(This one stands alone, kids!)
2006 was a Super year for Superman fans. With one huge, theatrical movie featuring the Man of Steel released and a critically acclaimed biopic about Superman actor George Reeves, Big Blue hasn't seen this much exposure since he "died" in the pages of DC Comics back in 1993.
Naturally, this culminated in a big, Corellian DVD release of every Superman film in the series in a DVD set called the Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition. This featured two versions of Superman: The Movie, two versions of Superman II, loaded versions of Superman III and Superman IV (the latter of which featured enough deleted scenes to make another movie... that nobody would want to see), the original George Reeves Superman and the Mole Men feature Film, the unsold children's pilot Superpup, Bryan Singer's indulgent video diaries, Superman Returns, a number of documentaries, every episode of the '40's Superman cartoons (Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios), screen tests, audio tracks, theatrical trailers and introductions all spanning no less than fourteen discs.
But the red-Kryptonite step-child of the series was Supergirl: The Movie, 1984's theatrical flop deemed to be so risky that Warner Brothers (owner of DC Comics, who owns the Supergirl character) refused to release the film. A big, if dubious, victory was achieved in 2006 when Warners regained distribution rights to the film and released it on DVD... alone... as in, not in the 14 disc ultimate collection.
The film that made the least money and probably needed the ultimate help was deemed capable of standing alone. Adventures of Superpup, featuring midgets in dog costumes, including our lead character "Bark Bent" got the Ultimate DVD Release... Supergirl... Not worthy!
When I saw Unbreakable in the theatre, I was stunned. I immediately said that this was one of my favorite films, though most people wouldn't get it. After The Sixth Sense, I couldn't believe he did it again. Many disliked it.
Signs... The Village... good, regardless of what anybody else thought. Then there's Lady in the damned Water! Disney, a long time Shyamalan ally, refused to produce the film, so Warners (see above) stepped up to the plate, hoping for a slice of the pie ol' Night made for his former studio.
The result was a well-intentioned, yet self-indulgent "fairy tale" that might have been completely obscure and inexplicable if it wasn't so obvious and trite. Oh, there's beauty there, and the man still has skill with the camera... but Lady in the Water is most certainly all wet. A filmic towel fight. HELLO!!!
(Show him the way!)
Peter Frampton has released the all-time best-selling live album (a double-album, no less). He's not only a great guitarist, but a singer and songwriter in The Heard, Humble Pie and a number of solo albums.
This is why Fingerprints, Frampton's 2006 release is a major "What The Eff You See Kay?" moment! On an album with such guest stars as Chad Cromwell, Matt Cameron and Frampton's regular Bassist John Regan and a remake of "Black Hole Sun" (from Cameron's band Soundgarden), one would expect this to be a hell of an album and a great feature for Frampton's voice.
Instead we get an all-instrumental, by-the-numbers album that sounds like a strange cross between your standard "New Age" easy listening fare and Elevator Muzak. By no means is this a "bad" album, but it's such a strange inclusion in Frampton's long and classic career that one simply must say "HELLO!!!"
(Why didn't this SoaP Box Office Soar?)
Inexplicably, I can't think of a fourth entry. Make up your own.
Ah, forget you guys, let's talk about Snakes on a Plane! Snakes on a Plane had a rare buzz surrounding it like a major franchise film of the caliber of Star Trek, Star Wars, Spider-Man or James Bond. The footnote here is that there was no comic book to provide the fan base, no 40 year old Spy Classic to feed the fire, no rich mythology to entrance the public and no decades-long Convention-spawned geekdom to prop it up. All it had... was a surprisingly simple name!
Still, the fan buzz was incredibly strong, spawning a viral campaign that put Snakes on a Plane on the lips of moviegoers months before its release. All signs pointed to a huge hit outside of conventional wisdom.
Conventional Wisdom gets the Kewpie Doll this time around. Although SoaP was the #1 movie in its opening weekend, and most assuredly made its money back, it was far from the Blair Witch crucifying, ultra-blockbuster that New Line Cinema had anticipated (and, in fact, had filmed new scenes for, taking ideas from fan sites). As a film, SoaP was certainly "Pretty Good" and about what one might expect from a title like that one. However, disappointing returns have caused a film that was technically profitable to be viewed as a failure. Anticipations of an opening weekend of at least Twenty Million Dollars (with staying power) were dashed when the $15.5 Million in receipts came back. The second weekend, SoaP's take dropped by almost sixty percent, putting it out of the top five. The press (especially the entertainment press) went from cheerleading to hope-dashing almost immediately (although the reviews were primarily positive for a film of this kind) and played the film out to be a major disappointment financially, which it literally was... a "Disappointment", not a "Flop".
In truth, the film's budget was around Thirty-Three Million dollars. With the almost Sixty Million dollar theatrical take, plus DVD sales, the film still looks good on paper (in short, it's not the shocking travesty that Serenity's failure was [see last year's WTF entry]). However, with this much free publicity, built in fandom and drum-rolling anticipation, one simply has to scream "HELLO!!!"
(Have you SEEN any Sci-Fi Shows, sir?)
Riding on the Coat Tails of The Summer of Horror, I launched Operation: Sci-Fall, "An Autumnal Festival of the Fantastical". Though it carried with it a humorous composite picture and started out well enough, the Sci-Fall ran into issues during the month of October (supposedly the "Borg Month") and quickly slowed down.
The month of November (keep in mind, Sci-Fall was only three months long) contained absolutely no Science Fiction reviews whatsoever, and was, in fact, yet another showcase for more music reviews and self-effacing Drinking Binge stories to compliment the continuing Adventures of Lynelle and J.C. It started looking a lot like "Operation Drunk Musical"!
As Operation: Sci-Fall came to a close, a hastily thrown in Robocop review was thrown up there just before Christmas, along with Time of the Apes, essentially because I didn't want my cool picture to be a false advertising liar. As the Fall came to a close, I had racked up 23 new Sci-Fi reviews, as opposed to The Summer of Horror's 55 new Scary reviews. Unlike The Summer of Horror, this contained no new CLASSICS (aside from Star Wars, if you count that) and few real delves into the major Sci-Fi franchises (except Star Trek).
Ironically, this didn't hurt readership, which remained steady. Apparently for all my time off to work out and hit concerts, the readers weren't particularly turned off. I guess nobody cares whether I'm pumping iron or pumping irony. Hello!!!
The pilot episode/ TV Movie still hasn't been made available on DVD in the United States, and neither has Season 2!
It just STILL pisses me off, that's all! Goodbye!!!