I was hanging out with a friend and he tried to describe my blog to his girl, and his description went something like this, “So, he’s got this formula and it’s actually a pretty good formula, he writes these very nerdy breakdowns with charts and stuff of stupid movies. And he wrote this Bill Murray article once that people like, but he’s never been able to recreate its success. So, he rehashes this formula over and over again but he’s never had another hit.” Way to so succinctly sum up all my many failures and missteps… friend.
First – He’s kind of a dick, right?
Second - Fair enough.
Despite popular belief, I’ve had some hits: the Groundhog Day article, Zooey Deschanel’s bangs, and my Full House/Joey conspiracy to name a few. I don’t use Bill Murray, of course, as my yardstick for success because if you compare yourself to Murray-y goodness, you’re always going to be disappointed. That being said, maybe, 30 articles have garnered measurable, significant traffic. Meaning that leaves hundreds of articles what have never really been seen. Let’s look at some of them.
My Favorite FAIL-ures
These are my heart breakers. After each and everyone one of these posts, I expected to be carried on shoulders and have babies named after me (Gnards is a great name for a boy or a girl). And instead… crickets.
How much money Bill Cosby paid for sweaters – this is still one of my favorite posts. I figured out Bill Cosby’s character, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, spent around $80000 on sweaters. That’s more than any reasonably human being should pay for sweaters.
The reason I think it failed was this picture:
And as awesome as Bill Wheaton is, it’s also creepy and distracting. Instead of processing the wonderful brain candy of sweater prices, all you see is Bill Cosby on Wil Wheaton’s body.
Aquaman’s fishwiener – An article of and pertaining to the anatomies of comic book mermen. Written mostly from a place where I was tired of fangirls mooning over Prince Namor (because 50% chance dude don’t got a penis… just sayin [also, knowing that most fangirls would still rather be with Namor than me… they’re just sayin]).
Can a werewolf dunk? – Yes. Looking back on it, that should have been the entire article. Michael J. Fox dunked in Teen Wolf, so you don’t need a long winded explanation that werewolves can dunk a basketball. Still, I remember writing this one and I remember literally thinking I was going to break the internet because of how awesome this was. The internet remains intact.
How to shoot your eye out – I actually waited until the holidays to post this one. I had it written than I sat on it because I wanted this to have a timely Christmas release. Because everyone sits around thinking about shooting their eyes out between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I thought that thought before I posted this! It didn’t matter. Apparently, the rest of the world is not nearly as confused as to what shooting your eye out means. And feel free to explain because I'm still confused.
Gremlin Reproduction – I think I had more fun photoshopping the pictures than writing the article. The post is probably so generic I could have renamed it: Something, something Gremlins, Remember That Movie, Right? Also, it’s gross.
Of course, under all of these articles is another layer of crap that I would prefer to remain buried.
So, you’ve probably seen it already, but a Kickstarter did it: they made a Robocop statue for Detroit. Not New Detroit, not movie Detroit, but real Detroit. On one hand, I love this. On the other hand, this is unbelievably stupid. But I guess these aren’t mutually exclusive ideas. A Robocop statue can be stupid and awesome.
While Robocop may be the weirdest pop culture statue ever commissioned (and I’m going to lean very heavy on the may… let the posting of weirder statues begin!), it’s hardly the first. There’s a Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia. There’s a Fonzie statue in Milwaukee. There’s the Superman statue in Metropolis, IL. There’s the Ralph Kramden statue in New York. There’s the giant Marilyn Monroe statue (weirder) now in Palm Springs, was in Chicago, and makes sense in neither. There’s even the life-size Gundam in Japan (definitely weirder than Robocop). All strange and all wonderful. How are these statues really any different from the Classics or the Bible?
Robocop is just the first though. This has changed everything, and I think we can do better? If we dream hard enough, and enough of our weird little friends are willing to cough up enough bucks, we can make any stupid statue happen. Let's see how deep this rabbit hole goes.
Pop Cultural Statues We Need
Bill & Ted Statues – San Dimas, CA
How is there not a Bill and Ted statue in San Dimas already? Who is there possibly better to honor in San Dimas? Ranchers Ygnacio Palomares and Ricardo Vejar (somewhere two San Dimas historians are high fiving right now)? Screw them. The San Dimas Wikipedia page mentions Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure twice, they got nothing else going on.
My last post covered the ever multiplying Martys in the Back to the Future flicks, and as long and rambling as that post was, I still have yet more to say. Much more. This time I’d like to talk about another sort of temporal anomaly in the third film.
Two DeLoreans Too Many
And coincidentally instantly after posting my last BTTF article, two separate people (shout out to Robot's PJs and Masters of None) pointed out the two DeLorean theory of Back to the Future Part III. Here’s a snippet from the Master’s blog:
When Marty went back to 1885 to save Doc, he first had to uncover a DeLorean in 1955 that was already buried by Doc in 1885. When he went back to 1885, he ripped the gas line and emptied the gas tank, thus causing the car to be useless and having to have it be pushed by the train in the final sequence. However, what neither of them realized is that when Marty travels back to 1885 from 1955, there are now TWO DeLoreans. One that Marty ripped the fuel line, and one that Doc JUST BURIED not but a few months earlier to be uncovered by Marty in 1955. To rectify the situation and travel back to 1985, all they had to do was patch the gas line of the first with some tubing and siphon the gas from the buried DeLorean to the other, simply leaving a note for the 1955 counterparts to remember to fill up when found.
But this isn’t a paradox or a film flub or a mistake. It’s just normal stupidity, and stupidity I can always believe. Marty has spent three movies proving exactly how unbright he is; Strickland was totally within his right to be rough on him. He’s a slacker, bottom line. Marty was ready to fight Griff and his gang because of a chicken sound effect; this is not a thinking man. Doc, on the other hand, is brilliant with machines, but noticeably less than brilliant at other things (namely life and love). Let’s say at his best Doc is prone to rash decisions: stealing plutonium from known terrorists for one, challenging Mad Dog Tannen to a duel over a matter of $80 for another. Rewind back to the first movie, Doc forgot to put more plutonium in the trunk (one pellet, one trip). This is not a wild assumption on their intelligences (as most of my assumptions are), this is totally believable. Not remembering the second DeLorean was dumb, yes; problematic for me in terms of plot, not as much.
My problem is Doc returning to the present with a wife and kids. What’s up with that? And let me explain this in the longest, most drawn out way possible. So, Back to the Future III ends with Marty punking out on his drag race (I mean if you’re going to own a big ass monster truck and you’re going to be hanging out with dudes named Needles, I think it’s expected of you), Doc shows up in a locomotive and says everything’s cool, Doc’s son does some sort of weird finger in finger gesture, then Doc’s train flies off, and The End. Good feelings all around. Trilogy over. Roll the credits. But something is missing for me though.
I’m on board with Doc building a steam-powered time machine out of a train, why not? It’s no more unbelievable than a car. But what were Doc and Clara up to before dropping in on Marty? There's a missing story here. Namely why did Doc & Co. visit the future before visiting Marty? Maybe, it was just for the cool visual of a hover converted train. 1985 was not their first stop and this is important because there’s a hidden plot that they don’t ever get at. They went to the future first in order to destroy Marty’s family.
I spend way too much time thinking about Back to the Future paradoxes and working on my BTTF fan fiction (about the misadventures of Einstein the dog and the pine tree Marty ran over). I think about Back to the Future the way sane people think about their children or politics or sports. I spend most of my time staring off into sunsets with visions of DeLoreans and Sports Almanacs dancing though my head.
But, anyway, before we get into too much, here's what you should know…
The Basics: Time Travel 101
There are basically two types of time travel: static time travel and fluid time travel. Every time travel movie or book, probably works around one of these. Static time is unchangeable, so what is supposed to happen will happen and there’s nothing the time traveler can do about it. Destiny often plays a huge roll in this type. Fluid time travel means anything can change anything, butterflies and whatnots and Nazis taking over the world. The timeline in the Back to the Future franchise is fluid; every change creates a new parallel timeline. Back to the Future II is based entirely on this premise (and hoverboards). The world and all its inhabitants got erased except for any time travelers; Hill Valley turned into biker Las Vegas and Biff transformed into Donald Trump (but a little classier). And presumably because of the flux capacitor, plutonium, things which are heavy, or science!, Marty, Doc, and Jennifer’s memories remain unaffected by these radical shifts in the fabric of reality. But it’s okay because time is so fluid—it’s positively dripping—that all this could be changed back with no ill effects. They even leave Jennifer in an alternative 1985 and don’t pick her up again until Back to the Future III. They left her sleeping on a porch for one and a half movies, through the rise and fall of two timelines and a wacky western adventure.
Temporal Anomalies: Marty A and Marty B
What I want to talk about though is the end of the first film. Marty had just returned to 1985, mere minutes away from saving Doc Brown from being gunned down by Libyan nationalists, and just in time to see himself go back in time (if I just spoiled Back to the Future for you then you should stop reading now… and never read this blog again). When you see this in the film, you think, “Oh, that’s nice, we’ve come full circle.” Except that it’s not the same Marty we saw at the beginning of the film. That’s an entirely different Marty.
I have to applaud this study of William Riker sitting.
The Riker Maneuver
I watched a lot of episodes of TNG and I never noticed this, and now I can't not notice it. I think I was always more obsessed with Riker's beard, maybe, that's what he wanted though. Focus on his beard, miss what's happening below. It's such a powerful Riker move though, too. Of course, that's the way he sits, it's the only way he knows how. It's not just hopping over the chair back (they are not big on back support in the future), there's a lean in component, too, where Riker is really entering into some uncharted personal space (I was going to say, "crossing the neutral zone," but I thought that be too much [but the I did!]).
Is this how everyone sits in the future? Is this cool in the future? Or is he like Rodge from What's Happening!! (Google it, kids)? Is this a learned behavior or was he born like this? Well, it's a good thing for us that William Riker has a duplicate, Thomas Riker. Someone pull the footage and see how Thomas sits, I can't do everything, folks.
The Monster Squad (Modernized)
Not too much to say actually, just a regular Monster Squad trailer with Inception-like BOOONGS edited in. But if you like Monster Squad (which I do) and if you like BOOONGS (which I do), you may like this. BOOONGS don't make everything better, but they don't hurt either.
I actually think if they really did do an honest, modern take on this today (as in what if they were really editing the trailer now), either it would be more like Scary Movie 16, heavy on Wolfman fart jokes and the Creature shouting, "DAAAAMN!" or like a Rob Schneider movie, "Sean Crenshaw was just your average teenage boy until one day..."
We live in a golden age.
Not much happened Day 3 for me at C2E2, I spent a third of it standing in line for R.L. Stine. I mostly hunted down T-shirts and squeezed down aisles that were a little less squeezable on Saturday. It's basically my victory lap, and for that I smirk.