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Episode 141 - The Shadow: LIVE! (w/ Pete Davidson)

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Happy Birthday, Ellen! Hope you'll have a great day!

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The only issue pinball makers really had to worry about were places the ball could get stuck and causing a tilt.

 

I would say that is an oversimplification. The best machines made over twenty years ago are still more popular than newer and modern machines. Video games were cheap and pushed out the door (anyone remember LJN) while most pinball machines, especially Bally Williams, were quality products with lots of R&D. You only need to play Addams Family and Demolition Man for about 10 seconds to know they are nothing alike. Reused playfield layouts and boring rules created forgettable games like Jurassic Park: Lost World and Lost in Space.

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happy birthday .... let us know if the killing joke is any good

 

The reviews have not been kind. My wife and I were going to go see it, but we decided to hold off after reading article after article lambasting the tacked-on bit involving Batgirl, as well as the the ensuing post-screening Comicon debacle where things got ugly between a blogger and one of this film's writers.

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Searching for bad pinballs, I have discovered one I MUST have

 

Metallica-pinball-Premium-flyer-640x823.jpg

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I thought I'd throw my fedora in the ring in trying to explain this movie. Sadly, I absolutely loved it as a kid. I also loved Phantom (but I think that should be less confusing for everyone).

 

I think the biggest problem with this movie is that it feels like a sequel to a movie we never got to see in that it assumes the audience knows all about the Shadow. Large portions of his backstory and explanations about his powers and how they work are left out so brazenly. Clearly, the screenwriter was familiar with the Shadow, but his biggest error was in figuring everyone else did, too. So what follows is a list of things that are just plain left out of the movie that might help shine a light on some of it. My apologies if anyone mentioned any of this before me.

 

- The Shadow's powers are to "cloud men's minds." He can hypnotize you into not seeing him. He does not actually become invisible or turn into a shadow himself. Why he doesn't also make people not see his shadow is anyone's guess.

 

- The Shadow can also do the Jedi mind trick.

 

- The Shadow employs a network of "agents" in his battle against crime. These are the red ring guys. Each one has a specific task. The cabbie, the guy who maintains the pneumatic tubes and communications systems are on a payroll from Cranston's fortune.

 

- The Shadow is not powerful enough to make something as large as a building "disappear." In doing so, the movie is trying (and failing) to show how much more powerful Khan is.

 

- The Shadow does not usually fight other psychic type guys like Khan. He mostly fights gangster, crooks, and Nazis. I think the movie would have been better off pitting him against something like that and trying to introduce Khan as an anti-Shadow character in a sequel. Shiwan Khan doesn't even appear until the 182nd(!) Shadow pulp novel.

 

- The Shadow is less a Batman type (although Batman borrows many of its tropes like the rich alter ego from the Shadow) and more of a Punisher type. The Shadow kills frequently and without mercy.

 

- The Shadow really enjoys violence and killing people. He has a weird sense of humor. His cackling laugh isn't just to disorient or scare the bad guys; he also just is really having a blast.

 

- This is where things are going to get really weird. The Shadow only poses as Lamont Cranston; he is not actually Lamont Cranston.

 

- Lamont Cranston died decades ago and the Shadow (whose real name is Kent Allard) assumed his identity to help fund his vigilante campaign and to move about in society to find out information, etc.

 

- The reason the Shadow has a big weird nose is that that is his real nose. The face he wears as Lamont Cranston is a disguise he tricks people into seeing with his psychic powers.

 

- If you're wondering why at the end of the movie the nose disappears when the Shadow loses his concentration, it's because this is an inconsistent, poorly directed movie.

 

So the plot, basically is this: The Shadow was a bad guy in Asia somewhere. A wise old master (an Ancient One/Yoda type) selected him as someone who could redeem himself and gave him psychic powers to use against the evil of the world to atone for his past crimes.

 

Offscreen, the Shadow returns to America, has many adventures, and recruits a bunch of dudes to help him.

 

Margot Lane and her dad come to town. Her dad is building some sort of benign atomic energy device. Margot is psychic.

 

Shiwan Khan comes to town. He is the Yoda guy's other student. Yoda had been so pleased with the Shadow, he decided to try again. He succeeded in training Shiwan Khan to be even more powerful, but didn't make him any less evil. Khan has decided to use his powers to take over the world and wants to start by besting/killing the Shadow, his rival and only real threat, and blowing up New York for some reason.

 

Shiwan Khan secures an abandoned hotel as his hq and clouds the mind of all of New York so they cannot see it and think it was torn down at some point. He also gets some Mongols to come over and help him.

 

Shiwan Khan enslaves Margot's dad and forces his to turn his device into an atomic bomb.

 

The Shadow fights Khan and his minions at various points. The Shadow and Margot fall in love, I guess.

 

The Shadow frees Margot's dad. Margot's dad deactivates the bomb. The Shadow defeats Khan and saves New York. The Shadow has Khan lobotomized because he's kind of a dick.

 

The End

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eta: I skimmed but I'm not sure if this was mentioned. So, the long fingernails - in Chinese culture it's a symbol of wealth. No, really. Long fingernails mean you aren't out in the fields busting your ass all day. It shows you live in comfort and style to be able to maintain long nails. Now for the grosser side of things: having one long nail (usually on the pinky) isn't just a coke thing. Many sober men will keep a long pinky nail to dig wax out of their ears and pick their noses.

Since talon-like nails are the universal symbol of evil, we need not look outside of Western civilization for the inspiration behind Ying Ko's gnarly nails.

 

ftghp5.jpg

 

In the unlikely event that the filmakers had carried out a modicum amount of research and wanted to demonstrate wealth through fingernails, I doubt they would have been able to resist giving Ying Ko the nail guards worn by upperclass women in the Qing dynasty.

 

2it17a.jpg

 

I have never met a Chinese man with long fingernails. After a cursory search, it is clear that Chinese men cultivating long fingernails is frowned upon by other Chinese people and the practice is limited to certain demographics. Kind of like dipping, Ed Hardy shirts, above-ground pools, horoscopes, open-carry etc.

 

The trailers for Doctor Strange and Iron Fist sadden me. More than 20 years have passed since The Shadow and underrepresented cultures are still used as window dressing. Thankfully, audience are smarter now, and more open-minded.

 

There are people like Mathey, who knows that what these movies depict are "Tibet", "China" and "Asia", exoticized places that have little basis in reality. There are also people like Elektra Boogaloo who questions what she reads and performs her own research even if the topic is somber.

 

Remember the image of Chinese opium dens with their air of debauchery that The Shadow used in the beginning? It was actually the British who introduced large-scale opium trade into China in the 18th century. The British bought lots of stuff from China, but China did not want to buy anything from the British. In order to remedy this imbalance, Britain wanted to sell opium to China. China didn't want it. They knew opium is addictive and had banned the substance. The British (later joined by the French) fought two wars against China to make China legalize it. The wars and the opium trade devastated China. This is why a few East Asian countries have such severe drug laws (e.g. drug traffickers in China gets the death penalty, even if the drug is marijuana). And why relationship between China and the West is rather touchy. I urge people to read about the Opium Wars.

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And also read about the Tibetan goddess Palden Lhamo, who is METAL.

 

28it9xs.jpg

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So here are a few of the thoughts I had....

 

I think I saw this when it came out, maybe 13 at the time, but I don't fully remember it. So I rented it, watched it, then listened to the episode. I felt that I understood the general story well, so I'm wondering if the gang played up their confusion for the sake of comedy, or they just didn't pay much attention while watching.

 

1. I took it that Lamont Cranston went to Asia after WWI and decided not to return home and wound up a drug kingpin. I'm guessing he always had psychic powers but was untrained. I think most of this movie treats Cranston and Khan as Jedi. I also thought that based on the timeline presented and their familiarity that Khan possibly trained around the same time as Cranston. Khan was also an untrained psychic or telepath or whatever.

 

I also think that because Cranston struggled between good and evil, light and dark, that he wasn't as powerful as Khan, who had no conflict. Again, it's like a Jedi/Star Wars thing. Cranston only overcomes Khan when he gives himself fully to good, thus increases his strength.

 

2. The hotel was clearly explained. The hotel was constructed but never opened. So when Khan took it and hypnotized the city to not see it, there were never any occupants.

 

3. Cranston does not become a shadow. He can hypnotize/cloud/Jedi mind trick people to not see him. But that only affects a person's perspective. To an inanimate object that gives off light, like a light bulb or the sun, Cranston is still there. His body will obstruct rays of light to cast a shadow. Now, why he can't mesmerize people to not see his shadow makes no sense. Also makes no sesne why the hotel casts no shadow.

 

4. Here's something I was wondering about Khan: Obviously he wants to rule the world and bring back the rise of the Mongolian dynasty of Gengis Khan. To demonstrate his power, he's going to destroy the city that embodies the new "decadant cradle of civilzation" that is New York City. However, Khan doesn't seem to mind a lot of the luxuries of the Western lifestyle. Unironically, he wants to be more like Cranston. He wants a nice suit. He wants to enjoy bourbon. He cuts his hair and trims his beard. So Khan is a bit of a hypocrite in this sense.

 

Now, here are a few more things I understood once I did a little Googling ....

 

1. Cranston mesmerizes people to see a different face as the Shadow because Alec Baldwin's features do not match the traditional image of the character. The Shadow's face is long and lean. Even though we only ever see his brow to his nose, Shadow's features are angular and sharp. His cheekbones are pronounced, his brow is strong, and his nose is long and hawklike. Alec Baldwin's face is round and soft, and his face was starting to fill out as he was closing in on middle age. The filmmakers needed a reason for Alec Baldwin's face to match that of the classical artwork, hence mesmerism again. Should a remake happen, filmmakers would want to cast a guy with features like Adrian Brody.

 

2. The film version of the Shadow is a mix of two prior versions of the character. So the Shadow started as a radio character (played by Orson Wells, wow) who could mesmerize people to not see him. He had a hat and cloak but didn't have to really hide his face (I guess) because he was always invisible. Then the character was adapted to pulp novels and was powerless. He was just a detective with a hat, cape, and a scarf to cover his face.

 

3. There's a kind of better version of this movie, and it was made by Sam Rami four years prior. From what I've read online, Rami couldn't get the rights to the character, so he made Darkman. I have seen Darkman recently, and now that I think about it Darkman is definitely The Shadow, starring Liam Neeson.... a guy with a distinctive brow and nose, even if it is covered by gore makeup and bandages most of the time. Comparing the two, Rami's film is better and had he obtained the rights, Rami's Shadow might have been on par with Burton's Batman films.

 

One last thing, because I can't resist ending my first really in-depth post this way ....

 

DUCK TITTIESSSS!!!!!!!!!

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I think it's safe to say anyone named Cranston is involved with the drug trade.

 

Opium:

alecbaldwin.jpg

 

Meth:

 

heisenberg__walter_white__png_by_nathown-d5v0h3f.png

 

Cocaine:

 

the-infiltrator.jpg

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Regarding the White Guy Goes To Tibet thing, even Sherlock Holmes did it - in The Empty House (the story that reintroduced the character after he appeared to die going over the Reichenbach Falls with Moriarty), he claims to have wandered around the world, including a visit to Lhasa and the "head lama". Don't know if he picked up any psychic powers or anything, but I wonder if its one of the first appearances of this whole gimmick.

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On a different note, it's my birthday and I'm going to see The Killing Joke tonight!

 

Have a very Happy Birthday!!!

 

giphy.gif

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speaking of pinball ... its 30 years today (25/07/16) since maximum overdrive came out ... yo mamma!

 

 

that would be something like this!!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9TRZb5dfuU

but it would be fantastic. mind you, you would have every dupe smoker in the arcade hanging around it.

 

"dude, you want to buy some hash?" LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET ME PLAY THIS...

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I FOUND IT, I FOUND IT,

 

4844_flash-gordon-pinball.jpg

 

speaking of adult pinball games, check this youtube video a pinball game called

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So full disclosure, I haven't actually read The Killing Joke so I can't really make comparisons. I didn't read any reviews and haven't heard anything about Comic-Con blogs. But I do have some comments

 

The theatre was packed. I enjoyed the Mark Hamill intro. After seeing it, I wouldn't recommend paying for it if you're going out to the movies. It was also felt really short (hour and 16 minutes), the light hadn't changed outside when we left the theatre. at 8:30

 

There was one line that got a huge laugh in the theatre that my boyfriend and I both found out of touch and just a gay joke for a punchline, no real reason for it. Again not sure if that was in the original story. If it was, then okay sure maybe the laugh was a "reference" laugh. If not, then that's unfortunate.

 

I found that nobody knew what the after-credit sequence was supposed to be. I kind of explained what The Oracle was to my boyfriend and heard other people around me "ohh".

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Go you, Ellen! Dropping knowledge!

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Oh sweet, is it Killing Joke time? Fair warning, I care way too much about this stuff. I'm only spoilering the brand new content.

 

I found the first half hour of new material to be confusing at best and borderline upsetting at most. I don't understand why they basically presented

Barbara using sex for Batman's approval.

I'm confused as to how that was greenlit at all. Also,

her gay best friend seems to have been lifted out of the mid 90s.

 

 

As a major fan of Batman, the Joker, and one of the nerds who holds The Killing Joke near and dear to my heart, I am incredibly disappointed with a few points of the adaptation. First, while no one really expects any animated movie to live up to Bolland's drawings, it seems like little effort was made to offer the same emotional impact through framing or voice work. A good example of this comes during one of the flashbacks. For reference, this is how the book shows the man Joker was being told some incredibly terrible news:

 

UIN5A9M.jpg

The movie's version has this entire conversation take place in the far background and focus is put onto two minor characters instead. The book gives three panels that tell so much. The movie has a brief, detached frowny face instead. The flashbacks are full of a lot of this strange shift in priority which ultimately drains a lot of the emotion out of the Joker's past.

 

My second major issue is the handling of the final joke. The book provides many layers to what is on the surface a pretty simple scene. You see Joker slipping back into the sane man he once was. You see Batman, the guy with arguably the world's biggest stick up his ass, actually smile and laugh at something for once. You see interaction between these two polar opposite characters that ends ambiguously. The only thing the movie salvaged from this scene was the ambiguity of the ending. I would really love to know why that scene was deflated so much.

 

There was one line that got a huge laugh in the theatre that my boyfriend and I both found out of touch and just a gay joke for a punchline, no real reason for it. Again not sure if that was in the original story. If it was, then okay sure maybe the laugh was a "reference" laugh. If not, then that's unfortunate.

 

The first thirty minutes is entirely newly minted, fresh-out-of-the-2010s material. The short scene after that shows Barbara becoming Oracle is also new. Unfortunate is a pretty good word for a lot of what they decided was appropriate for Batgirl.

In a lot of ways she went from someone who in the original story is pretty much just there to get shot, to someone who gets objectified, is overly emotional, uses sex to persuade her mentor to allow her to remain on a case, and then shows up to get shot.

 

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If I made that video, I would slip it into every conversation for the rest of my life.

 

"Yeah, I'll have a personal pan pizza, a fountain drink, a side of breadsticks, and I directed 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'"

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I'm not much of a comic book fan, but this Wonder Woman movie looks really good

 

 

And the poster is just gorgeous

 

Wonder-Woman-poster.jpg

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Oh sweet, is it Killing Joke time? Fair warning, I care way too much about this stuff. I'm only spoilering the brand new content.

 

I found the first half hour of new material to be confusing at best and borderline upsetting at most. I don't understand why they basically presented

Barbara using sex for Batman's approval.

I'm confused as to how that was greenlit at all. Also,

her gay best friend seems to have been lifted out of the mid 90s.

 

 

As a major fan of Batman, the Joker, and one of the nerds who holds The Killing Joke near and dear to my heart, I am incredibly disappointed with a few points of the adaptation. First, while no one really expects any animated movie to live up to Bolland's drawings, it seems like little effort was made to offer the same emotional impact through framing or voice work. A good example of this comes during one of the flashbacks. For reference, this is how the book shows the man Joker was being told some incredibly terrible news:

 

UIN5A9M.jpg

The movie's version has this entire conversation take place in the far background and focus is put onto two minor characters instead. The book gives three panels that tell so much. The movie has a brief, detached frowny face instead. The flashbacks are full of a lot of this strange shift in priority which ultimately drains a lot of the emotion out of the Joker's past.

 

My second major issue is the handling of the final joke. The book provides many layers to what is on the surface a pretty simple scene. You see Joker slipping back into the sane man he once was. You see Batman, the guy with arguably the world's biggest stick up his ass, actually smile and laugh at something for once. You see interaction between these two polar opposite characters that ends ambiguously. The only thing the movie salvaged from this scene was the ambiguity of the ending. I would really love to know why that scene was deflated so much.

 

 

 

The first thirty minutes is entirely newly minted, fresh-out-of-the-2010s material. The short scene after that shows Barbara becoming Oracle is also new. Unfortunate is a pretty good word for a lot of what they decided was appropriate for Batgirl.

In a lot of ways she went from someone who in the original story is pretty much just there to get shot, to someone who gets objectified, is overly emotional, uses sex to persuade her mentor to allow her to remain on a case, and then shows up to get shot.

 

Having done some research now on this, I want to double down on my statement. Don't go see it in theatres. The front half of this movie was so confusing for me because I thought it was in the original comic but knowing that they expanded that garbage to fill time and try to make us invested in Batgirl is infuriating.

 

Knowing that the sassy gay best friend was a new addition makes me angry. It makes me question who this movie was for. It was very obvious that the character was gay, it telelgraphed almost immediately. That was literally the biggest laugh in my theatre

 

 

Batman usually been pretty shitty when it comes to talking to people he cares about and trying to get them out of harm's way but this was some bullshit

 

He literally tells Barbara that the bad guy is objectifiying her and her response is "well it's flattering".

 

 

There only part I felt connected to Barbara as a character was after

she and Batman have sex

and she's going through the emotional fall-out of that. That's not empowering though, it's an awful pining situation where she's not going to win. It's turmoil for the sake of it.

 

TL;DR They made Barbara's fridge even deeper

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