Monday, March 28, 2011

He could be the shark!

All right pop culture fans, it's time for another pop culture edition! So grab a bowl and fill it up. Remember, pop culture always stays crunchy in milk! Or, if you don't want milk, sprinkle it with some Parmesan. Try it!

Over the weekend, I finally saw the movie The Town. It fell just short of the arbitrary $100 million blockbuster mark, so it was a solid success for Affleck, who starred in, directed, and co-wrote  the film. Just a quick summary as this post is not really about the movie. The Town is about a bank robber who doesn't really like what he does. Avoiding spoilers, the film is about what happens to him when he falls in love. Affleck does a great job of pulling off the anti-heroic role, and I was reminded several times of his role in Good Will Hunting, which he also co-wrote. The power of his performance can be summed up in this: as we were nearing the end of the movie, my wife said, "I don't want anything bad to happen. I know that bad things are going to happen, but I don't want it to."

It's good to see Ben Affleck "back." Not that he hasn't been "back" for a while, but The Town was significant in that, if it had failed, all the work he's done since the whole Jennifer Lopez thing may have been for naught, and he may have been stuck in supporting roles for, at least, the foreseeable future. By the way, if you haven't seen it, and you probably haven't, go out of your way to see Hollywoodland. There is one good thing that came out of the Lopez affair, it made Affleck more picky about the projects he's become involved in.

For my part, I never quit liking Affleck. Yeah, yeah, I hear you out there, now, "of course, you say that, now," but, really, my view has always been that the negative backlash against him (especially for something that had nothing to do with his acting) was stupid. And the worst part is that it damaged more than just him. Daredevil, which is one of my favorite superhero movies (and great to just have on in the background while doing other things), got an incredibly bad rap for using Affleck, although the worst thing most people could say was that Affleck doesn't have blond hair. Seriously? That's all you can come up with? Speaking as a comic book person, Daredevil was a great adaptation and stands solidly with Spider-Man and Iron Man. Then, there's Jersey Girl.

Jersey Girl might actually be Kevin Smith's best film. It's touching and sweet and real. And Affleck shines in it. But no one saw it. I mean, not only did it have Affleck, but Lopez has a (very) short-lived role. And, of course, Smith fans wouldn't watch it because it was such a departure from his "normal" work. What's with that? Slam a guy for only ever doing the same kind of thing, but, when he tries to do something different, slam him for not doing what he's always done? How's that okay? It is possible that the majority of Kevin Smith fans will never like Jersey Girl, because it doesn't deliver the thing that makes them like him to begin with, but that doesn't make it a bad movie, and it's no excuse for everyone else who shunned it for no other reason than Affleck was the star at a time when he wasn't popular because of whom he was dating.

At any rate, it's good to see Affleck back in the seat of respectability. He's a great actor. And he has a great smile. I cannot say otherwise: 1. because it's true 2. because my wife loves it. I'd love to see Affleck and DiCaprio in something together. Oh, the title! I wish I could remember in what interview Kevin Smith says that, but he's talking about Affleck's acting ability. I think it's in something related to Daredevil; although, it's not really important. Smith says that Affleck can do anything. In fact, he says, he could be in Jaws... as the shark!

To tie all this into writing, which, no, I don't have to do since this is an all pop culture post, but I feel like making this parallel. Sometimes, the hard times, although they seem really bad, at the time, can force good results. Affleck had to start accepting projects that would be good for his career, not just good for his bank account. Writing can be like that. Sometimes, as writers, we have to look really hard at what's good for the story, not just what feels good to us. And, sometimes, if we want other people to read what we've written, we have to look at what is appealing to the larger audience, not just at what is appealing to us. And that can be the hardest thing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Common Zeitgeist

I have a confession to make. Before I do, though, let me make it abundantly clear that it is only a confession because my wife makes me feel guilt over this issue. I would imagine that others of you out there like me feel no guilt whatsoever over this particular issue nor do you (probably) have anyone in your life that makes you feel guilt for this. It's a subject of interest to me, though, because it deals with the different tastes that people have in reading. The confession? I'm a fan of The Dresden Files. No, not the abysmal and ill-conceived television series, the books.

I just finished Proven Guilty, last week, and am about halfway through White Night. However, I don't think my wife even managed to finish Storm Front. There are a lot of reasons I like the series. Primarily, I like it because it's not static. Often, books of this type are so episodic that the characters never change or grow. You take the same character(s) from one book and transplant it exactly as it is into the next one. That was fine when I was a kid reading The Hardy Boys, but I'm a bit beyond that, now. I appreciate that Butcher allows for change and growth both in his main character and in his supporting characters.

Of course, my wife is not wrong when she, basically, lumps Dresden into the pulp fiction category; it is. I know pulp fiction has pretty much always been looked down upon, but I don't have a problem with that form of entertainment the way my wife does. Yes, pulp fiction can be... well, I suppose there's no other way to say it... bad... just bad, but! it's not always bad. What I mean is that I don't think there's any real significant difference in the proportion of the good/bad between pulp fiction and any other kind of fiction. For instance, I'm pretty sure that no one would lump William Gibson into any kind of pulp fiction category. He's pretty "high brow" reading by most standards. I don't find his current work at all engaging, though. My response to Pattern Recognition was so neutral that I don't have anything I can even say about it. I'm not sure why I finished it. My wife didn't, although it certainly falls within her reading tastes. I'm having the same reaction to Spook Country. I did almost put that one down, but I'm really bad about not finishing a book once I've started it no matter how bad it is (ask my wife), so here I am 20 pages from the end of it and no more engaged in it than I was after the first 20 pages. I'm not sure if my wife made it 20 pages in before she put it down. The real problem, though, is that I can't even say they're "bad" books. They're well written. They just don't engage. At the end of both of these books, my response is that nothing really happened. The plot just flatlines all the way along.

But I digress...

Dresden. Well, Butcher. Let me step back a moment.

I started planning my book in the fall of 2009. At the time, I didn't really know anything about The Dresden Files. I knew it kept popping up on my suggested viewing on Netflix and that it was based on some books, but that's about it. However, I bought the first two books in the series for my oldest son for Christmas that year since, I figured, it was the kind of thing he'd be into. [Books are included as part of Christmas for all of our kids every year. It's tradition.]

I started writing The House on the Corner in February of 2010 and picked up Storm Front to read somewhere around the same time, based on my son's approval of the book. Besides, I wanted to see what it was exactly that I'd given him to read. It became immediately apparent that Butcher and I were operating under the same zeitgeist with our books. Magic in a modern world setting. Pop culture references. But, then, he's of an age with me, so that doesn't surprise me. At any rate, the Dresden books resonate with me because of that. I like their feel.
Of course, as a writer, I also find the books somewhat frustrating for that very reason. The more of them I read, the more similarities of design I find. I finished The House on the Corner at the end of July 2010 (a few days after my van blew up while I was inside it), and I'd probably read the first four Dresden books by that time. The conflict between magic and religion, which I touch on in my book, is brought into Grave Peril. And, as I said, I just finished Proven Guilty, more than 6 months after I finished my book and 2 months after making my book publicly available, and I've found another similar theme. So, yes, it appears that Jim Butcher and I have been eating from the same table for quite a while. But, you know what? I really don't mind that. In the end, my book has no overt resemblance to his. The kid heroes in mine aren't detectives, and I have no plan on writing crime novels. I do enjoy reading his, though. Sometime or other, I'm going to have to try out his high fantasy series and see what I think about that. I'll let you know when I do.

Friday, March 18, 2011

...without Answers (part 2)

I was in my daughter's class, this morning, reading from my book, The House on the Corner (shameless plug: remember, you can buy a copy of your very own over at the link on the right!). It's so very enjoyable to read to them and get laughter at the appropriate places and all of that. It made me think, again, about this question about why writers write. Not that I haven't been thinking about it. I've been working on this post for, what? a month, now. Scrapped it twice and started over. It's just not an easy question to answer. I mean, really. It's a rather insane thing to go about doing, when you look at it, and I can only think of two other professions that are possibly worse: stand up comic and politician. Oh, wait, make that one other profession.

I think it breaks down into two basic motivators: 1. the desire to fulfill self  and 2. the desire to bring enjoyment to others. I think it's probably a continuum with one of those at either end with each individual writer struggling somewhere in the middle. Probably moving back-and-forth on the slider, probably on a daily basis.

Authors must have inherently fragile egos. Writing becomes a safe way, of sorts, to get positive reinforcement without actually risking anything. I mean, you just automatically get all kinds of ego stroking by even mentioning that you write without ever having to deliver up anything that you've actually written. Most people view writing as some sort of "magical" task that they could never do; therefore, if you write, it already elevates you in their eyes. Even if you suck. Or if you never ever finish anything.

I had this friend in high school that was one of those attention seeking individuals. Okay, I had a lot of those kinds of friends, the kind that cause drama just so they can be in the middle of it, but I had this one friend, in particular, that was always onto some new quirky thing so that people would tell him how great they thought he was. He declared, at one point, that he was vegetarian, way before it was a "thing" to be vegetarian. Fast food places didn't have vegetarian options. At Burger King, during the middle of his vegetarian kick, while we were there with a big group of us (12 or 15 teenagers), he order a Whopper. Hold the meat. Really. Made sure everyone knew he was doing it, too. Writing is like that. The introverts way of shouting "hey! hey! look at me!" Not that I'm saying that all writers are introverts, surely that's not true. But it is a rather introverted way to spend one's time, and, in my experience, people with writing aspirations are introverts.

On the other end of that, you have people that want to entertain. Yes, yes, many people would say that the root of the desire to entertain is to be at the center of attention. You know, to get your ego strokes. Which goes back to fulfillment of self. And, probably, many people would say that that really is the base reason that anyone wants to be an entertainer of any kind. But I don't think that's true. When I'm reading to my kids or in a class at my kids' school, I have no thought at all of what I'm getting out of it. I just enjoy their enjoyment. Yes, I enjoy it, but it's like a byproduct. I'm not being motivated by my enjoyment; I only want them to enjoy it. That's why the continuum. Sometimes, it is all about having people tell me what a good job they think I've done, but other times, I just don't care about that. I just want to have made something that other people will enjoy.

It's a hard struggle to deal with.

There's one other motivation that I have, and I'm not really sure where it fits in, and I'm not sure if other people have this or not, so I'd really like to hear from anyone that does. The motivation is this: "I can do that. I can do that better than [insert name of author here], in fact." And, then, I think, if I can really do that better, then I should.

But what about me? Why do I write? In general. Not just the book I've already written, which was dealt with in part 1 of this question about writing.

My first urge to write came around the age of 10. I was already being told by my teachers that I was a good writer, and I made straight As and all of that. But... well, I got into reading the Hardy Boys, and, somewhere in there, I thought, "I want to do that. I want to write one of these." Not that I wanted to write a Hardy Boys book, but I wanted to do something like that. So I did. Or, at least, I started to. I'm not sure how long I worked on it, but I do know that I was close to filling up a spiral notebook with my little story when it happened. My mother found my manuscript. I just want to point out here that I didn't leave it laying around, either. It was private to me. I wasn't finished with it, and I hadn't told anyone about it. I didn't want anyone to know until I was finished. But my mother, in digging around in my room, which she still did when I was that age and hadn't learned, yet, to tell her to keep out of my stuff, found it. And read it. And confronted me with it. And the totality of her response to it was, "Did you think of all those names [of the characters] all by yourself?" Which was the worst thing she could have said, because I felt like I had done an inadequate job naming the characters. I wasn't satisfied with that part of my story at all. So it ended in the trash can, and I didn't try writing, again, for a very long time. You know, beyond what you have to do for school, which I was very good at, always earning top marks. I was even published a few times in a local publication for school age writers, but those things that were published, I wrote because they were assigned, not because I had any driving desire to write. I'd given that up when I threw that project in the trash.

Wrapped up in all of that is the desire to leave something behind. How cool would it be, after all, to have something that you wrote pulled off the shelf in some house somewhere 100 years after you're dead? I think each of has that desire at some point in our lives. To write. To paint. To make music. To build. To make something that will last beyond us. Reality has a way of squashing those dreams in most of us, though, as we figure out that it, often enough, it's difficult just to survive and icing if we actually get to partake at all in that whole "pursuit of happiness" thing. Or maybe it's just that we all want to be rock stars.

Of course, we all go through the stage, at some point, usually during the teen years, when we want to be a great poet. We meet that girl or that guy and, gee, all we want to do is to be able to channel Shakespeare. But I chalk that more up to hormones than any genuine desire to be a writer.

Through the years, I've played around at writing. I was in the "Writers' Guild" when I was in college. It was all rather pretentious, but we didn't know it, at the time. It was fairly centered around poetry, too, and pretty much all crap. We didn't know that, either. I started my second book (if you count the one when I was 10 as my first) in my early 20s while I was substitute teaching. I still have that around, somewhere, and I think it was a good story, but I never finished it, and it's no longer relevant in quite the same way that it was, then. There have been others.

In the end, though, I was reading a book by a popular genre author that kept being suggested to me, and my reaction to it goes back to that other motivation I mentioned. "I can do that. In fact, I can do a lot better than that." Because, honestly, that book was... well, I have no kind word for it, but I kept thinking "how did this get published?" And, then, someone told me that the series in question doesn't actually get good until you get to the 3rd or 4th book, and I wondered how anyone ever made it that far into it to find that out. Basically, though, it came down to actually doing what I kept saying I could do. Because it doesn't matter if you think you can do it and let that be enough. If you don't do it, you have proven that you can't do it. I decided that it was time to actually do  it.

So... there you have it; my great non-answer to the question of why writers write. The truth is, I don't know. What I do know is that if money is a motivating factor, you should go home and rethink your life. I just saw a statistic that says that only 3 people out of 1000 seeking to be published will be published and only 1 of those will ever make enough money from it to be considered a "living wage." Beyond that, I don't know why people choose this path. It's long and hard, and, from the statistic, you can see that 997 of 1000 people just give up. I only know why I do it.

Because I can.
And, well, at this point, because, if I don't, my kids will never forgive me.

Special Fetures:
As I said, I started and re-started this post several times. Because I did some research into this next bit, and because I think it has some bearing on what this is all about, although I couldn't get it to fit within the context of the final piece, I'm letting you have a look at it. A peek at the process. We'll just call this a

Deleted Scene:

I think the pretentious answer is probably something along the lines of "I write because I have to." Or "I can't live without it." Okay, so let's step back and look at the question, again, because I can actually accept those answers for being an impetus to write; however, I can't accept them as an answer as to why someone writes and seeks to get published as being published is in no way related to the actual writing. Maybe, the actual question should be "why would someone want to be a Writer?" We'll define Writer as someone who qualifies as a professional writer. Someone who makes his/her living at it. And, to simplify things, someone who writes fiction and/or poetry.

Let's look at Emily Dickinson. She's very often propped up as the epitome of the writer who wrote because she had to do it but didn't want to be a Writer. I don't think I agree with that. Although it wasn't until after her death that it was discovered just how much she'd written, she didn't keep her writing to herself. In fact, she was actually published during her lifetime and was in constant communication with a number of men both in and out of literary circles with whom she shared her work. Often with the sole purpose of seeking praise. I think she wanted to be a Writer but was agoraphobically afraid of the possibility of fame. Instead, she assembled manuscript books of her works that were discovered after her death. Clearly, there was desire, however latent, to have her works become books, which she loved. She just couldn't cope with the idea of that happening to her while she was alive, so she prepared it for after her death. She sought out and received enough positive feedback for her writing to sustain her through her life without actually being published.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't try this at home...

So... yeah... Last week, I broke my wrist. Does it really matter which one? Okay, it was my left one, but, still, you people who are right handed and have never broken your left wrist don't really know what you're talking about when you say to me, "At least, it wasn't your right one." Even my mother said that to me. Okay, so yeah, at least it wasn't my right one, but, sheesh... Let me just clarify, it's not even really the loss of function in my left hand that's the issue; it's the pain associated with trying to do anything with my left arm to assist my right. Like tying my shoes. I can't do it. I can't apply any pressure with my left hand to even hold the strings still while I tie. It's very... annoying.

One more illustration: I'm the cook in the family, so I was trying to do that the other night with the broken arm thing going on. I needed to chop up an onion. Normally, this is a matter of, at most, a couple of minutes, peeling included. With the broken wrist? 20 minutes. It's insane.

And I'm not even going to start about how long it takes me to type, now. I'm not the best typist to begin with, but, now...

Oh, you want to know how I did it... I bet you do. My wife has been loving telling people about it. Of course, she exaggerates. She keeps telling everyone I was "showing off" in front of the kids on my bike. I say that goofing off is not equivalent to showing off. However, it did result in a bike crash in front of my kids on the way home from school. Two lessons taught: 1. Don't goof off on your bike. 2. Wear your helmet. I was, in fact, wearing my helmet, which saved my head from a painful introduction to the concrete.

Then there was the casting process. My wife was out of town on the day in question, and I didn't want to drag my kids to the emergency room with me, so I waited till the following day to make my trip to the doctor. It saved an emergency room visit, though, which was good. They put me in what I can only call a half cast during my visit. The plaster only went halfway around my arm so that it wouldn't swell up inside the cast, since I was still having swelling, at the time.They wrapped my arm in gauze and applied the plaster to that and, then, bandaged around the plaster. It was raining. They gave me instructions to not get the cast wet. Of course, I couldn't get my arm back into my jacket after the cast was put on.

Here's the interesting part. At least, it is to me. My doctor told me that I would get a call from the orthopedic doctor within a couple of days. He would want me to come back in for new x-rays and, probably, to put a new cast on me. I actually got that call that night. The orthopedic doctor told me to go down to the local drug store and buy a velcro splint. Once said splint was in hand, go home and cut off the cast. Apply velcro splint, instead. I had to have him repeat it. Not that I didn't understand what he was saying but that he was actually telling me to just take care of it on my own. I don't even have to go back and see them about it. Unless I want to. Or I could have gone in and had them remove the cast and get a velcro splint from them.

My favorite part, though, was when he told me that if I had any questions to not hesitate to call. He gave me a direct number. I had questions. I tried to ask him while I had him on the phone. He didn't answer any of them. He just kept redirecting me back to his previous instructions and telling me that I could call if I had questions. I gave up.

I, now, have a velcro splint which I can remove for showering. Which is a good thing. I wasn't looking forward to having to find some way to cover the other cast or hanging it out of the curtain or something so that I could take a shower. I can also wash both hands, now. That is also good. Just three days in the plaster, and my hand smelled funky. I can't imagine how it would have smelled after 4-6 weeks.

Just as a plug, my kids and I have been biking or walking back-and-forth to school for several years, now. It's part of our environmental awareness and decreasing our carbon footprint. We, also, save money on gas, which is never a bad thing, especially since we live in the area of the USA with the highest gas prices. I strongly encourage everyone to find alternative methods of travel. It's good all the way around. Win/win situation, and all of that. Good for the environment, and, if you're walking or biking, it's good for your body. That is, as long as you don't break parts of it while doing it.

Today, go take a walk. Or a bike ride. Figure out how you can incorporate that into your daily routine in place of something that you would normally drive to do. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Seeing RED

All right, so I know I'm supposed to be getting back to this question about writing and why anyone bothers to do it at all, but I saw this great movie over the weekend and feel like it's time for my very first all pop-culture post. There's also that 2/3 of my kids are still sick, and the oldest one turned 15 (yikes!) over the weekend, so it's been difficult to sit down and do any "serious" writing this past week. Besides, pop-culture stays crispy in milk, so you can linger over this as long as you need to!

Just by way of introduction, I love comic books. Just the idea of them. This is not to say that I love all comic books, just like I don't love all movies, but, in general, I think, comics are pretty cool. Although I don't actively collect anymore, I own waaay too many (and that's after selling off about 30 long boxes (over 10,000 issues) several years ago).  All of that to say that I have a sort of natural inclination to like movies based on comics, and it takes a lot (Superman Returns, Catwoman, Burton's Batman (and its sequels)) for me to actively dislike them since I go into them wanting to like them.
My wife, though, has no such inclination.

Which brings us to RED.

The comic that the movie is based on was written by Warren Ellis. Ellis is a writer that I tend to like and is the creator/writer of one of my favorite series: Planetary. However, I never read RED, so I really had no idea of what it was about other than what I saw in the trailer for the movie. It was a movie I really wanted to go see in the theater, but... well... last year was full of chaos which included, during the summer while RED was in theaters, our van, nearly literally, blowing up (while I was inside it, no less), so I never did make it into the theater to see it. That turns out to be (mostly) okay. There are a few scenes that would have been great to see on the big screen, especially the scene where Moses steps out of the police car (but, of course, at the theater we couldn't have immediately rewound that one and watched it, again, as my wife demanded we do), but, overall, it isn't the sort of movie that loses its impact in translation to the television screen since the movie is about the characters, not about the action.

The central character, Frank Moses, is played by Bruce Willis. This is just Bruce Willis being Bruce Willis, but, when you need an actor to play the part of Bruce, there is no one else that can do that, and he is great in this role. It would not surprise me if Willis was in Ellis' head as he wrote the character, although that is pure speculation on my part. At any rate, Bruce is completely enjoyable in his role as Frank Moses, and I can't really imagine anyone else doing the role the justice that Bruce gave it.

Mary-Louise Parker plays the love interest, Sarah Ross. I've never been a big Mary-Louise Parker fan and never thought her memorable in any of the roles I've seen her in. In fact, I have to look to see what I actually have seen her in, so little impact she has had on me. I mean, I know she's the lead in Weeds, but I've never seen that and don't have any immediate plans to do so. However, she was perfectly delightful in  this role. She really brought just the right mixture of naivete, awe, and enthusiasm to the part. I'm not saying that there's not another actress that could have played that role, but she did a great job in it, and I can't think of anyone, off the top of my head, that could have done it better.

Then there's Morgan Freeman. Freeman is another that is hired just to play himself, and, again, there is no one else that can play Morgan Freeman better. This is not to say that Freeman is incapable of a greater range than just playing himself; we've seen him in more than enough features to see that Freeman can play, pretty much, anything that is asked of him, but, when you need the, mostly, compassionate (grand)fatherly figure, there's probably no one better than Freeman, so he excels in his role. I can't say more than that without giving away pieces of the plot that you don't want to know about if you haven't seen  the movie.

Freeman's counterpart is played by Helen Mirren, and she's no less than awesome. I believe that Helen Mirren can do pretty much anything, and I don't think she's ever hired to just "be herself." I don't even know what that would mean as I don't think I've ever seen her do anything that had just become cliche for her. Certainly, I've never seen her behind a machine gun before, so that was pretty incredible and probably worth the whole movie. However, her role is really summed up in her comment to Sarah, "I kill people, Dear," just as if she was saying "I made some cookies." She was just perfect.

And that brings us to John Malkovich. Malkovich is like crab to me, and I don't mean that in a good way. I spent years and years eating crab because I felt like I ought to like it, but, every time I did, I came away from it with the thought, "I just don't like it." But I would try it, again, the next time because I felt likt I just ought to like it. Really, I did that for years before I finally decided, "you know, I really just don't like crab" and gave up on it for good. That is my experience with Malkovich. Any time he was in something, I would go into it with the thought that I ought to like it because it was John Malkovich, but I always came away just not liking the experience, most notably in Jonah Hex, which was just dreadful, I think, mostly, due to how horrible Malkovich was. There are a few notable exceptions, I suppose, such as Being John Malkovich, but he's not an actor I generally enjoy, mostly due to the fact that he's really just always the same in every role he's in. However, he was brilliant in RED! I'm not sure there is anyone else that could have pulled off this role and been believable in it. To some extent, he played the role the way he always is, but, it was like he turned his perfomance, this time, up to 11, and that's exactly what this called for.

The cast of villains, however, is somewhat divided. Richard Dreyfuss is amazing, as always, but Rebecca Pidgeon could have been replaced by anyone. Sure, the role wasn't written to stand out, but she did nothing to really make it her own, either. Karl Urban, on the other hand, was great. Hunky, pretty boy assassin. His complete seriousness in the role gave it the gravity and believability it needed, and he was pretty perfect opposite Bruce Willis. Besides, my wife says he's hot, although he needs to smile more. According to her. The last player for the villains is Julian McMahon. Although, I really enjoyed him as Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four; he is completely forgettable in his role as the vice president in RED and, probably, could have been replaced by just about anyone walking down the street.

I didn't get enough Ernest Borgnine. He's impossible not to love, and it's a great, albeit small, perfect role for him.

My immediate response to the movie was "I'm going to have to buy this one." And I will. My second response was, "The kids will love this," and they did. I'm not really saying it's a family movie, but it certainly is a great movie for my family. My younger son asked me if they were going to make a prequel for it. heh Interestingly enough, they did do some prequel comics to coincide with the release of the movie. I haven't read those, either, though. Unfortunately, although the movie did make money, it wasn't the blockbuster they'd hoped it would be, so it's unlikely that there will be anything further. I guess I'm okay with that. I think it does help illustrate, however, that, as a culture, our current love is for super heroes, not comic books in general. I think Hollywood is kind of stuck on the idea that anything translated from comics will be a hit, but even a wonderful movie like RED underperformed due to its lack of capes and tights, as the cliche goes.

If you're looking for a fun action/comedy, you should check RED out. Especially if you have netflix. Even if it's not the kind of thing you'd see at the theater, it's not likely to disappoint as a rental. Unless, you know, you only do "serious" movies. This is certainly a popcorn flick. Just be careful of the popcorn. If you're not careful, it'll end up all over the couch.