March Movie Madness: The Omega Man: Not Quite Bad Enough To Smash With A Hammer by Chris Duryea #MarchMovieMadness #Movies #OmegaMan @chduryea


The Omega Man: Not Quite Bad Enough To Smash With A Hammer.

A prominent film producer was once asked: “Why is that Hollywood manages to make so many bad movies?” The producer laughed and said: “You’re asking the wrong question. What you should be asking is, given the way Hollywood actually functions, why are any good movies made at all?”

It’s true: there’s a boatload of bad movies out there–arguably more bad than good. And this is actually kind of cool. So many “favorite movie” lists are numbingly lockstep from person to person. Variations on the same old parade of perennial classics that all of us have seen and most of us have tired of. But when you ask someone about their favorite bad movies… that is a totally different story. You get a kaleidoscope of titles as individual as fingerprints. Favorite bad movie lists are something of a cinematic inkblot test: you can tell a lot about a person by what they choose from the infinitude.

So in this guest post, I have been asked to write about my favorite filmic flop. Not necessarily the worst film I ever saw–that would be a tie between Armageddon, a film I loathe so intensely that I feel personal rancor towards the actors and artists who made it, and Fear No Evil, a film I actually bought used copies of so I could smash them with a hammer. (No hyperbole–I really did. But that will be the subject of another post.)

No–we’re talking guilty pleasures here. The movies we’re publicly embarrassed to admit that we love. The movies we keep coming back to, in shameful, sinful secret, despite, or perhaps even because of, their wonderfully agonizing shortcomings. And there is a long list of movies I embrace in just such shameful secretiveness. One of mine is Boris Sagal’s 1971 film, The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston.


The Omega Man is an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 vampire-apocalypse classic, I Am Legend. It’s the story of ROBERT NEVILLE, the lone survivor of a pandemic that has wiped out the entire world population and turned its victims into vampires. By night, Neville hides. But by day, he’s a postmodern Van Helsing, hunting the vampires while they sleep, alone in a world that has upended itself and made him the monster.

Many people may be more familiar with the Will Smith adaptation. They may not be aware that 2007’s I Am Legend was actually the third time Matheson’s novel has been made into a movie. The first was 1964’s The Last Man On Earth, starring Vincent Price. The Omega Man arrived seven years later, and attempted an allegorical, post-Summer-of-Love, pre-Watergate, messagey approach that’s relatively compelling–when it works. But when it doesn’t, it’s deliciously cringe-worthy.


It’s important to note that I was nine when I first saw this film. My knowledge of and experience with the genre of science fiction was limited to Star Trek (TOS), Lost in Space and the occasional episode of Gumby where he and Pokey go to those bizarre little clay planetoids. It was my introduction to the burgeoning wave of message-driven, social SF movies (Soylent Green, THX-1138, Silent Running, et. al) that particularly defined the genre in the early-to-mid 70’s. The Omega Man was also my first post-apocalypse story and probably laid the foundation for my later preference for a good end-of-the-world story. At nine, I did not know good or bad when I saw it. But my early exposure to movies like this helped me acquire a taste for the tension between 70’s cinematic cheese and the era’s attempts at edgy relevancy.


In this version, Heston’s Neville is the walking, vestigial, incarnation of THE MAN, in the socio-political, militaristic sense. He’s both soldier and scientist, killer and healer, last custodian of the white, western patriarchy. A military epidemiologist, complicit in creating the man-made bug that ends the world–and who stumbles upon the cure too late to save anyone but himself.


Set against him, rather than vampires, is THE FAMILY, mutated by the plague into light-averse, homicidal albinos with spooky white irises, a penchant for wire-rimmed sunglasses and cheap black cloaks, seemingly  raided from the back rooms of the Warner Brothers wardrobe department. Leading the Family is MATHIAS, TV journalist turned mutated cult leader, played with surprising restraint by Anthony Zerbe. Mathias is Neville’s nemesis and moral counterpoint–a low-rent Greek chorus, shunning the trappings of the “dead” civilization Neville has come to represent.


For years, Neville and the Family have their nightly standoffs. Neville holes up in his sandbagged and barbed-wired brownstone with his automatic weapons and his music and fine art, while the Family outside, catapults fireballs and hurls taunts meant to drive Neville into wild fits of cinematic flashback and wine glass throwing. At a critical moment, Neville encounters a small band of survivors, mostly children, protected by DUTCH, a leather-clad holdout from Easy Rider played by Paul Koslo, and the tough-talking Foxy Brown-ish LISA, played by Rosalind Cash. When they learn that Neville’s blood contains antibodies that can defeat the disease, the race is on to immunize the children and save the species. The arrival of the living additions comes as a relief, giving Neville–and us–a welcome break from his incessant monologuing.


The Omega Man is deeply problematic, on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start. Some of its flaws issue from it being very much a product of its time, both intentionally and unintentionally. Others fall squarely into the “You Really Should Have Known Better” column.


Let’s deal first with the elephant in the room named Charlton Heston. In 1971, he was in the middle of his allegorical SF overacting heyday (delivering such iconic rants as “You maniacs! You blew it up… Damn you all to hell!” from Planet of the Apes and, of course, “Soylent Green is people!!”). Back then, Heston was just a ham, with bad teeth and a wholly unjustified need to keep taking off his shirt. Now, with all the political associations therewith, it’s hard for me to even look at him. He is one of the reasons why sitting through The Omega Man is an act of will today. But hardly the only reason.


The movie does not age well. Laughably cheap production values was a fixture in films of the time, so it should come as no surprise that, by today’s standards, it looks low-budget and shoddy. That’s because it is low-budget and shoddy. The cheap sets and costumes imbue the realism of a high school play. The dubbing, especially of the incidental voices of the Family members are hilariously inept. A book-burning ceremony is accompanied by cries of “Burn them! Burn more books!” and the mutant crowd chasing Neville is clearly heard shouting “Get him! Don’t let him get away!”–just in case we hadn’t figured out yet what they were trying to do. And a burning mutant at one point runs down the sidewalk and yells, “Aaaah!” as if the voice actor in the sound studio was told to yell “Aaaah,” without being advised that he was supposed to sound like he was on freaking fire. Several of the action scenes involved a stuntman for Heston who did not resemble him in any way other than his being a human male, and the shots using him are so jarringly anomalous that we think at first that it’s a different character. And in 1971, the image of a motorcycle jumping over a barricade of trashed cars was probably still considered cool enough to show in slow motion, and likely influenced such further groundbreaking work as The Six Million Dollar Man.

But these cinematic sins are not necessarily fatal flaws. Many movies transcend such limitations by virtue of their content. Despite a valiant effort, this is not one of them. They count among the thousand tiny cuts that ultimately exsanguinate The Omega Man.


The scientific and logical plot holes are big enough to catapult a fireball through. But that should not be a problem. If you’re nine, that is. But for the rest of us, questions nag. For somebody so well-fortressed, Neville neglects, or doesn’t bother with a long list of Post-Apocalypse 101 dos and don’ts, from “DO get out of the big cities,” to “DON’T lose track of when the sun sets if you’re dealing with murderous, light-averse albinos.” And how about “DON’T drive in convertibles so your adversaries can dump gas and fire on you?” And if you insist on staying in the city, DO consider having more than one escape route from your fortress. Like, say… a gassed up helicopter on the roof? And oh yeah, if you’re trying to find the mutants’ “nest,” why then–after two years of meticulous block-by-block searching–does it not occur to you to check the LA Civic Center? You know–that big honking Art Deco building in the middle of the city you refuse to leave?


Then there’s the ham-handed religious subtext. In its attempts to be “messagey,” The Omega Man is riddled with clumsy Christian references as it tries to present Neville as redeemer/Christ-figure. If the survivor children flocking around him as if trying to touch the hem of his robe is too subtle, the movie manages to get Neville into crucifixion pose no less than three times! Four–if you count the transfusion scene, in which he is laid out with his arms stretched, giving the blood that will (literally) save humanity. When they finally make plans to leave the city, Dutch exuberantly proclaims that they will be entering a new Garden of Eden. And at one point, one of the little girls looks meaningfully at Neville and asks “Are you God?” The lack of even a drop of irony makes the moment at once hysterical and excruciatingly hard to watch.


If you’re not Quentin Tarantino, you might have a hard time with the whole 70’s hip urban black movie thing, as personified in this film by Rosalind Cash’s Lisa. She bursts onto the scene, right out the 70’s Black Power zeitgeist, as a tough-talking, gun-toting, afro-sporting Pam Grier wannabe and, at first, it’s cool. But this is in large part because we’ve been jonesing for another speaking character for nearly an hour. There’s actually a lot to like about about Lisa, and I’ll get back to this point. But she’s also the catalyst for several of the most wince-worthy moments in the whole movie, mostly surrounding the self-consciously edgy and transgressive romance between Lisa and Neville. (n.b. Heston and Cash perform one of Hollywood’s first interracial kisses in this movie.) After their rough-and-tumble get to know you phase, they hook up in one of the film’s softer moments, to candlelight and mellow jazz on the eight-track and the two of them joking about being the only girl and only boy in the world. And then the next day, as they are scavenging supplies in a dusty, ruined pharmacy, they break into embarrassing fits of laughter over a box of contraceptives. Heston’s bad teeth don’t make the moment a bit more palatable.

Bad Teeth

The question of racism in The Omega Man is troublesome–and complicated. I mean, how do you react to a film that takes its “monsters,” and paints their faces white–and while not all of them are black, there are enough to notice a pattern. Especially with the locked-and-loaded honky taking them out from his balcony, it’s kind of like White Man’s Burden with a Gatling gun. But then again, the film takes the existing power structure and upends it by making the mutants the new dominant order. It’s one of the ways the film remains consistent with the novel–playing with moral ambiguity and the inversion of paradigms. The Neville/Lisa relationship is meant as a clear and unambiguous counterpoint. Still, in one scene, Neville is presented with the possibility of bringing his “cure” to the mutated masses. He hesitates, bracing himself against a mounted machine gun, apparently unwilling to surrender his role as the Great White Hunter of the city, or unable to fathom a purpose beyond it. It’s enough for the young black man with him to pronounce judgment: “You’re hostile,” he says. “You just don’t belong.” This scene plays out on a rooftop, with the LA cityscape in the background, not so subtly reminding its 1971 audience that the Watts riots are still relatively recent history. We are clearly supposed to get some message about racism here, but it’s a misfire. Sometimes the attempts at moral ambiguity result in mere murkiness.


So, then–why do I like The Omega Man, let alone love it?  Well, some of the reasons I keep coming back to it go hand in hand with its glaring and frequently embarrassing flaws. Like so many guilty pleasures, what makes it bad plays a critical role in what makes it good. Especially back when I was nine. But even as an adult, every few years, I’ve been drawn back to Neville and Mathias, and their struggle of light versus darkness. Of course, I see its shortcomings much more clearly now, but I also see what makes enduring them worthwhile.


When the Will Smith I Am Legend came out in 2007, I was optimistic. I was hopeful that we would finally have a “faithful” adaptation of Matheson’s novel. And while it was more “accurate” in many ways (we actually got vampires this time), it was strangely toothless. The novel’s title underscores its thematic punch: the world has changed. Vampires have become the dominant species, and humans (in the personage of Neville) have become what the vampire once was: the monster that hunts us in our sleep, a fixture of our horror stories, our nightmares–our legends. The Will Smith version coopts this conceit in favor of a more hopeful message, and in doing so robs the story of its sting. It sent me back to the novel–and back to The Omega Man. There, by contrast, I rediscovered something more creatively aligned with the book than I remembered, and much more intuitively and thematically satisfying.


Moral ambiguity is one of the defining factors of 70’s cinema, and The Omega Man is no exception. It takes what was originally a Cold War era cautionary tale, expands on the theme of paradigmatic inversion, and gives us a story of light vs. dark, good vs. evil, black vs. white, the MAN vs. the proletariat, war vs. peace, in ways that force us to question which side personifies what. When Brother Mathias debates with the captured Neville, he points to his prisoner and says, “You are the refuse of the past.” Neville replies, “You’re full of crap.” It’s a line that got a laugh from the audience when it first played. But this scene is deceptively more than just the righteous bad guy lording it over the snarky good guy. First of all, isn’t the villain supposed to be snarky and the hero the righteous one? It’s a small reversal, but it’s part of a deeply layered pattern of ambiguities and tensions of opposites. When Mathias coolly and logically brands Neville the monster and extols the collapse of the “system” Neville represents, we understand him. We even sympathize with him. Sure, we reflexively root for Neville, as the familiar protagonist and traditional hero figure, but we cannot deny Mathias, even when he lowers his sunglasses to expose his freaky white irises. It’s as if his white eyes see more clearly than our own, and through Mathias, we recognize the necessity and inevitability of the change he seeks. The once irrational monster has assumed the mantle of vision and reason.


The exploitation/grindhouse/cheese factor is also written into the DNA of 70’s cinema, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of taste. For me, it’s a good thing, mostly because this era, and these qualities, helped inform my developing filmic sensibilities. Precisely what makes this factor so embarrassing makes it completely freaking awesome. The cheap production values, the hip, urban vibe, the slow motion motorcycle jumps and fake, burning stuntmen bring a low-tech purity to The Omega Man that’s as exhilarating as a revving, souped up muscle car.


With so many faults weighing against its strengths, The Omega Man could easily have fizzled completely–but it doesn’t. One more of its saving graces is a reasonably talented supporting cast, particularly Rosalind Cash and Anthony Zerbe.

Despite being presented as a watered-down Foxy Brown, Cash’s Lisa is a welcome addition to the mix. She’s tough, but she’s winsome enough to lend the film an emotional pulse, and a faint glimmer of hope. She almost makes the cheesy romantic scenes with Heston watchable. And because we do come to like Lisa, when things go sideways for her (and things always go sideways), it comes as a genuine, visceral shock.


And finally there’s Anthony Zerbe’s performance as the soft-spoken yet charismatic Brother Mathias. Mathias is far and away the most compelling character in The Omega Man, the plum part in this script. While the performance could easily have gone the unhinged and maniacal route, Zerbe brings a quiet, intellectual  zealotry to the character that’s both unexpected and unsettling. When he challenges Neville’s world view in a kangaroo court, he addresses his adversary with the patient determination of an attorney playing the good cop. And when he leads the Family in the chant of, “We will cleanse the world,” we fear him precisely for his calm, meditative demeanor. The world has definitely changed. This is Mathias’ world now–and he may or may not let us live in it.

So–is The Omega Man a bad movie? By many metrics, it is. Is it Fear No Evil, smash-with-a-hammer bad? Hell no. It’s frequently embarrassing and laughable–to anyone who isn’t nine. It’s still a movie I’m hesitant to admit not just that I like, but how much I like. It’s everything that’s wrong with 70’s cinema along with everything that’s right. It brings me back to my unsophisticated youth, but also pays unexpected dividends on repeated viewing. Surprisingly intelligent and thematically rich, even if that thematic richness, like fake blood, is splattered indiscriminately, occasionally sticky and cloying.

Chris Duryea is a writer, educator, and blogger living in the greater Boston area. Read his blog at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He is currently at work on his first novel, a dieselpunk-infused, second world fantasy.

March Movie Madness: Jaws 3-D by Kristi Peterson Schoonover #MarchMovieMadness #movies #sharks #3D @KPSchoonover

Jaws 3D 10

Eleven things to appreciate about Jaws 3-D

1983’s Jaws 3-D—one in a brief spate of super-hyped early ’80s 3D films—is considered the joke of the franchise, even though it was #1 at the box office[1] and got its own prop exhibit at SeaWorld Orlando (then called Sea World of Florida)[2], where it was filmed. There are still, however, some neat things that make 3-D eligible for at least a one-time watch.

Jaws 3D 8

At the time, underwater attractions were novel, dangerous things.

In 1964, the founders of SeaWorld San Diego (then called just Sea World) abandoned plans for an underwater restaurant because it “wasn’t feasible.”[3] In 1980, the Shark Encounter, an under-the-surface walk-through, was on Sea World of Florida’s maps; in October of 1983—four months after Jaws 3-D’s theatrical release–Epcot’s Living Seas, which featured the aquarium-facing Coral Reef Restaurant, broke ground.  While this new technology “wowed,” it also terrified: what happens if you’re in that tunnel and something fails? 3-D not only illustrates this scenario, it illustrates the solution. So while it’s clear that 3-D’s submerged multiplex was inspired by and publicized the real park’s exhibit, it heralded a new age: today, so many major aquariums have time-tested underwater attractions we take them for granted.

Jaws 3D 1

Kay Morgan is a strong heroine.

Today, strong female characters with complex choices are all over cinema. When this movie hit theatres, we were only a decade beyond the thick of the Women’s Lib movement. Kay Morgan (Bess Armstrong) is in the then-non-traditional, leadership position of Senior Biologist, facing the difficult decision of following her career or the man she loves. She’s also no slouch: she revives a baby Great White Shark in her arms, swills beer from a bottle and proverbially slaps Philip (Simon MacCorkindale) in the face when he gets fresh. If that’s not enough, she stands up to her profit-obsessed boss, her strong-willed over-protective boyfriend and the visiting monster hunter in one fell swoop by persuading them her clever idea wins. When Barbies were still hot? She was one with balls.

Jaws 3D 2

It showed aquarium behind-the-scenes and husbandry techniques/challenges.

From my life-long affair with fish films I’m guessing that Jaws 3-D is one of the earliest to show aquarium behind-the-scenes and husbandry techniques as well as some of its challenges; in fact, it was what inspired me to become an aquarium volunteer (I have a combined 1700 hours of experience at two facilities). There was also no fooling around in the making of: Bess Armstrong spent months in training, and the man playing one of her assistants—Dan—wasn’t an actor, but a Sea World trainer.[4]

Jaws 3D 9

Alan Parker’s score.

Parker had the unenviable job of following up Williams’ classic Jaws score, yet other than those famous notes that are possibly a reference to Dvorak, Williams didn’t quite pull off a leave-the-theatre-humming melody as well as Parker does. Parker’s sweeping, triumphant work with an instantly memorable motive is a perfect match for the grandeur that is a Florida theme park. A complete restoration is available here:

Jaws 3D 6

An on-the-cusp cast.

Cast members were about to do big ’80s things. Dennis Quaid before The Right Stuff and The Big Easy. Simon MacCorkindale before Manimal and Falcon Crest. Bess Armstrong before High Road to China. Lea Thompson before Back to the Future. Louis Gossett Jr. before Enemy Mine.

Jaws 3D 7

Memorable lines.

Once these get in your head, they’re not leaving: “He can take a flyin’ leap at a rollin’ doughnut on a gravel driveway, you hear?” This is probably a PG take on the famous phrase from a Vonnegut short story – “Why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut?”) “Champagne of the working classes” refers to beer. A hung over character is offered coffee. His response? “Just throw it my eyes, it’ll work faster.”

The body has some baggage.

Shelby’s body was considered, at the time, exceptionally graphic due to its realism[5]—this was the early 1980s, and make-up effects weren’t what they are today. The way it floats up past the windows in the Undersea Kingdom at the moment it’s discovered is a noticeable callback to a shot in 1978’s star-studded Gray Lady Down.

The romance has chops.

Unlike disaster films in which the romance develops, this one comes pre-established with all of its problems—and it’s realistic in that it goes from playful to stressed to evolved—all in under fifteen minutes of screen time. It’s also spread evenly throughout the film and happens in the throes of the action. That’s one tight three-beat that doesn’t slow down the pacing.

Jaws 3D 3

It’s a time capsule.

An orange rotary wall phone, a goldenrod refrigerator, a wallpapered kitchen. A vintage Dunkin’ Donuts box, the original Diet Coke cans, the Wheaties Jingle Contest. Waitresses dressed like Aerobics instructors, men smoking under stress, people riding around seatbelt-free.

The way it used to be.

Lots of people have nostalgia for the theme parks of their childhoods—and it’s no secret that, especially in the past twenty years, SeaWorld Orlando (like its neighbors) has been on crack in terms of remodeling, re-envisioning and expanding (see what’s changed with a film extra here: Because Jaws 3-D was filmed almost entirely at the park, it preserves the Sea World of 1982 and its extinct or even razed attractions. Thanks to 3-D, the Hawaiian Village, the Hatfields and McCoys Ski Show (, and the original Whale and Dolphin Stadium will live forever.

Jaws 3D 5

The 3-D is actually awesome.

That’s right!  Subsequent TV versions were horrendous; they didn’t have the technology to adapt 3D back then, and household sets were small (let me put it into perspective: LCD was just about to be invented,[6]  and the average screen in 1983 was between 13 and 19 inches[7]). If you enjoyed this post and are now inclined, butter some popcorn, pick up the re-master here, where the 3-D is listed as a special feature on a separate disc——and watch it on a 3D television. I guarantee it’s better than you remember—and overall, a lot more fun than you think.

Jaws 3D 4


1 Here I am with my brother, Chip, in front of the Shark Encounter at SeaWorld Orlando (then Sea World of Florida), 1987.

2 No-nonsense Senior Biologist Kay Morgan (Bess Armstrong) is a modern-day heroine. Here, she wears a chain-mail shark suit, which at the time was in use only by some of the most daring icthyologists and photographers like Eugenia Clark and Valerie Taylor; something like this certainly wouldn’t have been used for the hell of it in a normal aquarium setting. She’s depicted here on a Topps trading card.

3 The promotion for this movie was quite a machine. The Topps trading cards featured 3D artwork on the back. The artwork could be viewed with tiny little glasses (pictured here) that came in only some packages, meaning you had to keep buying package after package until you got lucky. We used to feel them up at the store while my aunt was buying her cigarettes. Yes…it eventually paid off. Yes, I have the entire set. You can get sets now on Ebay for like twelve bucks, so don’t be shy!

4 The underwater exhibit was cutting-edge technology at the time this movie was made—and this film made fantastic use of preying on people’s fears about what seemed claustrophobic and possibly even not entirely trustworthy.

5 The reveal of Shelby’s body was supposed to be so shocking due to its realism that it was covered by a sheet until the big reveal. TV specials and trailers either cut away or showed only a quick corner of part of it as it was considered too graphic.

6 Because Jaws 3-D was shot almost entirely on Sea World property, the Hatfields and McCoys Ski Show is just one of many extinct or razed attractions preserved forever.

7 Many of the cast members would go on to do big things. From left, Louis Gossett, Jr., P.H. Moriarty, Bess Armstrong, Dennis Quaid, Lea Thompson, John Putch, and Simon MacCorkindale.

8 An original poster hanging on my office wall.

9 I like to think that Jaws 3-D was one of the earliest films to show behind-the-scenes at an aquarium. 1955’s Revenge of the Creature, which was also in 3-D, was shot at Marineland of Florida, and although there were lots of scenes shot in the tanks, I don’t think there was too much in terms of behind the scenes and in the labs.

10 The main title sequence for TV and prior DVD releases. Notice it doesn’t say Jaws 3-D. It was changed for these subsequent releases because effective 3D couldn’t be shown in those formats at the time. The restored 3D version, which I own, contains the original title sequence.



[1] It was #1 its opening weekend, but only slipped as far as #7 for the rest of its run in a month that also featured Return of the Jedi, Krull, Octopussy, and Mr. Mom. “Jaws 3-D,” Box Office Mojo, accessed March 15, 2017,

[2]Sea World of Florida was not rebranded as the SeaWorld Orlando we know it as today until the late 1990s. See the exciting description of the Jaws 3-D exhibit in the park’s 1983 brochure here: “1983 Park Guide,” Theme Park Review, accessed March 1, 2017.

[3] Robert Niles, “Theme Park History: A short history of SeaWorld San Diego,” Theme Park Insider, July 5, 2013, accessed February 28, 2017,

[4] Payne, Matt. “The Making of Jaws 3-D: Sharks Don’t Die [Full]”. YouTube Video, 47:13. Posted June 20, 2015. Note: This is the prime time special that networks aired the week before the film opened. For the record…I watched it on my Grandmother’s TV.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Eric Thayer/Reuters, “The Evolution of the Television Set: Changing Sizes,” CBS News, accessed March 3, 2017,

[7] “Throwback Thursday – The Color Console Television – 1983,” Vintage Volts, August 22, 2013, accessed March 10, 2017,

March Movie Madness: WHAT ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH WENT WRONG? #MarchMovieMadness #movies #GreenLantern #RyanReynolds #RemyFlagg #News #comics


This post originally appeared here:


Relationship: We know my affinity for Marvel, but if DC has produced anything to rival my dedication to mutants, its Green Lantern. Contained in a tiny object, a man is given ring with the ability to create anything he can imagine, and only his willpower can sustain these creations. My knowledge of the mythos is scarce, but the many incarnations of this protector of the sector has captivated me.

Ryan Reynolds however, did not.

Review: I am glad I watched this movie again. The ratings decimated any hope of this becoming a franchise opener, but I may actually defend Ryan Reynolds. From Wolverine to Green Lantern, I thought Reynolds would be the actor to kill any superhero movie. His halfwit humor, bad puns, and annoying chipper half-smile seemed to spell certain doom for his career. If Ryan’s abs can’t save a movie, then really, what chance did he have? But Deadpool showed us, he isn’t a bad actor, but he can only act within the limitations given to him. Green Lantern must have set a lot of limitations.

“Ryry, you did a great job with that take, I lol’d. Let’s try it again and less lol and try it more laugh out inside.”

“Ryry, your abs are looking fabulous. This time, can you have more of a blank look on your face? Like you’re at a spelling bee and asked to spell quiche.”

“Ryry, did you just ask for motivation? Does your paycheck need more 0’s?”

“Ryry, put your shirt on. Your abs aren’t abby enough. We’ll fix that in post production.”

We spend the first part of the film trying to prove he has no fear. If we haven’t figured out from his flight abilities, every character makes references toward his bravado. They chide him for it. They worship him for it. It’s literally beaten into us. Then when he winds up on Oa with the other Lanterns, he does everything but throw a hissy fit. I think he threatens to quit? I fell asleep. The special effects were so outlandish I figure I’d wake up when something exploded later.

I wake up to some bad puns about his mask.

This movie suffers from the superhero pitfall of needing too many enemies and then splitting film time between them. When you have an entire planet full of amazing looking aliens, we spend more time with a crazed scientist with a severe receding hairline. I fell asleep again, but I think he got beaten. I mean, I assume he did? Did it really matter? And then there is Parallax, the bad guy only beatable by the most valiant Lantern. The baddie even manages to smoke a whole squad of the most elite Lanterns. Don’t worry, Ryry has no fear, so he’ll be safe and capable of stopping Galact….I mean Parallax. But no worries, the guy who just picked up the ring happens to be able to master these new abilities without even the slightest of montages! I can’t believe he’s this capable without a montage, has nobody ever seen a superhero movie?


So the script, yeah, a third grader with refrigerator magnets could have come up with a more convincing script. So let’s talk about the giant, green, rippling, elephant in the room. Never have I been so flabbergasted by the horrible use of CGI as I was in this movie. I would have been happier if they just slapped him in spandex and hung him from the end of the rope. But okay, they wanted to have no limitations so the CGI was used to show the powers of the ring. So, you can imagine anything, and this is what you come up with? A race car? A sword? A machine gun? And somehow you manage to beat the most dangerous evil in the universe? I started rooting for the villain. At least his scary cloud looked like it might be hard to breathe in? Perhaps it could win with lung cancer. But even with an amazing post-credit scene promising us the villain we really wanted, the franchise died. Dead. Like really dead.

So yeah. I went to bed after that. That was the most exciting part of the night!

Plot – D-
Script – D-
Comicness – C

Have you seen Green Latern? Was is as bad as Jeremy said? Tell us in the comments!

March Movie Madness: Victor Frankenstein by Catherine Lundoff #MarchMovieMadness #Frankenstein #movie @clundoff




I managed to miss Victor Frankenstein when it was in theaters for a nanosecond and managed to ignore its release on video, right up until I was on a 14 hour long plane flight to New Zealand. I was restless and couldn’t sleep so in went the earbuds and I thought, “Why not?” Why not, indeed. That in was May of 2016 and I have seen Victor Frankenstein three four more times since then. I own a copy. I compel friends to watch it because it is, as my friend Matt put it, it is “The most remarkable hymn to wretched excess I’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

Oh, and it is! Steampunk, homoerotic horror that breaks the fourth wall and embraces all of the more ludicrous possibilities to be found in that combination? Yep. Movie featuring the talents of James MacAvoy (as Victor), Daniel Radcliff (as Ygor!), a metric crap-ton of actors who play coded bisexual or gay characters on various BBC historical productions (the guy who plays Moriarty on Sherlock! The blonde dude who is an uppercrust villain in almost everything), all here. Lady Sybil Crawley from Downton Abbey, reborn here as a circus acrobat/courtesan (which there should be more of, just saying). Charles Dance stopping by the set for the sole purpose of smacking James MacAvoy around? Got you covered on that too. Weird, maggot-filled homunculus monkey and rat-face circus dude with a gun? Yeppers! All these delights and more await you.

Some plot highpoints:

  1. Ygor gets rescued from the horrible Victorian circus by James MacAvoy. Why is he horribly mistreated even though the circus performers trust the nameless hunchback (Frankenstein names him “Ygor” after his mysteriously missing flat mate) as their doctor? Because random evil. And an excuse for Frankenstein to find and rescue him. In slow motion, while the circus is performing. Also, Victorian steampunk dudes must communicate with many meaningful glances and with no sense of personal space.
  2. More on personal space. Ygot gets “dehunchbacked” in Victor’s palatial industrial loft, located atop a steampunky soap factory. The combination of the spiffy sets, the purty CGI and the dehunchbacking process itself are totally worth the price of admission. Victor mugs, Ygor suffers nobly and the audience can have a delightful time with the subtext on this one. I have said of this film that it “ships itself while you watch” and this would be one of those moments.
  3. Watch Inspector Roderick Turpin (actor Andrew Scott/Moriarty) have an inordinate amount of free time to develop a religious (or something) obsession with Victor and his activities! Because if there was one thing that the Victorian police force in late 1800s London had, it was a lack of crimes to investigate. So there was lots of time to worry about a cute, upper class dude collecting dead animal parts and making homunculi from them. Really. No wonder they couldn’t find the Ripper.
  4. The big climatic scene in which everyone goes to the castle in Scotland, somehow conquering cliffs and a drawbridge, only to display really poor judgment about early electricity, rain and monsters.
  5. Random things I love about this movie:
  • The way that Victor and Ygor can see anatomy illustrations of organs and skeletal structure when they look at people and animals.
  • The Lazarus Fork. Just watch it. You can thank me later.
  • MacAvoy’s demonic smile
  • The rotting homunculous monkey chase scene.
  • Turpin’s phantom eye patch that comes and goes.
  • Really, everything.


Victor Frankenstein is one of those films on that thin line between brilliant and ludicrous. It got terrible reviews when it opened and closed in a blink, but every person I have shown it to or persuaded to watch it has loved it. It is the perfect example of a film that needs to find its people. If you like Penny Dreadful, Dracula (the recent TV series) and/or Crimson Peak, this is definitely a film for you. It’s stylish and weirdly hilarious and just plain fun to watch, in ways that are similar to these shows and movies. It’s also silly and completely over the top and I can see why there were mixed responses to it. But my advice is to give it a shot and see if you’re one of its people. If nothing else, you’ll get a few good laughs.

About Catherine Lundoff:

11145001_10152550320863039_1591593274824853367_nCatherine is originally from Brooklyn, NYC, and currently lives in Minneapolis with her wife Jana, an amazingly talented book artist, and a couple of cats. When not writing, she works as a professional computer geek. In former lives, Catherine owned a feminist bookstore (Grassroots Books in Iowa City) and has lived in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico. She was once a professional archaeologist and before that, worked at a bar in St. Louis that that claimed to have the world’s largest collection of Elvis memorabilia outside Memphis. Catherine started writing professionally in 1996 while in law school. She sold the first story she ever wrote and quit law school a week or two later.

Catherine is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Broad Universe, GCLS and the Erotic Authors Association (EAA)—useful organizations to belong to at any stage of a writing career.

Catherine was also a member of the Arise! Bookstore Collective (now defunct). Arise! was one of a shrinking number of independent bookstores. As a former bookstore owner and frequent bookstore visitor, the survival of indies is near and dear to Catherine’s heart. She asks that you please support your remaining local independent bookstores; their survival is essential for new writers and nonmainstream voices to be heard.

To find out more about Catherine, please visit her blog, friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and MySpace, or email her directly.


March Movie Madness, Episode 1: Transformers #MarchMovieMadness #movie #moviereview #Transformers


We’re gathered here today to talk about our favorite bad movies; some call these sort of films “cheeseburger movies”. You know, those movies that the critics panned and all your friends laugh at, but you inexplicable love. I’m talking about films like The Mummy (or worse, The Scorpion King), Van Helsing, or that Batman with the rubber nipples. (Eew.)


“I bought a car. It turned out to be an alien robot. Who knew?”


For me, nothing encapsulates the concept of a cheeseburger movie more than Transformers. What, you haven’t seen the epic saga of robots in disguise? Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Transformers (2007) trailer

Why is this movie so cheesetastic? For starters, it’s based on a Hasbro toy line from the 80s, which in turn was based on a Japanese line. There is also the 80s cartoon, to consider, as well as an animated film of questionable quality. (The robots swore in the movie. I guess that made it grown up?)

But the live action film, which started the current franchise, is in a class by itself. It features the noble Autobots and villainous Decepticons-sentient robots who can transform themselves into everyday objects, like Camaros and boom boxes-searching for the semi-mythical AllSpark, which has somehow ended up on Earth. Because of course it did.  With the help of the US Armed forces and a couple teenagers, the Autobots recover the AllSpark and save the day.


And yet, in spite of the film’s flaws, I adore this movie. It’s full of gleaming fast cars, spectacular explosions, and truly awesome battle scenes. I’ve watched it at least one hundred times, mainly because HBO had it on heavy rotation one summer. Based on hos much I loved the movie, I’ll probably watch it one hundred more times.


There’s something about a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously (I mean, it’s about giant space robots!) that makes it appealing in no other way. The basic good vs. evil trope is visited, along with the plucky teen who holds the key to saving the world AND gets the girl. Movies like this are entertainment at its finest, where you can tune in, turn off your brain, and enjoy yourself for a few hours. The awesome CGI effects sure don’t hurt, either.

What are some of your favorite cheeseburger movies? Tell us in the comments!