When those puffy clouds of confusion, emotional turmoil, and crippling self-doubt went away from comics, so did a large part of what made superheroes super.

Image for post
Image for post

A non-comic book fan walking out of Avengers: Endgame or Wonder Woman may understand why superheroes are cool — movies, after all, are all about spectacle and nothing delivers that better than comics — but they may not grasp why there is such a deep level of devotion to these people among the hardcore. It’s dismissed as “fanboying” or “fangirling.”

If they had the temerity to actually visit a comic shop after seeing a movie, they likely won’t find any more answers. Not among the current crop of comics anyway. …


It was never going to end in a way that pleased everyone, but it ended the way the Skywalker Saga needed to.

Image for post
Image for post

It should be obvious, but there will be SPOILERS for Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker herein. So conduct yourself accordingly.

After seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi — which was very, very good, let’s be clear and not let the Twitter narrative dictate the legacy — I praised it for its attempt to push Star Wars off the Skywalker carousel and how its message of leaving behind the old ways set up Episode IX to go anywhere. This was all immediately after the release of the movie, when Episode IX had no title, no director, and we had nothing but the movie’s own inevitability to go by. …


Image for post
Image for post
Art: MRCokeley Design

Forget ‘Die Hard,’ this horror-comedy should be your new holiday favorite

The whole “the best Christmas movie is Die Hard” thing started as a joke, became a replacement for a personality, and is now as worn and tired as any of the traditional Christmas movies people snub their noses at. It’s also just not true. The single greatest Christmas movie — for both its embrace of the holiday and naked disdain for it — is Gremlins.

Its writer — Chris Columbus — has always claimed to love Christmas. He directed the modern holiday classic Home Alone, orchestrated an elaborate wizard yuletide celebration in the first Harry Potter film, wrote the comedy Christmas with the Kranks, and was the first director on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation before succumbing to the Krampus-like dark energy of Chevy Chase’s ego. Unlike Shane Black — another Christmas devotee who layers the holiday behind violent, sarcastic actioners like Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang — Columbus’ efforts tend to be more earnest about the magic of the most wonderful time of the year. …


Image for post
Image for post

I was working at a Coconuts music store in 1994 when I invented Twitter.

OK, I didn’t exactly invent Twitter. I mean, the internet didn’t even have a name yet. One person in my dorm had Prodigy while I still banged out research papers on a word processor. I couldn’t yet conceive of placing a “comments section” under an article or piece of writing so that anyone in the world could give their wholly unsolicited opinion, not to mention the mental leap it would take to decide to give the comments section its own life without the burden of having to be attached to a written piece. A living, sentient comment section commenting on EVERYTHING. …


Image for post
Image for post
Art: Matt Cokeley

He’s a teen diary in the body of a violent manimal. And this is why we love him

There will be a new Wolverine soon. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has confirmed the X-Men are “coming home” to the MCU, and this is exciting news for everyone who isn’t a 20th Century Fox employee.

Marvel has shown a real knack for just “getting” their characters. They know what makes each one tick beyond the costume, and there’s usually one moment in each film where that is made crystal clear. Watch any scene between Steve Rogers and Dr. Erskine in the original Captain America. Tony Stark in Afghanistan. Thor’s first entrance into the Asgardian throne room. A new take on Wolverine is important because Wolverine is important. With all due respect to Hugh Jackman, the movie Wolverine rose alongside lad mags and bro culture, and fans who pre-dated the first X-Men movie had to sheepishly grin and nod along with all of the dudes raving about what a badass Logan is. Because we knew the truth. …


Image for post
Image for post
Art: Matt Cokeley

When sports and business collide onscreen, the results are usually on the nose

When I was a kid, I was under the impression that the corporate world would involve a lot more racquetball than it actually does. Movies taught me that locking yourself in a plastic cage with an alpha male and a set of inexplicably indestructible (but tiny) balls was the perfect metaphor for business. Capitalism is about out-working the other guy. It’s about the win, no matter how desperate you have to get in the effort. No matter how silly you look in goggles and tennis shorts, you’d better leave that court to rapturous applause (and your name on a plaque) or else you’re nothing. Second place is the first loser, pal. …


Do I even have to warn about spoilers? OK. There are spoilers herein.

Image for post
Image for post

By now, you’ve likely heard that “fans” are upset about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But look a little closer. You’ll notice it’s a very specific group of fans that feel slighted — the canon-obsessed, rigidly nostalgic fan who winces if you fail to take even the most inconsequential detail of their beloved fantasy seriously.

But here’s the thing: Their anger is proof that The Last Jedi is an incredible film.

In 2016, The Force Awakens launched the moribund Star Wars franchise back into orbit. And don’t throw the Clone Wars animated series or Star Wars Rebels at me — to the masses Star Wars had become Jar Jar Binks, deathly wooden acting, and incomprehensible trade disputes. It was as far from “fun” as you can get without becoming Star Trek. (Easy….easy….) Force Awakens was a blast, but if there was one critique to be made it was that it was too reverent of the original films. It smacked of fanfic, the way it referenced and resurrected the best parts of the saga, while ignoring the worst. It was a thinly-veiled A New Hope remake, but fans got to see Han and Chewie pilot the Falcon together again so all was well. There was a new masked villain, new-look Stormtroopers, and cuter droids. It was about all the change the hardcore could stomach. But in fact, JJ Abrams had delivered the perfect rope-a-dope to set up Rian Johnson’s precision gutshot. …


Image for post
Image for post

Junket.

It’s a harsh word. It sounds like something you’d need to repair a rusted drain pipe or a small, Indonesian rodent of indeterminate size. Anything but what it actually is, and that is the name given to those special times when film companies rent out whole floors of posh hotels and let unwashed journos swarm their movies’ stars for an 8-hour Bacchanalia of meaningless soundbites.

Dig deeper, and you’ll find that it contains a rigid caste system. It starts with the lowly bloggers who are forced into “roundtables” and reaches the heights of the slightly more attractive people who can finagle on-camera “one-on-ones” (check out the people in these videos, and shudder at the realization that there is a whole strata of professionals they WON’T allow on camera). The roundtables are a nightmare. You sit in one room with seven or eight other writers and they bring the stars to you, one at a time. The star comes in — terrified usually — takes a seat, and then everyone starts talking over each other to get a question in. The loudest and most annoying run the show, so if you work for, say, a sci-fi outlet and you are dying to ask J.J. Abrams about his upcoming Star Wars movie you’ll have to out-screech the People magazine writer who simply must know what he thinks about Kim and Kanye. This is not an exaggeration. I was once at a press junket for the Christopher Nolan film The Prestige (remember, this is about a year and a half before The Dark Knight was due to come out) and instead of getting Christian Bale to even discuss the highly-anticipated Batman sequel, the entire table was buffaloed by a writer who needed to know every intimate detail of Bale’s Rescue Dawn — a film seen by about four people. …


When the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer dropped just before the holidays, it reconfirmed everyone’s hunch that J.J. Abrams was, indeed, the perfect person to accept the LucasTorch and carry it forth. Now why was that? Why did it seem like a no-brainer along the lines of casting Patrick Stewart as Prof. Charles Xavier? Hmmm….

Could it be that Abrams already MADE a Star Wars movie?

It what was the biggest troll move of all time, Abrams took the helm of the Starship Enterprise and promptly parked the ship squarely in Mos Eisley.

Because 2009's Star Trek reboot is — beat for beat, nearly word for word — Star Wars. And you don’t even have to be Room 237-level bonkers to see it. …

About

Eric Alt

I'm a writer. Need something written?https://www.ericaltmedia.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store