When Titans Clash… Indeed

When titans clash… indeed.

This is going to get worse before it gets better… I just don’t see how.

Toilets are always funny… apparently not.

I just hope that what we are seeing when we watch this clip is some sort of drug induced dream sequence. Even still… this is not making me excited to to see Frank Miller’s movie adaptation of The Spirit.

You know what the best thing about this post is? That Chris Mills may watch the clip and leave more of his thoughts in the comments section.

Severance Package

The Pitch: “Three Days of the Condor“ meets “Die Hard.“

The Overview: Seven staffers for a small financial firm are called in for an early Saturday morning meeting. They convene in the conference room on the 36th floor of the isolated and deserted office building. The meeting is called to order and the CEO tells them that the company is closing down and unfortunately all of them are going to have to die. The good news, if you can call it that is that they can drink poison that will kill them instantly. The bad news is a bullet to the brain awaits those who want to opt out. Should they try to run and are lucky enough to get out of the office, the floor and all doors out have been laced with poisonous gas and booby traps. Bottoms up, anyone?

The Good: Swierczynski’s novels move and Severance Package is no exception. The security guard, Vincent Marella, [a familiar face if you‘ve read The Blonde] tries to overome his fears and do the right thing. The cover and illustrations by Dennis Calero. What people are willing to go through to survive. The twists that Swierczynski throws in to keep things interesting. Stuart’s belief that it’s all a training exercise and how he plans to excel. The last page.

The Bad: Performing a tracheotomy on yourself. The Vincent Marella’s luck. What happens to Jamie’s hand/fingers.

The Ugly: “She was fixated so much, she didn’t fully notice when something cold and wet lashed across her wrists.”

The Summary: I’ve been singing praises for Duane Swierczynski since I discovered The Wheelman just under two years ago. I loved it. I then sought out Secret Dead Men and was impressed. From that point on, I have purchased Swierczynski’s novels as each was released [The Blonde and now Severance Package]. Each one has left me looking forward to the next. What better praise can there be for a writer? [Click HERE if you’d like to hear how Duane Swierczynski came up with the idea for Severance Package.]

The Art of the Olympics

Did you happen to catch any of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies? As always, they were amazing. I particularly loved the giant fireworks footprints moving through the city, the figures running around the giant globe [much more impressive than it sounds] and the amazing space scene created by the spacemen “flying” around the top of the stadium.

I was surprised [although I shouldn’t have been because he always has amazing true stories] that ZONE buddy, Rafael Kayanan worked on the designs of the space suits! You can read more about it here at Raf’s blog. [While you’re there don’t forget to order your copy of Raf’s new art book!]

Click here if you want to check out some really nice photographs of the opening ceremonies.

Remembering Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes died today at the age of 65.  The multi-talented Hayes, who was a self-taught songwriter, singer, record producer, actor and more, will be missed by fans of all ages.
I first discovered Isaac Hayes thanks to his Academy Award and Grammy winning theme song for the motion picture “Shaft.” I’ve never met a person who didn’t like THAT song. If the theme from “Shaft” was all that he ever did, Isaac Hayes would have left his mark on popular culture. Hayes went on to produce more albums as well as work on the soundtracks of dozens of movies. 
I first saw Isaac Hayes the actor guest starring on “The Rockford Files” as ex-con Gandolph Fitch. He was excellent in the role and who can forget him repeatedly calling James Garner’s Rockford character “Rockfish”? Hayes reprised the role three different times. My next memory of Isaac Hayes the actor, is in the cult classic, John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York” where he played the Duke of New York. The role was tailor made for Hayes. Younger fans probably know Isaac Hayes best as the voice of “The Chef” on “South Park.”

Isaac Hayes will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

UFC 87 Results

Last night’s UFC card lived up to it’s hype. The graphic above shows who won with a “W” [white if I picked them, red for the one fight I got wrong]. Let’s take a closer look at the results.

Jason “The Athlete” Macdonald (20-9-0) vs Demian Maia (7-0-0). I picked Maia to continue his streak again Jason MacDonald. The first round was exciting and full of moments when each fighter looked as if he had the other ready to go. Then the pace and action slowed and it went three rounds before Maia was able to sink in a rear naked choke that Macdonald couldn’t shake. Maia won by tapout at 2:44 of the third. His streak lives on.


Kenny Florian (9-3) vs Roger Huerta (22-1) looked to be the fight of the night and maybe even the fight of the year! Unfortunately, it proved to be neither. It was a good, but not a great fight. Huerta, at least last night, couldn’t handle what Florian brought to the octagon. Huerta was game and pressed the fight throughout, but it was Florian who won the majority of the exchanges. I had picked Huerta to win, but it wasn’t to be.

This is one of those fights where the end result was much closer than the final score would indicate. The judges gave Florian every round — and I can’t argue with that, but the rounds were close. Congrats to Florian who should now get the respect he deserves and to Huerta for putting up a game effort. I look forward to seeing both men in the octagon again against new opponents.

The Brock Lesnar vs Heath “The Texas Crazy Horse” Herring fight had one of the most exciting and shocking starts you could imagine. Both men rushed to the center of the ring to exchange blows. Lesnar hit Herring flush in the face and it not only knocked him down, but flipped him over backwards into a complete reverse somersault. Can you imagine being hit that hard, and as you gain your wits and look up [while still on your knees after being knocked ankles over teakettle] you see 285 pounds of enraged muscle running full speed at you? That’s exactly what Herring saw.

Unfortunately the rest of the fight consisted of Lesnar taking Herring down and controlling him with his size and strength. To his credit Herring continued to try to roll Lesnar, look for armbars, but there was nothing he could do with the beast. The outcome was never in doubt once it became clear that Lesnar wasn’t going to gas.

A couple of times in the middle of the bout, Lesnar would “work the crowd” to get them chanting his name. Then with about ten seconds to go in the final round, Lesnar pushed Herring away and raised his hands in victory. The unanimous decision went to Lesnar. Joe Rogan went over to do the post fight interview and Lesnar snatched the mic from him and began singing his own praises. I swear it was like he was in the WWE all over again.

Lesnar is a huge, tough, strong man. He will be a force in the MMA. I just hope that he gains bit more class and remembers that he’s no longer a rassler. Big props to Herring for never backing down and making every effort to pull out a win.


George St. Pierre (16-2) vs Jon Fitch (21-2-1). Before the fight I commented that “Fitch is without a doubt the #2 welterweight in the UFC (maybe the world). The thing of it is, he’s fighting the number one guy. GSP is in a league of his own right now.” Last night’s fight proved both points.

GSP is amazing. He has strength, speed, skills and heart. He hit Fitch with punches and kicks that would have stopped most men, even much bigger men. A couple of times he dropped Fitch and yet… Fitch. Kept. On. Coming. Back. For. More. It was an amazing show of staminia and determine on the part of both men. Here’s what GSP had to say after the fight: “After the third round, I was looking at the clock and Jon Fitch, he never died. I tried to finish him. In the first round, I tried everything. I saw him fall down and come back, and I thought, ‘My God, what am I going to have to do to stop this guy?’ It was discouraging.”

GSP won the unanimous decision. He was respectful and humble in his victory. He praised Fitch and showed the class worthy of a champion. [Brock Lesnar, I hope you were watching.] Fitch, in losing, proved himself to be a warrior.

There were also two fights televised that I hadn’t talked about, but are worth mentioning now.

Rob Emerson vs Manny Gamburyan brought together two former combatants from The Ultimate Fighter. At the start of the first round both came out swinging, but it was Emerson who connected and Gamburyan was down and out could at 12 seconds of the first round.

Dan Evenson vs Cheick Kongo. Both are very big men. The difference was that Kongo had more skills in every area. Evenson looked awkward and stiff right up to the point at 4:55 of the first round when Kongo knocked him out. There’s talk that Kongo will be Brock Lesnar’s next opponent. Poor Kongo.

Dirty Money – Clean Fun

The Pitch: The Getaway meets Parker.

The Overview: Dirty Money is part of a trilogy that started with Nobody Runs Forever and Ask The Parrot. Written by Richard Stark [aka Donald Westlake] and featuring his creation, the hard case thief known simply as Parker who is trying to recover over 2 million in stolen loot that he had to abandon when the cops began to close in. The area is still buzzing with cops… there’s a bounty hunter getting closer and closer… oh, and did I mention that one of his partners has turned on him?

The Good: Stark‘s Parker is such a cool, iconic character. The novel never feels like I’m reading fiction.

The Bad: Waking up to find a former partner holding a gun on you.

The Ugly: What happens when you try to cross Parker.

The Summary: If you’re a fan of Richard Stark’s Parker series, you’ve probably already read Dirty Money. If you’re new to the character, you can jump right in with any of the books. Although the last three have been written as a trilogy, they also work as stand alone novels.

Defending the Worst

The Sun-Sentinel.com has posted their list of the 100 Worst Movies. While I would agree with many of their choices, there were ten that I thought good enough to avoid the dubious honor:Soylent Green: Sure, it looks dated now, but as a 14 year old watching it for the first time on the big screen, it was cool. Plus there’s that great fight scene between Charlton Heston and Chuck [The Rifleman] Connors… and Edward G. Robinson in his final performance. Who can forget the classic line yelled by Heston: “Soylent Green is ….” [No, I’m not giving it away.]

Last Action Hero: I’ve never understood the backlash against this one. Sure, it’s no classic, but it’s also not as bad as some folks claim. I enjoyed the conceit of the movie: Arnold is a movie action hero brought to life. We get to see the clichés of action films played against a “real world” setting. Maybe people didn’t want that wall broken down. I don’t know, but I can tell you that I thought “Last Action Hero” was fun.

The Island of Dr. Moreau: Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando. That alone should be worth the price of admission… especially with some of the choices that Brando made for the film. It’s no classic, but it sure doesn’t belong on the worst films list.

Rhinestone: Sly Stallone, Dolly Parton and country music. Okay, I’ll admit I am a bit biased towards Stallone films. [You’d have never guessed, right?] “Rhinestone” is not one of Sly’s best, but it does have some fun moments… enough to at least keep it off the worst movies of all time list.

Maverick: How in the world could James Garner returning as Daddy Maverick and teamed with director, Richard Donner plus stars Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster make this worst movies list? Just watching for all the appearances by Graham Greene, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Geoffrey Lewis, Paul Smith, Dan Hedaya, Denver Pyle, Clint Black, Art LaFleur, Corey Feldman, Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill, William Smith, Doug McClure, Henry Darrow, James Drury, Danny Glover, Margot Kidder, Reba McEntire and so many more makes it enough fun to keep it off the list.

Waterworld: This is one of those movies doomed from the start due to negative publicity. Costner and director Kevin Reynolds had problems and Costner ended up taking the reins. The movie went way over budget. When it finally opened the buzz was bad. “Waterworld” is not a classic, but it is a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Although not based on a comic book, it has a comic book feel. And I mean that in a good way.

The Godfather Part III: How could any movie live up to “The Godfather” and “The Godfather, Part II”? Sure, “Godfather III” has it’s problems, but it’s another movie that I think got a far worse backlash than it deserved. Poor Sofia Coppola got hammered by the press. So too, did her dad for hiring her. Then Robert Duvall wasn’t brought back because he was asking for too much money? Pay the man! He’s worth it. Still, even with it’s flaws, it has enough going for it to make it worthwhile. Hold it up to “The Godfather” parts one and two and it falls way short, hold it up to 90% of the movies on this list and it towers above them.

Plan 9 from Outer Space: There’s no way I can argue that this is a great movie. It’s bad, bad, bad. Terrible dialogue, cheap beyond cheap sets, a stupid plot, burning paper plates as fly saucers, a hokey prologue by Criswell the psychic, Bela Lugosi in his last role [he died during filming and was replaced by a taller man who was a dentist by trade] and so much more just make this thing a complete mess. A mess you can’t take your eyes off. A mess that bears repeated viewings. A mess that entertains. And that’s enough to keep it off the list.

Over the Top: Like “Waterworld”, “Over the Top” was doomed before it opened. Stallone’s salary got more publicity than the film itself since it made him the highest paid actor in Hollywood. That coupled with the fact that his character would arm-wrestle his way back into his son’s life kept audiences away. If you can get past the basic premise that Stallone is a truck driving arm wrestler trying to win back his son’s affection from a rich grandfather who has lied about him… wait, now as I type this, I’m wondering how I got past the premise! Anyway, I thought the movie was okay. Not great, but definitely not one of the 100 worst.

Anaconda: Jon Voight is so crazy and Jennifer Lopez is so hot that you just have to go with it. Throw in Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Jonathon Hyde, Owen Wilson, Danny Trejo and one big computerized snake and you’re in for 89 minutes of fun.


Remembering Bernie Mac

It has just been reported that comedian Bernie Mac has died. He had been in the hospital for treatment of pneumonia. His publicist, Danica Smith in her confirmation of his death “ask(ed) that his family’s privacy continue(s) to be respected.” Bernie Mac’s death is shocking enough, but as recently as yesterday there were reports saying that he was responding well to treatment and would be released from the hospital before too long.I first discovered Bernie Mac from his standup routines. He was funny and had a great personality. His standup led to work in dozens of movies and “The Bernie Mac Show” which ran for five years. He was currently in post production on a new tv show, “Starting Under” and had finished work on two movies set for release later this year and in 2009.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

UFC 87 Predictions

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night’s UFC 87 card. There are several evenly matched fights that I am really excited about. It’ll be interesting and hopefully exciting to see how they go.

Jason “The Athlete” Macdonald (20-9-0) vs. Demian Maia (7-0-0). MacDonald has the experience, but Maia is undefeated. MacDonald is bigger and a better striker, but Maia’s jiu-jitsu is supposed to be top notch. Seems more folks are leaning towards MacDonald to stop Maia’s win streak. Since I hate to see win streaks end, and I have a soft spot for the underdog, I’m leaning towards Maia.
Kenny Florian (9-3) vs Roger Huerta (22-1). This could not only be the fight of the night; it could be the fight of the year! The crazy thing is, that there are just as many folks saying that Florian is over-rated as there are saying the same about Huerta. There’s an even bigger group saying that both are two of the best fighters entering the cage on Saturday.

The one real intangiable for me is the press that Huerta has been getting leading up to the fight. He was pretty upset [and made it known] with the way a promo was cut making it appear that he said that fighting Florian would be a cakewalk. Huerta was also quoted as saying he didn’t care if he was fighting in the UFC or another organization. You can imagine Dana White’s reaction. I’m still leaning towards Huerta; I just hope he stops giving interviews between now and the fight!
Brock Lesnar (1-1) vs Heath “The Texas Crazy Horse” Herring (29-13-1). This could prove to be very interesting. I wasn’t a Herring fan until recently. He did impress me with his win over Cheick Congo and he seems to be taking his career more seriously. The first few times I saw Herring fight, he appeared to be a big guy with some skills, but more interested in his nickname, wild hair style and trademark duster jacket than being a well-rounded fighter.

Lesnar is a beast. He went in against former heavy-weight champ Frank Mir in just his second MMA fight and floored him with a jab! It was Lesnar’s lack of experience that cost him the fight. He nearly had Mir out with a punishing ground-and-pound seconds after the fight started.

So the question is, has Lesnar gained enough experience to stay out of trouble if the fight goes to the ground? And it will go to the ground. Lesnar’s takedowns are brutal. Herring’s only hope is that he can survive the initial barrage that will come and then look to submit Lesnar from the bottom. If by some chance, Herring can take it late into the round [or fight], then he may be able to try and test Lesnar’s chin. That’s a lot of “if’s.”

I see Lesnar winning by TKO or KO. And should Herring find a way to win, my cowboy hat goes off to him!

George St. Pierre (16-2) vs Jon Fitch (21-2-1). Fitcch is without a doubt the #2 welterweight in the UFC (maybe the world). The thing of it is, he’s fighting the number one guy. GSP is in a league of his own right now. Of course the same thing was said when GSP stepped in against 8-1 underdog, Matt Serra. We all remember how THAT turned out. This should be a very entertaining fight with GSP once again showing why he’s the champ.

Two Dollar Sly

You read the cartoon right. DJ Coffman will draw anything for two bucks. TWO BUCKStwenty dimes200 penniesanythingANYTHING! Well… almost anything, that is. He had to draw the line at “R” rated content. Can you imagine some of the requests that must have been pouring in before he put into place the “R” restriction? Yuck!The way it works is you type in your e-mail request and then Paypal DJ the two bucks. He then drops your request in line and you wait your turn. It’s funny seeing not only what people request, but how DJ handles them. Some of my favorites include: Kwip Triumphant; Jurassic Park Meets Iron Man; Dr. Horrible Performing Singing in the Rain; Three Ronnie Gardockis; Dean Martin Ogling Bettie Page and Tura Satana; and A Silverfish. The most clever is Tiny URL. Yeah, I ordered one. You should too.

One bit of warning if you plan to head over and cruise through the drawings: not all are in good taste and not all are appropriate for all ages!

Vote for a New Hero

If you’re a fan of Heroes, then you might want to participate in Sprint and NBC’s Create Your Hero” contest. Using attributes based on previous fan voting, the show’s creators developed two new potential “Heroes.” Now it’s time to vote for either Audrey, or Santiago. The winning character will appear as the subject of a brand new live action web series written by the creators of Heroes, debuting around the November sweeps week.
So who’s it gonna be? Audrey or Santiago?

“The Road” – Hopefully Another “No Country for Old Men” Level Film!

ComingSoon.net scored six photos from The Road, the big screen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s best selling, award-winning novel of the same name. Viggo Mortensen [is this guy on a roll, or what?], headlines a cast that includes Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce.My hope is that it will be as good as the last adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel [No Country for Old Men]. Is that too much to ask?

Robert B. Parker’s Appaloosa: Feelings Get You Killed [2008]

I’m really looking forward to the movie adaptation of Robert B. Parker’s novel Appaloosa. The screenplay is co-written and directed by Ed Harris, who also takes a starring role as gunfighter, Virgil Cole. Viggo Mortenson plays his partner, Everett Hitch. If that’s not enough star power, to get your motor running, then consider that Rene Zelwegger, Jeremy Irons, Lance Henrikson and Rex Linn also will show up for the festivities.

Here’s a link to the official website. If you check it out you won’t findmuch other than a link to the movie’s poster and first trailer. It’s worth a click to see both.My hope is that Appaloosa will do well enough at the box office for Ed Harris to film the entire trilogy [Appaloosa, Resolution and the yet to be published Brimstone].

Kyle Baker Stays Busy

You’ve heard me rave about Kyle Baker’s work before… and with good reason. He’s one of the most talented writer/artists working today. And he’s one of my favorites.

Currently Mr. Baker is enjoying the success of his Nat Turner graphic novels [1 and 2], his on-going comic series Special Forces, and the recent publication of his How to Draw Stupid and Other Essentials of Cartooning Book. Oh and I almost forgot to mention that his ongoing semi-autobiographical, and hilariously funny, The Bakers, is in development as a potential animated series for FOX.

You can check out this interview with Kyle Baker from the good folks at CBR.com. Kyle talks about his current projects, why he hopes never to have to work at Marvel or DC again, as well as why he gets a kick out of the line, God seems a little angry.”