Open Thread for March 26, 2010

Now, normally I don’t like to do this, but let me break you off with a little taste of the Open Thread. First, for the comic book fans, Chris Evans has been cast as Captain America in the upcoming movie … Continued

Now, normally I don’t like to do this, but let me break you off with a little taste of the Open Thread.

First, for the comic book fans, Chris Evans has been cast as Captain America in the upcoming movie of the same name. Reaction has been mixed in the fan community. Yours truly liked him as Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four: he had just the right mix of cockiness and likability. But neither of those are essential qualities for Captain America, unless they’re planning on updating him for the 21st century (OH SNAP, TAKE THAT AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM, YEAH WHAT).

Question: we asked whom you’d cast as Captain America in an earlier open thread, so you can answer that if you like. But I’ll make it tricky: presuming you have to use Chris Evans in an Avengers movie, which Avenger would you cast him as?


Now nothing says Captain American CAN'T have pouty lips.

Second, recurring OTI subject James Cameron made the news this week when he challenged FOX News’s Glenn Beck to a debate. The arch-liberal director known for his temper and the reactionary demagogue known for his conspiracy theories would, in theory, debate on political and environmental issues. Jeff Labrecque of Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch blog suggested that Cameron and Beck should instead fight it out in “Avatar’s exoskeletal AMP suits during halftime of the Super Bowl,” which really strays into OTI turf (DICK MOVE, LABRECQUE; YOU DON’T SEE US COVERING CELEBRITY GOSSIP, DO YOU?).

Question: We can all guess that Cameron’s next project will feature an obvious Glenn Beck stand-in who will die grotesquely, because that’s the sort of man Cameron is. What will the project be, who will play the Beck-alike, and how will he meet his end?

And finally, we doff our hats in memory of Robert Culp, who died of injuries sustained in a fall this week at the age of 79. A veteran TV and film actor, Culp was most famous for starring opposite Bill Cosby in “I SPY,” a high-budget espionage/action drama from the 60s. Episodes are still up on Hulu; you owe it to yourself to watch some of them. Sci-fi geeks might also recognize Culp from the Harlan Ellison-penned 1964 “Outer Limits” episode, “Demon with a Glass Hand” (AND YET ELLISON STILL LIVES; DAMN YOU CRUEL WORLD).

Robert Culp

Now that is badass.

Finally, a reminder that Overthinking It will be at PAX East, Penny Arcade’s Boston convention and expo, this very weekend! In fact, we might be there right now! As you read this! If you’re attending and want to say hi, send a tweet to Overthinking It.

Question: Are you attending PAX East? Well, are you?

Do you think Captain America (as played by Robert Culp) would appear on the Glenn Beck Show? Or do you have something else to pontificate about? Then sound off in the comments, for this is your … open thread.

19 Comments on “Open Thread for March 26, 2010”

  1. Heather #

    Personally I think the Glenn Beck-esque character should be incorporated into James Cameron’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. I haven’t had yet enough coffee to figure out how this would happen, but already this plot point is better than the actual novel. Renesme anyone?


  2. RiderIon #

    I’m surprised you didn’t bring up this week’s South Park episode which addressed the topic of obsenity in media as well as overthinking that media. I say that Trey Parker has called you guys out for giving the popular culture the attention it probably doesn’t deserve. Do I smell a rivalary brewing?


  3. Gab #

    1) Spider-Woman.

    2) Since he’s already in negotiations or whatever about more _Avatar_ movies, my guess is he’ll make Beck a fat preacher of some kind that is always naysaying the good guys. Then one of those huge dog things will jump out and grab him by the jugular. The original theatrical release will cut away to someone cringing as you hear the sounds of the guy being gnawed on, but the Director’s Cut will show five minutes of the feast, complete with blood and guts dripping from the creature’s teeth.

    3)Nope. I’ve *almost* gone to the PAX in Seattle three times in a row, but work and other things keep getting in the way… Sad.

    A number of shows restarted this month, or will start again really soon. _Lost_, of course, but also _Flash Forward_, _The Good Wife_, _Castle_, and _Dancing with the Stars_ are all ones I’ve watched so far. Am I the only one that saw Buzz “moonwalk” again?


  4. perich OTI Staff #

    @RiderIon: Trey Parker knows where to find us.

    @Gab: the “Dancing With the Stars” reboot was in the original draft of this post, but I cut it. It’d be neat if Buzz Aldrin won this season; I don’t see it as likely, though.


  5. Trevor #

    Glenn Beck vs. James Cameron is a lose-lose for America, because either way an egocentric control-freak comes out on top in the debate.


  6. Christopher #

    I’ll admit, I’m a little annoyed about the whole Chris Evans thing. I don’t mind him at all as an actor, and in fact think that he’s a decent (not great, but decent) choice to play the Cap. Rather, it annoys me that Marvel decided to recycle an actor that has already played a major Marvel superhero in recent history, right in the middle of their big push to create some kind of Marvel-movie-universe consistency/continuity.

    I know that actors sometimes cannot reprise their roles, or are switched for any number of reasons (see: War Machine) but to go into a fresh franchise and actively reuse the same actor just seems silly. First off, it eliminates any chance of overlap of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four without totally rebooting one of them (actually, a brief Google search just now confirmed they are rebooting the FF…. ugh). Also, the same actor in a similar role creates inevitable associations between the two characters that frequently take away from both, or at least the most recent (see Avatar/Clash of the Titans, Gladiator/Robin Hood, etc. etc.) – and let’s be honest, you hit it on the head with your assessment of him: Evans is a cocky goofball, Human Torch is a cocky goofball, and anyone not very familiar with Captain America is going to expect some cocky, erm, goofballery.

    That being said, forced to use him as an Avenger, I would have gone with Hawkeye.


  7. Jon Eric #

    I’m surprised you didn’t bring up this week’s South Park episode which addressed the topic of obsenity in media as well as overthinking that media. I say that Trey Parker has called you guys out for giving the popular culture the attention it probably doesn’t deserve. Do I smell a rivalary brewing?

    Not to bash OTI, but I seriously doubt if Trey Parker and Matt Stone have ever even heard of this site, let alone used an entire episode just to bash it. In fact, the tradition of bashing critics for reading too much into literature is far older than anyone here.

    And, I’m sure, older than that, even.


  8. RiderIon #

    @Jon Eric I was attempting to be humorous. However, the message of this week’s South Park was still a jab at the concept of Overthinking It, regardless of whether Parker and Stone are aware of the site.


  9. Darin #

    Robert Culp is none other than FBI Agent Bill Maxwell from the Greatest American Hero. Culp had a smile I’d pay to own plus he could camp it up with the best of them.


  10. Gab #

    @Perich: He’s painfully adorable.


  11. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    So The New York Times, for some reason, has printed an op-ed about the Dante’s Inferno video game, like six weeks late:
    Here’s what annoyed me. The article describes the epic poem as having an “extraordinarily juicy plot.” Um, no. I’d even go so far to describe the Divine Comedy as plotless, although I’m certain most scholars would smack me down.

    Resolved: the Divine Comedy is not a true epic poem, because it has no epic hero. It has a PROTAGONIST, but no hero. Fenzel, Wrather, care to bring it?


  12. Gab #

    @Belinkie: I dunno, doesn’t it pretty much fit all of the requirements of an epic laid out by Shelby Cobras in her piece for your site?

    I’ll be forthcoming and admit I’ve never read _Puragtorio_ or _Paradiso_, but from what I remember of _Inferno_ and understand about the other two, while he may not necessarily be acting heroic (in the fighting, slashing sense the game turns him into), he’s still going on the journey, confronting stuff, being given supernatural aid, etc.

    I *do* wonder why it took them so long to have the piece on the game, too. (And, coincidentally, the class in which I studied _Inferno_ was *almost* called “Go To Hell” by the profs, but they were told that was a bit too, ahem, risky. “GoING To Hell,” instead.) I still think I’d get it if I had a PS3.


  13. Jon Eric #

    From that NYT editorial:

    The risk is particularly acute when portraying divinity. Steven Spielberg’s dinosaurs are pretty scary, but have we ever seen a believable God on film? How fearsome is George Burns? How otherworldly is Morgan Freeman?

    Right around there, I got bored reading. Who says a portrayal of God has to match the predominant evangelical image (booming-voice, white-beard, flowing robes… kinda looks like Zeus)? I thought George Burns was a great God, and in fact, Oh, God had a lot to say about the very presumptions that dominate this article. Fie on it, I say.

    And hey, you know who played God just about perfectly? Alanis Morisette. Chew on that one for a little bit, eh?


  14. Iver #

    I think Chris Evans would play Hawkeye from the Avengers very well…oh wait…Hawkeye was from the West Coast Avengers wasn’t he?


  15. perich OTI Staff #

    @Iver: Hawkeye was a regular ol’ Avenger for a while, too.


  16. fenzel #


    The Divine Comedy isn’t plotless. It just has a boring plot where not much meaningful actually happens. In the Inferno, Dante meets Viril, bumbles into an entry to Hell, descends through the circles, coming across various people he recognizes, overcomes trivial obstacles, and descends through the ice that encases the belly of Satan to get to Mount Purgatory. It’s a plot, but I agree that it’s basically phoned in and doesn’t matter much. The other two are pretty much the same, but go in different directions — Purgatorio goes in circles, and Paradiso goes up. Yay.

    None of the plot is “juicy.” At all. I don’t know what book they’re reading. It has some “juicy” details, I guess, but they’re just window dressing, and they’re mostly just gory and politically mean-spirited, not sexy or anything. Very little about the Divine Comedy is sexy at all, especially since it’s written as a devotional poem to a dead woman Dante only knew when she was a child.

    But it is an epic. I’ll give them that much. It’s not the most epic of epics, but it fits the genre closely enough. Epics aren’t as dependent on epic heroes as tragedies are on tragic heroes — but Dante is pretty clearly the hero of the work, and it’s a foundational piece about half creating / half justifying the way a certain group of people think and live.

    So, yeah, basically, I agree with you Belinkie, but I’d pick 10% or 20% rather than 0% if I were rating how accurate the times is being in their description of the work.

    Chris Evans should play The Beyonder or a campy, ironic interpretation of Adam Warlock in an Infinity Gauntlet movie, fighting Michael Clark Duncan as Thanos.

    I was at PAX yesterday, kind of stealth-like, saw a staged reading of the play _Of Dice and Men_, which was really really good. See it if you have a chance.

    Then I learned how to play EPIC. Seemed decent. Lot of words that were changed a little so they didn’t infringe on Magic’s copyrights, but for little other reason, and the flavor is kind of all over the place, but I enjoyed it.


  17. fenzel #

    CORRECTION — Oh, right, neither the Beyonder nor Adam Warlock were Avengers, and you asked about Avengers. Right.

    But yes, Hawkeye was in the avengers once.

    And if Chris Evans has to play an Avenger, he should get a white dye job and play Quicksilver.


  18. Trevor #

    I understood the Inferno to be the first act in a three-act story, so of course it’s not gonna be as “action-packed”. It’s also something of a personal campaign on Dante’s part to have everyone who exiled him from his home city (Florence) turn up in Hell as punishment for what they did to him. Dante is observing, and occasionally commenting on, the denizens of Hell and providing something of a geography lesson. I remember being disappointed that, after all that build-up, Satan turns out to be merely a lazy three-mouthed beast that just kinda sits there and feeds on Brutus, Judas, and Cassius. It’s like seeing the zipper in the back of the monster costume; the biggest badass in history turns out to be little more than a variation on Jabba the Hutt.


  19. Megan from Lombard #

    I agree with Fenzel, Evans should play Quicksilver if he was in a Avengers movie. I said in the first Capt. America thread that I would like it John Barrowman was cast (I’m still going on a high from his ‘Desperate Housewives’ appearance), but at the same time I can see Evans playing an alright Capt…hopefully.

    However, like Christopher I’m surprised that they cast someone from ‘Fantasic Four’ to play the role when Marvel wants some kind of continuity going on for their movies.

    And on one last note, I was talking with my history professor about ‘Up’ and how much we both liked it. He asked me what the movie reminded me of and I instantly replied, ‘Paradise Lost?’ The professor was actually thinking of ‘Wall-E’ but was interested at to where I got that from so I introduced him to the site and told him to check it out!


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