Archive for January, 2013

The Real West: Kenner’s failed western toy line from 1980

Posted in 80s, Billy the Kid, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Paxton

LEB

I’m a big fan of westerns.  Movies, books, comics, toys.  Whatever.  If you listen to episode 68 of the Nerd Lunch podcast, you will hear me lamenting the lack of good western toy lines on shelves today.  The best western toy line is probably the Gabriel Lone Ranger toys from the 70s and 80s.  Most especially the large scale toys and accessories.  Here’s an ad for a western town for the Gabriel 3-3/4″ Lone Ranger toys.

Gabriel Lone Ranger

Gabriel also released a 12″ scale Lone Ranger series of figures.  Both were extremely popular and set the standard for well done western figures.  However, there aren’t many other toy lines that even tried to create western figures, other than generically packed cowboy figures on sale in the discount aisles of Wal-Mart.  See the True Heroes Wild West Action Figure Playset 5-Pack.  To be fair, the True Heroes stuff is actually fairly well made for generic figures.  Check out the True Heroes Wild West Sheriff’s Town Playset.  Like I said, actually not that bad.  But it’s generic.  I want a figure line that’s more specific.

The toys I actually want to talk about today I briefly mentioned in the latest episode of Nerd Lunch.  I consider it to be the closest we’ll get to an actual, well realized “Legends of the Old West” action figure line.  It was first made by Kenner in 1979 as a tie in to the movie Butch and Sundance – The Early Days.  The movie was a prequel to the classic 1969 western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, respectively.  The movie had a nice compliment of stars.  Tom Berenger played Butch, William Katt played Sundance, Peter Weller played La Fors, Christopher Lloyd played Carver and Brian Dennehy played Hanks.  The studio had high hopes for the movie and created a toy line featuring figures of the characters.  Here are pics of the carded figures of the title characters.

Butch Sundance
(via Toys You Had)

There were also figures of La Fors, Sheriff Bledsoe and Hanks.  Kenner also produced the hero’s horses, Bluff and Spurs, as well as an awesome armored stagecoach called The Mint Wagon.  Here they are in a Kenner catalog from 1980.

Horses and Mint Wagon
(Via Plaid Stallions)

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My reactions to the 2013 Oscar Nominations

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on January 11, 2013 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

The Academy released the 2013 Oscar nominations for this year.  Being the big movie fan/Oscar dork that I am I usually like to take a look at the most popular categories and give you some of my thoughts on the decisions.  I’ve done this sort of recap since 2007 (for the 2006 movie year).  To see my previous reactions to the Oscar nominations go to the Oscars Wild archive page.

Now, let’s take a look at the “money” categories and judge how the Academy did this year.

Argo
Best Picture
Argo – This movie is excellent. I’m actually somewhat pissed at myself for not including it on my favorite movies of 2012 list, but it completely slipped my mind while I was writing.  Ben Affleck is 3-for-3 when directing movies.  And this one is the best one of the three.
Django Unchained – This, however, did make my favorite movies list.  It’s awesome and fun and 100% Tarantino.
Les Miserables – I like broadway shows.  However I have little to no desire to watch this despite the amazing cast.  The story looks depressing.
Life of Pi – Again, I have no desire to watch this.  The visuals look amazing but from the clips I’ve seen the movie looks too dreamy and weird.
Amour – There’s always one of these.  Literally never heard of this movie until today when they were making the announcements.  It’s about two married retired music teachers, one of which has a stroke and their love is tested……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Lincoln – This looks amazing.  I need to see it ASAP.
Silver Linings Playbook – This has been on my radar for a while, and the fact that it’s getting all these noms bumps it up higher on my priorities.
Zero Dark Thirty – I’m not a military/war movie guy.  I just don’t like them, but this looks pretty good.
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Now there are two of these.  Never heard of this.  No desire to see it.  Sounds like a documentary on Neo Geo.

<RANT>I’m a little pissed that Marvel’s The Avengers didn’t make it into these Best Picture nominations.  You can’t tell me that Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour aren’t a giant F**K YOU to Whedon and Marvel.  The Avengers received 1 nomination.  For Visual Effects.  Just THREE YEARS AGO f**king Avatar (special effects heavy, tent pole studio release similar to The Avengers) received NINE Oscar nominations including an appearance in Best Picture.  But the Academy has historically proven that they enjoy licking James Cameron’s hairy bean bag whenever they get a chance.</RANT>

Flight
Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook – I am a fan of “The Cooper”. And I mentioned earlier that this movie has crawled itself into my “must see” list.
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln – Day-Lewis is intense and always great. I don’t always love his movies but I nearly always love watching the man perform his characters.
Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables – Good thing Hugh got this one in because I’m thinking he won’t be here next year for The Wolverine.
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master – Not a fan of Joaquin the man, or the actor. I liked him in Walk the Line as Johnny Cash and as Commodus in Gladiator. Other than that, I pretty much dislike everything he does.
Denzel Washington in Flight – Man, I really wanted to see this movie. I’ve have been digging everything Denzel has been doing for the last 10 years or so. And this movie looks GREAT. Good to see Zemekis may have a hit on his hands.

Zero Dark Thirty
Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty – Like I said, I don’t like military/war movies but this looks good and she looks good in it.
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook – I really like Jennifer Lawrence and pairing her with Bradley Cooper is win-win. For everyone.
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour – Whatever.
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of Southern Wild – It’s impressive that at 9 years old she’s getting nominated.
Naomi Watts in The Impossible – And the “tsunami movie” gets a nom. I’m surprised it didn’t also make it into best picture. The Academy loves nominating these natural disaster movies especially if they portray real events. See United 93.

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Movie Board: The worst movies I saw in 2012

Posted in movies with tags , , , on January 10, 2013 by Paxton

Movie Board

So, I’ve shown you my favorite movies of 2012. Let’s now take a look at the worst movies I saw in 2012.  The movies in this list are culled from my online Google Spreadsheet, just like my best of list, but I don’t just look at movies released in 2012.  I look at any movie I watched for the first time in 2012.

So here are the worst movies I watched last year.


Conan The Barbarian (2011) – Holy s**t, W-T-F, dude?! Want to know how to f**k up a Conan movie?  THIS is how.  You cast someone devoid of charisma.  And make the movie boring as balls.  And completely waste a nude scene with Rachel Nichols.  AND RON PEARLMAN WAS CONAN’S FATHER!!!  Considering all of that, it’s amazing just how AWFUL this movie is.  So much wasted potential.  This movie should make the “long walk” into the woods and kill itself.


Abduction – Here is where they tried to turn Lautner into an action hero. And it fails. Partly because the movie is just that f**king stupid, but also partly because Lautner is terrible in it.


Moonraker – Watched this in preparation for the Nerd Lunch James Bond episode.  And it’s every bit as terrible as everyone said it was.  Actually worse, because I was shocked how incredibly bad it is.  It’s called Moonraker, there’s a shot of Bond in space on the cover and it isn’t until 15 minutes are left in the movie until you actually get into…you know…SPACE.  F**K THIS MOVIE.


Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy – Disappointing. This isn’t a bad movie, per say, like the movies above.  This is just long and boring and really confusing.  Not what I expected, nor what I wanted.  Excellent cast, though.

Those are essentially the movies I liked the least this year. Most of them are just bad movies.  Usually the list is just filled with disappointments.

Movie Board: My Favorite Movies of 2012

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Paxton

Movie Board

This will be the first year that I don’t actually have a physical “white board” in which I wrote down all of the movies I saw this past year.  My movie list is kept all digital now with Google Spreadsheets (like my book list).  So, it’s sad, but for the most part I think I’m retiring my literal “white board”.  Who knows, maybe I’ll bring it back.  We’ll see.  To see previous years’ picks, click the image above.

Anyway, I combed through my movie log and picked 5 of my favorite movies released in 2012.  Notice I’m not saying “best”.  That is so subjective, I’m just telling you my “favorite” movies of 2012, in no particular order.


Marvel’s The Avengers – Who am I kidding? This is my favorite movie of the year. It’s probably the greatest movie ever filmed.  I can’t add anything more to what’s already been said.  You’ve seen it or you are in a coma.  And I’m sorry for you coma people because you’re missing the best movie ever made.


Django Unchained – Just got a showing of this movie in under the wire and HOLY SHEEEEE-IT, it’s amazing. I think I like this one even better than Inglourious Basterds.  Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio are the reasons to see this movie, but I don’t mean to discount Jamie Foxx or Samuel L Jackson.  This is one well acted, well written movie and…IT’S A WESTERN!  Yes, maybe this will cause Hollywood to try it’s hand at more of them.  However, I am concerned that Disney’s The Lone Ranger may kill that notion, quick.  But I hope not.


Skyfall – Is this the best Bond film of all time? No, it’s not. However, it’s probably the best Craig Bond film. For me, right now, it ranks up there, possibly in the top 5 of all time Bond movies. We’ll see, though, time will tell if that holds up.  Fantastic movie.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 67: Nerdstradamus 2013

Posted in podcast, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

I predict that you will listen to the 67th episode of the Nerd Lunch podcast and nearly crap yourself when you hear us talk about pop culture predictions. That’s right, in this episode, for the new year, we are making predictions. Predictions about movies, TV shows, fast food and soda. We even try to predict who’s going to die.

Nostradamus

To help us with these predictions we are joined again by Doug Frye from the Schlock Treatment podcast.  So download the episode to your listening device and hear us make completely unfounded predictions about pop culture.  And fully expect that at the end of 2013, we will revisit this topic to see how we did.  Right now, I can tell you that one of my predictions is already untrue.  That’s just how this whole game is played.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online here.