This .GIF Will Live Forever

By all means, feel free to share around:

The upside to being Kristen Stewart in the “Twilight” movies has always been that, since Bella never gets to do anything, she’s thus far been spared any truly humiliating footage that will follow her around – unlike poor Taylor Lautner, who will still be associated with “Jacob is unhappy with his mail” when he’s in his 70s.

All that changes within the first few minutes of “Breaking Dawn: Part II,” however – and the bit that does it made the trailer. What you’re hearing is true: The movie is a STUNNINGLY magnificient disaster – and the animated gif at your right encapsulates WHY:

Raimi’s "Oz" Still Looking Like a Winner

Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” is officially a non-canonical prequel to Baum’s original “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz;” but from the brand-new full trailer it’s very apparent that they want audiences to take it as a prequel to the classic MGM film: Here’s Oz as you (and your parents, and their parents…) grew up with it – right down to the black-and-white ‘real world’ – but now even bigger and realized with state-of-the-art FX and 3D cinematography.

Given that, the powerful place the MGM “Oz” has in the cultural memories of millions worldwide and the fact that the film is looking pretty handsome; it’s probably appropriate that the trailer includes a scene of the main character tumbling into a mountain of gold coins to shame Scrooge McDuck:

Ho. Ly. SHIT is that final shot money – the sound of five generations worth of movie audiences reacting the way Marvel fans do whenever Guy-No-One-Else-In-The-Audience-Has-Heard-Of turns up after the credits. There’s a lot of Margaret Hamilton’s Witch in the way Raimi tends to depict monsters and/or evil in general, and you can tell that they know full well that that’s the character to be teasing here; even as the rest of the trailer is going “YELLOW BRICK ROAD! EMERALD CITY! FLYING MONKEYS! MUNCHKINS!”

The whole point of this project, initially, was to beat “Wicked” to theaters before that production stalled. MY question now is, if this is even close to good… do they still bother with “Wicked?” I know the play is a huge deal, but don’t movie audiences look at the trailer for that and go “Didn’t we already see that?”

As expected, both Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell are scheduled to appear. Film opens in March.

Elmo Accuser Recants

The New York Times reports that the yet-unnamed man who alleged that he’d engaged in innapropriate relationship while underage with Elmo voice/puppeteer Kevin Clash has recanted his accusations through his attorney.

Good news for Clash, certainly, and it’s done with quickly enough that the scandal didn’t quite go irreparably memetic; but I get the sense Sesame Workshop is probably still going to dial it back on Elmo for just a bit. Still sucks, but could’ve shaken out a lot worse.

The New Playroom (Updated!)

UPDATE: Owing to an error on my part, a bunch of comments that should’ve gone through got dumped into moderation. Should be fixed now, learning curves and all that.

Assuming all the coding works out, this post and all others for the forseeable future will be running on a new commenting system called “Intense Debate,” which I’m going to assume most web users are familiar with by now.

This decision was made because it allows for last-resort measures such as banning IPs, usernames and emails from trolls, spammers, threadjackers and other abusive behaviors while simultaneously giving readers more options to comment overall.

Anonymous comments are no longer enabled, but using Intense Debate you can log in under Twitter or OpenID (working on Facebook logins, seems to be an API Key issue currently) OR get a FREE IntenseDebate login ID at their homepage.

Childhood’s End

I’m just over the line of too old to have ever had any kind of serious affection for Elmo, as he wasn’t the “big thing” on Sesame Street until years after I was too old to be watching. Never the less, my heart is breaking for the GenY folks who now have to go through this: Kevin Clash, the performer who has puppeteered and voiced the character since 1984 (recently the subject of the well-recieved documentary “Being Elmo”), has taken voluntary leave from the series in order to defend himself from allegations of an innapropriate relationship with an underaged accuser.

This sucks.

  The whole thing raises a massive amount of red flags, most egregiously the fact that the accuser and his attorneys took their issue to Sesame Workshop first rather than the police (officially, there have been no criminal charges) automatically looks like straight-up “settlement-extortion” stuff… but in terms of “guilty or innocent, this guy’s career is probably screwed” that’s somewhat beside the point.

Thus far, Clash has admitted to having been in a relationship with the accuser, but when he (yeah, I know, I’ll come back to that) was of legal age. Sesame Workshop, however, notes that he (Clash) had been disciplined for “poor judgement” regarding company email – plausible translation of that? He was corresponding with the accuser in some way when he was underage (the now 23 year-old man claims the relationship took place when he was 16) but they didn’t “get together” until he was a legal adult.

To my understanding, that chain of events may or may not be technically illegal… but it doesn’t look “good” at all for Clash (who’s in his 40s) to be skating that close to over-the-line when he’s a public figure in an industry involving children. Sesame Worskshop is merciless when it comes to ditching characters, storylines and segments at even the hint that their presence might in some way negatively effect their intended audience (the entire Snuffalupagus “everyone thinks he’s Big Bird’s imaginary friend” characterization was famously junked and retooled when it was pointed out that kids might be taking it as confirmation that adults wouldn’t believe them about… well, use your imagination) so if this thing snowballs I can easily imagine them either pushing Elmo (the nominal “star” of the series for over a decade now) to the rear or dropping him completely.

The fact is, even if Clash didn’t break any laws… it sounds like he’s made at best some questionable decisions. And given the way the media works now, just the known facts of the case right now are enough to fuel a year’s worth of outrage (are the wretched dwellers of right-wing forums already celebrating the scandal because it reflects badly on PBS? Of course they are…) and bad jokes, which will almost certainly taint the character – a beloved icon of (at least) two generations. A whole lot of kids grow up with an Elmo toy (and plenty of adults still have theirs) and it’ll likely be impossible for them to avoid hearing about this and thus impossible for this not to become one of the main things they think about when they look at them now. Something that was “pure” for a lot of people is now tainted.

And that sucks.

Now, just for the record: I would be saying that it sounds like Clash exercised questionable judgement (re: getting involved with a teenager, legal aged or not) regardless of whether or not it was a younger man or a younger woman – and Sesame Workshop would almost certainly be reading him the riot act wither way… but let’s be real: The only reason this is a scandal in the media is that the accuser is male. If Clash was being accused of being “involved” with a 16 year-old girl, well… there’d still be “jokes” but they’d be of the “Duuuuuude! Elmo’s a PIMP!!!!” variety, the story would be over in a week or two and the guy’s career would not be in the jeopardy it is right now. You know it, I know it, it’s a lousy double-standard but it’s how things are.

Either way… not enough is known yet for me to say I feel “bad” for the guy, since even the best case scenario boils down to him behaving pretty irresponsibly IMO. The people I feel bad for are the Sesame Street-aged (and maybe a little older) kids who’re having to hear “Elmo did something bad” on TV, radio, web or general conversation today; and for their parents who’ll now be forced to have very difficult discussions about what’s “going on.” That breaks my heart.

AVGN Trailer Debuts

James Rolfe, aka “The Angry Video Game Nerd,” is more or less the godfather of my entire ridiculous profession; and like a lot of us, he also started out as an aspiring filmmaker. Now, he’s finally gone and parlayed his online persona into a feature film of his own making… and I think it looks pretty damn good:

Yes, fine – the “Gen-X geeks on a reference-ladden road trip” premise is by now a whole genre unto itself, but considering this is “The Movie” of the webseries that helped create a lot of the memetic in-jokes that seem to populate this I’m willing to let it “slide” if the movie itself is fun, which looks to be the case. Good on you, Nerd – can’t wait to see it.