Every year since 2005 I've catapulted a three-prong pitchfork cyber-spaceward detailing my own (commonly unshared) opinions about the best things of the year, the worst things of the year and all of those bizarre little-ass things that just make you go "HMMMMMMMMMM!"... or possibly "HELLO!" or, most likely "WHAT THE EFF-YOU-SEE-KAY???"
So what makes 2009 any different? A big pile of nothing, except that this year the weird seemed to flow like wine from the spoiled grapes of just about every level of entertainment. It doesn't matter if we're talking about the biggest hits or the lowliest flops, there was a veritable CANDY fest of the inexplicable at every corner of 2009.
At one point I had to ask one of my best friends if I was in a mental hospital and we were hallucinating each other! She asked if I could REALLY be asking that question if that were the case. I then said "Cogito Ergo Sum!" and she said "Huh?"
Now, I could just keep going with this unnecessary and ultimately time-wasting opening setup, but then I'd probably be as weird as the very subjects I'm pointing out. And we all know that's not the case. I'm MUCH weirder!
So, feast your beautiful, bovine eyes on...
The Asinine 9 of 2009!
The Watchmen Movie:
2009's attempt at a filmic adaptation of the incredible comic book Watchmen was one of the most visible events of the first half of the year, thanks to a marketing campaign that made those Burger King Herb commercials look like a brief mention on a public access show nobody tunes into by choice.
Watchmen was immediately referred to as the most accurate comic book adaptation of all time. The advertisers and the press quickly began to refer to director
Zack Snyder as a "VISIONARY"! This was in spite of the fact that Watchmen was to be his third film.
To his credit, there are some frames of the movie that look like live action representations of the exact same frames of the comic book. Very impressive. Nice attention to detail. As the film progressed I was not alone in wondering if Snyder or his writers had any idea what they were adapting or if there was any concept on the set of what the substance of the graphic novel really was beneath the Style!
Soon the film devolved into such weird changes as re-assigning entire scenes to characters who had little-to-no business being where they were, significantly altering key lines (to the detriment of later sequences) and even (and most shockingly) changing the ending of the film.
Of course, that's just what happened in the final result. The oddities with Watchmen go much deeper, from the casting, to the choice of the very costumers who put nipples on the Batsuit in
Batman & Robin being hired to put nipples on Ozymandias' costume in Watchmen!
Though not overall a disaster, there were so many bizarre things that all around Watchmen, from the production to the reaction to the reviews to the changes to the casting to the very film itself... one really must say "WTF?"
The Academy Awards:
The best thing about the Oscars is that they always were judgments of what the illustrious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences truly believed were the BEST of the BEST. Never was it a popularity contest or an honorary gift. It's about Merit!
For some reason in the past few years, the media and the Academy itself has questioned that stance in some TRULY bizarre ways. For example, the Media accuses the Oscars of being out of touch with the public because so rarely are the Academy Award Nominees the same films that were blockbusters at the box office.
My response: WELL THANK GOD! Seriously, folks, I would much rather the Best Picture nom go to some... some... some obscure Art Film from Micronesia than something like fucking Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, in spite of the fact that it's made more money than a Dubai Prince this year. Gold is Gold and Crap is Crap, dear Watson!
The coveted Lifetime Achievement Oscar, which is usually given to an artist who never won an Oscar for any of their work, but might deserve one, seems to have influenced virtually every other category with open speculation going to whether George Clooney actually got his Syriana Oscar because he's such a nice guy and whether
Martin Scorsese won for The Departed because he hadn't won any before.
Clooney rocked and Marty shined, but last year... sure, sue me, stop reading this site, throw a pie in my face, hate my guts... but dudes, chicks, monsters, aliens, Heath Ledger won his Oscar not for his inaccurate portrayal of The Joker, but for passing away at the height of his popularity. Hey, it happens! I mean, we can't go having a big media firestorm if the press thinks the wrong person received the Oscar, can we? (Hey, Marissa Tomei, you have my deep sympathies!)
So, what, am I Ledger-Bashing, Clooney-Clowning, Martin-Marring here? No, folks, no... in fact, these three fine artists are only a few of the Oscar WTFs we've had happening for the last decade and a half or so. But it got worse in 2009. Yes, Yes, Yes, folks, here's the amazing thing. Because of the fact that only five REALLY good films get nominated for Best Picture, thus causing the real BLOCKBUSTERS to not make the cut, thus causing Oscar Telecast ratings to decline even farther (kids, you should be at the movies anyway), The Corn-Dog Academy announced toward the end of 2009 that no more would five good films be nominated for Best Picture. No, from now on, we're going to have TEN films nominated for that little Golden Statue so that we can make room for the popcorn flicks out there in Cinema-land! Now, folks, I don't know about you, but I've noticed that a lot of years we only have two or three TRULY great films nominated for the grand prize and two or three that are "good enough" rounding out the list. In a less artistic year, what the hell can we expect to see get the all-important Nom? Can't you just see it now?
"And the nominees for Best Picture of 2011 are... Battleship, Puss in Boots: Story of an Ogre Killer, The Hobbit, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, The Man who Killed Don Quixote, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hangover 2, Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf! And before we announce the winner... the Academy has instructed me to apologize for most of these entries."
Marge Simpson gets Naked:
The Matriarch of The Simpsons started as sort of a little old lady in a Muumuu and a Beehive hairstyle... It took at least ten years on the air (which translates to seventy-eight seconds of Springfield time) for the First Lady of the Bouvier Clan to become a Bombshell!
It was almost tongue-in-cheek that Marge got hot, when nothing else changed, but that's what happened. That is... until 2009 when in a move SO bizarre it almost seems like it was made up for WorldsGreatestCritic.com or something, Marge Bouvier Simpson doffed her house dress for a pictorial in
Playboy Magazine's November issue.
And... she looks pretty damned good, too, man! Sporting an actual Playboy interview with Marge (entitled "The Devil in Marge Simpson"), a centerfold complete with nipples and... doughnuts (illustrated by creator Matt Groening (with an additional credit going to Julius Preite) and even one of those "Playmate Data Sheets" with less revealing photos, this pictorial was almost as funny as it was sexy and... WEIRD!
For the record, I'm not complaining about this little slice of surreal oddity whatsoever. I'm just shouting "DUDE, Double-D Tee-Eff!" and musing over the fact that the first Cartoon mom to do a "Spread" for Playboy wasn't Cartman's Mother!
Okay, look, I'll admit, the new
Star Trek flick wasn't that bad... in fact, it was well-cast, interesting and fun with great special effects and some classic
Star Trek humor!
That said... DUDE, what the Fuck? What a bizarre collection of strange choices! What could have been a canonical and truly fascinating prequel became an oddity of a franchise fracturer that excused the fact that director J. J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were going to pay ZERO attention to continuity with the old standby "Parallel Universe" excuse!
The explanations for just why that could happen (in any generation) was equally as bizarre and culminated in a meeting between Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and his younger self (played by Zachary Quinto) where they discussed the filmic travesty that was the destruction of the Vulcan homeworld like they might talk about guest appearances on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood!
Star Trek's long tradition of metaphor and moral challenges was abandoned in favor of heady action, thrills, chills and spills. Yeah, it's a fun, fun film, to say the least. Yes, it's beautiful with a great cast and Sci-Fight Scenes to beat the Orchestra!
But, folks, it gets a HUGE "WTF!", as much as I enjoyed the film. In my more hopeful moments I theorized that maybe this was all a part of a big plan that would eventually result in the merging of the franchises. You know, maybe the Sequel could have been some huge "Crisis on Infinite Enterprises" where the crew discovers that "Things are not as they should be!" and through some brilliant jaunt through time and space the Enterprise is able to right that which once went wrong an the Galaxy is back in Trek-Canon again! Unfortunately, that's pretty much the opposite of what producer Damon Lindelof and the rest of the creative team have in mind.
Instead they've discussed how very freeing it is to no longer be bound by continuity, now that they have an "Independent Timeline" and their next steps include deciding whether or not to recast Khan Noonien Singh! Hey, if you're going to redesign the Enterprise, what's to stop you from going all out? Maybe Khan can be the secret face behind... MYSTERION!
The post-Summer of Horror II dearth of reviews:
Yes, folks, leave it to me to point out that not even WorldsGreatestCritic.com is immune to the prevailing weirdness of 2009.
2006's Summer of Horror not only launched the series of SEASONS on this site but also stands as my most prolific period ever. The fall of every year has been marked by my none-too-fruitful periods from my Birthday to Christmas!
But dudes and chicks, that was nothing compared to what happened when the
2009 Summer of Horror hit the fan, Podnuh! As the second Summer of Horror began winding down, one could tell that... so was I! As September rolled around with only days left in the season (the event had to stretch from exactly 6.6.9 through 9.9.9 to keep the joke going), entire days would go by with no review posted. As a result, to try to match the output of the first S.O.H., a full 13 reviews (which actually seems rather appropriate) were posted in the last 48 hours alone, bringing us to the full fifty-four reviews, which matched the original season note for note...
Need I say that this caused the Critic's version of "Academic Burnout"? Might I add... I had other distractions, too!
No new review was posted for a full 18 days after the Summer of Horror ended and, truth be told, in the three months since the ending of that super-season, there hasn't even been a full thirteen reviews posted.
Dearth VADER, yes!
But for those of you out there who say things like "Hey, remember when you used to write reviews?" I have to ask you this... how many have you written lately? Nibble me.
But I accept this very, very "WTF" moment on behalf of all of us here at WorldsGreatestCritic.com... which is... just me, actually, anyway!
Mad Magazine becomes a Quarterly:
Dudes, a few years ago I got a wild hare up my hair and decided to subscribe once again to Mad Magazine, only to find out that it was better and edgier than ever.
So hilarious was Mad for adults that to keep a kid-friendly audience, Mad had to offer up a sister publication called Mad Kids!
That's pretty damned cool, man, especially as old
Alfred E. Neuman and "The Usual Gang of Idiots" were still packing the pages with classic satire and more new features than you could shake an EC COMIC at (or even DC for that matter!
In June 2009, right as their 500th issue was hitting stands, something really oddball happened at the old Mad Rag... they became a Quarterly publication as part of a Time Warner-wide set of cutbacks. In all honesty, folks, I thought I had missed a renewal notice and let my subscription lapse. What a Melvin I would have been then. In fact, I was becoming as bitter a man as, well, as BITTERMAN!
Now the true "WTF" here doesn't go to the simple fact that this happened... it's the fact that readers could let such a thing happen. Yeah, print publications are hurting as the economy shifts and more and more attention goes to online resources, but this is MAD, man, and I'm getting "mad" just thinking about it!
In the 1990s Mad knockoff Cracked magazine reduced their publication before becoming only an occasional news stand presence in the 2000s. Now it exists solely as Cracked.com. Could this be the harbinger of Mad's similar fate?
Watch this space for a very MADdening "WTF!?" in the future!
They're still making Saw movies!:
HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!
Man, FUCK, man!
I mean, SHIT MARBLE, man! Damn, Fuck, Shit, Piss... HELL!
Ugh, dude! Tapdancing Porn Stars on Ice.
Of all the intestine-impacting, back-door double-tapping, slices of spiced shit! Another fucking SAW movie? SERIOUSLY?
SAW Pants-Dripping SIX??? FUCK ME GENTLY WITH A CHAINSAW, you Green-Humping WHORES at Loins Gait!
Did you ever see that episode of Family Guy when Peter gets the Homosexuality Gene and goes totally all-out gay? And then when he's about to enter into a TWELVE-WAY with a bunch of naked men it wears off and he's all "Uh... wait... what am I doing? OH MY GOD!" and then he runs away? Did you see that one? Well when I was in line to see Saw VI VI VI, that's almost exactly what I did. I was like "OH-ho-ho, my GOD! No... No, What the fuck am I doing, what was I thinking, holy shit on a soda cracker, NO!"
To all of you who not only still watched Saw VI, but also were so happy you actually did that these words offend you, I can say this: "Chew me!" The series lost all its morality (which, in a twisted way, it had toward the beginning). The mild uniqueness that the series had has long since died as now it's nothing more than a series of Slasher Flicks where the Killer is armed with a MOUSE TRAP GAME! The original creators have nothing to do with the series anymore and the plots and traps are, incredibly, both over complicated to the point that they would be impossible for ANY Jigsaw douche to pull off AND remarkably easy to get out of for any victim with 1/3 a brain! There is no more any invention in these films, no morality, just rusty killing jokes and surprise twist endings that are certainly TWISTED, but are not at all surprising.
Children, don't bother to See Saw VII and don't bother to See any Saw after that! What a squirt of piss this once inventive and fruitful series has become. It's no longer about horror, invention, moral codes, clever traps or even pain and blood. It's about Green. It's all money... only fucking money.
Fuck you, SAW!
That balloon Boy Douche's Douchy Family!:
People, People, let's be reasonable!
I am going to grant you one thing... when a big-ass silver balloon that looked like an alien-ass spaceship floated away for fifty miles being chased by jets, copters and every media outlet from here to Timbuk3, because parents (and balloon Douche builders) Richard and Mayumi Heene claimed their six year old son Falcon was soaring in it... that was most certainly... weird!
The fact that every media outlet from here to Timbuk3 was so fascinated with the story and taken with the concept of this somewhat mildly worrysome event that they preempted every ridiculous second of it as if it were another 9/11 or something? That was unfathomable! Look, if I wanted to spend hours watching a kid floating away with Balloons, I'd watch Up again. And I think I will, actually!
Is it that it was another low-speed chase, this time in the sky? We all know the media can't resist a car chase? Was it that this big, stupid, silver Balloo-loon just looked so cool and sci-fi that the media just got a collective UFO Hard-On at the prospect of reeling in audiences, FISH-LIKE into the story? Look, I sympathize and all, because if the kid had actually been in the damned balloon basket, when it finally hit the ground he might've been... you know... bruised or something! Hell, I'm a dad, I would hate to see that happen and all.
But the story gets WEIRDER as we see that the kid wasn't even in the damned thing in the first place. The little dude was hiding in a cardboard box in the attick. As the Heene family issued a collective "OOPS!" and the media started doing what voodoo that they do so well. Namely, starting to report on their reporting of the story to keep the reporting going.
Yeah, it turns out that the whole thing was a HOAX perpetrated by the now fame-starved family who had appeared on the benchmark of bad taste reality shows Wife Swap! Apparently fans of the show dug the Heenes in their twin appearances because Richie-Boy was obsessed with the idea that humans were all descended from ALIENS!
After that home-dude had pitched his own reality show (and had been turned down over and over again) based around science and science fiction. As soon as this (ass) Whole "balloon Boy Hoax" had been revealed the obvious link to Media-Attention hogging for publicity hit the mainstream. Yep... with every network all over your shiny metal balloon-ass you're sure to get Lifetime or TLC is sure to say yes to your idiotic idea for a reality show! Ratings, Ratings, Ratings.
The sad part is that it's so crazy it'll probably work! I mean, one way or the other this is sure to pay off for Retard and Mysushi Heene sooner or later. But... it's sure to be at least a LITTLE later seeing as how even the Larimer County Sheriff is calling it a Hoax and mom and dad are currently in jail.
Hey, Rich, maybe they'll let you film a reality show in there... I'm sure you'll be swapped around at least a little bit. And if it all falls through, you've got a good chance of being on a reality show with your next publicity stunt... like COPS! WTF, you idiot!?
Twitter permeates politix,protests,RedCross,
U got some nerve! Twtr wants 2 limit Me 2 Life reduced to 140 characters? Not 4 this long winded film critic! OMG! ROTFLMFAO! WTF!? #Kneumsi
Mentions? WTF? 2009 was weird from Stem to Stern, but I'm sure we can all agree on the innate and innane oddities (some good, some bad) of
District 9, 9,
Nine, Zombieland, Terminator Salvation and
So unless I start Tweeting "I SAW the world" from a Silver balloon, boldly going where no one has gone before with a Naked Marge Simpson hoping to break my writer's block so that I can win an Academy Award and be SPOOFED in Mad Magazine, which will be seen by the Watchmen... I'll see you in the NEXT reel!!!
from the inexplicable...
The Bottom 9 of 2009!