Wednesday, December 29, 2004


OK, this comic book movie thing is getting out of hand

Just came across this item this morning:

According to Hollywood North Report, "Marvel Studios' Ant-Man is currently in script development as a major motion picture." According to Hollywood North Report, "Marvel Studios' Ant-Man is currently in script development as a major motion picture."

For those of you who don't remember Garrett Morris playing Ant Man on the great Saturday Night Live "Party with the Super-Heroes" skit from when we were all in grade school, let me fill you in on Ant Man:

Folks, I like super-heroes as much as the next guy. But seriously now. This is getting out of hand.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Oh and Joyeux Noel, y'all . . .

In my ranting, I didn't get to a quick review of the holiday weekend. Hope you all had a good one. The wife and I enjoyed our first warm and sunny Christmas in . . . our whole lives.

Quick rundown:

That's a lot of it. Steph's got the week off, so we'll be seeing some flicks (Million Dollar Baby, Kinsey, Aviator, Sideways), and she'll be getting a long-needed rest from the grind of Kaplan. Meanwhile, I'm writing, getting geared up for a new quarter at UCLA.

Happy Holidays one and all.


Meet the new boss . . .

It's the week after Christmas, and I'm stuck in a silent, tomb-like office because I haven't got a whit of vacation time to call my own. So what's a boy to do on this hazy, occasionally rainy winter day in Los Angeles (highs in the upper 60s)?

Check his favorite web sites, that's what.

So anyway, at, they have a picture of Christian Bale in his costume for the new Batman movie ("Batman Begins"), which comes out this summer. I'm disappointed. See, just like the four Bat movies that came before, they're putting Bale in some kind of rubber armor.

Sure, there are no fake nipples on it, but it's still rubber armor. When will these people learn that Batman's just a guy? That he wears a cloth costume? That one of the really cool things that would happen in a fight between old Bats and the Joker is that the costume could be ripped and the rich guy inside could bleed and get hurt?

Well, not with the rubber armor, he won't. Sigh. I am excited about the new movie. It looks cool and dark. Sure, my wife thinks that the world should cool it with Bat-movies for a while, and she's right, but it mostly looks good. And Chicago stands in for Gotham City, which makes sense.

The rubber armor just bums me out. Is it possible that the new movie is just going to make for more drab Bat-filmmaking?

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Injustice in Hollywood!

I picked the following article up from my friend Kurt, who's using his work day to surf the Internet. Kurt used to own the legendary Chicago Comics back in Illinois, so like me he's a true believer in super-heroes anywhere and everywhere.

So here goes . . .

Martian Manhunter Need Not Apply
Wed Dec 22, 7:00 PM ET

Movies - E! Online
By Joal Ryan
No, it's not easy being green. Go ask Martian Manhunter.

News: Look up in the sky, it's Brandon Routh!

News: Batman Begins begins to shape up

News: Wonder Twins movie activates
E! Online Photo

As movie projects featuring founding members of comic book land's Justice League of America ramp up, the green-skinned detective from our solar system's fourth planet can't get arrested in Hollywood.

Which begs the question: So, um, who's Martian Manhunter?

"The Martian Manhunter is the Shemp of the Justice League," says TV writer-producer and comics guru Mark Evanier.

More specifically, Martian Manhunter is one of the seven original members of the JLA, the all-star superhero collective founded by DC Comics in 1960.

The other founding heroes: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman and the Green Lantern. Each character has a movie on the way, a deal in the works or a rumor in the mill.

You know, unlike Martian Manhunter.

The Flash and Wonder Woman are the latest JLA dues-payers potentially bound for big-screen stardom.

The Flash project is being mounted by Warner Bros., keeper of the DC comic universe. David Goyer, screenwriter of Batman's long-awaited theatrical comeback, Batman Begins, has been tapped to write and direct a flick for the speedster, the studio confirms. The project is said to be in development, with no targeted release date. The character previously fizzled in the blink-and-you-missed-it 1990-91 CBS series, starring future Dawson's Creek patriarch John Wesley (news) Shipp.

The Wonder Woman project is unconfirmed. Warners would not comment on reports, ignited last week by an Ain't It Cool News tipster, that have Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon close to coming on board to write and direct for the invisible plane-piloting Amazonian, most famously portrayed by Lynda Carter in the 1976-79 TV series, Wonder Woman. (NBC had a new TV version on the drawing board in 1998 but shelved it after failing to find a suitable star.)

Whedon reportedly also is a sought-after candidate for the latest X-Men adventure. That comic book flick was to have been helmed by Bryan Singer, who directed the first two mutant movies, before he jumped to Warners' long-stalled Superman project, Superman Returns, now set to fly into theaters in 2006.

The seafearing Aquaman and the power-ring-wearing Green Lantern, meanwhile, aren't nearly the hot properties that Batman, Superman, the Flash and Wonder Woman are right now. But their names have been floated in the past as potential movie headliners.

You know, unlike Martian Manhunter.

The poor guy didn't even make the cut for Superfriends.

Says Evanier: "It is kind of sad."

True, the Flash and the Green Lantern were left out of the animated Superfriends adventures, too. (They turned up later on Challenge of the Superfriends.) And, true, Martian Manhunter has been included in the Cartoon Network's recent JLA shows, including Justice League Unlimited.

But while the Flash got his own TV series, and the Green Lantern may yet get his own movie (to go along with Flash's), about the closest the Martian came to mainstream fame was a 1997 pilot for a live-action Justice League series for CBS. David Ogden Stiers, a fine Major Winchester on TV's M*A*S*H, but hardly a prototypical superhero type, was cast as the crimefighter also known as J'onn J'onzz. In the end, the series didn't sell; the pilot didn't air.

To Evanier, Martian Manhunter's image problem dates back to his origins as a backup feature in the Batman-headlined Detective comic.

"He was just a space filler," Evanier says.

Evanier figures Martian Manhunter only got into the JLA because he was a superhero at a time when DC Comics didn't have a whole lot of superheroes. That, and he could fly.

Not that Martian Manhunter's hopeless. There is the cable TV gig. And there is the fact that even second-tier heroes, such as Marvel's Iron Fist, have been the subject of recent feature film talks.

"All it really takes is a hot, young filmmaker who remembers a comic when he was young [to want to make the movie]," Evanier says.

Martian Manhunter may need that trailer yet.

Amen, brother! Let's see J'onn on the big screen . . . or the little screen for that matter. I have a copy somewhere of the Justice League pilot with David Ogden Stiers. J'onn deserves better. Not a lot better - since to be honest, I've been reading comics for nearly 30 years and I can't tell you the name of J'onn's archenemy, supporting cast, or anything.

Mostly he just hangs out with the Justice League. Which means that if he's not Shemp, he might be Zeppo.

Anyway, high temperature today in Los Angeles: upper 70s. But it will be a little windy.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Picking it back up again

I've been a bit lazy about the blog lately, and it's time to get back cracking on it. Mostly, it's been the weather, I suppose. It's had me down in the dumps a little. After all, who wants to spend a December day with some drizzle and temperatures in the 50s? My God . . .

But now that the thermometer is back up in the 70s where it belongs, and I'm actually having days where I can again see the ocean from my office window, it's time for some quick hits.

1) Went to the Getty Museum for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend. This is easily one of the most beautiful spots on earth - perched up on a hill on the West Side. You have to take a tram up to the top, and once you're there, you have picture perfect views of the ocean to one side, of Westwood and Century City directly below, and downtown LA far off in the distance. Even further, you can see snow capping the tops of a few of the San Gabriel Mountains off to the East. Until I moved here, I'd never before lived in a place with the ocean or mountains so close at hand. Having them both is just unbelievable.

2) Chicago actress Julie Granata was a Wieland houseguest for a couple of weeks in October and November. She and boyfriend Eric Hunicutt (aka, the fella who introduced me to my wife) are headed out to LA for good in January. They're checking out apartments in West Hollywood (WeHO?) and ultra-trendy Los Feliz (pronounced Low-s Feel-issss).

2A) While Jules was in town, my wife (Stephanie "one apple martini is never enough" Wieland) and I took part in a group outing at the Fairfax bar that invented the famous apple martini. There was much drinking. And then much not feeling well the next day.

3) The wife and I are talking about the purchase of a home ourselves, to happen in 2005. We're looking in the aforementioned Los Feliz, and also in Pasadena . . . and around. The time has come.

4) Football's been good to us out here. Not only do we continue to be spared from watching Bears games on Sundays, but my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes showed Michigan the royal beatdown, which does my heart major good. Buckeye coach Jim Tressel, despite being under fire by irresponsible reporters at ESPN, is now 3-1 against the team up north.

5) My similarly beloved Longhorns are in their first ever BCS bowl - and it's right here in the LA area. Love it! Maybe they'll get to pound the team from up north, too.

6) Saw a couple of good movies the past couple of weeks: Finding Neverland and Closer were both good, though Closer made me want to drink by myself with the lights off. Alfie was not so good. Of course, I was a total sucker for The Incredibles, but it's a movie that I would own. There's starting to be a lot of flicks to see . . . Ocean's 12, Kinsey, The Aviator, etc.

7) Re: Closer, the premiere for that bad boy was around the corner from my wife's office. Pretty cool day when you're heading over to the Coffee Bean for a quick break, and you see a bunch of celebs lining up to take in a flick.

8) Is there any greater justice in the world than what is happening to Notre Dame in their abortive coaching search? Let's review. Urban Meyer, the Utah coach who eats and breathes Notre Dame and is named after a pope? Nope, heading to Florida. Bobby Petrino, the Catholic coach of Louisville? Nope, staying put. The guy from Boise State? Happy in the land of the blue turf. A cadre of elite and semi-elite coaches - Jon Gruden, Jim Fassel, Bob Stoops, Barry Alvarez? Not interested.

Rumor has it that the Fighting Irish are down to these amazing candidates: 1) Tom Clemments, a coordinator from the Buffalo Bills. He's never been a head coach before. 2) Charlie Weis, a coordinator with the New England Patriots. He's likely not available until February. 3) Tom O'Brien, coach of Boston College, a 6-5 team that couldn't win the Big (L)East this year.

I'm also hearing the Kansas coach (not bowl eligible), Randy Walker of Northwestern (not bowl eligible), and the Connecticut coach (now in its third year of Division 1A play). This is hilarious. As a kid who went to Catholic high school who watched the Notre Dame bound seniors treated like gods among men, this is something I've been waiting a long time to see.

Notre Dame is, at long last, a punchline. Northwestern's football program is on firmer ground. Who'd have thunk it?

More later . . . hope it's warm where you are . . .

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