Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
As we close out 2014, we here at our secret underground base at Dave’s Corner of the Universe (And by We here at our secret underground base at Dave’s corner of the Universe I mean me in my room) feel it is time to give accolades to the two subjects that our dearest our hearts, pop culture and goats.
So we present the 2014 Davies awarding outstanding achievement in movies, TV shows, comic books, and goat husbandry. Now you may say hey you are Northern Oregon goat farmer with no cable TV and only see about six movies a year what strict scientific criteria do you use to determine what you feel is the best in entertainment. Well the answer is none. This like always is just my opinion, except of course the goat parts that is chalked full of scientific goodness.
So with no further delay here is the 2014 Davies.
Best Movie of 2014. The winner is; Captain America: Winter Solider.
OK, even Honest Trailers had a hard time spoofing this movie. It was good, very good. It had what we want in a comic book movie. Action, heck yeah, I usually get bored at the end of a climactic battle scene, but the battle of the helicopters kept me riveted. Great cast, every one nailed, and the big bad is The Sundance kid! A red headed female spy who is both sexy and have a girl next door quality, a trait that is so lacking in most movies these days, yup thanks Scarlet. And enough plot twists that even though we know that Cap is going to win we aren’t sure how he is going to do it.
There is going to be a glut of superhero movies. Not only is the Marvel Cinematic U competing with rival DC’s movie franchise but there is also its half-brothers the X-men and Spiderman, as well as any indy shows, but they are also competing among themselves too. So they need to keep the hero franchises fresh. They did this with Winter Solider. Its DNA more resembles a 70’s political thriller than Christopher Reed’s Superman. And the overlords at Disney know they need to branch out if the franchise will survive. Their follow up production Guardians of the Galaxy took the spandex set into the realm of space opera. Dr. Strange can be heroes and cosmic horror. The new Captain America movie was a great well written step past the shadow of comic book superheroes.
Best Actor in a movie: Chris Evans as Curtis in Snowpiercer.
Evans also appeared this year as Captain America and he did a whiz-bang job. But it was as the resistance leader of the lower-class rebels in Snowpiercer that he shined. The Snowpiercer is a nuclear powered train that carries the last survivors of a frozen apocalypse. A group of lower caste survivors subsist off eating protein bars made of insects in the baggage section, where the first class passengers live a life of luxury.
Curtis leads the downtrodden in their battle to take over the train. But he has a dark past. A young adult during the arrival of the fatal artic conditions he did some dark things to survive and years later it still haunts him. But his dark choices are not all behind him. He must chose to sacrifice his best friend if the rebellion has any chance of success. When he finally becomes the first person to go from the back to the front of the train he discovers the terrible truth about the Snowpiercer and the equilibrium that it must maintain to sustain life. That leads to what TV Tropes and idioms calls “A Heroic Blue Scream of Death moment.”
The movie Snowpiercer tries, I think a little too hard to be art house. And as Curtis and the others travel the hundred cars from the train’s caboose to its engine, it becomes surreal at times. A children’s Sunday school lesson dedicated to the train and its engineer, led by a submachinegun wielding pregnant teacher. A sushi bar that can only serve its delicacies once a year, an aquarium with glass tunnels that you can walk through, a disco where the party never ends and a drug den. It is meant to showcase the absurdities in our real life. Comparing the poor and the one percenters. But if it weren’t for Chris Evans nuanced performance, it would go from satire to camp.
The best Actress in a movie: Eva Green as Ava Lord in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
Wait you are asking yourself didn’t the last Sin City movie suck? Well yeah it did but that was Eva Green’s fault. Once Frank Miller was America’s best writer of dialogue, sadly his wordsmithing skills have declined in the recent past, and nowhere is that seen more than in SC:ADtKF. The movie has two canon stories Another Saturday Night (Which is an OK but short intro back into Basin City Washington) and The Dame to Kill For. The two new stories are The Long Bad Night (The story about the gambler) and Nancy’s Last Dance. (Nancy Callahan’s revenge story)
And well the new stories do not compare well to classics. The Dialogue goes from “She is the goddess that devours men’s souls” To “You don’t smell of anything I don’t like” The climax of the movie is Nancy tricking Marv to go on a suicide mission against a mansion full of goons with her. The thing is we see Dwight do the same thing in a Dame to kill For. The movie doesn’t just steal its script, it robs from itself. The audience saw the exact same thing thirty minutes before. With all this new dreck it is easy to forget what a beautiful noir diamond the Dame parts of the movie are. For thirty minutes in the middle of the movie it isn’t just good it is great.
And a lot of that is due to Eve Green’s performance. She plays both ends of the spectrum, over the top man eater, to subtle wounded girl hinting at a tragic past. The whole time she has no illusions that she is evil, or the destruction that she causes in her wake, causing mayhem with a frozen soul. She holds her own against great actors like, Joss Brolin, Denis Hayseth, Christopher Meloni and Stacy Keach.
Now should I be venerating such a charterer. The fem fatale has long been a staple of noir. Eva Lord was created in the 80’s and based on a 40’s and 50’s stereotype. Eva has no redeeming characteristics other than her charm, beauty and survival instincts. And yes she plays into misogynistic fantasies she is still a valid charchter. She isn’t a role-model she is evil like Boba Fet or Thanos, just better looking. And well evil has seldom been portrayed as well as Mrs. Lord was by Eva Green.
Best TV Show: From Dusk to Dawn: The Series.
FDtD:tS is the flagship series of the new El Rey Network, but all ten episodes of its first year can be seen on Netflixs. It follows the movie pretty well but it is more than just a seven half hour retelling of the original Tarentino penned movie. The TV show introduces an original charterer Texas Ranger Freddy Gonzales played by Jesse Garcia. The TV show varies from the movie because of his actions. From a story telling prospective this is fascinating. Showing how the introduction of one character can change events and elements in a story.
The original movie had a cast of Quinton Terintino, George Clooney. Selma Hyeck, and Cheech Marrin. The cast of the series is also impressive. Don Johnson, Jake Bussey, Robert Patrick, Wildamr Bladarrama (You haven’t lived until you have seen fez form that 70’s show play a bad mother vampire) And though defiantly an ensemble show the cast strengthens and heightens each other’s performance. The series was #1 on entertainment Weekly’s Hot list. And I for one am excited to see where they go with season two.
Best Actor for a TV series: Donald Logue, as Det. Harvey Bulloch on Gotham.
When I finishing watching the pilot for Gotham I thought to myself, this sucks. But I gave it a chance and it got better. A lot of people don’t like the idea of Batman without Batman, but personally I think that is fair game. There are some version of familiar faces on the show that I just hate. Mean old grouchy Alfred, does nothing for me, and don’t get me on a jailbait Selena Kyle. Others I am neutral about like boy scout Jim Gordon or quirky DA Harvey Dent. Still others I thought were great interruptions like a seeming pathetic yet Machiavellian Penguin or future Riddler, now CSI Edward Nygma. But form the start I was most impressed with Logue’s Bulloch.
Once a white night Bulloch turned dirty cop, because he couldn’t fight the sea of corruption that is Gotham City PD. But even at his most corrupt there is a glint of his old self. And when he is most noble his eyes remind you that he has done some bad things. He is also the only person in the entire city that Jim Gordon knows has his back. When Bulloch does get off and do police work he is great at it. The show portrays him as having great skills tracking down leads, collecting evidence and playing the bad cop in interrogations.
Best Female actress in a TV show. Eliza Taylor a Clarke Griffin in The 100.
For those of you who don’t familiar with it The 100 is kind of like Suzan Collins of the Hunger games had written the Martian Chronicles. After a nuclear war the surviving humans escape to space stations which are slowly breaking down. In a desperate act, a hundred criminals under eighteen are sent back to Earth to reclaim the planet. Kind of a sci-fi Lord of the Flies.
Taylor plays defacto leader Clarke Griffin, without a touch of her native Australian accent. Clarke has both smarts and heart, but she isn’t perfect, like the time she accidently shorted out every ones telemetry wristbands to spite her mother. She is still a teenager but smart enough to walk out of a potential love triangle before her heart gets broken. And Taylor plays her with a sense of dignity but never losing sight of the fact that TV should be fun, even when the subject matter turns dark.
Best Continuing Comic Book: Morning Glories.
This should not shock any regulars to Dave’s Corner, I love this title. It is the reason that the comic book medium was invented. It is also the only comic book that I ever physically dropped to the floor because a plot twist shocked me so much. In its fourth year Nick Spenser’s tale of a boarding school from hell, is not only keeping up the twist, he is finally letting us in on some of its secrets. Best described as Lost meats The Runaways this comic book by Image still has a lot of revelations and surprises as it takes traditional comic book tropes like a characters coming back from the dead and time travel and places them on heir head.
Best New Comic Bok title: (Tie) Rat Queens and The Lumberjanes.
For too long comic books have been a cesspool of misogyny but two tiles have real upped the ante on girl power. The Rat Queens and The Lumberjanes. The Rat Queens are done by an all male team, and are basically your tenth grade D&D all female adventuring party. But they don’t miss a single step in lampooning in a loving way the fantasy adventure genre. Mixing fantasy and modern feminist archetypes together they produce Hannah the rockabilly elf age. Violet a dawrven hipster fighter. Betty a Smedge (A non-lawsuit version of a hobbit) their/hippie, and Dee a human atheist cleric. This is what you get if all those late night RPG party jokes really were funny.
Lumberjanes on the contrast is done 100% be women. As penciled Arbury Aiese explained t to me at Rose City Comicon, “it is basically the magical summer camp you wished you went to.” It tells the story of five female campers, as they fight evil mythological beings and learn how they can rely on each other. Both titles are defiantly worth checking out.
Now for the award you were all looking forward the most. The best new goat of 2014. The winner is Claes!
Wait you are thinking isn’t Claes my goat. Doesn’t that wreak of nepotism. No Claes is the best as proven by science. Named after my favorite character in Gun Slinger Girl Her full registered name is GETFOOLA’sFledaClaesJohansson. She and her brother and sister and three cousins/half sibling (don’t ask its goats) were born in March. Claes was able to walk with in twenty minutes of being born. She is without a doubt the smartest of the new goats, a fact that would lead her into mischief getting the nick name Trouble. Jessie Junior was the strongest and biggest, Fancy was the best looking. Red Sky was the runt we thought would die, but my mom nursed back to full health, Moon Girl the sweetest and Lug Nut the luckiest, but by using science we know Claes is the best. Not just because she is my goat.
Adult goats maybe stinkers but baby goats have the best aspects of both kittens and puppies. Claes would curl up in my lap and drink milk form a bottle as we watched Clone war reruns or listen to Social Distortion. No favoritism there just science.
Oh for the record no one gets anything from winning a Davies except bragging rights, except for Claes she got a handful of raisins.