My Life in Film (Movie meme over my 42 years)

My life in film. The idea is to pick out a movie of personal note for each year of your life from the year they were released. You don't need to have seen it in that particular year. 

1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: I was born the year one of the greatest family musical comedies was constructed. "Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted."

1972 Monty Python's Flying Circus: When I was one years old the English discovered that you didn't need a punchline.

1973 The Exorcist: There have been very few completely awesome demon possession movies since. It was already kinda nailed. The only time I saw vomit used so well in a movie was 'Stand by me', and Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life'.

1974 Young Frankenstein: Goddam, Gene Wilder was awesome.

1975 Jaws: Some movie about a shark whose name 'Jaws' never gets mentioned.

1976 Bugsy Malone: Jody Foster's name was Talula and she lived til she died. Wasn't Chachi in this movie?

1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind: As a kid I was so confused by this movie title. Was this the third in a trilogy? Where were the other two?

1978 Superman: What can I say. I just remember going to Hungry Jacks (Burger King) afterwards and staring into my Coke in awe of what just happened.

1979 Breaking Away: I honestly spent that year of school trying to speak Italian. Drove family and friends absolutely bonkers. Belissimo!

1980 Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back: Imagine nine year olds arguing about the soap opera aspects of Darth being Luke's dad etc... long conversations from memory.

1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark: I wouldn't let my little brother see this because of the 'graphic' scenes. I was a douchey big brother.

1982 E.T. The book had m&ms while the movie used Reece's Pieces. That's one of my strongest memories.

1983 Star Wars Return of the Jedi: Man, I loved the original Ewok celebration song at the end. Nub nub nibbidy boo, or something close to that.

1984 Ghostbusters -Nightmare on Elm Street, Beverly Hills Cop, The karate kid. This was a big year for movies, but for absolute brilliance, who ya gonna call? No, honestly? Who?

1985 The Breakfast Club: I just always thought they would have made a good Superhero Team up, Teen Titans, or Power Ranger style. Power of a princess. Power of a Geek... Jock... Emo kid... and etc.

1986 Aliens: The ultimate false ending. Two climaxes!

1987 The Princess Bride: There are people who haven't seen this movie. Worse yet, there are people who have seen it but didn't love it. Go away.

1988 Roger Rabbit: Wow. Nowadays you could make this sort of movie in the tenth of the time with our new fangled CG, but they'd never come close to this level of amazement.

1989 Batman: I almost cried from disappointment that there weren't enough Batman money shots. I learned to love it after I got some more perspective. More of my thoughts on Burton's Batman here.

1990 Ghost: I liked it.

1991 Terminator 2: Shiny melty man. Yeah, I'm getting bored now. Read on.

1992 Unforgiven: When I went to see this movie with some of my douche Christian friends, some of them did a 'walk out'. I was uncomfortable too. God I love this movie.

1993 Groundhog Day: If I was stuck in a time-loop repeating day I would... umm... you know what? Groundhog Day covered EVERYTHING

1994 The Lion King: Elton John was a big deal to me back then. We saw it a few times in the cinema, and it was animated! A new era was dawning.

1996 Braveheart: Soundtrack, battle scenes, script. GUSH

1997 Independence Day: Fun

1998 Titanic: I saw this in the cinema four times, as did everyone else I knew. I was a very gay man, I'm now thinking.

1999 The Prince of Egypt: Yeah, I was still a Christian at that point. This was 'way' cool for my types.

2000 Gladiator: See notes for Braveheart

2001 A.I. - Don't hate on me. I fell in love with this film and I completely loved and teared up at the ending.

2002 Spider-man: Cool. I just kept on rewinding that last city swing scene.

2003 Finding Nemo: Freaking awesome eye candy, and Ellen was perfect as Dora the fishy explorer.

2004 Before Sunset: The most fulfilling and beautiful romantic film of all time. It's one long chat, but we love it and its sequel to bits. Ethan Hawke gets a free ticket for life from me, for this.

2005 Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith: Nooooooooo!

2006 Borat: So funny. So freaking funny. As was Bruno.

2007 The Brave One: I like vigilantes and Jodie Foster, from Bugsy Malone to this.

2008 The dark knight: OMG OMG OMG (See Dark Knight blog post)

2009 Avatar: 3D done damn right. Remember 12 months earlier we were promised this would be 'F*cking' our eyeballs. It did.

2010 127 hrs: Yeah, go humans! We can do it! Inspiring stuff. Oh yeah, and I love it when Jo nestles her head in my arms and can't watch gory bits.

2011 X-Men: First Class - Because it truly was 'first class'.

2012 The Avengers: It's the golden age of Superhero movies and I'm feeling spoilt. Sorry Batman... Marvel wins this round.

2013 Man of Steel: Yep.

My Cinematic Alphabet - 'S' stands for Superman: The Movie

Superman: The Movie. There was no mistaking this for a comic, or a toothbrush. This was a movie and the movie title said so. Thanks for the head's up, marketers. It reminds me of the first Star Trek movie, The Motion Picture; and the recent Simpsons' Movie, so titled. It's a redundant adage, but it solidifies it as an 'event'.

A real actor that looks like Clark Kent and has a real flapping cape! A superhero suit that looks as good, if not better than the one in the actual comic book? Unbelievable. The idea that a man can fly? Believable.

The opening credits were a bit long, but the soundtrack was a magical mix of mythical melody that immediately spilt into our skulls. And stayed there. The Krypton sequence... too long. The sulky Smallville years... not as long. The amount of time before we saw him in flight? About an hour and ten minutes.

Sure, Lex should have been bald. Sure, he shouldn't be hanging around with morons. Sure, Superman should not be able to go back in time whenever Lois dies. But that sky scream he gives by the car? Awesome. The montage that included saving the kitty from the tree? Cute. The wink he gives the audience thereby breaking the fourth wall, at the end? Totally forgivable. Superman II was more of a continuation and was even more fun. The other sequels, including Supergirl and Superman Returns? Never happened.

Twaggies



A couple of my Tweets got 'Twaggied!' The gang at Twaggies are artists who create ‘crowdsourced’ comics from nominated Tweets via Twitter and visualise them into one panel comics. 

Go to the site and scroll through all of them IF you like to laugh. It’s a terrific idea and they’re brilliant at what they do.

My Twitter: @Mothpete


  ~Illustration by: Pete Hillstrom~


Batman Began

This was the moment - True Love
In 1988, I discovered Batman when the newspapers ran with the story that Robin's death would be voted on by readers. Yep, the new readership they wanted by writing sensational event stories sucked me in. Until then I read black and white Phantom comics and had never considered buying the more expensive American magazines. And besides, Batman was some campy crap from TV. I was ignorant to the comic series, but this news that the Joker had pounded Robin to a bloody pulp with a crowbar got me interested. It seemed the campy stuff was over long ago. The first actual Batman comic I saw completely won me over. It showed him upside down, hanging from a tree. Oh yeah, I wanted to be that guy. It was the most striking image I had ever seen. I was smitten, and I still am.

Nipple free
I started to devour all things Batman. All the back stories and stand alone graphic novels, all the compendiums, and toys... everything. I drew batman icons on paper, and made suits for costume parties. There's something about that icon that is primal to me. I've even got a Batman symbol tattooed on my shoulder and I never tire of it. I became obsessive for the Dark Knight and I studied the character with devoted admiration. Soon after, I discovered that Tim Burton was making a film, and my imagination went wild. What would the Bat suit look like, and the car, and the cave? How would they show the years of dedicated training that formed this dark and disturbed yet focussed superior hero (yes, superhero) detective. It was a big budget movie and I hope it was going to be the biggest movie event of my lifetime.

Batman broods, and I like that idea. A hero that sulks. I could do that. Bruce Wayne is the epitome of obsessiveness and was a normal guy with billions of dollars, and dedication. Much like the Phantom, I was interested in the idea that anyone could be a superhero if you had a good reason and some determination. I've had plenty of arguments with people about the label 'Superhero', but I'll stand by it. Batman is 'super' enabled, much like most of the heroes of Gotham. He's more than ordinary... Super Ordinary? He's completely honed, so bad guys are completely owned.

Cool. Very cool.
Back to the movie. It opened to some deep emotionally charged soundtrack and a camera angle that weaved and swooped us through a maze that later revealed itself as the Batman emblem itself, in all its glory. It was beautiful and perfect. This was going to be great! The first scene involved a very dramatic and operatic caped figure instilling fear into a couple of thugs, and he told them... he, was Batman. The Batsuit looked dark and shiny and although he had a fat looking head and a chest emblem that didn't quite look right AT ALL, it had flair and presence.

It was all set up to be something more than magic, but then the Joker showed up, and literally stole the show. He stole it. He was in most of the scenes whereas I wanted to see more Batman. Not a Clark Kentish Bruce Wayne clutzing about and NOT the Joker being campy. I wanted to see the batsuit again. I wanted to see the cape fluttering by as he swang through the city and jumped from rooftops. He could hardly move his neck. He had so much rubber on him I couldn't see how he could make like Bruce-Lee and stealthily get around and kick ass, but for me, it's all about the cape, and the cape looked great.

Issue #700
I left the movie completely disappointed. Why wasn't he swinging through the city and jumping between rooftops? Why wasn't the movie simply called 'Joker'. I was underwhelmed, and kinda upset. On subsequent viewings I got a better perspective, but it wasn't my Batman. It was 'a' Batman though, and there was a lot to love about the movie. We never got enough time with BatBruce, and decades on we're still begging for more time with the man. In Batman Begins, we did at least get some backstory to the Bat story and then later we were lucky enough to get another Batman/Joker movie. Yeah, he still has the clunky bat-suit, and unfortunately it looks like it was made from car tires, tread and all, but it was a huge brilliant movie (although full of plot-holes). It'll probably be another twenty years before we see Batman and Joker at it again where their Dynamic Dual can be dissected some more, but I'm learning to be patient.

Robocop Moth



One of my followers on Twitter made this video for me incorporating my 'Mothpete' alias with his Robocop's. It's weird. I like it.

My Cinematic Alphabet - 'R' stands for Raiders and Robocop


Raiders of the Lost Ark


This is how I like my Indiana Jones: young, non-wrinkled and free of flying fridges. Indiana was the quintessential serialised rugged action hero plucked from a non-existent radio series and given eternal life by Lucas. God bless 'im for the wonder years of cinema, before he regurgitated them into the plunder years of cinema. My god, Indy 4 winked at itself so much that I could feel a breeze. You have to consider it a spoof rather than a sequel and then strike it from the records. I think most of us have already. I do hear the lego game version is great. Lego 'anything' is cute. Heck even a lego Steve Buscemi with a Predator's mandible mouth would be cute.

'Raiders' was there first with the greatest epic dusty action adventure of the modern age, and it had the score, the man, the hat and the whip we boys all wanted to own. I would've ruled the schoolyard with a whip like that. Indy was great when he was hunting religious relics and we were there in awe when the Ark was finally opened. Then we rewound the VHSs again and wewatched it many more times watching Nazi's faces melt off. Good times.

Robocop

Never before has the story of Jesus been told so eloquently, and with so many high tech machine guns. If Jesus died and rose again sometime in the future, how could he not want to do it Robocop style? Oh yeah, the whole 'peace' thing. Whatever. The late 80s was an amazing time for action movies with Die Hard, First Blood and Lethal Weapon, and they didn't hold back on the swearing, drug use, and memorable one-liners.

Robocop had it all! Sweet stop-start animation, and a costume design that never dated. NEVER. It's just gorgeous to look at and have as an action figure that I'm not allowed to display. All the robot designs were timeless. I loved Robocop 2 also, and I think it was an awesome thing with some real nasty stuff RoboMurphy had to deal with, despite Frank Miller not being able to do exactly what he wanted with it.

Thirty years later it seems Hollywood is trying hard to recapture the feel of those movies, but it just seems they're over. A reboot to Robocop has been mulled over for a while now, but Robo's resurrection was already done to perfection, and then overdone by the time the crappy Robocop 3 was released, plus subsequent TV series. No actor nowadays is going to sign up for a movie where half of his face is going to be covered up for the most part. Robocop has no Bruce Wayne alias that allows him to go out at night to sip cocktails. He's a brooking hulk of a figure that misses his wife and kid. 

He's only human. Onya Murph.

A Very Merry 40th Batmany Birthday to me!

After 40 years of wandering this wilderness like the children of Israel did for their 40 years, I'm expecting the Promised Land. Life begins now. It always begins now I suppose, but there's nothing like big round numbers to drive home the fact, that it's still happening... which is nice.

Thanks to my gorgeous and very graciously thoughtful partner, Joey, I've a very geeky bat-themed 40th birthday (or two) to try to keep me young. All six of our Brady Bunch family are here with me today and that's the best part of it.

I love the cake. Love it. I can't wait to eat the buildings in a few hours. I'm definitely putting dibs on the Bat Signal.

She had some frames for four of my favourite comics made out of some very rustic looking timber. I spent a good part of the day going through my collection trying to decide which to put behind the glass. Unfortunately 'The Killing Joke' was just a bit too faded to make the cut. A Death in the Family was my first, and I like the look of the others. A Joker-toxined Catwoman looks great, as does 'Speeding Bullets', an Elseworlds issue where the Waynes find Clark instead of the Kents.

I'm also chuffed with my first genuine DC Direct Batman statue and I freaking love the pose and the way the cape supports him. The 'Sock Monkey' Batman was custom made for us, and the little Bats and Supes are too incredibly cute. Thanks honey. Here's to another 40, at least. X PB.

Batman with a gun? Smart move in my opinion.

Much better than the suit in Batman Begins!
A very huggable Bat Sock Monkey

My freaking favstar fascination

Earlier this year I discovered Twitter and it really worked for me. I enjoyed meeting like-minded people and sharing thoughts and jokes about what was on at the movies or on TV. It was a great social experience and I was completely addicted, amassing about a thousand followers in a few months as I followed every lead.

Every now and then I'd write a tweet that got Retweeted and I thought that was great. It was an honour that someone thought my 'joke' was good enough to share with their followers, and I started working hard to write catchy retweetable one-liners. I hadn't yet heard of favstar. I was blissfully ignorant of the pressure I was about to put myself under.

I thought Twitter's 'favorite' stars were bookmarks, and they were, but a separate website called favstar collects that data so you are able to see who has been 'bookmarking', or favoriting, your tweets. I thought this was fascinating, and I started obsessively checking the site to see how my tweets were faring. Man, I thought Twitter was for the narcissistic, but favstar is another step up. Once I discovered that you could win Trophies from other users who were using the bonus features, I was in. A few years ago I was involved with a poetry website called AllPoetry and I worked my ass off for there for pixellated trophies too. I drove all my friends nuts.

And so I started favstarring about three weeks ago. I've been frantically starring other tweets and adding followers to my list, and churning my brain to write the perfect tweets that might capture the interest of these special breed of favstar people, and special many of them are. There are some brilliantly funny Tweeters who can write creative, original, funny one-liners, one after the other... and there are also the people who think they can. This is the place to go for people who believe they are comedians, in much the same way as SingStar is for those who think they can sing. You might sound okay in the shower, but in fact, you suck. I like to think I sound good when I karaoke, and I also hope to the gods my tweets are as funny to others as they are to me.

I've been practically begging for trophies to validate the monstrous ego within me that feeds on validation and praise. The rush of star applause that comes after posting a witty tweet is far too addictive to avoid, but every day that goes by without getting a trophy is a blow I can't seem to handle. It's a problem for me. It's also been a problem for my work and family life. It's time to stop fucking caring about these trophies. I'm getting grumpy and resentful seeing these very precious trophies being given away to tweets that just aren't all that funny, in my opinion, or to people that already have dozens... and I feel like punching bunnies.

Someone gave me a trophy recently, and I quickly thanked them, but they didn't receive the thankful tweet because I forgot to put their @ username in it. Less than a day went by and I got a very abusive message and a 'block' from this unhappy little tweeter. I was called an arrogant fuck! This favstar thing was serious and a little scary now. I was hurt, and there were strict rules to follow. *Note: I did manage to explain what happened and she did apologise for her reaction. We're all human twitterers after all... well, apart from the bots.

No more am I discussing horror movies and my favourite television shows that I once enjoyed doing. The friends I had made have been much ignored as I now appeal to the Twitter Elite who have the power to star me. I'm rewriting tweets that I wrote when I only had a few hundred followers and hoping no one notices. I'm finding myself deleting tweets that don't get enough stars and deleting response tweets because someone dared star them, messing up my 'Recent Tweets' favstar page. I'm stressing out because a tweet didn't make it to the Leaderboard quickly enough. I'm doing it all wrong! 

I think I've burnt myself out already. I'm not saying I'm committing favstarcide yet, but I've got to stop obsessing about what others think of me and write tweets that 'I' like. Five trophies is probably good for three weeks work and I'm damn proud of my Best Of list. I've nearly got about 1600 followers and I've met a lot of people that are funny as hell. I just need step back a bit and find that balance, because as my partner @eekjoey says, "It's just fucking Twitter".