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6/21/2017

After posting about diversity here at Geek Twins for a number of years, we've pretty much become experts at racism, thanks to our comments section. Instead of addressing the racist arguments to individuals one at a time, we'll start addressing them in a series of articles so we can just post the link when someone uses the argument. Today, we'll be tackling "make black superheroes white!"

THE ARGUMENT

This argument is usually thrown out whenever we talk about a typically white character who is changed to a person of color. Someone in the comments says, "How would you like it if I made a [movie/comic] where [minority superhero/famous minority] was white?!"

Example: "They shouldn't make Captain America black! What if I made a comic where Luke Cage was white?!"

THE ANSWER

It's not the same thing. I repeat, it's not the same thing. And you know it's not the same thing, which is why you said it. Let's spell it out.

People of color and women don't have as many superheroes as white males. That's just a fact no one is denying. Rather than count how many white male superheroes there are, let's say there are a hundred. And rather than count all the minority and female superheroes, let's say there are ten. When one superhero is changed from a white male to (for example) a black female, you're losing one out of a hundred. When a minority or female hero is changed to a white male, we lose one out of ten.

Instead of superheroes, let's talk about jellybeans. Imagine if I have five jellybeans, and you have a hundred jellybeans. I ask, "Can I have one of your jellybeans?" You say, "No! I can't spare any of my jellybeans! Besides, you already have five jellybeans! Isn't that enough for you?!" And you chow down on your hundred jellybeans while I eat my five.

Next time we get together, you again have a hundred jellybeans and I have five jellybeans. I say, "Hey, I'm going to take one of your jellybeans," and I do. Now I have six jellybeans and you have 99. You say, "That's not fair! You can't take one of my jellybeans! I'll take one of yours!" And you grab two of my jellybeans. Now you have a hundred again, and I have four.

The few minority superheroes that exist are precious because there are so few of them. The white male superheroes are a dime a dozen. A third of all white male superheroes in comics could be changed to female and/or people of color, and you'd still win. If you changed a third of the people of color and female characters into white males, you'd make entire comic book universes devoid of diversity at all.

That's why it would be more upsetting if Luke Cage became white instead of Captain American becoming black, and that's why making Captain America black is not that big a deal. It's not the same thing.

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6/16/2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988) - Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart)
Here are the greatest Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes featuring Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Star Trek: TNG is over 20-years-old but it's still fun to watch.

Today is Captain Picard Day and, as part of our annual celebration, here's a Picard-centric blog post.

There have been 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Which would you say are the best episodes featuring Patrick Stewart? Here they are ranked from good to best.

I've tried to keep the episodes spoiler-free in case you want to watch them, but there are some minor spoilers.

Make it so.

13. "Conspiracy"

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988) - Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart)

"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 1, Episode 25 (1988)
Best Line:"Friendship must dare to risk, Counselor, or it isn't friendship."

After an old friend sends a top secret message to Captain Picard he races the USSC Enterprise-D back to Earth. Picard uses all his knowledge of Starfleet regulations to uncover the aliens taking over Starfleet Command.  Even today this episode is chilling for its paranoia.

The episode ends with the greatest chest-bursting scene since Alien.

12. "Phantasms"

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1993) - Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton), Data (Brent Spiner), Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart)

"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 7, Episode 6 (1993)
Best Line: "Normally I would wish you pleasant dreams. But in this case, bad dreams would be more helpful."

Patrick Stewart has had some amazing episodes in front of the camera. This one stands out as the best one with him behind the camera as a director. Data (Brent Spiner) begins having horrifying dreams and they realize they hold the key to saving the ship.  Stewart's uses camera angles and acting direction to make a terrifying episode. It's so scary that this is one of the few Star Trek episodes edited for screening by the BBC in the UK. The turbo lift scene when Data confronts Troi with a knife was so upsetting to audiences that the shot of him stabbing her has been cut out of some airings in the UK.

It's an amazing episode. Plus, we get Troi's cellular peptide cake. With mint frosting. Would you like a bite?


11. "Starship Mine"

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1993) - Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart), Devor (Tim Russ)
"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 6, Episode 18 (1993)
Best Line: "My name is Mot. I'm uh, I... I'm the barber."

The Enterprise is evacuated for a routine procedure to "eliminate accumulated baryon particles". Whatever those are. Left alone, Picard plays a cat-and-mouse game with terrorists trying to steal toxic waste from the warp core. The episode is basically Die Hard on the Enterprise, but it's one of the episodes that shows Picard is not just a man of words. He's a man of action.

The scene where Picard does the Vulcan nerve pinch is worth the price of admission. Especially because it's on future Vulcan actor Tim Russ.


10. "The Drumhead"

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992) - Sabin Genestra (Bruce French), Admiral Satie (Jean Simmons), Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart)
"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 4, Episode 21 (1991)
Best Line: "But she or someone like her will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish – spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we have to continually pay."

After a dilithium chamber hatch explodes aboard the USS Enterprise-D Starfleet Admiral Norah Satie (Jean Simmons) begins a hunt to find the saboteur. In her search for a conspiracy, she crosses the line into paranoia. Picard decides that he won't help him with her xenophobic witch-hunt for Romulans and other enemy conspirators. Admiral Satie eventually accuses Captain Picard of treason.

This episode is a powerful analogy of the McCarthy communist hearings of the 1960s. Picard fights fear-mongering and shows that the goal of any society is to uphold the rule of law and equality.

9. "Q Who"

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992) - Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart)

"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 2, Episode 16 (1989)
Best Line: "If we all die here, now, you will not be able to gloat. You wanted to frighten us. We're frightened. You wanted to show us we were inadequate. For the moment, I grant that. You wanted me to say 'I need you'? I need you!"

When Captain Picard is kidnapped by Q he finds out that Q has been cast out of the "Q Continuum". To prove to them that they’re not prepared for the challenges of deep space Q throws the Enterprise seven thousand light years into uncharted space. There they have their first encounter with the cybernetic hive-mind race known as the Borg.

While they survive the encounter Picard comes to the terrifying realization that Starfleet may not be ready for the future. This episode introduces the greatest TNG villain of all time.

8. "Tapestry"


"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 6, Episode 15 (1993)
Best Line: "I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you; the universe is not so badly designed."

This episode begins with Captain Picard dying. It gets better from there. Captain Picard and the omnipotent Q (John de Lancie), were often at odds and this is the best episode he guest-starred in. Q gives him a chance to change the past. So he goes back and stops the barroom brawl that took his original heart as a young officer. In the process, he changes who he is and leaves him a low-level officer in the Astrolab. Picard realizes his greatest regret is what led to him become the disciplined and restrained man he is today. Seeing him interacting with his former crew as a lowly officer is a hoot too.

It’s a wonderful exploration of Picard’s character and a powerful lesson on letting go of regrets.

7. "Ménage à Troi"


"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 3, Episode 24 (1990)
Best Line:
Picard has a rocky relationship with Counselor Troi's mother Lwaxana, played by Roddenberry's widow and ship's computer voice Majel Barrett. She was immediately smitten with him and her aggressive nature combined with Picard's desire to keep peace made for awkward and hilarious interactions.

In this episode, Lwaxana is kidnapped by the Ferengi DaiMon Tog and the Enterprise has to rescue her. He has to convince Tog that she's his lover and he'll destroy the Enterprise if she's not returned. The best part is when he's reciting Shakespeare sonnets confessing his love. This inspired one of the Internet's favorite memes: Annoyed Picard.

When she's returned she's so impressed by the ruse that she wants to keep it going. Picard graciously returned her to her home planet of Betazed - at maximum warp 9.


6. "Chain of Command, Parts I & II"

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992) - Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart)

"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 6, Episode 10 and 11 (1992)
Best Line: "There...are...FOUR lights!"

When Captain Picard, Worf and Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) are tasked with a secret mission involving the Cardassians the Enterprise is put under the command of Captain Edward Jellico (Ronny Cox). He's a completely different style than Picard and quickly begins grating on the nerves of the crew. In Part II, Captain Picard is kidnapped and tortured by the Cardassians for information. Patrick Stewart shines in his torture scenes with Gul Madred (David Warner).

This a moving and powerful performance by Patrick Stewart as he insisted on filming his scenes naked on a closed set to capture the real inhumanity of torture. It also serves to remind us what an amazing Captain Picard is. Especially when Jellico makes Troi cover up her cleavage.


5. "Family"


"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 4, Episode 2 (1990)
Best Line: "I tried. I tried so hard. But I wasn't strong enough! I wasn't good enough! I should have been able to stop them. I should, I should."

After the confrontation with the Borg, the crew goes on extended leave. Captain Picard goes to his home village of La Barre, France. He hasn’t been home in twenty years after being estranged from his brother Robert (Jeremy Kemp). Picard is a private man and this episode explores some of his histories and delves into why he went into space in the first place.

With all the space adventure episodes this one has a slower pace. All the actors do an amazing job, but the monolog one really lets Patrick Stewart’s theater training shines as he explains what it was like being turned into a Borg.


4. "The Best of Both Worlds Parts I & II"


"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 3, Episode 26 and Season 4, Episode 1 (1990)
Best Line: "Mr. Worf, dispatch a subspace message to Admiral Hanson. We have engaged the Borg."
In this two-part episode, Starfleet is caught by surprise when the Borg invades Federation space. They kidnap Picard and turn him into their spokesperson Locutus. The crew struggles to fight their greatest enemy while struggling to save their leader.

While the most memorable part of the episode is Picard’s abduction, there are some great scenes between him and Shelby as she tries to take command of the Enterprise for the war effort.

3. "All Good Things, Parts I & II" 

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1993) - Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton), Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart), Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden), Data (Brent Spiner), 

"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 7, Episode 25 and 26 (1994)
Best Line: "I... I don't know how or why, but I'm moving back and forth... through time."

The episode begins with Picard frantically asking the date to the confusion of Worf (Michael Dorn) and Troi (Marina Sirtis). Q tells Picard that he's responsible for the destruction of humanity and sends him hurtling into the past and twenty-five years into the future. Picard has to solve the mystery of what he did to destroy everything.

Besides being the greatest season finale in television history it's also one of the best ways to reminisce on all seven season as Captain Picard goes from his first day of command of the Enterprise to his future on his family vineyard in France.


2. "Yesterday's Enterprise"


"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 3, Episode 15 (1990)
Best Line: "Attention all hands. As you know, we could outrun the Klingon vessels. But we must protect the Enterprise-C until she enters the temporal rift. And we must succeed! Let's make sure that history never forgets... the name... Enterprise. Picard out."

The USS Enterprise-D encounters a time anomaly. The USS Enterprise-C thought destroyed decades before emerges from a time anomaly and changes the present. The ship is now a warship in battle with the Klingon Empire and only months away from total defeat. Only Guinan realizes something is wrong and entrusts Picard with the truth: If the Enterprise-C doesn’t go back and get destroyed the future will be changed and billions of lives will be lost. Picard makes the difficult decision to ask the crew of the Enterprise-C to return to their timeline and stop the war before it stops.

The return of Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) who died a "senseless" death in "Skin of Evil makes this one of the most heart-breaking episodes of the series. If you’re looking for an episode that shows Picard struggling with the moral choice between two necessary evils, then this is it.


1. "The Inner Light"


"Star Trek: The Next Generation," Season 5, Episode 25 (1992)
Best Line:
After encountering a mysterious space probe Captain Picard faints and wakes up as "Kamin," a resident of the planet Kataan. The crew of the Enterprise tries to get Picard out of his coma while freeing him from its influence. Meanwhile, Picard accepts his life as a farmer with his wife and children and realizes that the planet is dying. The probe is making him live through the last decades of its homeworld in the span of approximately twenty minutes.

When Picard is finally freed from the probe's influence he goes back to his quarters and plays the flute found in the probe. It was just a computer simulation to everyone else, but to him, it was his life. The flute showed up again several times and every time it does my heart breaks.

Which is your favorite Captain Picard episode and why?

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6/14/2017

Minority Report (2002) - Tom Cruise 
Here are Tom Cruise's best and worst sci-fi movies. Last weekend the latest Tom Cruise movieThe Mummy (2017), opened and it looks like this is going to be his latest flop. The movie has a dismal 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and pulled in a pathetic $57.2 million in the North American box office.

Cruise has an amazing career as a dramatic and action star, but he's made a few science-fiction movies. Some have been brilliant, but some have been awful.

Here are all Tom Cruise's science fiction films ranked from best to worst.

1. Minority Report (2002)

Minority Report (2002) - Tom Cruise 
Based on the 1956 science fiction short story by the late Philip K. Dick Tom Cruise stars as a future Washington D.C. policeman with a unique organization that stops crimes before they happen. In the year 2054, a group of mutant psychic children has the ability to see visions of future murders. Using that information the "Procog" division arrests people before they can commit crimes. But then the precogs predict he will murder a man he's never met. He goes on the run to discover if the infallible psychic predictions are ever wrong.

Directed by Steven Spielberg the movie is thought-provoking without being preachy and visceral with arresting visuals. Minority Report shows a future grounded in reality. It also predicts future technology like the gesture recognition in your cell phone.

Tom Cruise is lovable and cocky but a tortured soul. The movie has all of the things you expect from a Cruise movie, including fast action, high emotion, and a strong character arc, but it also does what all good science fiction should do. Great science-fiction makes you think. Minority Report asks "does free will exists if the future can be predicted"?

2. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) - Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), Major William Cage (Tom Cruise)
Tom Cruise has played a military man in many films like Top Gun (1986), A Few Good Men (1992), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). Edge of Tomorrow (2014) turns the concept on its ear. Cruise stars as Major William Cage a public relations officer who's never been in combat. Suddenly he's forced into a war zone against aliens called "Mimics". After he's killed, he wakes up to discover he's stuck in a time loop and forced to relive the day over and over again. Together with revered Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski, played by Emily Blunt, they search for the reason for his predicament and a way to end the war once and for all.

Edge of Tomorrow is based on the popular 2004 Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. It captures many of the themes of the manga. It's action-packed and has lots of light humor and clever twists.

A brilliant premise and brilliant acting make this story work perfectly. It's not a movie you'd watch over and over again, but it's entertaining. The biggest complaint is the ending, which is completely different from the heart-breaking ending of the novel. In true Hollywood fashion, they shoehorn in a happy ending. It ruins a great film.

3. War of the Worlds (2005)

War of the Worlds (2005) - Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise)
The Mummy isn't the first time Cruise has starred in a remake. He also sang in Rock of Ages (2012) based on the 2006 rock jukebox Broadway musical. That one did OK, but this one didn't fare as well.

In this remake of the 1950's classic Cruise plays a divorced dockworker named Ray Ferrier fleeing from an alien invasion. While struggling to protect his son and daughter he witnesses the devastation of humanity.

Directed by Steven Spielberg it's a decent disaster movie and captures some of the thrills and paranoia of the original film. Cruise has a surprisingly shocking scene where he kills a man and it's hard to say if it's justified or not. That gives the character a dark side that Cruise just isn't good at.

This movie has a nice twist by focusing on the character arc of the everyman. But this is Tom Cruise so he still manages to be a larger-than-life hero. It delivers on the promise of a typical Tom Cruise action film. The story is muddled and weak though and doesn't really add anything new to the film. It's a nice film, but not a great one. Cruise's performance was nominated for a Saturn "Best Actor" and a Raspberry "Worst acting" award. Both are deserved.

4. Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion (2013) - Jack Harper (Tom Cruise)
On an Earth abandoned after an alien invasion Cruise plays a security repairmen named Jack Harper. He plans on completing his mission and leaving Earth, but he's haunted by dreams of another time and a woman that seems familiar. In his travels, he finds a crashed ship that has the woman from his dreams. It makes him question his understanding of the world he lives in.

Joseph Kosinski's direction makes this the most beautiful film you'll ever see. But the story is pathetic and falls apart halfway into the film. This is one of the few Tom Cruise movies based on an original story, but it turns out that's the biggest mistake.

Cruise does an OK job on this mind-bending story. But the ridiculous twists leave you more confused than inspired. It's a terrible movie but makes great wallpaper for your computer desktop.

Which is your favorite Tom Cruise movie? Which one do you hate? 

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6/12/2017


Adam West - Batman, Mayor West
Adam West, the beloved star of the popular and campy 1960s "Batman" TV show, died Friday night after "a short but brave battle with leukemia." At 88, West had a long and varied career but is best known as the square-jawed superhero. Here are some things you probably didn't know about the late, great Adam West.

1. Adam West's Mother Blamed Him for Her Failure

Adam West as a boy on the farm
Adam West was born on Sept. 19, 1928, in Seattle to Otto West Anderson, a farmer, and his wife Audrey V. Speer. His mother was a former piano player and singer and didn't like life on a farm. They divorced when West was 15 and she took them to live in Seattle. She later became an alcoholic and blamed him for derailing her career. Adam West later said she told him it was his birth that "stopped her becoming another Joan Crawford".

It was hard, but Adam West wasn't bitter about it. He told his father he got into the entertainment industry because of her. But he said his mother's disappointed ambition "meant I always felt guilt about what I achieved as an actor".

2. Adam West Doesn't Exist


Adam West isn't his real name. He was born William West Anderson but adopted the more dynamic name Adam West for his first film, The Young Philadelphians, in 1959. He chose the last name West because it was his mother's maiden name. Why did he choose Adam? He just liked the sound of it.


3. Adam West Saved Buffalo and Then Ate Them


One of his earliest roles was in the Three Stooges movie The Outlaws IS Coming! (1965) In the film, he, Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Joe “Curly Joe” DeRita stop an evil outlaw from killing off all the Buffalo.

After the movie wrapped Moe Howard 'Ok, everyone's invited to my place in Bel Air for a buffalo barbecue!' So a few buffalo didn't make it after all.


4. Adam West Was on a Show with a Chimp


When Adam West was living in Hawaii his old Washington school friend Carl "Kini Popo" Hebenstreit hosted a popular variety show named The Kini Popo Show. He appeared on it occasionally until Hebenstreit moved to New Zealand. They were looking for a new host and 21-year-old West was chosen. His co-host was a trained chimpanzee named Peaches.

When he met film star Natalie Wood, who was visiting the island, he was terrified. "I remember hoping that she didn't turn on the TV the next morning and see Peaches and me in hula skirts, strumming ukuleles and singing Mala Mala Mala to a puppet octopus," West later told The Independent.

But, despite the animal acts, it was a hit show on the island and also gave attention to many aspiring performers like Elvis, Liberace, and Ed Sullivan. It was Adam West's first brush with stardom.


5. Thank Nestle Quik for Adam West's Batman


Adam West was chosen to do the role, not because of his long and illustrious career, but because of a commercial. 

In 1966, he starred in a commercial for the chocolate drink Nestle Quik. He played a parody of James Bond named Captain Quik. He smoothly eludes a super villain’s death traps while enjoying a glass of Nestle Quik. It wasn't until about 18 months after he got the part that he found out why.

You can watch his brilliant performance below


6. Captain Kirk and Batman Almost Starred in a Show Together


In 1964 he co-starred with William Shatner in a TV series called Alexander the Great re-creating the historic Battle of Issus (333 B.C.). Shatner played Alexander and West played one of Alexander's officer's named Cleander.  It wasn’t picked up but was later released as a TV movie in 1968. West later said, "it turned out to be one of the worst scripts I have ever read and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever done." 

Shatner was kinder saying, "Every piece of entertainment is made with the idea that it will be terrific but then it hits the public and then that’s when you find out if it’s really good or not."

You can watch a sample of the show\TV movie below

7. Batman Was Supposed to More Serious

Adam West is known for giving Batman a certain oblivious charm that makes him endearing, but it wasn't supposed to be that way. While the producers wanted the show to be campy they wanted him to play it straight. 

"When I started in that first pilot with Frank Gorshin as Riddler, I got quite a bit of criticism," Adam West told USA Today, "They wanted the character more Lone Ranger, but my sensibility told me that if I played it with a kind of twinkle, looser and in a more bizarre, funny way, that it might have some longevity. And maybe I was right. It looks pretty good now."


8. Adam West Made Batman Clueless


Adam West loved that Batman was so brilliant but clueless at the same time. "What I loved about Batman was his total lack of awareness when it came to his interaction with the outside world," Adam West told The Independent, "He actually believed nobody could recognize him on the phone when he was being Bruce Wayne, even though he made no attempt to disguise his voice."

9. Adam West's Batman Costume Was a Nightmare


When designing the look of Batman they tried to adhere closely to the comic book design and had him wearing a skintight outfit to show off his physique. Unfortunately, Adam West's wool suit was itchy and hot. "It wasn’t that heavy, but it was just very itchy," he later told Chicago Sun Times, "And the cowl was really hot which made it annoying. If you think the humid Chicago weather is hot, the temperature inside there was like 140 degrees at all time." 

He sweat so much that a wardrobe guy  used a hair dryer to dry any perspiration between takes.


10. Adam West Made the Costume "Work"


"The costume was uncomfortable. The cowl was very tight and I couldn't see down and around, but you deal with those things. They paid me well," he says. "You make the costume work for you. Ben Affleck, if you're (reading), make the costume work for you!"


11. Adam West Met the Pope with a Hangover


At the height of Adam West's fame, he became something of a playboy in real life. He began partying a lot more, including when he was supposed to meet famous people. Like the time he met Pope John Paul Vi in 1966."I woke up the next morning with the worst hangover of my life," He later told The Independent, "I made it to the Vatican, and I was at the back of this line of people who each knelt down to kiss his ring. Then it was my turn. He put out his hand. I realized that, if I knelt down, I wouldn't be able to get up again, I was so hung over." Rather than throw-up on the Pope, West simply bowed his head slightly and shook the Pope's hand.

"He looked at me and said: 'Oh, Signor West. I have seen all of your shows. I love Pipistrello.'" It turned out the Pope had seen the Batman show the night before and became a huge fan.

12. Adam West Turned Down James Bond


Adam West was offered the role of James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) after the original star George Lazenby left the role. But West turned it down believing 007 should be played by a British actor. "Cinema owners voted me the next big movie star," he told Express. "I didn't become that."

13. No One Wanted to See Adam West's Batman in Bed


After Batman ended in season three, Adam West struggled with typecasting. He said one of the biggest problems is that despite his leading man looks, studios thought he was too recognizable to be taken seriously. He told FHM the producers casting would say, "No, what would happen if he went to bed with the leading lady? They’d forget the whole story — 'Look, it’s Batman in bed.'"

While initially frustrated by the lack of work he eventually embraced his fame. “I decided early on to embrace the character,” Mr. West told the Guardian newspaper in 2014. "I mean how many actors are lucky enough to play a character that becomes iconic?"


14. Adam West Played the Mayor Thanks to The Fairly OddParents


In Adam West's later years he became famous for another role. He played the hilariously clueless Quahog, Rhode Island, Mayor Adam West on MacFarlane’s animated Fox sitcom The Family Guy. "Seth MacFarlane had written a pilot for me with Butch Hartman, who does The Fairly OddParents," Adam West told A.V. Club, "Seth called about Family Guy, we talked about it, and it was that simple." McFarlane later said that he was "beyond fortunate to have had the privilege of working with him" and he was "irreplaceable".


Here's one of his funniest clips as "Adam We"

15. Adam West Never Wanted to Retire


While some actors retire from acting in their thirties, Adam West wanted to keep working as long as he could. "Eighty is the new middle age," he told Express, "Until I go to that great Bat-cave in the sky I'm delighted to keep working." When he died he was working on Batman vs. Two-Face with William Shatner. Even at the end, Adam West was bringing joy to fans of all generations as Batman.

How do you remember Adam West? Which fact didn't you know before?

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6/09/2017

Black Panther (2018) - Chadwick Boseman
A new teaser poster for the upcoming Black Panther movie was released today and it features some slight changes to the costume.

It features star Chadwick Boseman dressed as T'Challa on his throne. I gotta say he looks insanely cool and world-weary at the same time.

Black Panther is the first Black superhero and the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. He made his first live-action movie appearance in Captain America: Civil War. 


His throne room is covered in Wakandan writing which was only spoken in Captain America: Civil War. In the movie, he's actually speaking the real world African language of Xhosa. It’s spoken by 7.6 million people in South Africa and is one of the official languages.

But the writing doesn't look anything like actual Xhosa which is written using the Latin alphabet with variations. The Wakandan in the movie uses symbols which is a nice touch and is reminiscent of traditional African designs.

The costume follows the same basic design as the first appearance, but it has more subtle styling on the chest and different accents on the boots.




The mask might be different too, but Marvel hasn't released a photo yet.

Here are some photos of the costume for comparison.



The first trailer for the movie will debut during Friday night’s match-up between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Official Black Panther movie synopsis:

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole wrote the screenplay.  Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” hits U.S. theaters on February 16, 2018. 

What do you think of the Black Panther movie poster? Are you looking forward to the movie?

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6/04/2017

It's been a while, but we're bringing it back. It's Would You Rather, the game where we ask you to make the tough choices. Today, we'll be asking you to pick your weapon.

THE SCENARIO

After a long absence, you've been called back to Wood University to help them test their latest human experiment. Professor Rather explains that they've actually created two weapons that they can give you: Wolverine's claws or Luke Skywalker's lightsaber. Which would you choose?

THE GROUND RULES

  • If you choose the claws, you'll have three razor-sharp adamantium claws surgically implanted into each of your forearms. You'll get rapid healing, but only in your hands, so you won't kill yourself popping them out. You don't get an adamantium skeleton or any other of Wolverine's powers.
  • If you choose the lightsaber, you'll get Luke's lightsaber from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. You'll be trained in lightsaber combat, but not in the use of the Force. You don't get to be a Jedi.
  • You don't get a permit or license to use them, so if you kill or maim someone with them, you're on your own.
  • You can't choose both.

Make your choice below or on Twitter!


What did you choose and why? Let us know in the comments!

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6/03/2017

Who owns the movie rights to the superhero team Alpha Flight? That's the question we'll be answering today.

Since our infographic on Marvel movie rights came out, we've become kind of the go-to for people wondering about who owns what. We should point out that we have no inside knowledge on the copyright holdings of the studios, and many of these rights are so complicated that even the studios themselves debate about who owns what. We're going to give this one a shot because we were specifically asked on Twitter by Pietro Blaximoff (who has an awesome name): who owns the movie rights to Alpha Flight?

What is Alpha Flight?
First, we need to explain what Alpha Flight is, because that's part of the story. Alpha Flight is a team of Canadian superheroes created by writer/artist John Byrne. The characters premiered in the April 1979 issue of X-Men, originally as part of Wolverine's backstory when they tried to bring him back to Canada. Marvel published an Alpha Flight comic book series from 1983 to 1994.

All the Alpha Flight members were aspects of Canadian lore, including (per Wikipedia):
  • Guardian: Originally Weapon Alpha, then Vindicator, James MacDonald Hudson is a scientist from London, Ontario who wears a suit of battle-armor, allowing him to fly and manipulate Earth's magnetic field. Guardian is sometimes the team leader, and wears a stylized maple leaf flag on his costume.
  • Northstar: Jean-Paul Beaubier, from Montreal, is a mutant with powers of super-speed and light generation.
  • Aurora: Jeanne-Marie Beaubier is Northstar's twin sister who suffers from dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities). Like her brother, she is also a mutant with powers of super-speed, flight, light generation, and molecular acceleration.
  • Sasquatch: Walter Langowski is a scientist from British Columbia who can transform into a giant fur-covered beast resembling a Sasquatch. This character originally developed his powers from a Hulk-inspired gamma radiation experiment that was affected by a solar-flare. Eventually, it was explained that Sasquatch is actually a mystical monster.
  • Shaman: Michael Twoyoungmen is a First Nations medicine man from Calgary. He is both a skilled doctor and sorcerer.
  • Snowbird: Also known as Narya, she is an Inuit demi-goddess from Yellowknife, who can transform into animals of the north.
Why Doesn't Marvel Own Alpha Flight?
Next, let's explain what we're talking about when we talk about the movie rights for Marvel characters. In the 1990s, when Marvel faced bankruptcy, they sold off the movie rights to many of its properties. At the time, it seemed like a safe bet, since there had never been a really successful superhero movie and showing superpowers was complicated and expensive. Sony bought the rights to Spider-Man, and FOX bought the rights to the X-Men. Then, with CGI, it became cheaper to make superhero movies. 2000's X-Men and 2002's Spider-Man opened the door to big-budget superhero movies as blockbusters. Suddenly, the studios were in competition with Marvel to develop its own characters.

Who Owns Alpha Flight Now?
This is a complicated question, because FOX could make the argument that Alpha Flight's connection to Wolverine and the presence of mutants on the team make them X-Men-related characters. At the same time, the X-Men connection has weakened over time, especially when Alpha Flight got its own series. Northstar and Aurora could be recast as non-mutants, just like Marvel was able to make Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch into Hydra experiments in Avengers.

In 2017, during an interview producers FOX Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker mentioned:
We have a sense of where each of all of the existing characters go from Deadpool to New Mutants to the mainland X-Men movies to potentially even X-23…Then, there’s other characters, like X-Flight, like Exiles… There’s a lot of characters to mine going forward.
This caught people's attention, because there is no "X-Flight" in the Marvel Universe. It's been suggested that he either meant to say "Alpha Flight" or FOX plans to rename Alpha Flight into X-Flight so they avoid a possible copyright by Marvel. Of course, that's just speculation and he could have meant something entirely different, but it does support the idea that FOX owns Alpha Flight because of its X-Men connection.

RELATED: Who Owns Namor's Movie Rights Now?

Will There Be An Alpha Flight Movie?
Honestly, that's hard to say. Alpha Flight aren't well-known outside of comics, but neither were the Guardians of the Galaxy before their movie. Heck, the Guardians were even more obscure than Alpha Flight and they got a movie, so never say never. At the same time, the big draw of Alpha Flight has been the Canadian setting, and the idea of Canadian superheroes isn't something that really sells tickets.

Then again, Venom and Black Cat aren't big draws, and Sony is developing movies based on them. FOX's superhero stable is limited compared to Marvel's, so Alpha Flight might be more attractive to them as an Avengers alternative. We'll keep an eye on it.

RELATED: Who Owns the Man-Thing Movie Rights Now?

Would you watch an Alpha Flight movie? Let us know in the comments!

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5/18/2017

The CW has released the first full trailer for its upcoming series, Black Lightning. The series will introduce the first African-American superhero in DC comics to live-action. Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil created the series, which stars Cress Williams as the titular character and Christine Adams as his ex-wife. The series explores the world of being a superhero mixed with family life.



Here's the official description:
Jefferson Pierce is a man wrestling with a secret. Nine years ago, Pierce was gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, which he used to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life and his family on the line, he left his Super Hero days behind. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.
For more info, check out: Black Lightning: 15 Powers You Didn't Know He Had

Are you looking forward to Black Lightning?

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5/17/2017

Spider-Man 3 (2007) - Stan Lee, Peter Parker (Tobey McGuire)
A Stan Lee cameo is the best way to make sure a movie is successful.

The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017) carries the tradition of Stan Lee cameos. Lee has always joked that his cameos make movies more successful. Back when Josh Trank's Fantastic Four bombed he said, "Well, it was probably because I didn’t have a cameo in it, and they didn’t discuss the story with me." Does a Stan Lee cameo mean a movie is more successful? The answer is yes, and the reason may surprise you.

Who is Stan Lee?

For those who aren’t familiar with him, Stan Lee is a 93-year-old comic book writer who co-created some of the most popular Marvel superheroes. Along with artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko he created Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, Thor, the X-Men and dozens of other popular characters.

He helped expand Marvel Comics from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation covering movies, television, and newspaper comic strips. Today he’s the face of Marvel Comics and his trademark glasses, mustache and catch-phrases like “Excelsior” have become part of American culture.

Since the 1990s he began appearing in live-action movies and television. Usually, he plays a minor character and has no speaking part, but occasionally he does get a line or two. From having him pop up to give Mr. Fantastic a stack of letters to asking for his shoe back, spotting a Stan Lee cameo is a time-honored tradition in Marvel films. His appearance, even if it’s just a photo, is headline news.


How Many Stan Lee Cameos Are There?


Since the 1970s, Television shows and movies have based on Marvel comics. It was in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) that Stan Lee made his first cameo as a juror. There have been 56 live-action movies and TV shows based on Marvel superheroes. Not all of them have a guest appearance by Stan Lee. 39 Marvel movies do, but 17 do not.

For reference, here are all the movies and TV shows that have a cameo by Stan Lee

  • The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989)
  • X-Men (2000)
  • Spider-Man (2002)
  • Daredevil (2003)
  • Hulk (2003)
  • X2: X-Men United (2003)
  • Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  • Man-Thing (2005)
  • Fantastic Four (2005)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
  • Spider-Man 3 (2007)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Marvel's Daredevil (2015)
  • Marvel's Agent Carter (2015)
  • Marvel's Jessica Jones (2015)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Deadpool (2016)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Marvel's Daredevil (2016)
  • Marvel's Luke Cage (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Deadpool: No Good Deed (2017)
  • Marvel's Iron Fist (2017)
Here are all the movies and TV shows that Stan Lee doesn’t have a cameo in since the 1980s

  • Howard the Duck (1986)
  • The Punisher (1989)
  • Captain America (1990)
  • The Fantastic Four (1994)
  • Blade (1998)
  • Blade II (2002)
  • The Punisher (2004)
  • Blade: Trinity (2004)
  • Elektra (2005)
  • Ghost Rider (2007)
  • Punisher: War Zone (2008)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
  • Fantastic Four (2015)
Stan Lee is scheduled to have a cameo in

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)

It’s a pretty exhaustive list but, when you look at it, a pattern does start to emerge especially when you compare it with the Rotten Tomatoes score of the films.

What Does Rotten Tomatoes Tell Us About Stan Lee Cameos?


Rotten Tomatoes takes all the professional critical reviews for a movie or television show and gives an average percentage. They take that percentage and give the property a score based on how positive the average is: “Certified Fresh” (70 or higher), “Fresh” (60 or higher), or “Rotten” (59% or lower). It’s just an average, so it’s possible that some people love a movie rated “Rotten” and some might hate a film rated “Fresh”. It’s controversial, but a good way to gauge the success or failure of a property.

It’s less subjective than box office since a movie that’s poorly received sometimes gets a high box office because of marketing. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) made over $179 million but has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 38%. It's pretty bad. On the other hand, Blade (1998) only made $70 million but has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 54%. That explains why there have been two sequels and a TV series based on it.

It’s a fact that movies with Stan Lee cameos have a higher RT rating than movies without him. The RT average of movies with a Lee cameo is 73%, but without him, it drops to 36%. 90% of Marvel movies with a Stan Lee cameo have an RT score over 38% while 10% are certified “Rotten”. When you flip it, 65% of Marvel movies and TV shows without a Stan Lee cameo are certified “Rotten” while 35% are certified “Fresh”.

When you look at the box office numbers you see something similar. Most movies where Stan Lee’s mustache shows up are hits but they usually bomb without him.

What does that mean? Stan Lee pops up in a ton of popular Marvel properties. Coincidence?


Why Do Stan Lee Cameos Make Movies Better?


We can assume it’s not Lee’s acting skills that lead to higher returns. It’s not that he’s a terrible actor, but most of the time he doesn’t have any lines. In Iron Man, he doesn’t talk, but it’s still an awesome cameo.

Also, we have to accept that most of his cameos are by Marvel Studios and MCU movies tend to be successful. Not every Marvel superhero movie is made by Marvel Studios and he’s had some success in movies by Sony Entertainment and Fox Studios movies like Spider-Man and X-Men. But usually, the Marvel Studios films bring in the money. Being in popular movies raises his overall score. But there are some things that have everything to do with Stan “The Man”.

A Stan Lee cameo is usually pretty funny, but it has to fit the tone. Having Lee say, “Superheroes in New York? Give me a break” or “Oh, I am so fired” usually gets a laugh. That fits in The Avengers but it doesn’t fit in Fantastic Four (2015). The most popular superhero movies have a good sense of humor. One exception to that is when he was looking up at a nuclear missile launch in X-Men: Apocalypse. His cameos usually play on his natural sense of comic timing.

Another reason is that Stan Lee is an expert on his characters, so it’s worth getting his thoughts on the film. Not that a director is going to rewrite his movie based on Lee’s recommendations, but you’ll notice he made a point of saying that the makers of Fantastic Four never contacted him. Usually having him involved gives the movie some insight into the comic books. Lee wasn’t involved in Fantastic Four and it’s rumored that the director Josh Trank told the crew not to bother reading the comic books. Coincidence?

A final reason is that a Stan Lee cameo is part of a series of hidden jokes in the film, known as “Easter Eggs”. Details that reference comic book history without being obvious. Geeks like me love Easter Eggs and will watch a movie over and over for a glimpse of some random part of comic book lore. So, fans will go back to the theaters to see a Stan Lee cameo. Mo’ money. Mo’ money. Mo’ money.

Stan Lee definitely makes movies more popular because of his humor, style and comic book knowledge. So, the next time you see Stan Lee’s face pop up on-screen, feel free to yell “Excelsior!”

‘Nuff said.

How do you feel? Does a Stan Lee cameo make you enjoy a movie more? Which is your favorite cameo?

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