A Cinephile’s Journey Through the Marvel Cinematic Universe

- 04-15-14Comics, Featured, Film Posted by Jacob Knight

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*** Warning: Spoilers For Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Follow ***

I need to get this out of the way up front: I’m not a “comic book guy”.

That’s probably weird for you to read, as this site is called Nerd Bastards” after all; complete with a smattering of classic funny books comprising the logo alongside what appears to be a homeless man who mugged Darth Vader for his Camel Lights (doesn’t that dude have asthma?). The truth is: I’m pretty much a strict “cinephile”, my education (formal and otherwise) rooted in both classic and contemporary film history. That’s not to say I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to comics. I collected when I was a kid, frequenting my local shop at least once a week, hooked on the books  whose stories fascinated me. It’s just that this main vein habit didn’t follow me into adulthood like cinema did — a hobby that I chose to turn into a career of sorts.

I don’t bring this fact up to distance myself from the NB audience; more to illustrate that I probably view the films adapted from the stories they so love through a different prism. Where they’re looking for consistency of character and adherence to the established mythologies, I’m motly hoping to sit down with a (hopefully more than) competently constructed work of filmic language that not only brings our diligent defenders to life, but does so with a focus on pleasing more than just the established fan base. In no way is one method of evaluation better than the other — it’s just a different value system with which to rate a specific subsection of the form. To be honest, the best critics of “comic book cinema” are those who can do both, dropping knowledge about the “mis-en-scène” as easily as they can break down why this particular iteration of Captain America is the most faithful to its four-color creators. I strive to do both, but my limitations with the source material keep me from going full-blown FilmCritHulk most of the time.

To wit, I introduce to you my very own take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At this point in the sprawling franchise’s history, everybody seems to have their own personal rankings of the films leading up to and beyond Joss Whedon’s AvengersAs much as the snobbier cinema goers would like “comic book filmmaking” to evaporate completely into the ether, it’s time to start recognizing that the genre is far too profitable to disappear anytime soon. These movies need to be treated like bona fide works of art and evaluated as such, so I present my own personal, cinephilic take on the MCU, from worst to best…

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The Cinematic Evolution of Captain America

- 04-01-14Comics, Featured, Film Posted by Jacob Knight

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His name is Steve Rogers. But you probably know him best as Captain America.

This might come as a surprise (or not, as you’re currently reading a site called “Nerd Bastards”), but Captain America wasn’t simply the “First Avenger”, he was also the initial Avenger to ever appear on the big screen. 2014 is a big year for the ultimate All-American, as it marks a major anniversary for the star-spangled superhero. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we here at NB thought it might be a good idea to trace Steve Rogers’ cinematic lineage all the way back to the beginning, while also taking a look at the few pit stops he made on TV during his silver screen journey. It was a bumpy road, for sure (with some jolts damn near knocking the axle off of his red, white and blue motorcycle-housing van), yet arguably ends with some of the best cinematic output of Marvel’s entire existence. So fire up the Francis Scott Key and let’s take a trip back in time to somewhat simpler days…

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The 2013 List: A List About Lists That Also Has Lists.

- 12-30-13Featured, Nerd Culture Posted by Jason Tabrys

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Right now, we are caught in that lackadaisical time between Christmas and New Years Eve — December’s perineum, if you will — and during that time we are duty bound to justify our existence and mine for web traffic by pausing for a moment of reflection on the year that was. And so, this year as a direct result of that mandatory reflective period, we have complied the most important listicle of the year — a listicle about listicles that also features its own lists! It’s Listageddon! It’s Listapalooza!

Oh yes, this list of lists with other lists has every list your pig eyes could ever want to see in a list! Movie lists, meme lists, dildo lists, knit lists, Alan Thicke lists, a podcast list, and a pie list that will buckle your knees! Yes, it’s a veritable cheese wheel of pop culture and a bunch of other nerdy geeky dorkaliscious dweeberific nerdgasmy geekilingus dogshit for you to sift through while you sit on a toilet, play fantasy soccer, or do whatever it is that you do while reading these articles. List!

Warning: Clutch your pearls, there’s some adult material and a fuck-ton of cursing in this article.
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Ten Inherently Evil People – According To ’80s Cinema

- 03-02-13Featured, Film Posted by James Daniels

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Of all the various subjects we like to think we know something about on this site, one I believe we can speak with clear authority about is “Bastards”. I mean, come on–the word itself is in our name! And there’s nowhere that one can find more obvious, clearly defined, and truly repugnant Bastards than in the films of the 1980s.

Movies of this era, for the most part, had a moral clarity to them you simply can’t find anymore: Within about five minutes of viewing you’ll know, without any reservation, who the good guys and bad guys are. Back then, Heroes were Heroes–and Villains were Villains, and there was rarely, if any, ambiguity about who was which.

And if you’ve seen as many ’80s flicks as I have–and have nothing resembling a career or social life to get in the way of such vital research–it won’t be long before you notice certain patterns regarding cinematic “Bastardy” (I hope that’s a word). The zeitgeist of the time period was utterly blatant about setting up certain kinds of people as inherently, irredeemably despicable–and once you catch on to this, you can spot the villains (or at least assholes) in such films unerringly and almost instantly.

Therefore, I have, as a handy reference for the aficionado of ’80s cinema, prepared a list of ten different varieties of characters who seem almost (if not entirely) incapable of decency, kindness, good will, or charity. These individuals are doomed to an existence as soulless blackguards who deserve nothing but scorn and derision–simply because of their careers, social standing, appearance, or familial roles.

(NOTE: Just so we’re on the same page, in no way should this list be taken to suggest that these individuals are morally repugnant outside of the fictional world of cinema–and the societal mores of the 1980s….thank you)

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Ten of Pop Culture’s Most Influential Gingers

- 01-19-13Featured, Film Posted by James Daniels

Gingers! So what’s the big deal? Why are so many of us apparently fascinated by folks with red hair, light skin, and occasionally freckles? Especially when such individuals become media personalities? “Red” is the rarest natural hair color on the planet: Only 1-2% of the world’s population have it. Red hair has been associated with personality traits such as fiery temperament, combativeness or aggressiveness, and an overactive–if not downright freaky libido. Religious and mythological figures from King David to Judas Iscariot to the Egyptian God Set have all been thought to be, or depicted as being Gingers. Oh, and with apologies to Marvel Comics and Chris Hemsworth: According to Norse mythology, Thor was a redhead–not a blonde.

As for why redheads are called Gingers in the first place, there seems to be no real consensus: It’s primarily a British term, and still considered mildly derogatory to many in the UK. One popular theory is that it has nothing to do with color, but instead refers to the hot-blooded demeanor redheads supposedly possess. Most likely, it started in the middle ages, when “Gynger” referred to the coloration of a red rooster. Regardless of the hows and whys, redheads stick out, and more than a few have made indelible marks on popular culture. Here then is ten of the most well-known and influential Gingers, who have risen to iconic status….despite the unfortunate handicap of having no souls.

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Online Poll Names ‘Twilight’ Worst Movie Of All Time

- 12-21-12Comics, Film Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

This is the problem with online polls, reactionism and predetermined biases tend to reign. Still, one must be at least slightly impressed that 500,000 people voted for anything that wasn’t the next U.S. President or American Idol.

The good people of Rifftrax put their computing power to work on trying to figure out what people thought were the worst movies of all time, and to no one and everyone’s surprise, the 2008 teen vampire romance Twilight came out in the number one slot.

This is the problem with the these types of lists, our memories only go back so far as the last thing we hated to see. All but three of the movies on the list were made in the last 25 years, 15 of them were made in the last 10 years, and 10 of them were made in the last five. Sorry, but I have a hard time believe that in 110 years of cinema, that two-fifths of the worst movies of of all time have been made in the last five years.

Oh, and not to quibble, but #11 – High School the Musical – wasn’t even released in theaters, it was a TV movie. For the record, High School the Musical 3 was the only one of the trilogy to be released on the big screen. Haters can’t even hate right.

Anyway, here’s the full list of the Top 25. It has some of the names you might expect, and a lot of the names you think might deserve a place here. So let’s all now indulge in the hate together.

25. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (7,278 votes)

24. The Wicker Man (7,614 votes)

23. Plan 9 From Outer Space (7,696 votes)

22. Battleship (7,942 votes)

21. Manos: The Hands of Fate (8,148 votes)

20. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (8,269 votes)

19. Eragon (8,272 votes)

18. The Happening (8,286 votes)

17. The Room (8,918 votes)

16. X-Men: The Last Stand (10,341 votes)

15. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (10,353 votes)

14. Troll 2 (10,384 votes)

13. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (10,795 votes)

12. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (11,076 votes)

11. High School Musical (12,878 votes)

10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (13,792 votes)

9. Son of the Mask (14,680 votes)

8. Jack and Jill (15,720 votes)

7. Battlefield Earth (16,138 votes)

6. Super Mario Bros. (17,755 votes)

5. Last Airbender (18,086 votes)

4. Spider-Man 3 (19,152 votes)

3. Catwoman (22,544 votes)

2. Batman and Robin (27,929 votes)

1. The Twilight Saga (35,593 votes)

What do you think, Bastards? Any titles missed on this list?

Source: Comic Book Movie

The Top 10 Grandfathers (and Grandmother) of Modern Science Fiction

- 03-08-12Featured Posted by Luke Gallagher

Contrary to popular belief, the ideas for science fiction stories are not placed randomly into writers’ heads via alien transmissions.  The origins of sci-fi are long, using concepts that go back thousands of years.  It is only during the last 200 years or so that what can be considered “modern” science fiction began to form and take the shape that it has today.

During the 19th century, religion had been mostly replaced with science as the chief explanation for why things in the physical world behave as they do.  Writers everywhere heard the call and used their minds to craft new worlds, inventions and concepts.  Some of these were more successful than others, which gives birth to this list.

From the mountains of conjecture arose many concepts which would go on to form the basis of popular science fiction for more than a hundred years.  Robots, time travel and planetary exploration are just a few of these.  Here are 10 writers of the past (in chronological order) who have impacted the genre so much that they literally formed what the world now thinks of as science fiction.

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The 10 Most Freakishly Large Heads In The Super-Hero World

- 02-23-12Comics, Featured Posted by Luke Gallagher

People seem to have a habit of associating big heads with big intelligence, and the world of comic books is certainly no exception.  While some individual heroes and villains are lucky enough to only have to give up their hair for added brain-power, some of them are stuck with gigantic melons which will forever impair their ability to get a proper date or successfully navigate narrow doorways.  In fact, many of these poor bastards are pretty much nothing but head.

To their credit, however, comic-books would be much less colorful without them poking their giant noses into other people’s affairs.  So, without further ado, here are 10 of the most abnormally immense craniums that writers and artists have blessed the world with throughout the years.

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11 Biggest Nerd Gatherings in the World

- 02-16-12Featured Posted by Luke Gallagher

For the majority of the year, the most serious nerds among us are shut away in dark rooms or basements in front of computer screens and games of Dungeons and Dragons. But every once in a while, the mothership seems to call them all home, at least for the length of a convention or other kind of meet-up. You’ll see Star Wars characters and gamers in a trance, flocking to event sites. Now, we’re not going to delve into the differences between geek and nerd culture. If you want to argue about it, we can probably assume that you fall into one of those two categories and will find a gathering you’ll love below.

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5 Things Bruce Wayne Would Say to Citizens Getting a Business Degree

- 01-05-12Comics, Featured Posted by Luke Gallagher
Bruce Wayne may be the greatest business man alive. Wayne Industries is  effectively an infinite money supply, despite its CEO frequently  going missing or turning up sleep-deprived and with more bruising than a rugby team after a minor bus crash. There’s also the minor matter of  the frequent and literal hostile takeover attempts . Any company which  can continue to exist, never mind make a profit, under those  circumstances must be very well led. So what would Bruce Wayne tell  anyone getting a business degree?