03 March 2006

Pajama Party #2 - Bat-News

The Batman franchise has been trying for years to come up with a good title for a Bat-film. 1966's Batman: The Movie was simple and straightforward. I guess the main point was to differentiate the film from the TV show on which it was based. 1989's Batman took the approach followed by most of the superhero franchises to come with its title simply stating the name of the hero. This title was OK, but it was all downhill from there. 1992 brought the fairly generic Batman Returns, (by which this summer's Superman Returns may have been inspired. Of course Superman actually returns from somewhere.) by which they meant that Batman was "returning" to the cineplex. Next up was 1995's Batman Forever. I still havent figured out what that means. 1997 dropped the turd called Batman & Robin. This title may have been more appropriate for Forever, and even though the title itself is not that bad, the movie was abysmal. So bad was the movie in fact, that the planned Batman Triumphant got the axe. It is questionable that this title would ever have been given a real meaning since the movie was never made. This put an end to the "Batman insert random word" naming scheme. But the "Batman blank" trend was to continue.

2005 brought a new beginning to the Bat-franchise. While Batman Intimidation Game or simply Batman Intimidation were rumored titles, ultimately the akward Batman Begins was chosen. At least this time, the title made sense. And that brings us to this week's big news. The sequel to Begins is in its early stages, and rumors of a title are being heard. While early rumors meantioned were Batman Attacks, or Batman Continues (perhaps jokingly, but you never know with these folks), my early favorite was Batman Escalation. But it looks like the "Batman blank" titles may be over, as the uberoriginal Batman 2 seems to be a frontrunner. What I do like about this title is how it will certainly confuse people who still believe that, despite having seen both Batman and Batman Begins, Begins is a prequal film. Unless Bruce's parents were killed twice by different people, then its quite obvious that Begins is a reboot. Batman 2 will certainly distinguish this new series of films from the past, and I think most people will agree that is a good thing.

02 March 2006

Disappearing Ink #2 - The Iron Giant

Before The Incredibles, there was The Iron Giant. Directed by Brad Bird, this film presents the story of a young boy in cold war Maine who befriends an alien robot who just happens to be the ultimate weapon of destruction. I may never again praise Vin Diesel for anything, but he nails the voice of the giant. Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick Jr. also contribute great performances to this much underrated and underviewed film.

The handful of people that have seen this movie have nothing but praise for it as shown by its amazing 97% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So why did this movie bomb when it came out in 1999? Probably because there weren't enough singing animals in the cast. But despite my fondness for vocally inclined creatures, this movie is probably better without them. I give it an A-.

The Iron Giant (Special Edition)

The Incredibles (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

01 March 2006

Is that a hot dog in your sandwich? Or are you just happy to see me?

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Before you answer, let me present Webster's definition of a sandwich: 1 a : two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between b : one slice of bread covered with food. According to this definition, a hot dog certainly seems to qualify. What about two slices of French toast? What about a pita pocket stuffed with meat? What about a slice of buttered bread. Are these sandwiches? My heart says no... But Webster says maybe. As it turns out, I am not the only one that has struggled to pin down the precise qualifications for what makes a sandwich.

According to the Wikipedia, The term "sandwich" has been expanded—especially in the United States—to include items made with other "breads" such as tortilla, rolls and focaccia. Thus hamburgers and "subs", for example, are called "sandwiches" in the United States, although not in the midwest, south or western states or most other English-speaking countries (since they are not made with slices of bread from a loaf). This quite liberal definition seems to include not only hot dogs in the sandwich domain, but also wraps, tacos, and burritos! While that notion does not sit easy with me, I am trying to remain open-minded.

The sandwich project has accepted the huge challenge of collecting recipes for sandwiches, and currently has over 2,000. These include recipes for jam and cheese sandwiches which the creators admit, "sounds horrible, but tastes delicious." The project is off to a good start, but such an inclusive definition of sandwich makes the human genome project look like a walk in the park compared to this massive undertaking.

Anyways, I guess basically anything can be a sandwich as long as it has some sort of carb-based container for a filling. So, is a corndog a sandwich? Sure, why not. What about a jelly-filled donut? Ah man, I don't know, but one of those sure sounds good about now...