Taking Stock Archive

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Me and John Stewart.

I’m seven years old. The year is 2001. The date is, well, you know what it is. I come home. At the time me and my parents were living in […]

I’m seven years old. The year is 2001. The date is, well, you know what it is.

I come home. At the time me and my parents were living in a dingy mid-town apartment in Barranquilla, Colombia. I just came back from school. I literally don’t remember anything else about that day. Other than my parents and my grandmother, huddled in front of the TV. They were watching two planes crash into two gigantic towers of steel. I thought this was a movie. I ignored it. I went to bed early, tired and didn’t ask any questions. The next day, I hear all about it and I feel mildly dumb for assuming it was a movie.

What you need to understand is that these events were incredibly unreal to me. Not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine the US being subject to such a destructive terrorist attack. To us, the US was the haven. The endgoal. The dream. You know that story. You’ve heard it thousands of times. We heard it millions.

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Saving Sleepy Hollow: The Things That Keep It From Regaining Its Former Glory.

I love Sleepy Hollow. I love the time-displaced Ichabod, I love Abbie and her loose-canon sister Jenny, and I love the imaginative monsters it’s given us week after week. I […]

I love Sleepy Hollow. I love the time-displaced Ichabod, I love Abbie and her loose-canon sister Jenny, and I love the imaginative monsters it’s given us week after week. I love it even now, after a series of grave mis-steps, including new characters that haven’t worked out as well as had been desired, pacing issues, and just a general loss of focus moved the show from something I was frequently excited to see to something a lot more lukewarm. The mid-season finale -a thing that TV is apparently doing now- featured a pretty big shift for the show, so I had hoped for a more positive shift. However, the addition of an archangel as a villain seems to imply that rather than restructuring what worked and made the show unique the show is moving in a more generic, safe direction.

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Why Blockbusters Franchises Won’t Destroy Cinema

I just returned from seeing the Hobbit. I had enough fun, having seen the things that I expected to see with the creativity that Peter Jackson brings, but felt that […]

I just returned from seeing the Hobbit. I had enough fun, having seen the things that I expected to see with the creativity that Peter Jackson brings, but felt that the intent of a children’s book was lost in favor of conforming to the current model of high-octane action franchises. This was something the original Lord of The Rings trilogy managed to pull off without losing the appeal and charm of the initial book. With the Hobbit, a lighthearted children’s book, things became a bit more of a problem. There are plenty of angry reviews of the Hobbit though, so I find it immensely more interesting to talk about its place in the current landscape of films.

As 2014 has passed, you’ve no doubt seen a number of articles, discussing the very subject, many lamenting the overpowering presence of the franchise, bemoaning the presence of Young Adult novel and comic book adaptations. Oftentimes the word ‘teenager’ will be used in a derogatory context, as though teenagers are some subhuman mass dedicated to ruining meaningful film rather than a subset of the human population that are no less deserving of fiction that speaks to them. The general idea is simple, that the dominance of big franchised blockbusters is polluting the market and preventing more meaningful, artistic films. There was even a pretty good movie that lived under that pretense this year.

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Greetings from your New Editor In Chief

I was against writing this post from the start. Nerdstock doesn’t exactly get many eyeballs so the idea of change is not exactly a dangerous one, by any means. And by that very same token, there’s not an actual need for transparency. But more than that, I didn’t want to seem presumptuous for taking charge of the situation, since it was bestowed upon me upon circumstances that I feel don’t prove that I deserve the title. But I suppose that’s that writer self-perception working out against you.

So, I guess an explanation is in order. As of a month ago, Chris decided to make me an admin and to let me take over as Editor In Chief of Nerdstock.com. His reasoning being that I was writing the bigger load for the website and that I was providing quality content for the site.  I was very tempted to say no but I realized, as much as Chris did, that he wasn’t in a position where he could take Nerdstock to the heights we both wanted to take it to.

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The Last Colbert Report Says Good Bye To Stephen Colbert And One Of The Most Unique Voices In Comedy.

This Thursday night saw the ending of The Colbert Report. Having gone for nine years and over fourteen hundred episodes, Stephen Colbert has left Comedy Central to take over for […]

This Thursday night saw the ending of The Colbert Report. Having gone for nine years and over fourteen hundred episodes, Stephen Colbert has left Comedy Central to take over for David Letterman, which made me wonder if the people behind the ‘Cancel Colbert’ movement had made a wish upon a monkey paw since it required him to retire the character with the same name. While I wish Stephen Colbert well on his new endeavor and will watch his show the night it airs, I feel something of a sorrow to see the character of Stephen Colbert go. There was a unique magic to Colbert, a dedicated parody that ended up growing into a mad, beautiful character with a life of his own.

Stephen Colbert started out as a clear-cut parody of Bill O’Reilly. His first episode featured ‘truthiness’ which was a word mocking the gut-based emotional responses that typified O’Reilly. One of my favorite moments of the show came when Colbert managed to get O’Reilly to come on his show’ ‘Don’t you see!’ O’Reilly cried. ‘This is all an act.’ This prompted a dumbfounded Colbert to reply ‘If you’re an act, then what am I?” Of course Colbert couldn’t have lasted nearly a decade without evolving. Colbert grasped the ideas of a comical blowhard and grew him out into an auteur egotist, having had his own superpac, talking about a series of novels where his self-insert was the most heroic womanizer in space, holding a years-long grudge with K-pop artist Rain that culminated in a dance-off, and much more.

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On Die Hard, The Best Christmas Movie of All Time

The idea of Die Hard being a Christmas film is not new by any means. After all, it is a subversive joke often told when the inevitable question about “the […]

The idea of Die Hard being a Christmas film is not new by any means. After all, it is a subversive joke often told when the inevitable question about “the best Christmas film” comes up. Usually and to many, the joke means that Die Hard is only peripherally a Christmas film when in reality it’s a purely thrilling action affair with very few concerns outside of being Rambo in a building. Which is a very understandable position since Die Hard’s underlying ideas and humanism are easy to ignore or treat as simple comedic fodder.

But I would posit that Die Hard’s approach to almost all of the characters we see in the screen is completely humanizing. Almost every bit player gets to have a personality and the audience’s understanding if not necessarily their sympathy. Very few action movies dedicate to characterization like this. And I would argue that this angle is what turns Die Hard into one of the most compelling Christmas dramas out there.

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The Amazing Spider-Man: On The Webb Trilogy and Its Failures.

The Raimi Spider-Man films are genuinely some of my favorite films of the 21st century. Wonderfully executed, terminally idiosyncratic and endlessly endearing, those three movies (yes, I’m counting Spider-Man 3 […]

The Raimi Spider-Man films are genuinely some of my favorite films of the 21st century. Wonderfully executed, terminally idiosyncratic and endlessly endearing, those three movies (yes, I’m counting Spider-Man 3 here. I’ll get to that) manage to convey so much love for the idea of Peter Parker and his adventures, it’s easy to want to be Peter Parker; even if Tobey Maguire’s performance is often questionable.  But this is Raimi’s show through and through, and while it’s obviously a showcase of talents for many people (will James Franco ever be this charismatic again?) in the end, it’s about a very particular vision, filled with love and pride for that nerdy kid from Queens who was bitten by a radioactive spider, was confronted with tragedy and then decided that that tragedy should not define anyone in the same way it defined him.

On the other hand, The Amazing Spider-Man films by Marc Webb are…well, they’re competently shot and wonderfully acted (Emma Stone in particular stands out) but the scripts are the ultimate example of what happens when you go by Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat formula without any heart or thought. Every scene feels like it happens here because that’s what the beat sheet said rather than because it evolved naturally from the events we saw before. See Gwen and Peter at the Oxford admission office or Harry telling Peter about his disease in the second film or the first film’s forays into back story for the parents.

However, I want to clarify some things before I continue. My issues with the Webb trilogy (Yeah, I know, please bear with me) aren’t related to me being conservative about comics adaptations. In fact, unlike many other fans, I’m quite fine with The Amazing Spider-Man ditching the “with great power” quote. Heck, I don’t mind that Norman Osborn was never the Green Goblin. My issues are related to three things: the Webb Trilogy constantly feels like the epitome of what committee writing looks like, it does not commit to the idea of being a creative reboot and, perhaps more importantly, the films are pretty ethically questionable (if I were to be charitable)

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