Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Ben Affleck / Bruce Wayne Controversy

The news has recently hit that there would be a sequel to this summer's Man of Steel, at last confirming the rampant speculation that DC Comics/Warner Brothers will finally catch up to Marvel Comics/Marvel Productions and get a shared continuity started up. There has been implied shared continuity before (Batman Forever*, Superman Returns**), but this will be the first ever actual cross-over for properties of Marvel's Distinguished competition.

The more recent, more shocking news is that Ben Affleck has been cast as Bruce Wayne for the picture. Affleck, whose previous superhero effort has met with general loathing (Daredevil), was originally sought to direct the rumored Justice League movie, which would serve as a hub for all of DC's various properties to meet on the big screen. Affleck stated that he only directs movies in which he is also acting, so Warner Bros. said "No problem, how's Batman for you?"

Affleck was panned for his efforts in Kevin Smith's Daredevil, a movie which had a number of things going against it. There are those who know me and know my leanings who expected me to be apoplectic about this news. I hate to disappoint, but I am actually okay with this development. Here's why:

1. Affleck has shown he is a very capable director, and he's the man they want for the Justice League. Three movies in five years, all receiving critical acclaim. He can totally do that part of it, and I for one think he could bring this thing to fruition smartly, so long as the script is intelligently done. Look at it this way: it couldn't be any worse than Brett Ratner's efforts on X-Men: The Last Stand, and it will certainly have more action than Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. And hey, you guys, it gets the Justice League to the big screen!

2. We all know (well, I do, but you should all open your eyes and see what I do) that nine times out of ten, it's not about how you play the super-hero, it's about how you play the alter ego. Eric Bana was a terrible Bruce Banner. My hatred of Val Kilmer's Bruce Wayne is legendary. Ben Affleck was horrific as Matt Murdock (uh, yeah, but trust me, I'm about to explain). It's not about the guy in the rubber suit. Val Kilmer's Batman was the same as Michael Keaton's Batman. The problem with Kilmer is that he couldn't turn off the Batman for his scenes as Bruce Wayne (the problem with George Clooney is he couldn't turn off the George Clooney for either half of the role).

Christopher Reeves was amazing as Superman because you believed his bumbling Clark Kent. Robert Downey Jr., IS Iron Man, because he became Tony Stark. Mark Ruffalo shocked the world with his Bruce banner and became a stand-out of an all-star cast. Chris Evans was miscast as Captain America only because he should never ever play another role unless it's Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four (the highlight of a terrible cast).

Bruce Wayne is not that tough to play. A millionaire playboy with not a care in the world in some pretty sharp business acumen. Affleck actually has to just act like he's acting like that.

Nine times out of ten. The other one of ten is Thor. Just be Thor.

3. The other half of this role is Batman, and all he has to do is bring the same intensity and intelligence he brought to the role of Tony Mendez in Argo and he's already there. He can do the physical stuff (Daredevil) and at the very least, he won't go full-Bale on the Bat-voice (God help us all, that was some awful shit by the end of the trilogy). I'd prefer his Daredevil Afflecktations to Christian Bale's unintelligible screaming.

Think about what's happening here, people: The Superman/Batman movie (which will be sub-titled "World's Finest"; you heard it here first) isn't going to be a fist fight between the two; at worst, we'll see a tense showdown with Batman trying to come up with the perfect gadget to overcome Superman's powers, and at best, we're going to see a team up of the two facing a foe that Superman can't out-think and Batman can't out-punch (I'm calling Brainiac; again, YHIHF). We'll see Batman utilizing Superman like a bludgeon to set up the perfect battle plan and leave us with our collective jaws dropped.

It'll be fine, gang. All it really needs to do is set up the Justice League movie, and even Affleck can't fuck that one up.

*Val Kilmer's Bruce Wayne mentions that Dick Grayson's circus "must be half way to Metropolis by now."
**A news anchor in Superman Returns mentions Superman helping out in Gotham City.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Retarded Business Practice: A Review of Joe's Crab Shack

Joe's Crab Shack, Riverhead NY - Opened on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

The line on opening day was out the door, as they were offering free crab for a year to the first 150 customers. Tried again on Saturday, but the wait was an hour and 45 minutes. Finally got in this Sunday for lunch with my bro, Tom.

VERY expensive. Two sodas, a cup of NE Clam chowder, two appetizers (crab nachos, mozzarella sticks), malibu shrimp entree, queen crab bucket, and two desserts came to $87, before tax and tip. They have a thing for buckets; bucket for crab shells, bucket for utensils, buckets for food. Portions were decent, even generous, especially desserts. (They make a chocolate s'mores cake with toasted graham crackers, marshmallows, and a melted Hershey Bar that was easily shareable, and incredibly rich, and the slice of Key Lime Pie was easily twice (if not three times) the size of an average dessert slice at any other establishment.

Service was mostly good, our crab nachos came out after a somewhat lengthy delay (AND after our entrees), but Skye was attentive and kept our glasses from being empty, and the glitches can be chalked up to opening weekend snafus.

There was one major glaring problem. Joe's Crab Shack apparently has a "no empty hands" kitchen door policy; there was a kitchen staffer standing by the door, and whenever a server walked towards the kitchen, he would say "you can't come into the kitchen without a dirty dish in your hands," and steer servers away until they had bussed something. One of the servers was our waitress, and as we were seated right next to the kitchen, we ended up volunteering available dishes to any waitress who happened to get turned away.

Hey, I get what the managers were TRYING to accomplish; to get servers into the frame of mind that they should keep the dining room clear of dirty dishes as much as possible. But the problem here is some of the waitresses were trying to put in the orders that they took from customers who had been waiting for seats, and explained that to him, but he wouldn't yield. And some of the customers (like us) had their servers turned away to scavenge for dishes while they were waiting for their food to come out.

I finally turned around and told the staffer "I just want to let you know that if I were waiting for my order and I found out that it was delayed because my waitress couldn't get into the kitchen without a dirty dish, I'd leave, never come back, and make sure that all my friends knew about it.

He assured me that he was just following orders (because that's always worked out throughout world history, right?) and that he disliked the policy himself. I once again told him that if I knew my order hadn't been placed because someone was "following orders" that they knew were stupid and arbitrary, it would create a very big customer service black eye. The next batch of waitresses that approached the kitchen were then told "just go, go," and there was a mini-rush on the kitchen.

Simply ridiculous. If I were a server there, this would not encourage me to clean. It would encourage me to stash a small supply of dirty dishes in a discreet location and only retrieve them when I needed to go into the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hypocrisy of the Highest Order

It has recently come to my attention that clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't want people who are "overweight" to wear their clothing. It is part of their corporate directive to only target "the young and beautiful," not only to wear their clothing, but to shill it as well. 

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, according to Robin Lewis, co-author of the New Rules of Retail and CEO of the newsletter The Robin Report, "doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people."

You can read the full article here

My own beautiful niece says she has been approached several times to work in an Abercrombie & Fitch store, and was told that they intentionally recruit attractive people because that's the market they want to wear their clothing. I'd personally hope that she would never accept such an invitation to join the staff of any organization that uses the same hiring standards as the Hitler Youth. 

And I find it the height of irony that someone who claims he only wants his business to appeal to beautiful people looks, himself, like the product of a three-way between Rocky Dennis, Joan Rivers and the albino monk from the DaVinci Code.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Your Application On Every Website Ever

Thank you for your interest in joining the team here at Smart Centipede. Because of the large number of positions open, we require that you create an application profile, to which you can upload your resume and cover letter for consideration in any number of available openings.

(fields marked with an * are mandatory.)

First name*:
Last name*: 
Re-type Password*: 

We're sorry, but the password you entered does not meet specifications. Your password must be between 8-12 characters and contain at least one of the following:
  • One capital letter.
  • One lowercase letter.
  • One number.
  • One non-numeric, non-letter character.
  • One irrational number.
  • One emoticon showing your current mood.
  • One atomic symbol of the element of your choice (noble gases excluded).
  • One Mandarin Chinese pictograph.
  • Good feelings.
  • That little symbol that looks a little like a hurricane.
  • A brief description of a 7th dimensional space.
  • A scrimshawed portrait of Irving Berlin or your mother, whichever is handsomer.
To prove you are not a spambot, please enter the letters you see in the image:

Enter Text Here: 

Thursday, January 10, 2013