Open Thread for January 13, 2012

It’s Friday the 13th! Don’t fall asleep, or Freddy Kruger gets inside your thread.

It’s Friday the thirteenth, Overthinkers! And because your luck is bad, I’m filling in for your regular thread-opener, Perich.

First of all, have you ever researched (read: looked up on Wikipedia) the origin of Friday the 13th? So sayeth the oracle:

The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”). The latter word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.

In OTI news, I’ve closed the polls for OTI Reader’s Choice 2011, and the winners are The Economics of Death Star Planet Destruction (by a large margin) and Beauty and The Beast’s Dark Delusion in the guest post category. Congratulations to Peter Gross, that post’s author, on his good timing, since…

Disney is releasing a 3D conversion of Beauty and the Beast. Given the astronomical return this strategy yielded them for The Lion King, I think we can suspect many more of these. Are you planning to… wait for it… be their guest?

We haven’t been featuring movie releases, lately (what movie releases?), so let’s delve into those hoping that our Friday the 13th luck will change.

Nope! During this dreary winter season, the movie industry takes a break from aiming at box office (as they do in summer, which these days runs from March until September) or prestige and awards eligibility, as in the fall. So the business is putting out the trash, and this week we get the Dolly Parton/Queen Latifah church choir sports movie Joyful Noise. It also Stars Kris Kristofferson, who has done much stronger work in the past.

And after a Wahlberg-less 2011 following huge artistic success in The Fighter, the artist formerly known as Marky returns to the big screen in Contraband. To me, the most remarkable thing about this trailer is the characters’ ingenious use of duct tape.

Apparently, he didn’t hear Kevin Antoine Dodson’s advice: “Hide your kids. Hide your wife.”

So instead of going to the movies, why don’t you put our service the test? Sound off in the comments, for this is your… Open Thread.

15 Comments on “Open Thread for January 13, 2012”

  1. Mark #

    That’s the first time I’ve seen that trailer. Apparently, the wife and kids guy has no time for smugglers who drop their shipments at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser. All I’m saying is that Marky Mark better shoot first…


  2. Gab #

    I go back and forth on whether Whalberg is actually a good actor or not. His films are (usually) entertaining, at worst, if not better, so I see no reason to think this one will be bad, per se.

    I do think I may end up seeing Beauty and the Beast, but we’ll see. I know I’m one of the saps Disney is targeting for cashflow when they do stuff like rerelease movies. They announced Finding Nemo will also get a 3D refinish- I saw that one three times in theaters originally. Ahem.

    On a different note, though, numerous second-hand sources online this week say Nickelodeon announced on MTV’s Dutch website The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra listed as getting released this fall. The show itself is far off, but the announcement is exciting, at least for me. And I believe a few other readers (and official site members) are fond of the original series, so yeah. Yay!

    Oh, and it was announced alongside promise of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, too. That one, I’m meh about- another reboot? Le sigh…


    • fenzel #

      I defintiely think Mark Wahlberg is a good actor. While he doesn’t tend to play subtle characters, the characters are subtly different from each other, and he communicates them vividly.

      Take his character in The Departed — really cool, specific character who manages complex relationships while appearing to be very simple. He’s a bit silly, but really, the whole movie is a bit silly, from the music to the transitions to the romance to the fantastical scope and timing of the crime drama. It is based on melodrama and is melodrama itself. I greatly enjoy it and think it’s great, but it’s not the most serious movie you will ever see.

      It’s because of stuff like this that I prefer Mark Wahlberg in comedy. He’s great in _Date Night_, the Tina Fey / Steve Carell vehicle, playing a character who has to do and be a whole lot of things at once, while also being funny.

      Wahlberg stars in _Ted_ a Seth Macfarlane comedy set to come out this year, filmed largely in Greater Boston – I stood outside for hours to watch a shoot earlier this year — full recreation at a movie theatre of the original opening night of the Phantom Menace. That movie looks not to be an artstic game-changer or anything, but I bet it’ll be fun. It’s about a kid who wishes for his teddy bear to talk – and by magic his wish comes true – and then what happens 30 years later when he still hangs out with his talking teddy bear all the time.

      Wahlberg is very funny in Boogie Nights, too. He’s funny in most of his serious roles. Maybe that’s his greatest talent as an actor – being funny or outlandish without breaking the reality of what his character sincerely wants or reflecting too deep a self-awareness onscreen of his characters’ silliness. He’s funny, but he doesn’t clown.

      And the best-written dramatic movies are often surprisingly funny, so I’m looking forward to him aging out of the action star roles a bit and broadening the stuff he does.


    • Leigh #

      There’s a bunch of outtakes from Boogie Nights which were originally meant to showcase what a bad actor Dirk Diggler was. My logic is that for Dirk to be that bad, Mark Wahlberg has to be really good. He doesn’t always get attached to the best projects, but he’s a very competent actor, who nails it when he does get a good role.


      • Gab #

        (And this is appliccable to Fenzel, as well)

        I think what you said about the projects he’s attached to is why I sometimes question his acting. I’ll admit I’m not very… sophisticated… in my capabilities of critique and compartmentalization, and sometimes I just can’t get past a terrible script. Like The Happening or Max Payne. Although, now that I think about it, I had been highly looking forward to both of those (the former because I wanted Shymalan to actually do a good job, and the latter because I love the video game), so perhaps my let-down with the overall films clouds my judgment of Wahlberg sometimes. Bah, rambling, but I guess my point is my skills in review aren’t as good as they should be.

        And I do like him, quite a bit. I’ve had a special place in my heart for him since I saw him sing “Achy Breaky Heart.”


        • Howard #

          I definitely don’t immediately think of Wahlberg as a great actor, but he’s actually put together a very good resume. I remember the stinkers, like the Planet of the Apes remake or The Happening, but he’s also put in quality performances in The Departed and Three Kings. In movies I haven’t seen, I’ve heard that he was very good in The Fighter and Boogie Nights. I read an article recently that made the case for his roles in I Heart Huckabees and The Yards (neither of which I’ve seen).

          Compare that to Matt Damon, who I would think of as a better actor off the top of my head. But how many really great roles has he had? Good Will Hunting, I suppose The Departed…True Grit? Syriana? The Informant? The Talented Mr. Ripley? I really liked him in Contagion, I guess. On the other hand, I’ve never seen Damon in a movie that was out-and-out terrible, so that counts for something. It may just be that Wahlberg needs a good script/director to really pull out a good performance.


        • Pasteur #

          Matt Damon does do an excellent job in Ripley and both Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve.

          Should Damon’s breathtakingly funny role in Entourage be attributed to him, or Wahlberg?


  3. Megan from Lombard #

    The CW is apparently wanting to try and build it’s comic book cred again since the station is getting close to ordering a pilot script for a ‘Green Arrow’ series (casting a new Oliver as well). I for one think this is a horrible move because it’ll most likely follow in the steps of ‘Smallville’ (and pretty much every show on the station) where it’s one teen wangst plotline after another while throwing in only enough Arrow mythos to keep the fans of the comics happy.


    • cat #

      I think any good supernatural/superhero series is more about the characters and metaphors and less about the magic. Eventually with a series, the spectacular qualities are going to become familiar and less impressive. But then again, I stopped watching Smallville a long time ago when I realized Clark wasn’t going to end up with Chloe. (Allison Mack really would have made a better Lana than the actual Lana they cast.)

      I think a lot of the angst came from the lack of motivation. Clark really had very few goals or longterm obstacles so most of the drama ended up being about chasing the girl or struggling against his destiny. But then again, yeah, I wouldn’t expect much from this new series. The CW has a very clearly defined demographic and they don’t stray from providing programming specially for that demographic very often. Though the shows seem pretty diverse, Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, ANTM, 90210…they’re all pretty angsty.


      • Genevieve #

        To be fair, Smallville was working with some pretty weak material for televised serialization. Following Clark as a young teenager is pretty much the ONLY angle that *can* make Superman interesting, because all teenagers have that particularized teenage angst, even if they’re the Man of Steel. I stopped watching a few years in, I think as soon as he left home for the first time (the whole red kryptonite storyline) because once he started to become his own person and age out of the true teenage issues, he became fully as uninteresting as Superman always has been. As you point out, he “had very few goals or longterm obstacles,” which is, ultimately, the fundamental problem with the entire Superman franchise.

        Green Arrow, on the other hand, does not suffer the ignominy of perfection, and thus actually might stand a chance as a TV character. I’m interested, anyway.

        (PS – I haven’t had a physical television in quite some time. For some reason, I had assumed that the CW was basic cable… but now I’m wondering – is “the CW” what became of “the WB”??)


        • Gab #



  4. Howard #

    I know we don’t do a lot of comics talk on OTI, but I want to recommend Daytripper, by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. It’s a story about a Brazilian man named Bras de Oliva Domingos. The total run is 10 issues, with each issue mostly taking place in a single day of Bras’ life, jumping around from year to year, focusing on important events in his life. For example, one issue takes place on the day his first child is born, another on an important day for him professionally, etc etc. There’s a weird framing device in which Bras dies at the end of every issue, with a short obituary that highlights the particular aspect of his life that issue focused on.

    It’s available as a collection on Amazon (as well as on the waffles), and if you read it, I would definitely recommend reading it all together. I was personally very moved by it.


  5. Fasih Rehman #

    ‘ingenious use of duct tape’ quite, getting the tape off is going to be a very painful. Lets hope this catches on in real life. Should make catching a few criminals post crimes in the A&E a bit easier.


  6. Mike Senders #

    Just tell Stokes to finish up Cowboy Bebop!!


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