Category Archives: Film

We Demand MacNeil!

A friend of mine recently accomplished one of those things which is worthy of being celebrated with champagne, so I went to the store this afternoon to get her a bottle.

I picked out a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, which is Anne's and my favorite, and walked up to the register to pay. On my way, I thought I saw Amanda Peet standing in the cereal aisle. I don't mention this to drop names, (which is pointless anyway since I'm not sure it was actually her,) but because it was so surreal to walk past, glance down the aisle like you do in the store, and a few steps later have my brain say, "Hey, Wil, I think that was Amanda Peet." By the time I'd registered what I thought I'd seen, there was no way I could go back without officially being a total creep, so I left this mystery woman in an eigenstate and continued walking to the register.

Checkout 5 had one person in it, but his cart was overflowing with more meat products than one person could reasonably eat over a weekend. Checkout 8 had three people, all of them with a few items in hand baskets. As usual, it only took a glance at the express aisle to confirm that it was not appropriately named. 

The speaker in the store blared: Lane 11 is now open accepting all orders. No waiting on lane 11. It was extremely loud in the nearly-empty mid-afternoon store, which was a little jarring, but I didn't complain, since it solved my line-choosing problem quite nicely. I turned to my left and headed toward lane 11 quickly, almost knocking over a display box of DVDs and blu-rays that I swear to Steve the Fruitbat hadn't been there ten seconds earlier. While I caught my balance with one be-champagned hand and stopped the display from toppling to the ground with the other, I saw that the blu-rays were on sale for $5. I also saw that one of them was MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS.

I reached out and grabbed it so fast, I nearly broke the sound barrier.

Champagne and blu-ray in hand, I got to lane 11 (which I was still calling 'Checkout 11' in my head) and put my two items on the belt. The cashier scanned them both while I pulled my wallet out of my pocket. While she put them into a bag, she said, dourly, "So … looks like you have quite an evening planned for yourself."

"You know it," I said, as enthusiastically as I could without jumping around or raising my voice.

She recoiled slightly. In a voice that was a combination of suspicion, caution, curiosity and fear, she said, "Well … you … have a …" she paused, like she was choosing her next word very carefully, "nice evening, Mister …" she looked at the receipt … "Wheaton."

I took the bag from her outstretched hand and flashed her a Tom Cruise Crazy smile. "Oh," I said, "that was never in doubt!"

I walked out the doors and into the unseaonsably warm January afternoon, incredibly amused with myself. As I walked across the parking lot, I wondered if Amanda Peet was buying the blu-ray of 30,000 Leagues Under The Sea, with a fine champagne, or if it was more of an Asti Spumante kind of film.

I think about these things, you know.

good evening (and good night)

"I want to have a date tonight. Do you want to have a date tonight?" Maybe I should have passed her a note that said "check yes or no" but after fifteen years together, I often think of these cute and clever things hours after the fact.

Anne looked up from her magazine. "I like having dates with my husband," she said.

"Yeah, I was talking to him online earlier today, and he said that he likes having dates with you."

She closed her magazine and tossed it onto the coffee table. "Where do you want to go?"

"Someplace we haven't gone before. That'll be an adventure."

Yeah, I've been suburbanized so long, going to a restaurant I haven't been to before now qualifies as an adventure. Twenty-two year-old Wil just put down his copy of Naked Lunch long enough to shake his head in either sadness, or disgust, depending on what angle you're looking at him from.

"Let's try that cafe on Raymond," she said.

So we did, and it was amazing, and we'll be going back frequently in the weeks and months to come. 

(Parenthetical highlight: during our meal, a woman in her late 40s, wearing a fur leopard-print bucket hat and a shiny patent leather overcoat sat down next to us. It was such a stunning display of wrongness that I involuntarily stopped talking in mid word, and just stared at Anne. She looked back at me and very calmly said, "I have … comments." I laughed so hard, it must have looked like I was having a seizure.)

After dinner, we went to BevMo to get a present for one of our friends. While we were there, I picked up a Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and a Rogue Chipotle Ale. 

"I thought we were just here to get [REDACTED BECAUSE OUR FRIEND READS MY BLOG]," Anne said.

"It's so weird when you talk in all caps like that," I said. She looked back at me, patiently.

"Well, we are … but if I don't buy these beers, the terrorists have won."

"What is this, 2003?"

"NEVER FORGET, ANNE."

She gave me a look that said Tired of Your Shenanigans, Next Exit.

I got the message and quietly took my place in line.

(Incidentally, our time in BevMo may not have transpired in precisely that manner, but as I found the creation/retelling of this experience entertaining, I hope you will indulge me this bit of creative memory.)

When we got home, the night was still young, so I suggested we watch a movie together.

"What did you have in mind?" Anne asked.

I turned on our Roku and went to my Netflix queue. "How about … Thank God It's Friday?"

"The Disney movie?"

"What?"

"… oh. That's Freaky Friday. Never mind."

We laughed together. "This is a disco movie that was made in 1978, and features Donna Summer and The Commodores, plus career performances from Debra Winger, Terri Nunn and Jeff Goldblum."

"You had me at 'disco movie,'" she said.

I was delighted to see that it was streaming in HD, thanks to my ISP temporarily forgetting to serve up about a quarter of the bandwidth I'm paying for, which is their custom.

The movie was just spectacular, and a ridiculous amount of fun. If you have 90 minutes and the means to view it, I highly recommend it.

About twenty minutes into the film, Anne paused it and looked at me. "You know what would make this movie even better?"

"Something I wouldn't want to recount on my blog?" I didn't actually say, but you must admit just made you giggle. 

"Scotchy scotch scotch."

"It goes down … down into my belly!"

I went to our liquor cabinet, and pulled out a bottle of Laphroaig. I poured two small glasses and gave her one of them.

"To cheesy 70s disco movies and dates together," I said.

Clink!

"I just love my husband," she said.

"I love you the most," I said.

Twenty-two year-old me turned up Chet Baker on the CD player, and sighed wistfully. He didn't have any idea that in less than a year, he would meet the girl of his dreams.

regarding dangly ankh earrings and the 18 year-olds who wore them in 1990

I shoot Big Bang Theory on Monday before I go back to Vancouver to finish out the fourth season of Eureka, so I have scored an entirely unexpected bonus weekend at home with my wife.

Yesterday, we heard that Toy Soldiers was playing on local station KDOC (which was one of the truly great UHF stations here for my entire childhood). Anne told me that she'd never seen it before, so we flipped to channel 56 and began to watch.

We picked it up somewhere toward the middle, in a scene where we're all sitting around in our underwear at night.

"Why are you in your underwear?" Anne asked.

"Because that's what dudes do," I said.

She frowned for a moment, thinking, and then said, "how long did it take you to choreograph the upcoming sword fight?"

"Not long at all," I said. "Turns out it was a class feature."

She gave me a blank look.

"D&D reference."

She nodded, patiently, and turned her attention back to the movie.

I don't remember the exact line, but in the theatrical version, I say something like, "We should get a fucking machine gun, Billy. Wid a machine gun, we could shred dees muddafuckas!"

FUN FACT: Dan Petrie, the director, asked me to do some kind of New York accent for the movie. I was only 18, and didn't think to actually study up on a specific one, so I just did what sounded right in my head, and asked Dan to ensure that I never sounded "like Corey Feldman in Lost Boys." Dan has always said that he thought it sounded fine, but I'm not so sure. I trust and respect him, though, so I'm willing to accept that I hear (and see) this movie through a lens of self-consciousness that exists only in my mind.

The version we were watching, though, was the TV edit, so I actually say something like, "We should get a [jarring edit] machine gun, Billy! Wid a machine gun, we could [jarring edit] these money finders!"

Because, you know, that's how rebel dudes in bording schools talk to each other.

"Hey, what's up, money finder?"

"Oh, you know, just flipping around."

"Did you see those girls from Delta house last night? They were flipping hot!"

"Yeah, I totally flipped that girl Gina. Flipped her [jarring edit] yeah!"

"You lucky bad man! Well, see you later, money finder. I'm going to go get some ponies and get flipped up."

I've often thought that the TV edits of movies are pretty silly. At the End of Stand By Me, Ace says, "You going to kill us all?" Gordie replies, "Just you, Ace [jarring edit] you cheap dimestore hood." OHHH BURN! You can see that Ace is so horrified by what a mother flipping bad man Gordie is, he has no choice but to back down.

Anyway, we had a really good time watching the rest of the movie, Anne just enjoying the 1990 time capsule, me watching 18 year-old me and his painful fashion choices though the spread fingers of a facepalm.

Speaking of facepalm, I paused the movie right after Joey died (SPOILER ALERT – he couldn't handle a flipping machine gun, and didn't shred a single monkeyflapper) so I could share this with the world:

Facepalmankh

Though I give myself a lot of shit for things like my accent, the dangly ankh earring, and the endless scenes of underwear-clad dudes who were totally not gay, I should point out, and make very clear, that I like Toy Soldiers a lot. Even though it's incredibly dated, I'm proud to be part of it. I had a great time working on it, made some good friends during production, and gained several levels in acting and being an adult while we were on location.

Anne and I had a surprisingly good time watching it, and it seemed like every scene prompted a memory that I hadn't thought of in years. I had so much fun recalling them, I'm considering making my own commentary track as an mp3 and selling it at Lulu for a few bucks. You know, in all my vast amounts of free time.

If you want to watch Toy Soldiers in all its non-TV-edited glory, you can stream it from Netflix, or you could always buy the DVD … though I think it really needs to be viewed on VHS for maximum authenticity.

Geek in Review: Star Trek Has Been Reborn, and it is SPECTACULAR

For this month's Geek in Review, it was only natural that I write a column about the new Star Trek movie. This was much easier said than done:

Since I saw Star Trek a little over a week ago, I’ve struggled to write an adequate review of the movie, and what it meant to me, as someone who was part of the first effort to make Star Trek relevant to the, uh, next generation of fans. I’ve started and abandoned a few thousand words, mostly because I can say everything I need to say in just six:

It was awesome. I loved it.

Seriously. Whenever I tried to write more than that, I felt like it was gilding the lilly, as they say. But I spent a lot of time thinking about the movie, talking about it with my friends, and I noticed that we kept talking about essentially the same thing. That's what I decided to write about:

Star Trek has meant too much to too many people for too long for those of us who love it to blindly accept that whoever makes it will treat it with the same love and respect that we believe it deserves. I think it was normal and natural for all of us to have reservations, especially about Star Trek.

It turns out, I think, that a lot of our fears, while well-founded, were unnecessary. JJ Abrams may not be one of us in the convention-going sense, but I think he has something in common with us, and I think it's a big reason why Star Trek made so many of us so very, very happy.

If you want to know what that is, head on over to the SG Newswire and find out. As always, the content of my column is SFW, but Suicide Girls is NSFW. You have been warned. Approach with the appropriate degree of caution, and enjoy.

PS – A comment at SG pointed me to this strip from PvP, which I think is a brilliant companion to this column.

PS2 – This press conference with JJ Abrams (mp3) is another, longer, companion to my column.

If all reboots were done this well, we geeks would never worry about reboots.

Between work and meetings, I’ll be AFK for most of today, but this is important enough to warrant its own quick entry until I can write something more in-depth later today: I went with Chris Hardwick and his girlfriend to see Star Trek last night.

Speaking both as a member of the Star Trek family, and as a fan of what we do, I can tell you that it is fucking incredible. As I said on Twitter: Star Trek has been reborn, and it is SPECTACULAR.

The story is such a perfect Star Trek story, the cast is pitch-perfect, the visuals are brilliant, and the sound design will blow your mind. I loved it so much, I wanted to watch it again RIGHT AWAY as soon as it ended, and I hope they do eleven movies with this cast and creative team. After seeing it, that satire from the Onion is even funnier than it already was.

Here’s a picture of me and Chris looking, um, excited after the movie. Well, Chris looks pleased, and I look … maybe excited isn’t the right word. Maybe “crazy as shit because OMG I just saw Star Trek and it blew me away” is more accurate. Anyway, it should tell you all you need to know (both about how much I liked it, and how much of a complete dork I am when I’m excited about things like Star Trek.)

Spoiler Alert: WATCHMEN is fucking awesome.

Note: I have kept spoilers out of this post. Please keep the comments spoiler-free as well.

I got to see a special advance screening of Watchmen yesterday, at a taping of MTV Spoilers. They showed us the whole movie, and then ran some clips from the new Harry Potter, the Land of the Lost, and the new Star Trek movie, followed by a Q&A with Zack Snyder.

I know a lot of people want to know about Watchmen, so I'll just cut to the chase right away: It's the best movie inspired by a graphic novel that I've ever seen. It could have gone wrong in a thousand different places, and it didn't. I've wanted to see this movie for twenty years, and it was entirely worth the wait. Hear me now, my fellow geeks: you have nothing to worry about. Watchmen is fucking awesome.

Now, the entire story…

I was supposed to be there by 2:45, but lost track of time while writing, and left my house over 30 minutes late. I'd allowed a traffic cushion in my original plan, and it was gone. Everything would have to go perfectly if I was going to get there on time. Driving up the street toward the freeway, my fuel light came on. Then I hit every single red light between me and the nearest gas station. By the time I was on the freeway, I was 45 minutes behind.

Rather than totally lose my shit and drive like a psycho, I just accepted that I'd get there when I got there and not a moment sooner. I listened to the first episode of the new D&D Podcast while I made my way out the 134 and over Laurel Canyon. I laughed the whole way, remembering how much fun we all had when we played up in Seattle. It ended about ten minutes before I got to the screening, so I just let my iPod shuffle to some music. Out of 9000 songs, it chose Depeche Mode's Behind The Wheel. It was a little eerie, because I can clearly recall driving in my Prelude with my friend Darin in 1989, talking about who would be in the Watchmen movie if they made one, while we listened to Music for the Masses. I'd been excited to see the movie, but until that happened, I hadn't fully appreciated the real significance of seeing it.

"I have waited twenty years to see this film," I thought, "and in about twenty minutes, it's finally going to happen."

As I pulled up to the parking garage, I got the nervous feeling in my stomach that's usually reserved for auditions or the first few days of a book launch. I know that it's just a movie, but it's something I've thought about and cared about for two thirds of my life. I guess it was so important to me, I hadn't let myself fully appreciate just how important it was until that moment.

A few minutes later I met my friend Chris (who was my date for the movie), and we made our way to the theater, stopping on the way to talk to the MTV people about my appearance on the show later, after they ran the Star Trek stuff. It was a weird disconnect for me; while I was talking to the MTV producers, I stopped being a geek who couldn't believe he was about to finally see Watchmen, and I was a professional actor, going over the technical specifics of how the show would be put together. My stomach butterflies and that mix of apprehension and excitement vanished for a few minutes, until we walked away, I became a geek again, and it returned with a vengeance.

The lights went down, the film began, and after just a few minutes, my apprehension was gone. I knew after the Comedian hit the street that this was going to be everything I'd hoped for. For the next two hours and forty-five minutes, I gasped, I cheered, I applauded, I was stunned and I was blown away. Most importantly, though, I was transported to the world I first visited, one issue at a time, when I was a teenager. When it was over, I wanted to go right back to the beginning and start over again, just like I did when I finished the graphic novel back in the 80s.

<Non-Spoiler Review Begins>

I'm not going to discuss specifics, because that would suck for a lot of people, but: PAY ATTENTION, MY FELLOW GEEKS: YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.

(Did I just all-cap and bold that? I guess I did. What is this, MacWrite in 1986? Whatever. I'm leaving it, because it's that important to me that my fellow geeks read it.)

Now, listen, I know that we live in a world where we've endured Ang Lee's The Hulk, Spiderman 3, both Fantastic Four movies, and Indiana Jones Gets Raped Repeatedly While We Are Forced To Watch In Horror, so I think it would be really strange if we weren't worried and apprehensive about something that already means so much to us, but I hope this will calm your nerves until the movie is released: Watchmen is faithful to the book. It respects the book. I swear by the beard of Zeus, it feels like the book. Yes, there are some cuts, but they serve the release and don't disrupt or betray the narrative at all. Yes, they made a change to something that's a pretty big deal in the book, but it doesn't matter; what they did instead accomplishes exactly the same thing, and it does it perfectly. There is some of the Zack Snyder signature slow motion, and though it's a little heavy in the very first scene (which worried me) it isn't overdone throughout the movie at all, and I found it to be pretty cool and entertaining.

Ultra-purists who are just determined to pick it apart will be able to find some things to be upset about, but I don't know why they're even bothering to see it, to be honest. Speaking only for myself, as someone who has read the book over and over again, there were maybe … three … things that made me go "eh," but I had to work really hard to get even that perturbed, because ultimately none of them mattered. In fact, when the movie was over, and I thought about the stuff they cut or moved around, I just couldn't get upset about it, because nothing happened that fucked with the story or the characters, at all. Zack Snyder's Watchmen is as close to a perfect film adaptation of Alan Moore's Watchmen as we were ever going to see, and when his super-ultimate-here's-everything cut comes out in the fall, I think it will be perfect. But what I saw yesterday is truly remarkable: a big studio movie adaptation of one of the most — if not the most — important graphic novels of my lifetime that not only didn't fuck it up, but brought it to life brilliantly.

I can't think of a better, more faithful, graphic novel adaptation, ever. Nothing else even comes close.

<Non-Spoiler Review Ends>

When the movie was over, we got down to the business of making the TV show. This can be really tedious, and people who go watch a taping of a show hardly ever go back again, because it just isn't that fun. It could have been a disaster, with a theater that was mostly geeks, but MTV did a fairly good job moving things along, even though the producer who was sort of managing all of us geeks between shots was clearly out of his element, Donny.

Case in point: there were two dudes in the front of the theater dressed up as the Comedian and Rorschach. The producer had them stand up, and the geeks in the audience went nuts, because how cool was that, right?

The producer said something about how the Rorschach guy's costume was so great, they couldn't even tell if it was a fan or … he stammered for a second … or … "you know, the guy who, um, plays Rorschach. The actor. I don't know his name."

The geeks just savaged the guy with boos. It was mostly good natured, but when the producer said, "Hey, hey, hey! I don't get to watch these movies, because I'm really busy making TV shows. You know, like My Sweet Sixteen," they totally turned on him with a taunting so vicious, I expected someone to put a cow into a catapult. It was hilarious. I mean, talk about not knowing who your audience is!

He would repeatedly try to get the audience back on his side for the rest of the evening, but it was like DC 25, and he got -5 for each failed attempt. I think he was up to DC 70 by the time we all left, but it was all in good fun.

They brought many of the cast members up, two at a time, and asked them some questions about the movie. They didn't spend nearly enough time with them, and I thought the questions could have been a hell of a lot better, because the ones they asked were mostly silly things about sex scenes and Doctor Manhattan's Junk (which is a good name for a band), but I guess that's what the audience at home cares about, and they have to keep them happy.

I forget the order in which the following events happened, but this is how I remember them.

After the first two groups of actors did their Q&As, they showed a clip from Land of the Lost. All I can say is: for fuck's sake. Are you serious with this bullshit? If the trailer during the Superbowl was punching my beloved childhood memories in the face, this clip they showed us was pissing on its corpse. I'm not entirely sure, but I think the whole thing is a New Coke way to trick people into thinking the television remake they did in the 90s sucked less than it did.

They showed us something from the new Harry Potter movie, which I can't comment on because I don't know enough about Harry Potter, but it made the Harry Potter fans in the audience really happy. After that, they brought up a couple more actors from the movie (Billy Crudup was hilarious and, yes, ladies, he is that good looking in real life) and then a couple more who talked about the sense of responsibility they felt while making the movie (it showed on screen, guys, you were all fantastic).

After all that, they showed the Star Trek thing. It was mostly stuff we've already seen, but the geeks (including me) were excited about it. Their host asked me some questions about the movie, and I thought I got in one comment about myself that was stupid, one about the movie that was insightful, and another that was humorous. You can watch MTV Spoilers on Saturday if you want to see what I said. BUT BE WARNED: THERE WILL BE MASSIVE WATCHMEN SPOILERS IN THIS SHOW.

After I finished my bit, I got to sit back down and enjoy the rest of the taping, which included the promise of something from the new Transformers movie that they didn't actually show (I guess it was a rights thing, and they can't show it until Saturday night) and then the only thing that could have made the evening even more awesome than it already was: a Q&A with Watchmen's director Zack Snyder.

They told us that he'd probably talk for about 30 minutes or so, but he ended up staying for close to 45. I was just blown away by his candor and his enthusiasm not only for Watchmen, but for comics and filmmaking in general. I know that he's been talking about this stuff and answering these exact questions for months, but if he was feeling any fatigue over it, he didn't let it show. He could have sat there and spoken in the language of Hollywood douchebags, but he spoke in the purest form of Geek that I've ever witnessed from a filmmaker. He didn't talk at us, he talked with us, and it was great.

I can't possibly remember everything he said, but there were a couple things that totally stood out, that I think geeks would want to know:

He said that when he was in film school, he wanted to make movies out of everything, whether it was a pair of shoes, or a cup of coffee. When he read comics back then, he thought that it would be great to make some of them into movies. He singled out Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, but when he got to Watchmen, he said there was no way he would even attempt it.

Then the studio came to him after 300 and asked him to make the movie. He didn't want to do it at first, partially because he was so afraid he'd screw it up, but also because the script was just horrible. It was set in the current day, it was about Doctor Manhattan going to Iraq, something about "The War on Terror" and was a PG-13 monstrosity that would be left open to a sequel. It was, in other words, exactly the kind of thing we're so afraid the studios will do to things we love when they adapt them for film.

He said that the more he thought about it, though, the more he felt a responsibility to make it. He said something like, "If I made it, I had a chance to not screw it up. If I did screw it up, at least it was me who screwed it up. But if I let them take the script they showed me to someone else to screw up, it would have been my fault. So I had to make it."

He also talked about how the studio kept trying to turn it into what he called a "PG-13 Superhero movie" and how he just refused to let that happen. He said that it was going to be rated R, there wouldn't be this ending that they wanted which would make you go for fuck's sake. are you serious with that bullshit? It would be set in 1985, and it would be faithful to the book.

I've read interviews with him, and I've heard from some second-hand sources that he cared deeply about the material, but until I saw him speak last night, I didn't fully appreciate just how passionate he was. While I listened to him speak, it hit me: Zack Snyder cares about Watchmen as much as we do, and it shows.

Before I realized it, I was on my feet, getting in line, not to ask a question, but to make a comment.

When I approached the mic, I felt my hands get cold and I couldn't feel my feet. This is typically what happens to me when I'm really nervous.

I cleared my throat and said, "Hi, my name is Wil, and I'm from Pasadena."

He said, "Hey, I'm from Pasadena, too!"

"AWESOME!" I said, and felt stupid.

I steadied myself, as the entire theater faded away and all I could hear was the sound of my own voice, coming out of someone else, very far away. "I just wanted to tell you that I've wanted to see this movie for twenty years."

I took a breath, and was horrified to feel some very real emotion rising up in my chest.

"Oh fuck. Just say it and run away!"

"I just wanted to say thank you for making it worth the wait."

He said something, but I don't know what it was. I was too busy running away.

As I left the theater, and feeling returned to my hands and feet, I thought, "Shit. I forgot to tell him, "If they ask you to make Sandman, please say yes.'"

I doubt he'll ever read this, but just in case he does … Zack Snyder, this is Wil from Pasadena. If they ever ask you to make Sandman, please say yes.

i’m not going to lie to you: there’s a lot of awesome packed into this post

Hi there, I’m Wil, and I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Why is that? Well, allow me to present the following items to support this outrageous claim:

Quite some time ago, I engaged in correspondence with one of the guys who makes woot go. One thing lead to another, and I ended up designing a T-shirt for shirt.woot.com.

According to the woot newsletter, it’ll be available tomorrow (THURSDAY):

Ever Bought A T-Shirt Designed By Somebody On Star Trek? You Wil. Speaking of Shirt.Woot, noted actor, author, gambler, blogger, and android Wil Wheaton adds ”t-shirt designer” to his CV this Thursday, and it’s all going down at Shirt.Woot <http://shirt.woot.com> . This is like a true-cross thing for hardcore geeks (like us), except that Wil himself will never have laid eyes on your actual shirt, much less hands. But still. As for the design, we don’t want to give too much away, so we’ll just thank Wil for rolling the DICE with us to release this to-DIE-for tee.

Speaking of DICE, The first episode of the Penny Arcade/PvP/WWdN/D&D4E Podcast (MP3 link) has been released! Even if you subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, you owe it to yourself to go check out the D&D Podcast page, because Mike and Scott did incredibly awesome art to go with each episode.

Returning to Woot for a moment: there’s a woot-off happening right now, and you can follow wootoff on Twitter to get almost as many updates in an hour as I occasionally send.

Speaking of Twitter, as of right now, there are 105,547 accounts following me. Um. What? How the hell did that happen? I thought I was freaked out when it was at 51,000, but I didn’t know what freaked out truly was until I tried to compose a tweet, and ended up staring at it for five minutes before I sent it because the thought of sending it to that many accounts paralyzed me.

What was that tweet, you ask? Allow me to show you: When I got this invite today, I thought it was too good to be true, but it’s real: I get to see WATCHMEN *tomorrow* for this MTV thing!

Yeah, for at least four hours today, it won’t be so bad that MTV doesn’t play music videos like they did when I was a kid. They do a movie show called SPOILERS, and one of their producers invited me to come see the move. Because just seeing the movie wasn’t cool enough, the entire cast will be there. Because that wasn’t cool enough, Zack Snyder will be there, doing a Q&A after the movie. Because that wasn’t cool enough, they’re also going to show some preview clips of the new Star Trek movie. Because that isn’t cool enough, they want me to go on TV and talk about all this stuff as some kind of expert.

Don’t tell them I’m just a geek, okay? Or at least wait until after we’re done. I don’t want to mess this up.

The show will air on Saturday, but I think they’re putting some live updates on their website somewhere today. I’ll try to take my phone with me so I can Twitter about what’s going on, (without spoilers, of course) but I suspect this will be one of those “don’t bring your shitty little cell phone into the theater because the studio thinks you’re going to pirate the movie with your tiny 3MP camera that can’t even focus on the screen” kind of things.

I’ve gotten to do some really awesome things lately, and for the last week or so, I feel like I’m dreaming — in fact, last night, I dreamt that I was at PAX, and woke up all excited to go there — and I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up, and find out that none of this incredibly cool stuff has actually happened, so I’m working extra hard to appreciate every moment and not take a single thing for granted.

my other mother loves me

Yesterday, Anne convinced me to take a break from work so we could go see a matinee of Coraline, which was playing in 3D at a local theater. I love the book, and I love Nightmare Before Christmas, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

But 3D? I wasn’t so sure. I’m not a huge fan of 3D. It always feels gimmicky and intrusive, and I’m always wondering when Doctor Tongue is going to thrust a cat toward the audience.

However, my love of the source material, an excuse to play hooky with my wife, and how excited I’ve been to see the movie since I first heard they were making it was enough to get me into the theater without any real argument.

I am so glad that I went, because I loved the movie. I heard that Henry Selick wanted to use the 3D technology to give the movie depth, rather than shove things into the audience’s faces, and I thought he did exactly that. I told my friends that they don’t have to see it in 3D, but they kind of have to see it in 3D.

Speaking as a fan of the book, I was mostly happy with the adaptation. They added an entirely new character, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but he didn’t feel like Scrappy Doo to me, and if I wasn’t already a fan of the book, he wouldn’t have felt out of place to me, at all. Everything I wanted to see was there, and they managed to create the world that I’d created in my head when I read it with eerie perfection.

Speaking as a fan of movies and stop-motion animation, I was delighted. All the actors are fantastic, and the set design and animation was breathtaking. You don’t need to see it in 3D, but I thought they used the 3D experience perfectly, and if you have a choice, I’d take the 3D option (which is something I never thought I’d say.)

Coraline gets 4.5 out of 5 Beldams, on the Wheaton Scale of Randomly Rating Movies In A Way Which Is Amusing To Wil.

Seriously, people, go see it. I think you’ll love it.

the one about that time i worked in a movie with ron jeremy. yes, that ron jeremy.

I can't recall exactly how it came up, but I recently mentioned that I'd once worked in a movie with Ron Jeremy. This revelation was met with some interest and a look that sort of goes like this: O_o so I thought it would make an entertaining (to me, at least) post.

The movie was called Mr. Stitch. It was a weird science fiction retelling of the Prometheus myth. I play the title character, a creature who was sewn together from the parts of 44 men and 44 women. It was written and directed by Roger Avary.

Roger did Mr. Stitch right after the massive success of his film Killing Zoe, and on the heels of his Academy Award for Pulp Fiction. Everyone in the world wanted to work with him then, and he assembled a mostly incredible cast[1]. He got Ron Perlman and Nia Peeples for major roles, Taylor Negron for a small but important role, and a guy you may have heard of called Ron Jeremy for a cameo.

While Ron is very well known for his … other work … he had also worked on a few indie movies at the time, including Killing Zoe, where he played the bank manager, who was shot in the face before he could deliver a single line. Roger liked him, so he hired Ron for a scene in Mr. Stitch that I don't think made the final cut, as a military medic in a flashback.

Ron came— you know, I'm going to go ahead and rephrase that. Ron arrived in Nice about a week before his scenes were to be shot, and he hung around on the set the whole time. He was incredibly funny, very friendly, constantly falling asleep, and when asked about pretty much any porn starlet from the time would reply, "Oh yes, I've had sex with her many times." I don't know if that was actually true or not, but it always made me laugh when he said it.

Ron told me that I could visit the set of one of his … other films … when we got back to Los Angeles, and though a certain part of me thought that would be hurr hurr hurr awesome, a more rational part of me thought it would just be weird and uncomfortable, so I never availed myself of the opportunity.

I grew so much as an artist and person during the end of 1994 when I lived in Nice and worked on that film, even though many aspects of the production were miserable, it remains one of the most fondly-remembered times in my life.

[1] I say "mostly" because the other lead actor, Rutger Hauer, was an absolute nightmare to work with and almost single-handedly ruined the film.