Friday, May 15, 2009

Gone drinkin’

Thanks for taking the time to drop by Pop Culture A.D.D.

Feel free to have a look around and check out the archives on the right if you really need your fix of tongue-in-cheek pop culture news relating to Star Trek, comic books, Barack Obama, badass movie icons and, of course, Batman.

As for new content, that will just have to wait, as I’m off to the home of Tintin, French fries and Trappist beer (Belgium)...

I think it's time for a Westvleteren 12, Snowy!

...clogs, tulips and damn dirty hippies (The Netherlands)...

Damn dirty hippies. I hate them so much.
and the Nurburgring, ruthless efficiency and lederhosen (Germany).

aka The Promised Land.
Nobody spoil Terminator Salvation for me while I’m gone.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Star Trek: Worthy of the Iron Mantle?

On May 2nd, 2008, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man was unleashed upon the world and rocked its way to a $102 million opening weekend and a $318 million gross. Iron Man had more than a few things going for it… being a Marvel Studios picture… Jon Favreau’s honest love of the material… the mix of practical and digital effects… and, of course, Robert Downey Jr. However, the thing that really made it a hit was the simple fact that it was downright fun and wildly entertaining.

Just over a year later, I found myself once again leaving a movie theatre after seeing a downright fun, wildly entertaining movie. I wish I could say I was talking about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but we all know that is not the case and I must be referring to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek.

With its 96% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, I’m obviously not the only one who thought the new Star Trek was a hoot. Beyond the previously established level of fun and entertainment, Star Trek was primarily exciting with just the right amount of humour, sex appeal and emotional resonance to balance things out.

It should be pointed out that I am no Trekkie and didn’t have any baggage to deal with going in. I watched the original TV series a bit as a kid and recognized all the characters and knew just enough to appreciate the work Abrams, the writers and the cast and crew put into the movie. However, I didn’t know so much as to be rendered incapable of enjoying it for what it was… and certainly not so much that the movie made me “supremely irate” like it did to a certain unnamed friend (Stephanie).

Now that all the broad ideas and fine print are out of the way, Pop Culture A.D.D. is proud to present the Top-10 Reasons Why Star Trek Was Pretty Fuckin’ Cool:

10. It was like watching a shinier version of the original Star Wars.

Star Trek would have made $15 million more in its opening weekend if its ceremony included a wookie. That's a fact.
From the similarities between young Kirk and young Luke (in his staring out at the twin suns days) to the awards ceremony at the end, Star Trek borrowed more than a few beats from the original Star Wars, but that is no bad thing. Star Trek seemed a bit clichéd at times, but in the very best, most awesome way possible.

9. Zoe Saldana.

Thanks, Zoe. A whole new generation of geeky virgins now have unrealistic expectations of dorm life.
As Nyota Uhura, actress Zoe Saldana brought more than her fair share of eye candy to the screen. No doubt Trekkies around the world will be debating the relative merits of Saldana versus original Uhura, actress Nichelle Nichols, for years to come. Sadly, the conversations will be about her effectiveness as a communications officer.

8. “Fire everything!”

Mike Tyson is a pussy.
Basically, this is just to give props to actor Eric Bana’s performance as the big, bad Nero. Nero’s motivations and Bana’s bad-assery combined to make a villain worthy of the new crew’s maiden voyage.

7. Spock Prime.

The guy is even cool in 2D.
The presence of Leonard Nimoy was equal parts comforting and cool. Without going so far as to spoil the story or the plot elements that necessitate his presence, I will say I think the writers did a solid job re-booting the franchise while paying homage to everything that had happened beforehand.

6. Winona Ryder.

Welcome back, Winona! We missed your pixie ways!
Just like seeing Leonard Nimoy brought me back to my childhood, seeing Winona Ryder (as Spock’s human mother) brought me back to my adolescence. It’s not exactly a return to the glory days of Reality Bites and Edward Scissorhands, but she’s always welcome on screen if you ask me.

5. The U.S.S. Enterprise as a fetish object.

Somebody out there could make a fortune selling U.S.S. Enterprise-themed sex toys.
Seriously, the way the U.S.S. Enterprise was revealed and the way it was shot was obviously designed to give Trekkies geek-gasms. Chris Pine or Zoe Saldana could have done a nude scene and it wouldn’t have been shot with as much laughable reverence and style as the U.S.S. Enterprise.

4. John Cho putting down the bong and picking up the sword.

This is what the experts in the business like to call 'range'.
I’ve got nothing but love for Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. I still laugh about laughing so hard I woke up my wife the first time I saw the cheetah scene. That being said, it was totally cool to see John Cho kick a little Romulan ass.

3. The time machine that brought DeForest Kelley back.

1.21 gigawatts!
I see that IMDB lists actor Karl Urban as playing the young Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, but I’m pretty positive somebody invented a time machine and went back and got DeForest Kelley when he was in his 30s and forced him into being in the new Star Trek by pulling the old Marty McFly fry-your-brains-with-a-Walkman routine.

2. Kirk & Spock.

The only thing missing from 'Star Trek'? A Top Gun-esque volleyball scene.
The young Spock was more emotional and more sexual than I imagined him, but given the circumstances, it totally works. The young Spock was absolutely bang on… and not by mimicking the appearance or mannerisms of William Shatner, but by being fearless, cocksure, funny and charismatic. Welcome to movie stardom, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto; just try to stay away from the hookers and blow. (Also, when Kirk and Spock became friends at the end of the movie, I could hear Cartman singing “You guys are my best friends” in my head.)

1. BOOM & silence.

Star Trek: BOOM! Me: Tee hee!
“BOOM” is the theatre-shaking sound of the U.S.S. Enterprise going to warp speed and let me tell you, it was fucking awesome. I almost laughed out loud the first time it happened. Silence is the sound you’ll hear if you ever have the misfortune of getting sucked out into the vacuum of space. Both sounds effects helped make Star Trek as downright fun and wildly entertaining as it was.

Thanks, J.J. Abrams. Your Star Trek was awesome. Now go for a swim in your money, ala Scrooge McDuck.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dijongate (Seriously, America. Stop it right now.)

In his book The Audacity of Hope, now U.S. President Barack Obama wrote:

"What's troubling is the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics-the ease with which we are distracted by the petty and trivial.”

The petty and trivial distraction in question was his choice of cheeseburger condiment during a trip through Illinois. Apparently, after ordering Dijon for his burger at a T.G.I. Friday’s, a panicked political aide assured the waitress that Obama was mistaken and wanted good ol’ American yellow mustard instead.

Amazingly, Obama’s love of Dijon and America’s love of the petty and trivial has reared its ugly head again – this time with the added bonus of a media cover-up. At a well-publicized stop at a burger joint in Arlington, Virginia, earlier this week, Obama once again eschewed ketchup and yellow mustard in favour of the obviously unpatriotic and un-American Dijon.

Move over, French Fries, America has a new enemy.
To help the President maintain his street cred with Middle America, MSNBC apparently edited out Obama’s condiment faux pas. Not surprisingly, the team at Fox News has taken to the story like a rabid dog to a mailman, accusing Obama of being “fancy” and MSNBC of hiding it from the public.

Three things:

1. Fox News calling any other network to task for being biased is absolutely absurd. “Fox News” is an oxymoron. “Fox Propaganda”, “Fox Fear Mongering”, “Fox Conservative Opinion” or perhaps “Fox Comedy” would all be apt, but not Fox News.

2. All the power to you, Obama. If you want guacamole or Dijon or wasabi or whatever spice or condiment makes you happy, like Bobby Brown, that’s your prerogative. You’ve got enough on your plate without having to eat over-refined, bland food too. (Might I suggest horseradish Dijon next time… truly, a condiment worthy of a President.)

Yellow mustard is for pussies.
3. To those that are truly offended by Obama’s choice of condiment or are simply feigning offense to create a news story or satisfy a bloodthirsty, defeated, ultra-conservative fan base: look around you and grow the fuck up. The U.S. is fighting wars on multiple fronts, the economy is in shambles, the populace is scared to death of pigs and birds and terrorists and God knows what else by next week… try to show a little fucking restraint and make even a feeble effort to help make things better, not worse.

Obviously, this blog is dedicated almost entirely to things that are petty and trivial, so I’m in no real position to judge. That being said, even writing 2,500 words about Batman or Chewbacca seems perfectly sane and well-reasoned compared to the outpouring of small-minded craziness concerning Obama’s choice of condiment.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Things You Might Not Know Are Awesome But Totally Are: Batman: The Brave and The Bold

A Rube Goldberg machine is a complicated system that performs a simple task, usually through a chain reaction. Whether you know it by name or not, you’ve likely seen one in action… especially if you’ve had the good fortune of playing the board game Mouse Trap.

Getting shoe-horned into the back seat of a crappy baby-blue Mustang with my brother for seven hours to drive to Ottawa to visit my Grandma was always worth it because she had Mouse Trap.
It was my recent discovery of the awesomeness of Batman: The Brave and the Bold that got me thinking about Rube Goldberg machines. If not for an overly complicated series of events, I might not have experienced the simple, joyous end result of watching cartoon Batman punch a shark. This is how it all went down:

Saturday, April 25th, 10:00 a.m. – Go downtown to my favourite comic book store. Get exposed to every hobo germ downtown has to offer.

Sunday, April 26th, 12:00 p.m. – Develop sore throat. Decide to fight it. Take vitamins and drink mass quantities of O.J.

Tuesday, April 28th, 6:00 p.m. – Following two days at work surrounded by sick co-workers, succumb to the common cold.

Thursday, April 30th, 11:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. – Sleep awkwardly while trying not to breathe on my wife. At some point during the night, I cough or sneeze and hurt my back.

Friday, May 1st, 7:00 a.m. – Get out of bed like an old man. Back aching.

Friday, May 1st, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Sit all day at my desk in my crappy chair. Back seizes up. Barely able to walk at the end of the day. Resemble Frankenstein’s Monster (assuming he wore Dockers).

Friday, May 1st, 6:20 p.m. – While laying flat on my back in the living room, discover Teletoon’s Friday evening lineup. (Teletoon is Canada’s version of The Cartoon Network, for you non-hosers.)

Friday, May 1st, 7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Watch Batman: The Brave and the Bold, guest-starring Aquaman. Batman punches shark. Back is not sore. Everything is awesome. All is right with the world for 30 minutes.

Anyway, that is my long-winded, needlessly complex (Rube Goldbergian) way of sharing how I came to watch my first episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The show is based on the simple enough premise of Batman teaming up with a different hero every week… but what makes it so special is not its premise but its execution.

Let me try to explain its awesomeness with a little equation:

Iconic, Dick Sprang-inspired character designs +

Guardians of Gotham, by Dick Sprang = Awesome.
Old school, Adam West Batman sense of adventure and use of the word “chum” +

Not a flattering picture, old chum.
A little dose of Justice League-style respect for the DC Universe =

Look up 'lantern-jawed' in the dictionary and you'll see this image.
The little dose of cartoon happiness called Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Objects in image are awesomer than they appear.
So, in the end, I may have a herniated disc in my back, but at least I know that every Friday from 7:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., I’ll feel just fine.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Throwdown! Wolverine vs. Wolverines!

Technically, the first day of summer isn’t until June 21st, but if you’re a fan of popcorn movies, the first day of summer is today, May 1st. While the real seasons are based on solstices and astronomical definitions, to a geek, the seasons are defined by movie releases.

Fall is marked by the slew of Oscar-worthy fare… spring and winter are dumping grounds for lower-budget romances, comedies and the occasional gem of a less mainstream genre flick… but summer is that special time when a young geek’s mind turns to explosions, heroes, villains and all manner of mechanical and fantastical imagery.

This year, the summer movie season is kicked off today’s release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. To celebrate the semi-official start of summer and Wolverine’s return to the big screen after one great film (X2), one promising start (X-Men) and one silly romp (X-Men: The Last Stand), Pop Culture A.D.D. is proud to pit Wolverine against wolverines, with the winner earning the right to use the name with pride.

Let’s meet the contestants!

Wolverine (also known as Logan or James Howlett)

Black leather is for pussies. Real men wear bright yellow spandex.
Wolverines (also known as Gulo gulo or G. g. luscus)

Wolverines: Beaten by God's ugly stick since before you were born.
And with that, let’s get it on!


Wolverine first appeared in the final teaser panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 (October, 1974) and made his real debut in the following issue, battling the Hulk on behalf of the Canadian government.

Records of wolverines in the Upper Midwest United States show they pre-date human settlement in the area.

Look out, Hulk! He's all feral and pointy!
Advantage: Wolverine! (Pre-dating the dawn of man is one thing, but going toe-to-toe with the Hulk your first time out puts you on a whole different level.)


Wolverine is a short, stocky Caucasian male with brown fur covering his arms and frequently-exposed chest as well as large sideburns and upturned, mustache-waxed hair. Perhaps most distinctively, Wolverine has retractable Adamantium claws. He has been known to give off the odour of beer, cigars and machismo, giving rise to the nickname “my uncle from Canada”.

Wolverines are stocky and muscular animals, with sharp claws, strong jaws and long, dense, brown fur with stripes of dull yellow along the sides. In appearance, wolverines resemble small bears with a long tails. They have been known to give off a very strong, extremely unpleasant odor, giving rise to the nickname "skunk bear".

From the 'Donna loses her virginity in Steve's Corvette' deleted scene.
Advantage: Wolverine! (Sideburns can make all the difference in the world, right Brandon Walsh and Dylan McKay?)


Wolverine tends to communicate through primitive grunts and short verbal outbursts often involving the use of the word “bub”. As a sign of intense aggression or self defense, Wolverine will often just rely upon the following simple sound to communicate his emotions: “snikt”.

Wolverines communicate through vocalizations and scent marking. Chemical communication is accomplished via scent marking with urine and abdominal rubbing. Although wolverines have well developed anal musk glands, musking appears to be used primarily as a fear-defense mechanism.

Wolverine is like 140 years old, just be thankful he doesn't call everybody 'whipper snapper'.
Advantage: Wolverine! (Well-developed anal musk glands are all well and good, but can’t compete with “bub” or “snikt”.)


Having lived since the 19th century, Wolverine has had more than his fair share of time to make friends and enemies. Despite the fact that he is often thought of as a loner, Wolverine also joins more teams and makes more guest appearances than a hyperactive sorority girl and Martha Stewart combined. Consider every hero in the Marvel Universe his friend and every villain his enemy.

Unlike their comic-book counter-part, wolverines tend to keep a pretty low profile and can often be found alone or in pairs during mating season. Wolverines have no natural predators but consider pretty much anything with a heartbeat to be their enemy or a possible source of food.

Marvel Comics: Where Wolverine is in EVERYTHING.
Advantage: Wolverine! (Sorry, wolverines, but being a ferocious, carnivorous little son of a bitch tends to lessen your social circle.)


Beyond the aforementioned claws, Wolverine also possesses an Adamantium-laced skeleton; super-human senses, strength, agility, stamina, reflexes and longevity; as well as a regenerative healing capacity that basically means the only way to kill him would be to chop off his head and FedEx it half way around the world. Finally, Wolverine has been known to break into song and dance, but only for the Oscars.

Wolverines are remarkably strong for their size and have been known to kill prey as large as moose. Armed with powerful jaws, sharp claws and thick hides, wolverines may defend kills against larger or more numerous predators and have been known to harass and attempt to intimidate wolves and cougars.

Cougars: The REAL most dangerous prey.
Advantage: Wolverines! (Harassing cougars can be dangerous business, as any nightclub bouncer would know.)


Wolverine: 4
Wolverines: 1

Congratulations to our hairy Canadian champion, Wolverine! Have fun kicking off the summer movie season and disappointing fan-boys everywhere, Wolvie!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tips for a Box-Office Bonanza!

If you’ve followed Pop Culture A.D.D. for long, you probably know what I think of The Wire and The Office and, in turn, actor Idris Elba. That is, they are awesome.

Real name: Idris Elba. Forever to be known as: Stringer Bell.
Normally, I wouldn’t pay much attention to a low-budget version of Fatal Attraction cast with African American actors and one crazy (albeit hot) white lady. However, when one of those actors is Elba (forever to be known as Stringer Bell), it tends to catch my eye, as was the case with the trailers for Obsessed. Here, check out the trailer for yourself.

Ok, whether or not it was your cup of tea, you have to admit it looks kind of trashy and possibly fun in an awful, so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. However, there are apocryphal (read: most likely made up) rumours that the original title of the movie was different… very different.

Despite the fact that Obsessed did pretty darn good numbers at the box office in its opening weekend, I have to say, I think this original title would have helped it tack on another $10 million.

Now, play back the trailer in your mind. Picture the photo with the face cut out… picture Ali Larter exposing herself in the car… picture the fight with BeyoncĂ© Knowles. Now, instead of the title “Obsessed” coming up after those images, imagine the title was:

Oh No She Didn’t

She What? Oh no she didn't!

That, my friends, is what you call crossover appeal and box-office gold.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pop Culture A.D.D. Presents: Whaaaaaaaaaaa?

Every once in a while, someone in the public eye says something so outlandish or bizarre that you just have to take a moment to stop, shake your head and exclaim “Whaaaaaaaaaaa?”

Nobody does it better.

Obviously, actors, writers, directors and producers – basically, anyone who has ever worked in Hollywood for a day in their lives – offer up their astonishingly curious insights with alarming regularity. That being said, if you really want to come face to face with crazy, look no further that professional athletes.

Between the endless positive reinforcement of virtually any behavior (dog fighting excepted, of course, right Mr. Vick?), the language barriers, the ridiculous entourages, the slang, the money and the removal from normal society, athletes can be a treasure trove of the bizarre.

Without further adieu, Pop Culture A.D.D. is proud to present the following quote:

"Well, I try not to eat the lady… I try not to eat the man! Just give me the car. I try to find the car. Worst case scenario, I eat the lady."

Once you get the inevitable “Whaaaaaaaaaaa?” out of the way, you’re mind will no doubt be reeling, incapable of recognizing the meaning in this absurd, pseudo-sexual words. Fear not, that is the normal reaction to reading quotes from athletes.

The quote in question was given in one of the three following contexts:

1st: New York Jets draft pick and quarterback Mark Sanchez, during his post-draft interview, trying to diplomatically answer questions about exploring the swingers’ lifestyle in college parking lots.

2nd: Houston Rockets forward Ron Artest, after eating Flintstones vitamins during a radio interview and being asked whether he looks to see which Flintstone he is eating.

3rd: New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, after being asked if he’d join teammate Alex Rodriguez and his rumoured girlfriend, Madonna, in a threesome if they bought him the first Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Sadly, the world of pro sports is bizarre enough that all three answers could seem plausible if you spend enough time reading athlete interviews. However, only the third context is correct and shows just how highly anticipated the new Rolls-Royce is in the sports world.

Rolls-Royce: We build cars so awesome you'd consider going down on Madonna for one.
(Just kidding, of course. The proper context is second, meaning the quote comes from certified fan-puncher Ron Artest. Way to keep up that strength, Ron.)