It’s no secret that we here at To-Ag Studios enjoy us some movies – good, bad, and otherwise. Now, while we all have varying and discerning tastes, there are those actors, actresses, and directors that no matter what project they attach themselves too, we absolutely cannot pass up. Join us this week as we discuss the entertainers that make us give them all of our money, whether we like it or not. Check your brain fluid, beware of mutant fish, and kill those hipsters on sight as you settle in for a brand new episode of Monkey in the Cage!
The time has finally come! It’s been more than a decade since Peter Jackson took the world to Middle-earth for the first time, and now he’s gone and done it again. Don’t let that there awesome Spider-man print there fool you, this is a very Hobbit-y discussion, but we just happen to have a little contest thrown in! We’re joined this week by artist/illustrator extraordinaire, Dennis Salvatier, to discuss all things awesome about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey! Bring your Dwarf-love, skip that second breakfast, and study up on your riddles as you get ready to join us on our journey from The Shire to The Misty Mountains on a brand new episode of Monkey in the Cage!
In less than six weeks, any geek worthy of the name should and will begin flocking to theaters worldwide to return to Peter Jackson’s vision of the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to immerse themselves in the first of not one, not two, but three films! Not only are these movies destined to be blockbusters, there are going to be downright epic and I’m going to tell you why.
With the meteoric success of The Walking Dead and the subsequent weekly zombie vacuum left on Sunday nights, we here at the podcast (and most everyone else out there in pop-culture land) can’t seem to get enough of the rotting, cannibalistic dead come to f*ck up the humdrum routine of society. Joining us this week are two very special guests – actor/writer and voice of Red Dead Redemption’sBill Williamson, Steve J. Palmer as well as comic artist Guy LeMay, creator of Z-Blade XX,Zombie Headhunter, and The Entity Knights – as we discuss zombie movies, games, and the genre in general. Stock up on supplies, shine up your bullets, and pay attention because you’re going to want to change your zombie apocalypse plan after listening to this week’s episode of Monkey in the Cage!
I love the new year. My type A, OCD-addled personality loves how perfect January 1st looks on the calendar. We all have resolutions, even if you’re the type of person who doesn’t “believe” in them, it’s a great time to set some goals and make some improvements. So here are my geek-related resolutions for the new year!
Go To the Movies
I can’t tell you the last time I went to the movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the movies it’s just hard to get out. However, with so many awesome geek movies on the horizons we are going to have to sneak away once a month or so. Here’s my Top 3 Must-Sees:
The Avengers coming May 4, 2012:
Batman: The Dark Knight Rises coming July 20, 2012:
The Hobbit coming December 14, 2012:
Play More Games
It must be noted that this does not mean buy more games. We have a walk-in closet chock full of awesome games that have yet to be played! Here’s my Top 3 Must-Plays:
I loved Battleship as a kid and when I saw this new variation of the game I immediately impulse-bought it! I wanted to get my Captain Maul Mal on but the guys seemed meh about the whole thing. So lack of interest and wait for it… laziness sent this one to the shelf o’ “how long have we had that game!?”
When I first heard of this series my inner voice yelled, “Didn’t you learn anything from Twilight!? Don’t believe the hype!” But I quickly quieted that voice and hopefully clicked the purchase button. I am about five chapters into the first book and so far I am liking it! Katniss Everdeen is no Bella Swan and that alone makes this series far superior to Stephenie Meyers’ dreck.
I own all four hardcover volumes of this series: Welcome to Lovecraft, Head Games, Crown of Shadows, and Keys to the Kingdom but just haven’t found the time to read them. When I first started hearing buzz about this series I was very intrigued. It’s written by Stephen King’s son and that makes him a legacy in my book. I picked up World War Z for a similar reason and Max Brooks impressed the hell of me. It was also optioned for a television series on FOX and although it didn’t get picked up (much to my dismay) Cryptozoic is making a board game based on the series this year.
When I heard that this book was originally conceived during a NaNoWriMo project I knew I had to pick it. Writers write whether it’s National Novel Writing Month or not but I like the idea of setting aside a special time to chase that manuscript that is always rattling around in my head. Erin Morgenstern did just that and I am beyond curious to see what she came up with. Oh, and Matt, I know you got your hopes up but it’s not a sequel to Night Train.
So, fellow geeks resolve along with me to get some checks on that old to-do list! What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2012?
Marking the passage of time as an adult is a tricky thing. As children, school provided great markers; summer, holidays, going on to the next grade. But as adults, time has a way of slipping by. Last Monday marked the 10 year anniversary of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’s theatrical release. Ten years!? Can you believe it? I know, let us take a moment to mourn the loss of our youth…
That's what she said?
OK, be forewarned this is the part where I start to get sappy and a little serious so if you have an aversion to real human emotion stop reading now.
I think back 10 years to the person I was then and the struggles I faced. I was 21 years old and battling thyroid cancer. As you can imagine, I faced a plethora of emotions… most of which were lamenting my lot in life and questioning, “why me?” I was too young for this, I was at the beginning of my adult life. By December of 2001 I was five months out of radiation, thankful to be done with the worst year of my life but still frightened that the cancer could come back.
Months prior we learned that Peter Jackson was making The Lord of the Rings into a trilogy of movies. We were excited beyond belief. Nerds everywhere were rejoicing in what was sure to become their all-time favorite movie. I still remember seeing a teaser trailer of the Fellowship walking through a passage single file, each character being revealed slowly… yeah, it gave me the chills.
We all went to see the movie together on opening night. I loved every second of it. Especially the part when the Fellowship was making their way through the Mines of Moria when this exchange happened:
Frodo: Wahh! Gandalf: Cork it, short-stuff!
Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us…
And it spoke directly to me. I was wishing that the cancer never happened. I was wishing that I could be as carefree as my friends. But it wasn’t of my choosing. It happened to me. The End. It was now up to me to make the best of my situation and go one living my life.
Is it a bit cheesy that a line from a fantasy movie helped change my entire outlook on life? Sure. Was it profound? Absolutely. Lord of the Rings has represented more than just an amazing story and an awesome movie franchise for me. It reminds me of a time when I wasn’t sure what was to become of me. It also reminds me that I have my very own Fellowship of friends that would, and have, travel through Mordor to Mount Doom with me.
Where does that leave me now? I celebrated ten years cancer-free a month after the birth of my first child this year. I am lucky and I am grateful.