Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Exclusive: George R.R. Martin previews The Winds of Winter!

This Halloween, I was lucky enough to run into Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin on the streets of New York city (it was definitely the real George R.R. Martin, and not just me in a George R.R. Martin costume).

Being that Martin is just an all-around swell fellow (perhaps he was in his cups from all of the festive holiday ale), he was nice enough to show me the unfinished manuscript for the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series: The Winds of Winter. He also let me take a look at his personal notes, which helped pull back the curtain to give us a peak into the brilliant author's process - a real treat!

If you're a true Game of Thrones fan - and who isn't? - you simply must read this exclusive treasure trove of delightful goodies!

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The Winds of Winter
Manuscript by George R.R. Martin

Thursday, June 12, 2014

If Game of Thrones were produced by Judd Apatow: Part Two


Part Two: The Ones That Weren't In Part One!

In case you missed Part One: I have it on good authority that an alternate dimension exists in which Judd Apatow produced Game of Thrones, not Girls, for HBO. Here are the actors he cast in certain key roles.


Daenerys Targaryen: Lena Dunham

Dunham is one of the brightest and freshest talents of her generation; a writer and actor with her own unique voice. Much like our beloved Khaleesi, she also has, as the Barenaked Ladies would say, 'a history of losing her shirt.' There's a 25% chance that at least one of her dragons is currently popping out of its cage, if you catch my drift.

Jaime Lannister: Paul Rudd

Handsome and manly (i.e. hairy-chested), yet gifted with a wry sense of humor, this is one of the easiest roles to cast.

Cersei Lannister: Leslie Mann

What would an Apatow production be without his wife? Her ability to get under your skin would have been perfect for Queen Cersei, and this role would have reunited her with her on-screen husband from Knocked Up and This is 40, although their relationship in this is a little more...interesting (intercesting? incesteresting?)

Tyrion Lannister: Jonah Hill

It is a shame that Apatow couldn't have found someone who better fit this part size-wise, but the precedent (and technology) for this type of casting exists: the actors who played dwarves and hobbits in the Lord of the Rings movies were not themselves dwarves (plus, I couldn't find the existence of dwarves in any other Apatow project, so casting Warwick Davis would have been incongruous with the gimmick of this post...) 

Hill has the aptitude to portray Tyrion's trademark dry wit, which is essential for an actor playing the series' most beloved character. Plus, when you consider how much weight he has lost since his Superbad days, the slimmer version of Jonah Hill is, comparatively, a half-man.

Joffrey Baratheon: Christopher Mintz-Plasse

McLovin is excellent at portraying an irritating little dick, as seen in Superbad and Kick Ass. He also has experience playing royalty as (spoiler alert!!!) the king in Role Models (for, like, a minute).

Robert Baratheon: John C. Reilly

Reilly is a great actor, especially in roles that allow him to show his comedic chops. He also has an uncanny ability to seem belligerently drunk, even when he’s probably not trying to, which works perfectly for King Robert.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ten Redeeming Qualities of X-Men 3: The Last Stand

Opinions on X-Men: The Last Stand ranged from "disappointing" to "flaming pile of Wolverine dung," with the general sense being that it left a great deal to be desired. If you disagree, you are Brett Ratner.

In anticipation of the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, I decided to watch The Last Stand for the first time since Midnight on May 26, 2006 (A.K.A. the day my innocence was taken from me), with the intent of finding ten redeeming qualities. Here is what I found:

Spoilers, obviously, but who cares?

1. It's Short

At just 104 minutes, The Last Stand mercifully ended before I seriously considered getting violent. The length could also be considered a knock against it; considering that the movie crammed in two of the comic book series' iconic arcs, it should probably be longer than the average romantic comedy. But let's just be positive for like five minutes, okay? Jeeze.

2. The Danger Room

That there was finally a Danger Room scene is pretty neat. The fact that it contained a Colossus- Wolverine fastball special resulting in a decapitated Sentinel makes it a highlight.

3. Ellen Page

Page was wonderfully cast as Kitty Pryde, a fan favorite character who had appeared briefly in the first two films, portrayed by two lesser-known actresses. The fact that Page was struggling with her own sexual identity at the time must have made the movie's themes even more meaningful to her.

4. Kelsey Grammer

Grammer was an inspired choice to play Hank McCoy / Beast. Although his costume makes him look like Sully from Monster Inc.'s stunt double, the actor himself is a great fit at the brainy mutant.

5. I'm the Juggernaut, Bitch!

The movie's most memorable line is often cited as a point against the film, but I have a feeling that if it appeared in one of the better X-Men films, this line would be considered a fun, meta moment. And no matter how bad the movie was, we'll always have that clip. Seriously, this was one of the few things Ratner did right.

Monday, April 7, 2014

If Game of Thrones were produced by Judd Apatow...

According to the multiverse theory, there are an infinite amount of dimensions existing simultaneously. There is a dimension in which Al Gore won the presidential election and, thus, never went back in time to create the internet. There is a dimension in which the Buffalo Bills won Super Bowl XXVI but still lost Super Bowls XXV, XXVII and XXVIII. There is a dimension in which every new movie is a remake of A Beautiful Mind, each time with one added factual inaccuracy.

One of my favorite dimensions is the one in which comedy kingpin Judd Apatow was chosen to produce HBO's Game of Thrones. The Long Island native is known for writing, directing and / or producing many of the decade’s biggest comedy hits, including Anchorman, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Girls.

The following list depicts the actors cast in the show’s key roles, as well as my reactions to each choice.

Part One: Starks and Friends!

Ned Stark: Seth Rogen

Who better than Apatow’s golden boy to be the face of Game of Throne’s flagship family? Sure, he’s a little young for the part, but that’s nothing a bit of CGI can’t clean up. Keep in mind that almost all of Apatow's regulars are in the 25-45 range, so age inconsistencies are just something viewers have to deal with.

Rogen and Evan Goldberg have also been tabbed to write many of the episodes.

Catelyn Stark: Kristen Wiig

Another strong choice. Wiig’s malleable face can depict a wide range of emotions. She’ll need to tap into all of them, from "disappointed" to "miserable," to accurately depict Catelyn. Plus, Rogen and Wiig already have experience playing a couple, as they portrayed the young George and Lucille Bluth on Season Four or Arrested Development.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pop Culture Power Rankings: Worst New Show of 2013!

What better way to celebrate the year that was than to rank all of the characters from the worst new show of 2013?

First, we must determine the worst show to debut in the past twelve months. This was an unusually strong year; shows like Dads and The Millers were bad enough to have taken home the honor in most years. But with a slate stocked with so much dogshit, being an unfunny sit-com - no matter how racist or fart-filled - just wasn't going to cut it (if I were a writer for The Millers, the phrase "cut it" would have been an excellent opportunity for a fart joke).

With Dads and The Millers, you knew what you were getting into from day zero. Even with the amount of talent on board both shows, there was never a moment when anyone ever thought either program would be anything other than awful.

The worst show of 2013 needed to be a special kind of bad. It needed to have gotten your hopes up at some point that it could have been worth watching, only to squander that potential.

Enter: Under the Dome!

When it was announced that Stephen King's novel was being adapted as a Showtime miniseries, there was plenty of buzz. People remained interested when the commercials for the show, which was now known to be a CBS television series, started leaking out. By the time the first episode ended, we were left with some intriguing threads that could have led to a fun and absorbing mystery / science fiction show. And then, like the town of Chester's Mill itself, everything started to fall apart.

It got bad. Real bad. In lieu of any sort of interesting plot, we got a narrative that meandered between pointless cliffhangers and questions we did not care to have answered. It was as if a community college film student wrote a spec-script for a Lost spinoff series and plugged in characters and locations from Stephen King's novel. Then, so CBS' core audience could understand it, they dumbed it down even more.

The result: a verifiable hit, and one of the highest rated new shows on television.

So, without further ado, here are the rankings of the characters from Under the Dome, the worst show of the year!

1. Cow

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pop Culture Power Rankings: Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

With December 25 almost upon us, this week's power rankings also double as a plea to lay down our arms and end this senseless war on Christmas! How many elves must die before enough is enough?

Click on the pictures to experience the full effect of each sweater's endearing tackiness. Links for each original picture is provided in the tier headings, but the terrible puns are all courtesy of yours truly (me).


Here it is: undeniable proof that Santa Claus can be black, much to the chagrin of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. If it wasn't true, it wouldn't be on a sweater. That simple, universal truth applies to most situations.

This particular sweater makes the statement that Christmas spirit is colorblind. Then again, anyone wearing any of these ugly sweaters most likely has some sort of visual impairment.




This sweater shows us the softer side of Santa (he really needs to add more roughage to his diet). It reminds us that Mr. Kringle is, after all, just another human, while also confirming the old adage that "everybody poops."


When discussing the history of Christmas, our society tends to gloss over the dark spots. It is time for us to put an end to the morally reprehensible practice of granting consciousness to inanimate cookies, then promptly eating them, limb-by-limb. Can we at least agree to eat them head-first to give them the mercy of a quick death?

This sweater depicts the events of the infamous "Night of Insatiable Hunger," in which Santa consumed nearly two-thirds of the world's Gingerbread Man population. Since that night, children have been leaving an offering of milk and cookies for Old Saint Nick in order to replete his cravings and save the now-endangered species of Gingerbread Men.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pop Culture Power Rankings: Marvel Movie Villains!

If you want your movie to be a box-office success, your best bet is to slap the word "Marvel's" in front of it. John Carter, The Lone Ranger, and countless other bombs could have avoided their infamous pratfalls had they simply heeded this advice.

There have been a number of excellent movies based on Marvel comic books, as well as a fair share of misfires. Likewise, these movies contain some memorable and iconic villains, as well as some disappointing duds.

This week's rankings contain both the best and worst Marvel movie villains.

1. Magneto

Magneto is, in my opinion (and since I am the King of this blog, my opinion is all that matters), the greatest comic book villain of all time. The best villains should be powerful and motivated while also eliciting empathy from the audience.  Magneto has these qualities in spades; his ability to create magnetic force fields and manipulate metal make him a dangerous adversary, while his goal to eradicate all humans in the name of mutant superiority is truly menacing. The audience can sympathize with his motives, given his backstory as a holocaust survivor, while still rooting for him to fail.

In the X-Men films, Magneto is portrayed by two of the best actors of their generation: Sir Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender. Lesser actors may have been overwhelmed by the gravity of the character and his moral dilemma, but both men gave powerhouse performances. Their chemistry with Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy, respectively) is exceptional, and both McKelland and Fassbender are responsible for some of the franchise’s best moments (Fassbender was the unanimous MVP of X-Men: First Class).

Magneto is as essential to the X-Men franchise as any single character (yes, even Wolverine), and the depiction of the mutant team’s sometimes-arch-nemesis, sometimes-frienemy has been consistently superb throughout the series.