Just get it out of the way: I really like “Avengers: Endgame.” I think it’s a great finale to the whole series, I found some parts legitimately exciting and emotional and even though it’s enormous and there are probably things to complain about, I won’t.

Except for this weird thing! Only because it involves the Rolling Stones.  

As Tony Stark is finishing work on the time travel-enabling machine thing, the Stones’ “Doom and Gloom” plays in the background. Naturally, I noticed it right away, both because it’s the Stones and because it’s a late-period Stones’ song. Very modern, in fact. The track was released in 2012 (approximately 600 years after the band’s peak). It was released on the band’s 2012 greatest hits collection, an inclusion that had more to do with that obligation of “we gotta put SOMETHING new on here” trend and not for the merits of the song itself. It’s a fine song, but it’s no “Sympathy for the Devil.” It’s weird to hear this song in almost any context, but especially weird to hear in huge blockbuster in 2019. Continue reading ‘Super Specific “Endgame” Thing’

I heard about the “One Marvelous Scene” project through my subscription to “Lessons from the Screenplay,” and I’m glad I did. Much like the MCU films, I’ve enjoyed most of the entries and arguments made, and have picked up some new subscriptions on the way. So, it worked, guys. Way to cross-market. Synergy.

But with all that being said, I’m surprised nobody has picked the scene I would have chosen. Many of the scenes chosen are great, and we’ve heard some interesting arguments, but for my money, there is no better single scene in a Marvel movie than the one from arguably the best stand-alone Marvel movie: Killmonger’s vision quest into the ancestral plane from “Black Panther.” Continue reading ‘Killmonger’s Vision: THE One Marvelous Scene’

I went down a weird Presidents of the United States trip, discovered their unique guitar set-up, and thought, “I can do that.” In a nutshell, their two guitars are hybrids. One is a three-string “guitbass,” and the other is a two-string “basitar.”

And since I now own two electric guitars, with one relegated to the garage and basically ignored and deed “less than,” I thought I would try my hand at hacking it up.

I followed the instructions from this site and did the following:

  1. Removed the strings on my guitar
  2. Filed the nuts in the third and fourth position*
  3. Re-strung with two heavier-for-me guitar strings. A .060 gauge for the “low,” and a .036 gauge as the “high.”
  4. These were tuned to C# and A#, respectively. That way, as the site says, you barre them both on the same fret, and it makes a chord.
  5. And that’s it.

I realize I’m not the first person to mess around with the make-up of his guitar, or to make it this two-string model, but it’s kind of empowering. I may take it a step further to add ANOTHER low string, tuned to C# as well, just to see if I can boost the power. But it sounds pretty good as it is.

Anyway. . . that’s that.


*I may have messed this up. I was positive that’s where they would go, so that the strings could tune at the highest, farthest point. But a lot of the images I saw after the fact look like the two strings are spread more apart. If I did get it wrong, it hasn’t stopped my sound quality or playing.

The album, I mean. Or do I? We shall see.

As I mentioned in a previous post, many of my all time favorite Stones songs appear on 1969’s “Let It Bleed” album, while not necessarily being cuts off of that album. So I got to thinking what the ultimate mega-mix of “Let It Bleed” would be, giving me the best versions (known to me) of each song.

Here’s how that list goes down, and I’ll note the version next to it. Continue reading ‘The Best Version of “Let It Bleed”’

Welcome to the five billionth web post on modern comic book movies. Enjoy my gripes!

The Marvel Movies are boring because they never end, so things never really change, except when they do change due to real-life situations (casting decisions) in which case change is awful. When you get down to it, what are the thrills offered by the Marvel Movies.

Spectacle, to be sure.

Funny dialog, yes.

Characters we care about… debatable. I think the movies have been very, very, VERY well cast.

Characters doing things we love to see them do, yes.

Well made movies… also debatable, but I’ll allow it. No one could say these movies are bad PRODUCTIONS at all. We’ll get into my equally unpopular opinion on this topic in a moment.

All of these things are serviceable movie product, and good for them. However with all of these qualities, one thing we do not get from these movies is closure. Granted, that’s not a reason to go to a movie necessarily. At least not a conscious reason. But there is a certain Hollywood Magic that comes from the Hollywood Ending. Good defeats Evil, Boy gets Girl, Little Boy Saves the Town, all that stuff.

Those things don’t exactly happen with the Marvel Movies. They just SORT OF happen. They wrap up the story at hand, but (as we are constantly reminded a zillion times per movie) there’s a bigger story building* in the background, and we won’t see the resolution to that in another 5+ movies.

And when that resolution finally does come… how do I put this… Look, the good guys are gonna win, OK? They just are. Sure, some of them might die (for a movie or two, as they sort out more contracts), and there might be some sort of bitter sweet moments here and there, but all in all, I’m betting that “Avengers 6: Thanos Time” doesn’t end with Thanos killing all the Avengers, enslaving humanity and then camping down on Earth for a while. Somehow, someway, our heroes will muster up the courage to team up and defeat this guy and drive him off. That’s what they do. They’re superheroes. It’s the thing that they do all the time.

I’m sure I sound like a bitter old man, and I am fine with my lot, but I cannot get over this resolution thing. And this may make me sound like not only a bitter old man but a CRAZY bitter old man, but I think it’s all a symptom of Binge Culture. We have come to expect and settle for content, not entertainment. There’s less discerning taste if the show we’re watching doesn’t stop. Netflix added an auto play feature so if you’re watching (what you think is) your favorite show, and you get a dud episode, don’t worry — another one is on the way. Same with Marvel Movies. “Didn’t like ‘Thor: Dark World?’ Don’t worry, another one is coming real soon. Please don’t watch anything else. We love you so much mwah mwah mwah!”

Yes, it’s hard to make good movies. Yes, it’s hard to KEEP making good movies. But it’s also hard to make a good finale, even harder to make a great one. So far, this is a story only heading for more story.

*And really, the Thanos stuff don’t feel like “story building” in that there’s no craft to it. It’s more like how stories happen on soap operas: little bits happen here and there until you’ve accumulated enough data to constitute what legally qualifies as a “story.” There’s no structure, so there’s very little tension. What did we, as an audience, gain by seeing Thanos in “Guardians of the Galaxy” that we couldn’t have gained storywise with that same scene in any of the other Marvel Movies? Why did it have to happen then? Knowing why things had to happen when they had to happen is what makes a storyteller good. It’s why Luke couldn’t know Vader was his father in the first “Star Wars” movie. It’s why Fredo had to be a little bit of a screwup in the first “Godfather.”

Every now and then, I’ll run through the entire catalog for an artist or band. And today, it’s Weezer, a band with which the world has (apparently) had a weird relationship. *PLEASE NOTE: This was written BEFORE hearing “The Black Album.” Which makes some of my statements questionable. 

It’s always the same with Weezer — “They haven’t been good since ‘Pinkerton.’” Since that album and their debut Blue Album have created a kind of gravity well around their entire body of work, I tried a kind of “Post-Gravity” run, going through every album EXCEPT for those two. It’s an effort to keep my mind clear on them, to see if anything truly is worth hearing, or to avoid entirely. Continue reading ‘Catalog Run: Weezer’

Spurred by my previous post, I’m currently listening to Oasis’ live album “Familiar To Millions.” It’s my fourth or fifth time trying to complete this listen as A) it’s pretty long, a double album, and B) the swearing limits my playing around my kid. I was encouraged to dive deeper into their catalog, as well as the albums of Blur (a band I’ve held in the weird non-opinion status). So I did. Here are some thoughts. Continue reading ‘The Deep Britpop Dive’