Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Caught a special "pre-DVD"/on-hotel-cable preview type showing of Red, a new film starring Brian Cox and Tom Sizemore. Cox will always be my favorite Hannibal Lector (he was in Michael Mann's Manhunter) and he's done great work in many films, but this is a rare starring role. And from the log-line, it sounded like another tedious Death Wish style revenge movie. So I wasn't expecting much...

But I was totally sucked in by this movie's elegant and very human story. Cox plays an older widower, war vet, who is confronted by some teenage locals demanding his wallet. When Cox doesn't have enough money on him to make them happy, one of them sadistically shoots and kills Cox's dog "Red."

Change-up number one: Cox doesn't want anybody's head on a platter. He just wants an apology and an admission of guilt from the kids who did him wrong. But the shooter's father is a rich local (played by Sizemore) who quickly gets tired of the old man's insinuations.

In most of these movies, the "revenge" is motivated by pretty simple emotions. In Death Sentence, Kevin Bacon's kid is murdered by a gang banger. Bacon wants to kill the guy. 'Nuff said. But this movie is somewhat more complicated. Nobody wants to kill anyone, at least at first. Cox simply wants "justice," an acknowledgment that he's been wronged. But that's too much for Sizemore and his kid, who decide to retaliate for the continued "harassment."

Couple things make this movie rise above the usual formula. Cox's performance has none of the ticks and swagger usually associated with this sort of "hero." He's a simple guy who has been hurt, and what he wants isn't all that unreasonable. (Sizemore keeps thinking Cox just wants money, but of course it's not that at all.) And at the core of the movie is a delicate and beautifully written scene where Cox explains what made him the sort of man who would face down powerful interests to see the boys who shot his dog face justice. His story is heartbreaking and horrific, and suddenly, unlike so many of these movies, we truly understand why he's pushing this.

It's so rare to come across something vaguely "genre" that works so well, but Red is a real find. Watch for it, I'm sure it'll be out on DVD soon...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tim Finn Rarities Vol 1...

Tim Finn, formerly of the New Zealand bands Split Enz and Crowded House, has been working solo and/or doing records with his little brother Neil for years. He's just released a CD of rarities and goodies that sounds great and is certainly eclectic. It's just come available through Tim's Myspace page at:

Big Earthquake Hits L.A. and... and...

...I didn't even feel it. Thank goodness. I don't like these shakers. Worst one for me was 1988, when a fault gave way near Whittier, which at that time happened to be very close to my house. It wasn't a really big quake, but when you're standing right on top of it (figuratively speaking), it sure FEELS big. By coincidence, workmen were running heavy machinery in front of my house that morning, and at first I was sure one of the machines had gone out of control and rammed into the front room. (Another produced a pretty good jolt in 1991, but for whatever reason wasn't quite a forceful as the '88 temblor.)

The other biggie was in 1994. Aside from sending some dishes to the floor and then the trash, this quake dropped part of the I-10 freeway near Santa Monica, one over which I had passed just a few hours earlier after attending a screening of Jackie Chan's Drunken Master 2. (Great movie, by the way, the original is way better than the recut U.S. version).

Ahh, memories...

MY NAME IS BRUCE - The Hit Single

In one of the many things I managed to miss at San Diego Con, apparently Dark Horse was giving out a free Bruce promotional CD with a song from the movie and the remastered trailer. Since I don't even have a copy, I have no idea how anyone can get one of these, but an image of the sleeve is here:

Incidentally, Mr. Bloody Disgusting, the movie was written by yours truly. Credit where credit is due, pul-ease!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

San Diego Con Report - Day Four!

What happened to reports for days 2 and 3? Well, I was having so much fun I couldn't get back to the computer. Here's a quick rundown of some panel highlights:

DARK HORSE PANEL: We showed some clips of MY NAME IS BRUCE to a packed and wildly appreciative crowd, followed by an appearance by Mr. Campbell himself. Who proceeded to deliver a riotous series of bon mots in response to audience questions, and even gave an especially vociferous fan $2.00 for a high compliment. I sat mutely on stage and watched the master at work. I think the only real way to describe the event is... "groovy."

Dark Horse had the BRUCE trailer on a continuous loop down at their booth, and since BRUCE was shot in high-def, it looks friggin' amazing! Prints are currently being struck and Bruce himself intends to tour 20 to 30 cities this Fall, so keep your eyes peeled for MY NAME IS BRUCE at a theater near you! (Assuming, as Bruce said, you live near a major metropolitan area!)

BATTLESTAR PANEL: Jam packed as usual with literally thousands of enthusiastic fans. Kevin Smith was a funny and blisteringly profane toast-master who elicited a lot of good stuff from the assembled cast. Plus there was a trailer with some new scenes from the next bunch of shows (with a lot of material from the episode I wrote, he notes proudly). It's always amazing to feel the intensity of the crowd at these events.

SMALLVILLE PANEL: My old pals Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer have gone and taken the reins of the show, so I was there in a front row seat (well, they snuck me in) and had a great time watching clips of the old and the new and seeing the cast. Alison Mack is cute and funny as ever. Always liked that Chloe. And the best Q & A session of the show!

THE REST OF THE CON: It's insanely busy/crowded and the hotels are getting prohibitively expensive, but it's still fun. I found some old funny books, bumped into a lot of old friends, enjoyed some nice dinners and just generally had a good time until I was too tired to keep having a good time. (In the old days I would have kept going until I hit terminal exhaustion, but I guess experience and good sense trumped idiocy this year.) Bottom line? See ya next year...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

San Diego Con Report - Day One (Thurs.)

This report will be easy, because so far I haven't seen anything except a lot of cars, a hotel lobby and a hotel room. It took 5 1/2 hours to make the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego (that's long, traffic was especially awful this trip), so I arrived after the convention had already closed for the day. Ah nuts.

I hope tomorrow's report has slightly more information...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Robert Gordon, Chris Spedding, Making Music

You don't usually get to see the sausage being made when it comes to recording albums (the Beatles and their "Let It Be" sessions being one enormous exception), but here's a peek. Rockabilly singer Robert Gordon and guitarist Chris Spedding were captured in the midst of some small studio frustration by a Danish film-crew. The narration is in Danish but you quickly get the gist of things anyway...

Monday, July 21, 2008

My San Diego Comicon Schedule

It's actually very simple this year, the only panel I'm planning to appear on is the Dark Horse presentation, 12:00 to 1:00 on Saturday, Room 2. I believe there may be a special appearance by a certain Mr. B.C., but regardless, clips from the long awaited My Name Is Bruce have been promised. Since I don't actually arrange any of this stuff, I can't make any promises, but hey, I'll be there. (I can hear the stampede down to the hall already... ha ha... ha...)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

BSG's Final Season Begins 1/09

The official word came down at the TCA's today, straight from the big man's lips (Dave Howe); BSG season the last will unspool beginning January 2009.

There was also a whole heap o' Caprica news... as usual, for the straight dope and many useful links go to

Nothing much I can add, except having read the pilot script, I'll just say Caprica is as fascinating, daring and intriguing as Battlestar, though in a completely different way. I know what you're thinking, what does THAT mean? Is it shot in Smell-o-vision? Do the characters speak backwards? Is it powerful, thought-provoking drama? If you picked "C", you win...

I'm Sorry, But WHO Wrote Timecop?

Probably seems silly to be "splitting hairs" over a writing credit from a 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, but...

Today's Los Angeles Times has a glowing profile of Dark Horse Comics/Entertainment chief Mike Richardson. It's a great piece and since Mike's one of my oldest friends, I couldn't be happier for his success. (Honest. This isn't one of those Hollywood "hoping the other guy fails" deals; Mike really deserves all the kudos in the world.) But in the article, the author claims that Mike "wrote" Timecop, and that's... not quite right.

If this seems like a sore point, you're right. And it leads to another strange, sad but curious story from my usually boring past. Way back in 1997, a fellow named Gary Devore disappeared while driving in the California desert. Devore was a successful screenwriter and his disappearance was very puzzling, because when he vanished, he vanished. No notes, no body, nothing. As time wore on, it got strange to the point that multiple scary/crazy conspiracy theories erupted. His body was finally discovered trapped inside his car in an aquaduct near Palmdale in 1998, and the mystery was sadly solved. It appeared that Devore had fallen asleep at the wheel and his car had crashed into some fairly deep water, where it lay out for view for almost a year.

But there was also this (clipped from Devore's IMDB page):

(Devore)...disappeared on June 28 after his car apparently slid off the road into a California Aqueduct where his body remained undiscovered for a year. His mysterious disappearance prompted an amateur sleuth to retrace his route (tracked by credit card receipts for gas and cell phone records) and contact the California Highway Patrol with his theory of running off into the canal. The CHP was initially skeptical due to the lack of damage of the overpass' guard rails but they soon discovered pieces of auto body parts that matched his Ford. Divers were called in and his SUV was located in the canal.

The story of this prescient "sleuth" was yet another curious wrinkle, giving the tragedy a little extra "oomph" in the local news cycle.

At any rate, this very sad and tragic event was quite the news-story at the time. And what does ANY of this have to do with me and TIMECOP? Well... because Devore had done a dialogue pass on TIMECOP the movie, somehow that became the credit that kept being mentioned when the case hit the news. In fact, when Devore's body was finally discovered, I received several panicked calls from friends wondering if I were, well, "deceased," since all they'd heard in the promos for the news shows was "Timecop Writer Found Dead."

At any rate, and since I have the carpel tunnel to prove it, yours truly wrote the first FIVE drafts of TIMECOP the movie, as well as all the comic book scripts. Mike Richardson and I co-created the story, which is why we share a story credit on the movie, while I have sole screenplay credit. We kibitzed constantly during the scripting, but the guy with his fingers at the keys was moi. And if the author of the L.A. Times article had, oh, CHECKED THE ACTUAL CREDITS (and bought a DVD while he was at it, I could use the residuals!), perhaps this small fact wouldn't have eluded his attention.

But at least he didn't credit it to poor Gary Devore...

Coming Soon...

I may have some actual news to report on future projects "soon", but at the moment everything is hush-hush, top-secret, in the lock box, SHHHHH. Doesn't mean things have slowed to a crawl around Casa Verheiden, quite the contrary actually, but the people who pay for this stuff are funny. They would like to control the flow of information, maybe even coordinate it, so it has maximum impact and actually accurately reflects the status of the project. That coordination usually doesn't include one of the participants prematurely spilling the beans on his rather primitive blog-site...

Let's just say there's a lot of stuff that I'm excited about, and I hope (fingers crossed) others will find equally engaging...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alan Moore SPEAKS

Author (with Dave Gibbons) of Watchmen, V For Vendetta and a host of other seminal comic book works, Alan Moore is interviewed by Entertainment Weekly upon the release of the trailer for the Watchmen movie. (Hint: he's not interested.),,20213004,00.html

Friday, July 18, 2008

Talk Radio's Michael Savage & Autism

I rarely go to the political with this blog, but some talk show freak named Michael Savage recently claimed that autism is mostly a parental discipline problem, as in these poor kids just need a good whack. And just when it seemed like society might be emerging from the dark ages re: this condition...

Steve Young at the Huffington Post and a guest writer who faces autism head-on express my outrage most eloquently...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Watchmen Trailer...

Is this the age of the "comic book movie" or what? Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, was and is one of the best American graphic novels ever, and now it's a big ol' movie. This trailer will be attached to the Dark Knight prints unspooling tonight, but it's also available on line...

And The Nominees Are...

Six Emmy nominations for Battlestar Galactica this year! Congratulations to everyone for the much deserved recognition, but I have to add a special "hoorah" for Mr. Michael An-jelly for a job well done.

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Battlestar Galactica • Six Of One
Written By Michael Angeli

Outstanding Cinematography For A One-Hour Series
Battlestar Galactica • Razor
Stephen McNutt, Director of Photography

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series
Battlestar Galactica • He That Believeth In Me
Julius Ramsay, Editor

Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Series
Battlestar Galactica • He That Believeth In Me
Gary Hutzel, Visual Effects Supervisor
Michael Gibson, Visual Effects Producer
David Takemura, Visual Effects Coordinator
Doug Drexler, CGI Supervisor
Kyle Toucher, CG Artist
Sean Jackson, CG Artist
Pierre Drolet, CG Modeler
Aurore de Blois, Senior Compositor
Derek Ledbetter, Compositor

Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One-Hour)
Battlestar Galactica • Razor
Rick Bal, Production Mixer
Michael Olman, C.A.S., Supervising Re-Recording Mixer
Kenneth Kobett, C.A.S., Supervising Re-Recording Mixer

Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs
Battlestar Galactica - Razor Featurette #4
Ronald D. Moore, Executive Producer
David Eick, Executive Producer
Harvey Frand, Supervising Producer

(Thanx to Galactica Sitrep for the easy-to-copy list!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dark Knight Some More...

My buddy Marv Wolfman weighs in, and hoorah, we are in total agreement. This is one great movie!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday In San Diego - Be There!

The schedule for Saturday events at the San Diego Comic Con is up, and below are some of the events that pique my interest. Unfortunately some events butt heads with others, but so it goes. I may well be visiting the Dark Horse panel at 12:15, and I'll be cheering from the audience during the Battlestar event at 2:15. Attendance at other events will depend on how much sleep I got the night before...

The full schedule can be found at Other days have also been posted...

10:45-11:45 Heroes: Exclusive First Look at “Villains” and Q&A with the Entire Cast, Tim Kring, and Tim Sale— Heroes chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. Watch an exclusive first look at “Chapter 3: Villains.” Moderated by co-executive producer/comic book writer Jeph Loeb, participating in a Q&A session with creator Tim Kring, comic book artist Tim Sale (Batman: The Long Halloween), and the cast: Jack Coleman (H.R.G.), Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman), Ali Larter (Niki Sanders), James Kyson Lee (Ando Masahashi), Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet), Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli), Zachary Quinto (Sylar), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder Suresh), Dania Ramirez (Maya Herrera), Cristine Rose (Angela Petrelli), and Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli). Hall H
Categories: Comic Books | Superheroes | Television

11:00-12:00 Watching the Watchmen— Author and artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) and Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff Jenson discuss the hugely anticipated Watching the Watchmen with the book’s designers Chip Kidd (Mythology, Jurassic Park, Batman Collected) and Mike Essl. Hear Dave Gibbons’ account of the genesis of Watchmen in this exclusive interview and Q&A session! Includes a presentation of rare material from the upcoming book. Room 7AB
Categories: Comic Books | Superheroes | Writers & Writing

11:30-12:30 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Screening and Q&A— Back for a second year at Comic-Con, the producers and stars of this hit action-adventure drama will debut the trailer for season two and answer questions from fans during this one-hour session. Executive producers Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), John Wirth (The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) and James Middleton (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) will be joined by returning series stars Lena Headey (300), Thomas Dekker (Heroes), Summer Glau (Serenity), Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills, 90210) and Richard T. Jones (Event Horizon), as well as new series regulars Garret Dillahunt (No Country for Old Men) and musician Shirley Manson (Garbage). Produced by C2 Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns for a second season September 8 and airs Mondays at 8:00 PM ET/PT on FOX. Room 6A
Categories: Science Fiction & Fantasy | Television

12:00-1:00 Dark Horse Comics— Dark Horse director of publicity Jeremy Atkins and a host of Dark Horse editors and creators present a firsthand look at the future of comics. You will be given insight into the next chapter of the breakout hit series The Umbrella Academy, as well as a look at what the future holds for all of your other favorite series and characters. With exciting announcements and surprise guests, you won't want to be anywhere else. Room 2
Categories: Comic Books

12:45-1:45 Exclusive Q&A with the writers of The Office— Meet the writers of the EmmyAward–winning comedy The Office and hear them talk about their favorite episodes, characters, and fun behind-the-scenes stories. Moderated by cast member Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), panelists include executive producer/showrunner Greg Daniels (The Simpsons) and writers Jennifer Celotta (Andy Richter Controls the Universe), Michael Schur (Saturday Night Live), B.J. Novak, Lester Lewis (The Larry Sanders Show), Gene Stupnitsky (Year One), Lee Eisenberg (Year One), Mindy Kaling (Matt and Ben), Justin Spitzer (Scrubs), Ryan Koh (various commercials), and Anthony Ferrell (The Audacity). Room 6A
Categories: Humor & Satire | Television | Writers & Writing

12:45-2:00 DC: A Guide to Your Universe— Dan DiDio (senior VP/executive editor, DCU), Jann Jones (senior coordinating editor, DCU), and Ian Sattler (senior story editor, DCU), and countless DCU talent gather for a panel that’s not to be missed. Now that the Final Crisis is upon us, what lies ahead for your favorite heroes? Join Keith Giffen (Reign in Hell, Ambush Bug: Year None), Geoff Johns (Action Comics, Green Lantern), Aaron Lopresti (Wonder Woman), Brad Meltzer (DCU: Last Will and Testament), Grant Morrison (Batman, Final Crisis), Gail Simone (Wonder Woman), Phillip Tan (Final Crisis: Revelations), Peter Tomasi (Green Lantern Corps), Judd Winick (Titans), and others to get the answers. Room 6B
Categories: Comic Books | Comic-Con Special Guest Spotlights & Appearances

2:15-3:15 Battlestar Galactica— Last year, Battlestar Galactica took San Diego by storm. Now the best show on television returns to Comic-Con for a panel filled with excitement, laughter, and a sneak peek into the final revelation. Focusing on the character relationships that give this hit series its power, this exclusive panel sheds new light on the ties between Humans and Cylons and provides valuable insight into the adventure ahead. Panelists include cast members Tricia Helfer, James Callis, Michael Trucco, and Katee Sackhoff and executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, along with moderator Kevin Smith. Ballroom 20
Categories: Science Fiction & Fantasy | Television

2:30-3:30 Scott Shaw!: Oddball Comics— Now regularly seen in the pages of Geek Monthly, cartoonist Scott Shaw! (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, Bart Simpson Comics) brings back his ever-popular digital slide show featuring “the craziest comic books ever published!” This year, Scott celebrates Herbie, The Fat Fury, now back in print from Dark Horse! See why Stan Lee said, “Wow, True Believers, I thought I'd seen it all, but Scott Shaw's hysterically hilarious Oddball Comics is the wildest, wackiest exposé of some of the craziest comic books I've ever seen! Or, to put it mildly, Scott's outrageous opuses are a blast, blast, blast!” [Okay, so I added those last two “blasts.” —SS!] Room 5AB
Categories: Comic Books | Fandom | Humor & Satire

3:00-4:30 MAD in the ’60s— Comic-Con special guests Sergio Aragonés, Al Feldstein, and Al Jaffee join Mark Evanier for this free-wheeling discussion about the go-go years of one of America's biggest publishing success stories, the one and only—but often imitated—MAD magazine! Room 8
Categories: Cartooning and Comic Strips | Comic Books | Comic-Con Special Guest Spotlights & Appearances | Humor & Satire | Writers & Writing

5:30-6:30 The World of Steve Ditko Panel Discussion— Author Blake Bell (Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko) presents a slide show and discusses the artwork and career of Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange) with panelists Jim Starlin (Captain Marvel, Dreadstar), Kim Deitch (Shadowland, The Stuff of Dreams), Carl Potts (Alien Legion), Dean Mullaney (IDW's Library of American Comics), and Gary Groth (co-publisher, Fantagraphics). Room 4
Categories: Comic Books | Comic-Con Special Guest Spotlights & Appearances | Superheroes

5:30-6:30 Spotlight on Len Wein— The writer who gave us Swamp Thing, The New X-Men, Wolverine, Brother Voodoo, memorable runs on all the top DC and Marvel titles and many more, was one of the first fans to become a professional writer...and editor at both companies. Comic-Con special guest Len Wein joins moderator Mark Evanier for a discussion on Len's 30+ years in the industry as one of comics' most popular talents. Room 8
Categories: Comic Books | Comic-Con Special Guest Spotlights & Appearances | Writers & Writing

6:00-7:00 TV Guide— TV Guide takes an in-depth look at some of the new and returning TV series, featuring the hottest TV talent—in front of the camera and behind the scenes. TV Guide executive editor Craig Tomashoff moderates this panel offering the inside scoop, with some fun surprises. Participants include (in alphabetical order) Josh Applebaum (executive producer, Life on Mars), Jaimie Alexander (Kyle XY), Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (creator, The Middleman), Ronald Moore (executive producer, Virtuality), Natalie Morales (The Middleman), Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars), and Jason Smilovic (executive producer, My Own Worst Enemy), among other special guests. Room 6B
Categories: Science Fiction & Fantasy | Television

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wrap Party ala Mojo

Special effects wiz and all around good guy Mojo tells the tale of the Battlestar Galactica final wrap party far better than I... with pictures! Check out Mojo's blog at:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Battlestar Galactica - NOW That's A Wrap

Battlestar Galactica's principle photography wrapped at 5:30-ish AM this morning... though of course there is still tons to do to get these last eleven episodes ready for the screen. Our post production team will be working away for months yet, editing, creating the special FX, music and dubbing and all the rest. Huge revelations are coming your way, with a multitude of questions answered once and for all... some sooner in the run than you may expect.

Meanwhile, it is onward, upward and sideways for BSG's merry band of writers and producers...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Green Lights...

"Green light" is the familiar term used when a movie or TV show or pick-project-of-choice is okayed to go into production. When you have the green light, theoretically that should mean that all systems are go, people, places and things are set, and now it's off to the races.

But that term has always been sorely abused. We all want everything we do to be "green lit", of course, and it's only human nature to put the most optimistic spin on situations. If you've worked in the entertainment field for more than three minutes, then you've had someone tell you with pride and big smiley enthusiasm that their latest effort was "just green lit" and they're busy trying to figure out the best Swiss Bank in which to contain their so-to-be delivered loot. If you've been in the business more than three months, you've also noticed that an enormous number of these green-lit, guaranteed, set in stone projects never actually get made. Are these folks liars? No. Sometimes "stuff happens" and that green light gets smashed by a change in production regime or a suddenly cranky star or today's horoscope.

The point here isn't to excoriate people for being overly optimistic, but not to get THAT invested in the latest internet rumor or dropped hint re: this or that project being "ready to go." Until you hear something official from the actual production company, all rumors are still just that... rumors.

And please don't infer anything or start rumors based on that!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

There's WALL-E and Then There's...

Mere words can't describe it.

(Thanks to "Cartoon Brew" for the heads-up.)

UPDATE: Evidently the site's been pulled. Phooey!

The Dark Knight...

Caught a screening of the new Batman movie last night. I went in wondering if the hype re: the late Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker would somehow inflate expectations into the impossible-to-fulfill range, but no. In a film where everyone is uniformly excellent (I am especially impressed at the range of emotion Christian Bale can elicit behind a great big mask), Heath Ledger's performance is truly remarkable. Forget the Jack Nicholson cackle, Ledger's version of the Joker goes to a very bad and ugly place. He is a shaky, diabolical terrorist-lunatic, and genuinely scary.

If IRON MAN was the up-beat, poppy superhero brought to glorious life, then DARK KNIGHT is the scarred flip-side of the coin. There are plenty of great action scenes, but at its core this is an exploration into the moral ambiguity of noble intentions... making it one of the darkest big-budget "superhero" movies ever made. That's a big ol' thumbs up in my book!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Naming Names...

Figuring out names for your characters in a new script can be torturous. Your hero is usually the easiest, since movie law dictates that their first name must be something staccato and manly ("Jack", "Nick", "Max", etc.) and the last name relatively easy to pronounce. If it's not easy to pronounce, then that itself becomes a character quirk ("Damn it, Krinowieski, get your (pick ethnic slur of choice) ass down to headquarters now!")

But for others, trying to find something new and unusual can be tough. I used to pore through the phone book, but you have to wade through a lot of Smith and Jones type names to find something interesting. But I have discovered an easier solution...

Just go through any political blog, doesn't matter what persuasion, liberal, conservative, nutball (though those can be the most interesting). For some reason, people in political life have some of the coolest names. Just scanning down one blog this morning, I found the following: Perriello, Ambinder, Culvahouse, Pawlenty, Bendixson, Taddeo, Bordallo, Visclosky, Oberstar... and that's just in three minutes. A little more looking and you can populate your story with some of the most interesting names, and get politically incensed/enthused at the same time!

And I Thought I Was Obsessive!

So I like the Beatles. I wouldn't call myself an uber-fan, but I certainly have all their CDs in various incarnations and varied and sundry other items of interest. But there are fans and there are fans, and I just received a whopper of a book by the latter...

"The Anthology of The Beatles Records" is a two volume, slip-cased, 1370 page (!) tome with 4000 color illustrations documenting just about every single Beatles release from day one to the closing date of publication (11/2007). I say "just about" because even the author admits there's no way to know definitively if he's collected every possible iteration of every 45RPM label from, say, Switzerland... but if he missed it, it's not for trying. This massive tome also comes with a brand new vinyl 45 Beatles single on a vintage Polydor label and sleeve, color postcards and if you really want to go for the gusto, you can get the thing autographed by Tony Sheridan, Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann. (If you don't know who they are, you'll never get a book like this anyway.)

At any rate, if you thought the Beatles catalog was limited to the 15 or 16 official albums they released while still recording, you've got another think coming. Not that there are revelations of new music, per se... we're talking about the endless repackagings of their library, with different covers, label styles, photography and even occasionally different mixes.

Here's some of their official blurb:

"More than 1300 pages, more than 4000 color photos! Complete discography from 1962 till our days! Some records have been documented for the first time! New countries have been added to the discography: Belarus, Uzbekistan, Republic of Geaorgia, Latvia."

This sort of scholarship doesn't come cheap; it's 260 Euros (sans autographs) straight from Germany, or close to $500 (damn this exchange rate!). But if this sort of madness strikes a chord, or you need one heck of a doorstop, check it out at


Even I ordered one of these... somebody's being pretty clever over at the NBC/Universal marketed department.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Joe Cocker Articulates...

I don't do the video referral thing much, but this one's pretty good. Legendary singer Joe Cocker's Woodstock version of "With A Little Help From My Friends" is interpreted for those of us for whom English remains our first language.

(Thanks to J. Goins for the ref, and check out his Beatles blog, url to the right!)

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Blogging has been a bit sporadic, I've been swamped the last few weeks -- which is good! Most of what I've been doing is at that delicate "talking stage" and hence remains secured in the unmentionables drawer for now. Much of the writing life involves the frighteningly prosaic act of mulling things over, and while the "life of the mind" provided much fodder for the Coen Brothers (Barton Fink, see it!), in real life it considers of sitting at the computer and banging around ideas in between thrilling sessions of solitaire.

The Battlestar wrap party was last Saturday night and it was a joyous if somewhat bittersweet event. I had a chance to chat with Michael Hogan (Tigh) and he really put his finger on it; Battlestar's been a wonderful experience, but this thing we do, whether it's writing or acting or whatever, is by definition a nomadic existence. I always assume that my "best work", whatever that is, lies ahead, and while Battlestar's certainly set the bar a lot higher, I still believe that. It's a big ol' exciting world out there... meanwhile, we're still shooting the finale episode(s) and I'm still working on various finish-up stuff, so wrap party aside, over doesn't really mean over until it's over...

In other news, it appears that I'll be involved in the Dark Horse panel at the big San Diego convention later in July. Bruce Campbell will also put in an appearance and clips from the long awaited My Name Is Bruce will be on display. I haven't got an exact time yet but it will be Saturday, and hopefully won't collide with the Battlestar panel, which promises to be a star-studded affair. Otherwise I don't have any panels scheduled, so I'll just be wandering the halls looking at a expensive comic books and meeting up with old pals.

More as it becomes available!