shielded by his iron suit and Thor is an otherworldly god here on Earth, Steve Rogers is just a man, driven by a relentless need to serve and protect his country. This simple fact is what ultimately helps The Winter Soldierwork so well, both as a part of The Avengersseries and as a stand-alone piece of cinema. Joe & Anthony Russo’s first foray into the Marvel Universe never loses sight of the fact that beneath the red, white and blue exterior is bona fide flesh and blood, with a pulsing heart that can be wounded. In many ways, The Winter Soldier is a catalogue of the lacerations that Rogers has endured, both as a solider and as a man completely out of his own time.
Jimmy Palmiotti is the co-creator of Painkiller Jane and the writer behind Harley Quinn, All-Star Western, and Batwing. Recently, Palmiotti announced that a Painkiller Jane feature film was in development off of a script that he co-wrote. His company, Paper Films, also embarked on their sixth Kickstarter campaign, successfully funding Denver – a post apocalyptic mature original graphic novel from Palmiotti, co-writer Justin Gray, and artist Pier Brito –in just six days.
In an exclusive interview with Nerd Bastards, Palmiotti takes us through some of Denver‘s details and explains why he chose Kickstarter over more traditional methods. Palmiotti also talks to us about the future of the Painkiller Jane comic at Icon, why the time was right for a film adaptation, his happy relationship with DC editorial and what he thinks about some of the public breaks from the company that others have experienced. (more…)
Earlier today, the internet had its breath taken away by the news that Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman/Superman team up film, Batman and Superman: Friendship is Magic (until I am told otherwise, that is what I am calling it.) (more…)
Earlier, you surely read our liveblog coverage of the Microsoft Xbox One presentation that came to you LIVE from a living room in New Jersey with a TV that was watching a live feed from Los Angeles, and now we’re here to talk about the Sony Playstation 4.
Before we get into it, though, let’s recap what we know and what we want.
What we already know: Sony is bringing it in terms of techno specs and the controller seems like a possible step forward. Apart from that, though, we really don’t know much despite a 2 hour press conference back in February.
What we want to see: Microsoft did Sony no favors by giving us a release window, price point, and plenty of visual fireworks. We’re goona need Sony to meet and exceed that output if they want to win the day, but we’re also hoping to see the system itself, some exclusive game announcements, and some kind of wow innovation that sets the Sony apart.
What we don’t want to see:
Alright, the live blog starts up when the presentation does at 9pm ET, and for this one, you can actually watch the Playstation 4 livestream here and follow the blog below it.
9:17 – It has FINALLY begun… with a light and music number that feels like
9:21 – Apparently people have been waiting to see the presentation since Friday, but I don’t care, I am still bitchy about them running 20 minutes late.
9:23 – Batman Arkham Origins, Destiny of Spirits, Killzone: Mercenary have just been announced for the Vita, which is apparently still a thing. Also, Walking Dead: 400 Days is coming to the Vita from Telltale.
9:26 – Like Microsoft, Sony is working hard to demonstrate that they aren’t killing their old system (PS3)… yet. Right now, they’re showing us, basically, a commercial for The Last of Us, which you were already going to buy when it comes out on Friday.
9:29 – Rain looks artistic and sad. Now we’ve got Beyond: Two Souls, which seems a bit more combat-y then we previously thought. I mean, this looks like a completely different game than what we saw last year during E3.
9:31 – K, maybe that’s enough PS3 stuff. We came to see what the new piece of pretty can do and at this point, we’re 35 minutes past the moment this thing was supposed to start. I have fear in me, Sony did take almost 150 minutes to tell us very little back in February, hopefully this isn’t a repeat.
9:35 – The Arkham Origins cinematics look, just great. I can’t believe we’re still hearing about the PS3 and costume skins and now a GTA 5 headset and not the PS4.
9:40 – Finally getting a look at the PS4 hardware. Seems a little smaller and more stylish than the Xbox One. It looks good. How much?
9:41 – Sony Entertainment CEO takes to the stage. Are we in for a barrage of info about how the PS4 will be an entertainment hub? Are we going to get flogged with the Crackle stick?
9:44 – Sony announces a PSN exclusive programming network with shows that I don’t care about. They’re also going to have Sonyfied music and movie services. So, basically, Amazon Stream competitors. Redbox Instant will also be available to all the Sony gaming consoles shortly, and whatever happened to the “We are for gamers” chest thumping
9:50 – And here is a picture of what the PS4 will look like.
9:52 – The Order 1886 from Ready at Dawn looks good. The trailer was made in-engine.
9:57 – Kill Zone, Drive Club, Infamous clips being shown now. I can’t help but think that the decision by Spike to not air the Sony presentation life is going to hurt wide-perception of this reveal. Viewing these trailers on an HD TV screen vs. a choppy net signal on a laptop? There is no comparison. I don’t know how the schedule is set, but if Sony could have moved their presentation to a time when they would have been widely seen on TV and did not, that is a massive fuck-up, because there is no visual wow coming off these clips, and Microsoft had that earlier.
10:03 – Dark Sorcerer trailer was interesting and then weird and then, ultimately, a waste of time and a teaser to watch more content tomorrow.
10:07 – Transistor looks interesting. I am killing this live-blog thing.
10:09 – Sony’s focus on OctoDad: Dadliest Catch, Super Poncho, Oddworld Inhabitants: New and Tasty, and Galaxy and the promise of self-publishing raises their indie cred and feels more for real than Microsoft’s tribute to indie developers. All of these games look incredibly addictive and fun. Can’t wait to see more from them.
10:17 – Final Fantasy XV looks really good, beautiful even. Plus there is a big assed dragon. Nice surprise by Sony and Square Enix to trap a guy in a room full of mirrors (or a hotel bathroom) and have him sneak in a teaser trailer for a new Kingdom Hearts game, Kingdom Hearts 3, which is in development.
10:24 – Assassins Creed game from Ubi Soft looks promising. Good gameplay (I imagine… again, shitty stream is robbing me of seeing the true beauty). I have a gripe about the pirate ship, though: no way would a ship steer that easily. Now it’s time for Watch Dogs and a man with an exceptional accent who will say the word T-Bone in a really awesome way.
10:31 – More detail and more gameplay from Watch Dogs, which was one of last year’s big gasp inducers. T-Bone looks like Brad Pitt in Kalifornia. Both the full blackout mode and the speedboat are nice touches.
10:36 – Another “in-engine” trailer for the NBA 2K basketball entry, but what does that matter if I’m not seeing gameplay?
10:37 – Elder Scrolls online coming in 2014, PS gets an exclusive beta window.
10:39 – Warner Bros. and Avalanche team up to make a Mad Max game. Psyched by the idea of this, but is it a tie-in to the remake, is it a stand alone?
10:41 – Awwwwww snap, Sony came to scuffle. Announces no fees on used games, takes a hard swipe at Xbox One, who remained silent on the controversy. Now they’re saying that you don’t need to be online to play or for authentication. Biggest crowd reaction of the presentation, though, don’t you think it’s a bad thing when you get your best response to the two things you’ll do that your competitor won’t and not your content?
10:49 – Destiny looks quite good. FPS from Bungie and Activision. It’s in competition with Titanfall for most impressive debut at E3, though last years slate was better.
10:57 - I really like how Sony chose to make the interplay between their players less rapey than the Xbox banter. Bold move.
10:59 – Long term partnership with Bungie and Activision announced, sadly it will expire before the end of this presentation, which is now at an hour 40. Are we almost done? I don’t think so, a little man in a silver suit just said ecosystem and “cloud service”, so strap in!
11:03 – Ring the bell. PS4 to debut at $399.99, $100 less than the Xbox One. I’d say that the Xbox One looked slightly better, but that advantage is frittered away by the massive price difference and Microsoft’s failure to address the used game and internet controversy. Food for thought for Microsoft as Sony seems poised to take the Gold Cup.
With that said, though, I don’t feel an immense need to buy a new system still. Do you?
Let us know if you want, but we are all done with our live blog for the PS4. Stay tuned for our thoughts on the revelations coming out of E3.
Welcome to the start of our E3 coverage and our Microsoft Xbox One Live Blog. Below you will find thoughts from the Nerdbastards team on Microsoft’s next generation console when the 1pm ET presentation begins out in LA.
Before that, take a look what we want to see from the presentation and have a conversation with us in the comment section about what you want to see.
What we already know: The Xbox One is poised to take aim at the home entertainment market, providing a broad experience that includes web browsing, live TV, social integration, a pumped up Kinect, and (allegedly) gaming.
What we want to see: A price point would be lovely, but details and gameplay are what we really want to see. The time for ambiguity and a parade of cinematic trailers has passed. Microsoft has our attention, but now they need to get our money with a presentation that speaks directly to consumers, offering clarity on some of the more controversial elements of the One while also showing us what the next generation of gaming really looks like.
How is the Xbox One not only better than the PS4 (and the Wii U… I guess) but also a clear upgrade over what we have? This is the biggest question facing Microsoft as they kick off E3.
The live blog will begin at 1pm. Watch the Microsoft presentation on Spike or online at E3 Insider. If we are able to embed the livestream, we will do so.
12:07 – We’re still less than an hour away from the start of the presentation, but Phil Spencer is on Spike talking to Geoff Keighley and he just teased something from Rare’s past that will be revealed. Something long awaited. Naturally, the mind turns to Goldeneye 64 and a possible XBL release.
12:22 – Not really a huge surprise considering the commercial holiday/start of the holiday shopping season that is “Black Friday”. Now if someone would just blurt out the price…
12:42 – Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain looks pretty damn good, gameplay was impressive. Is it next level? Pretty damn close.
12:43 – Don Mattrick takes to the stage, promises that this will be all about gaming and that there will be 13 exclusive titles revealed today.
12:44 – Interesting move here, introducing an Xbox 360 redesign that is available now. “Our commitment to the Xbox 360 has never been stronger. Again, a surprise since they’re introducing its replacement. Perhaps they realize the staying power of this generation. They also just promised 2 free game downloads to Xbox Gold members in the near future.
12:45 – 120 new games for Xbox 360 coming down the pike.
12:52 – Phil Spencer comes to the stage to talk about the Xbox One. Primetime has arrived as the trailer for RYSE begins.
12:56 – RYSE looks damn good, though not entirely fluid. Not a fan of guided attacks. Whatever happened to some button mashing X, Y, X, X, Y, Y, X, Y action people?
1:04 – Sunset Overdrive looks like a love letter to critics of video game violence. Just ridiculous, cartoon mayhem and headshots. It looks like something that would exist if the guys from Crank made a Pixar movie.
1:08 – “Driveatar”… what a stupid fucking name that, of course, follows boasts about the end of AI from the Forza 5, which does, admittedly look freaking stellar.
1:11 – Corporate rep from Microsoft is singing a song about indie games. Oh, the word “indie”, show us on the doll where the world touched you.
1:14 – Quantum Break game footage… right after this impressive cinematic… maybe.
1:17 – D4 is a episodic murder mystery, anime noir?
1:20 – Project: Spark looks like “God: The Game” and employs Kinect and Smart Glass. You can turn a rock into a pet… and water into wine. Shitty jokes aside, this is “custom, as you go” gaming. Which is incredible.
1:23 – Project: Spark is the kind of thing I wanted to see. A clear step forward and an unexpected innovation. With that said, there will be limits and those limits will control it’s magnificence. Is this going to be an endlessly replayable and re-configurable time-waster, or will it play like a parlor trick with a limited set of options that we quickly grow tired of? Sadly, we’ll have to wait and see.
1:28 – Does anyone really care about watching other people’s gameplay videos?
1:31 – Dead Rising 3 world premiere. New town, new hero, new disappointment that we’re not getting more Frank.
1:33 – No load times and an open world. Happy to see the build-a-weapon option, though I hope they make it a bit more random. There is also a ton of driving apparently, which is awesome and once again prompts the question, “Dear Rockstar, when the fuck are you going to give us some GTA/zombie bonus content?”
The game looks good from the gameplay, but the main character’s movements are still blocky like a video game character. There is no fluidity, which takes you out of the experience when watching his run and jump and attack with the same basic set of movements.
Using Smart Glass to call in support feels like cheating.
1:41 – The Witcher 3 looks like a pretty solid RPG, but I need to see more.
1:42 – Battlefield gameplay trailer at 60 FPS. I gotta give it up to Microsoft, they are certainly bringing it in terms of showing us gameplay.
1:43 – Assuming they can actually get the clip to play.
1:46 – Battlefield 4 environments look beautiful, specifically the water effects. FPS gameplay looks tight, but as with all FPS, you have to have it in your hand to know if it is for you.
1:49 – Map pack to debut on Xbox One first for Battlefield 4. Is that all EA is showing? Really expected to see some sports titles, but perhaps they blew their wad during the Reveal Press Conference.
1:53 – I can’t be the only one whose eyes got WIDE as the hood fell back and Master Chief was revealed, right?
1:55 – Halo FPS on Xbox One in 2014.
1:59 – Titalfall looks rather good, I swear I thought it was an Elysium tie-in game when the trailer started.
1:57 – Pricepoint announcement: Xbox One will cost $499.99. Probably not unanticipated, but will you pay it? Based on what I’m seeing here, I am intrigued, I am FAR more excited about this system then I was after the Reveal, but there are still too many questions and too many other possible expenses for me to say, “Yes, certainly.”
Maybe that will change, but for now, I am still wait and see on the Xbox One, but a lot closer to where they need me and other consumers to be.
2:05 – That’s the end of the presentation, be sure to check out our PS4 Liveblog later tonight.
We celebrate some of the finest lady cosplayers the net has to offer in our weekly Sexy Cosplay of the Week feature. We love Sexy Cosplay of the Week – it is an institution here at NerdBastards – but the staff thought it was about time that we did something to celebrate some of the sexiest male cosplays we could find.
So, with that in mind, we bring you this Salute to Sexy Male Cosplay, because damn it, you deserve a good dose of eye candy and these guys deserve a little bit of recognition for their awesome costumes, attention to detail, and abs that make all the guys here at NerdBastards feel extremely inadequate.
So enjoy the Nerd Bastards’ Salute to Sexy Male Cosplay!
Hit the jump for all the muscles and fabric you can enjoy and send your own to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep doing this. (more…)
Maybe this will all change once we get a better look, but right now, you can just smell the disappointment, can’t you? As a semi-spoiled half-futurist, I think it’s safe to say that I expected more from the last big reveal of this new console generation. That’s Microsoft’s curse. They get to close the stitch on the wound of dashed hope that was borne by an unreal set of expectations for a generation that feels like a placeholder.
No real 3-D, no holo-gaming, no photorealism, and I can’t control Master Chief with the power of my mind? Fucking bullshit.
To make matters worse, we don’t even know the depths of their possible failure because they mostly refrained from showing us real and sustained gameplay; something that has become the norm in an industry that fetishizes worthless cinematics whenever they try to rap at their audience about a new property or a re-dressed old property.
Speaking of re-dressed old properties, Microsoft probably should have embraced a Kinect re-brand in light of the tepid response that the original received.
Despite what the industry tells us, motion gaming still feels nascent with a full potential achievement that remains unlocked — the fucking wand, the twitchy camera bar, the irrelevant Wii U that bleeds relevancy from a shallow well more and more everyday — reset and rebuild, but don’t deliver unto me a corpse with sprinkles on it.
The boys in the lab over at Bill Gates’ jolly green giant project are putting a lot of burden on the back of the Kinect, further committing to the wonder of voice control, recognition, and the Kinect’s ability to now (allegedly) recognize real, human body movement as well as eye movement and the beat of our hearts and fuck that is a little creepy.
“I’ve detected weakness Dave, initiating extermination function zero. Good bye Dave.”
It’s not all bad though, the Snap function — that allows users to watch live TV (through their cable system) and split screen web search — is kinda cool, but it only pulls even with PC and Tablet capability. Again, dashed expectations pepper this reveal because we won’t see an outlet for high volume ambition in gaming like this for half a decade — at minimum — and by then, Apple will have us live streaming Downton Abbey from an antenna in our assholes.
It’s funny, to Microsoft, this is a victory. They’re calling this thing the ONE most likely because they plan on selling it to you as the ONE device that you will need and that is the holy grail: ONE device to make all others obsolete, but this isn’t that. This is just another ONE, and I already have enough other ones that do 90% of what this one does. Prettier ones that don’t look like an Atari 2600 briefcase with a massive footprint.
You’ll need to hang on to that old 360 if you want to play your old games, by the way. The Xbox One doesn’t do backwards compatibility, but on the bright side, Microsoft did recognize that people didn’t want to be online all the time, especially if they just wanted to embrace the “single player, close out the outside world” experience that is a under-celebrated but hugely important part of gaming. So the system won’t need to be online all the time, though obviously, a great part of the One’s bells and whistles comes from full connectivity and an Xbox Live membership so that we can have that “relationship” with our TV that the introductory add teased. By the way, I’m pretty sure that you also need to love sports to enjoy your Xbox One, because FUCK did they hammer the head off that nail.
As for gameplay, I have to assume that it will also be a large part of this new system, but as I said before, we didn’t get anything approaching a significant look at that in this presentation… the one that mostly felt like a needless E3 appetizer.
Sure, we know that there will be a new Forza game and that Modern Warfare: Ghost has a mo-cap dog and fancy sounding volumetric lighting, but as a gamer, there was little here for me and right now, that just about sums up this next generation as a whole.
Incremental innovation, empty hype and a lot of redundancy — right now, this future looks bent. Wake me when the PS5 gets announced.
UPDATE: Now reports are surfacing that the Xbox One will indeed need to be connected to the net once daily and — though there is a bit of confusion on this — it seems like there will be some kind of fee associated with playing used games. Fees that could range from $40-$60.
UPDATE 2: Regarding the used game fee, Major Nelson has responded, saying:
We know there is some confusion around used games on Xbox One and wanted to provide a bit of clarification on exactly what we’ve confirmed today. While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.
Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.
Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend’s house – should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.
When you really think about it, musicals are actually quite a nerdy genre:
Not only do they have their die-hard adherents, as anything qualifying as “nerdy” must, but even the most mundane musicals have an element of the fantastical to them. Think about it: Musicals are populated by people who think it’s perfectly normal to break into song for literally any reason, people for whom an intricately choreographed dance number is an everyday occurrence….
Does anyone ever stop to think about just how WEIRD that is? (well, Joss Whedon did, but I’m getting ahead of myself)
Some musicals, of course, take this a step further, and draw from the various franchises and genres that we, as nerds, know and love for their inspiration. Others are just totally batshit insane, thus making them quite appropriate for a card-carrying nerd’s movie library. It is such musicals that we honor here today.
I have deliberately left out musicals that have so far only been stage productions. Not that I have anything against live theatre, but such musicals are so numerous as to warrant their own list. Instead, I’ve decided to stick to film or television (and in one case: neither) productions. These media are much better known to nerddom, anyway–no offense, Theatre Geeks!
So clear your throats, and prepare to sing along with:
10. Phantom Of The Paradise
One of Brian de Palma’s very first films, Phantom of the Paradise is unique to say the least. “Weirder Than Tits On A Bishop” would be more to the point. It’s a celebration/brutal satire of 1970s pop music tropes, and the music business in general in the form of a musical based on a combination of Phantom of the Opera, Goethe’s Faust, and Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Grey. The songs were written and performed by ’70s musical wunderkind Paul Williams, best known for scoring The Muppet Movie. Williams also plays the film’s villain–and he gives one of the most disturbing performances in cinema history: Directing a sex tape for your grandparents is less unsettling than Paul Williams as evil record producer “Swan”. Above is the film’s trailer, with a voice-over by one of the most influential directors and nerds in Hollywood: Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim, Ant-Man)
9. Sweeney Todd
As awesome as Tim Burton’s cinematic adaptation of the famed musical tale of the semi-legendary murderous barber and the gruesome uses his accomplice, a baker of meat pies, found for his victims is, it’s a bit too mainstream to warrant a higher ranking on a list like this. I’m not judging which musicals are the BEST, merely the NERDIEST.
Still, Burton‘s Sweeney Todd has it’s share of nerd cred: “Burtonverse” fixtures Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter make the roles of Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett their own (and have surprisingly good singing voices). The film is a casting director’s wet dream, with every role filled superlatively: Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall stand out as the draconian Judge Turpin and his repugnant toadie Beadle Bamford (yes, 3 members of this cast played Harry Potter characters!) Plus it’s visually magnificent, wickedly funny, and boasts some truly infectious musical numbers.
Oh, and blood. LOTS of blood.
8. Cry Baby
Sweeney Todd wasn’t Depp’s first musical–it was just the first he actually SANG in. Back in 1990, Johnny starred as Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker in John Waters’ 50s retro musical Cry Baby. The nerdiness of this film may be a tad less apparent than some of the other entries, but John Waters’ fandom is zealous, if relatively small: Cult comedy nerds may not be the most vocal or visible branch of the nerd family tree—but trust me, we’re there! This hilarious film boasts a number of truly eclectic cameos and supporting roles: Including Traci Lords, Iggy Pop, Susan Tyrrell (remember that name, you’ll hear it again soon), Willem Dafoe, and Ricki Lake (Glenn Milstead, AKA “Divine”, was originally part of the cast, but sadly passed away before filming began).
7. Cannibal! The Musical
Cannibal! The Musical, thanks to legendary independent film studio Troma (the fine folks who gave the world the Toxic Avenger franchise), who distributed this odd little film, put the names Trey Parker and Matt Stone on the radar….last I heard, they had this cartoon thing on basic cable, and some stage show about Jehovah’s Witnesses, I think.
Would have thought they’d have amounted to more given how awesome this film is: Cannibal! tells the story of Alferd Packer–supposedly the first American ever to be tried for cannibalism (Packer DID exist, but Parker and Stone‘s historical accuracy is dubious at best). A VERY young Trey Parker plays the titular cannibal, with Stone and their perennial sidekick Dian Bachar in supporting roles. Parker wrote and performed the music, and the whole thing is far more fun, likeable, and sweet than a movie about eating human flesh should be. Fans of South Park will recognize little tidbits that would later pop up in the show: Matt Stone’s character is where the series got Kyle’s big red Jew ‘fro, and a line in the song featured above is referenced in South Park: Bigger. Longer, and Uncut when Kenny’s heart is accidentally replaced by a baked potato.
6. Little Shop Of Horrors
The original Little Shop of Horrors made bad movie history when infamous schlock filmmaker, Roger Corman, produced and directed it in just under 3 days–merely to prove that he could make a movie from start to finish in under a week.
Two decades later, that story of the little skid row flower shop and the man-eating plant behind its doors became a blockbuster Broadway musical, and was soon adapted into a film by “Muppeteer” Frank Oz. It’s quite simply one of the most purely enjoyable movie musicals ever made, due largely to the brilliant performances of Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, and Steve Martin, seen above in the iconic role of dentist/domestic abuser Dr. Orin Scrivello, DDS.
5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Yes, friends: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, adapted from the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show (see what they did there?) in 1975 by director Jim Sharman, writer Richard O’Brien, and producers Lou Adler and Michael White. It’s a devious satire of Middle-American values crossed with an homage to classic horror and science-fiction cinema. Everyone knows the plot: Girl and Boy go for drive, Girl and Boy meet Alien Transvestite, Alien Transvestite creates Muscle Man in vat of chemicals, Everybody has sex, Alien Transvestite and his creation killed with lasers by the help, Castle flies off into space, THE END.
Oh, and there’s a lot of really kickass musical numbers in between the sex and the death somewhere.
RHPS is probably best known not on its own merits, but due to the following it has developed: For 38 years fans have been going to midnight showings across the globe where they watch not only the film, but a “shadowcast” in front of the screen in full costume (well, the GOOD casts do it that way ) miming the actions of the characters. The audience itself also gets into the action: Throwing things (carefully!) like toast and toilet paper at the prescribed times, and yelling call-backs and insults at the screen (an RHPS tradition from decades before MST3K or Rifftrax). In all seriousness, at least ONE trip to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror should be on everyone’s bucket list.
4. Shock Treatment
It’s likely many of you have never heard of this musical by the writers and producers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s equally likely that if you have heard of it, you’ve heard it’s a sequel to Rocky Horror. That isn’t entirely accurate. The filmmakers refer to it as an “Equal, Not A Sequel”. Many of the same characters, actors and settings from Rocky Horror are present, but it isn’t really a continuation of Rocky’s story line: You could see Shock Treatment without ever knowing Rocky Horror exists, and you wouldn’t miss a thing.
Anyhoo, I personally prefer Shock Treatment to its far more famous predecessor: RHPS had a few better actors, and arguably superior production values–but Shock Treatment has much better songs, and a generally “nerdier” vibe. Long before things like Reality TV or The Truman Show, Richard O’Brien envisioned a town that WAS a TV studio itself….where citizens actually lived in shows and the audience just slept in their seats. Again, Middle America is satirized–but it’s not its puritanical morals that are attacked, but its mindless consumerism and obsession with television. I grant you the plot does wander, and lacks Rocky Horror’s cohesiveness: But the superior music makes up for these flaws. (FUN FACT: That’s Rik Mayall of The Young Ones taking the Polaroids)
3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling
I almost didn’t include this. I wanted to stick to movie musicals, and besides: I’m a lukewarm BTVS fan at best (Angel and Firefly are another story). But our dear and fluffy editor insisted….
And he knew what he was doing! I love this in ways I cannot properly communicate with language. Once More, With Feeling is a work of sheer genius, and the best part is you don’t need to know barely anything about Buffy to enjoy it. The flashback at the beginning is comprehensive enough to bring non-fans up to speed. Here’s the skinny: The town’s under the influence of a song and dance-loving demon accidentally summoned by Dawn Summers. The citizens are breaking into musical numbers at random….just as they would in a musical, except they realize it’s abnormal. Buffy and the Scoobies are affected as well, leading to some great numbers from the show’s best loved characters. Joss Whedon outdid himself with this episode: He could have had a very successful career as a songwriter. Once More, With Feeling has become one of the most famous and beloved BTVS episodes, and has even been performed by live casts on stage!
(PS: Sorry for the subtitles, but getting a clip of anything owned by Fox in its original form on YouTube is like pulling teeth–this was the best I could do…the alternative was a mere slideshow)
Before he was the “Man Behind The Music” of Tim Burton’s film library, Danny Elfman fronted a New Wave/Ska fusion pop band called Oingo Boingo.
Before that, he composed and performed the music for an experimental musical theatre troupe in L.A. run by his brother RichardElfman called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (hence the name)
Around 1980, when Danny decided he wanted to move from live theatre to music, he and Richard put together a movie version of everything the Mystic Knights was…sort of a “swan song” for the troupe, and Forbidden Zone was born. This utterly mad film follows the adventures of the unbelievably dysfunctional Hercules family, who discover a portal to a parallel universe called the Sixth Dimension in the basement of their new house. The music is a cacophony of conflicting styles, from jazz to rock to minstrel shows to Jewish Vaudeville–yet somehow it all works together, a testament to Elfman‘s genius. The cast includes the aforementioned Susan Tyrell and the late Herve Villechaize (yes, Tattoo from Fantasy Island) as the Sixth Dimension’s queen and king, and Danny himself as Satan (yes, SATAN). Unfortunately, early ’80s audiences didn’t quite get what the Elfman brothers were attempting here, the movie faced accusations of racism for its use of blackface, and it performed poorly at the box office…..Fortunately, the “Midnight Movie” crowd adopted it a few years later, and it’s developed a sizeable and rabid following.
1. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog
Our #1 is neither a movie nor a television show, but holy balls is it NERDY!!!
Joss Whedon’s internet sensation Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog is nothing short of magic. It’s less than an hour long, but it easily out-nerds (if that’s a term) any feature length musical on this list. Neil Patrick Harris is Dr. Horrible: A budding supervillain torn between his devotion to evil and world conquest, and his crush on the pretty redhead at the Laundromat who runs a homeless shelter (if you never understood why nerds love Felicia Day so much, it’s because you never saw her in this). Horrible works out his frustrations on his video blog, and in song, as he works to gain the notice of legendary supervillain Bad Horse, and deals with the humiliation of constant defeat at the hands of Captain Hammer: World’s Douchiest Superhero (Nathan Fillion–obviously having the time of his life) who’s also dating his girl!
I won’t spoil the ending, but try to remember: This IS a Whedon production….
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