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Sly fox…

Hi guys. Firstly, thanks and welcome to new patron Felreign, a recurring villain in Marvel’s Eternals in the nineteen eighties. Fans would always look forward to his team-ups with main villain Ghaur, which would always result in Felreign betraying him, leaving Ghaur shaking his fist impotently and screaming “CURSE YOU FELREIGN!”

Also, my brother Dónal has a new music video out and it’s absolutely awesome. Check it out.

Why do we Irish drink so much? Foxes and peer pressure. Now you now.

Bill Maher on the death of Santa Claus

The guy who, for millennia, has flown around the world every Christmas to give presents to small children out of the goodness of his heart is dead, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, give each other gifts, I guess. Someone on Reddit posted, “I’m so incredibly grateful I lived in a world that included Santa Claus.” Personally, I’m grateful I lived in a world that included oxygen and trees, and an entertainment industry where you can become a millionaire despite looking like your face was dunked in batter by an angry spouse, but to each his own. Now, I have nothing against gifts – I was given them now and then when I was a kid and I had kept my promise to stop torturing the dog. But the assumption everyone had back then, both the adults and the kids, was that gifts were for kids, and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy things like cocaine and never getting married because that’s a form of slavery.

But then two thousand years or so ago, something happened – adults decided they didn’t have to give up kid stuff. And so they pretended that gifts were actually something that grown up people give each other to express human emotions like gratitude and friendship and love. And because America has over 4,500 colleges – which means we need more professors than we have smart people – some dumb people got to be professors by writing theses with titles like All of the Other Reindeer-Rudolf as a metaphor for exclusion in the LGBT community. And now when adults are forced to do grown-up things like buy auto insurance, they call it “adulting,” and act like it’s some giant struggle.

This is all Santa Claus’ fault somehow.

I’m not saying we’ve necessarily gotten stupider although we definitely have and I, Bill Maher, am very smart and would make an excellent king. The average Joe is smarter in a lot of ways than he was in, say, the years before Santa Claus, when a big night out was dying of dysentry and a Carmen Miranda musical. The problem is, we’re using our smarts on stupid stuff.

I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks Santa Claus was important, and as an entitled white male who’s constantly been rewarded for being a loud-mouthed asshole with ever greater money fame and influence I think I know what I’m talking about . I mean, Santa Claus? What’s he ever done for anybody? Has he embodied the worst caricatures of the liberal elite by basically embodying the Token Evil Atheist from a Left Behind movie? Has he aided the cultural polarisation of an entire nation?

Fuck Santa Claus, I hope he burns.

“No resurrections this time.”

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Every so often in superhero comics, a character will come along who is so ground-breakingly original, so instantly arresting, that they become an archetype. The obvious example is Superman. Supes shows up in 1938, and creates an entire genre. Every “Cape” type superhero follows in Superman’s footsteps, every “Cowl” has a bit of Batman (who, it must be said, got that bit from Zorro). Got an angsty teenage super-hero with real world problems the audience can relate to? Cut Stan Lee and Steve Ditko a check. When it comes to superheroes there are the archetypes, and the rest are copycats. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. As I mentioned before, Black Panther, Daredevil and Moon Knight are all derived from Batman but manage to put a different enough spin on the archetype to be great characters in their own right.

And the villains have their archetypes too. And no villain casts a longer shadow in comics than the master of Apokolips, DARKSEID.

Who is DARKSEID? Fool. DARKSEID is.

See?

Jack Kirby spent much of his career in comics attempting to create a new American mythology with all new pantheons of gods and heroes. In DARKSEID, he created his Satan, a brooding, pitiless tyrant who can never truly be defeated because he is evil itself. DARKSEID is an archetype, and you don’t have to look far to find his descendants across all comic book companies big and small.

Oh what? You think I’m not going to use this to plug my own work? You must be confusing me with someone who has shame.

The most blatant (and admitted) rip off of DARKSEID is, of course, Marvel’s Thanos. He’s also the most interesting.

Whereas DARKSEID cares for nothing but himself, Thanos is usually depicted as something of a romantic, devoted utterly to the woman of his dreams. Unfortunately, the woman in question is Death itself whom Thanos tries to woo by eradicating as many of the living as possible. There is a kind of primordial mythic scope to that which I love. I mean, imagine you get transported thousands of years into the past and you got adopted by a local tribe and they asked you to tell them one of the stories of your people. And, as you crouch around the campfire, you tell the tale of the great giant Thanos who so loved death herself that he killed half of everything that lived to woo her, and still she spurned him.

That’s the kind of story cavemen would tell each other. It feels ancient and epic. It’s deep shit man.

And of course, that is the element that the producers of the MCU decided to do away with. Now, I’m on record as predicting that the whole MCU project was going to come a cropper because it was building to a final confrontation with Movie!Thanos and that he was a boring character, an awful villain and a terrible lover.

So. Here we are.

“Quit stalling.”

Yes, I was obviously wrong (uuuuugh what is this sensation I don’t like it) but, in my defence, I do still think that Guardians of the Galaxy completely mishandled Thanos. I just didn’t reckon with the Russo Brothers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely pulling out the mother of all salvage jobs. Cards on the table, Infinity War is by far my favourite Avengers movie and one of the best entries in the MCU thus far and, bizarrely, that’s mostly down to Thanos, the element I was most expecting to tank the entire endeavour.

How did they do it? Let’s take a look.

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Here is the news…

Hi guys,

Firstly, a very belated thank you to new patron PandorasHomeoBox, THE hottest club in New York from 1972 to 1987 before it burnt down during a wizard’s duel between David Bowie and Prince.

Second, in case any of you were wondering how my play reading went then I am happy to report that it went pretty darn well. Huge thanks to AboutFace Theatre, the cast and the NewVember Festival, legends all.

And lastly, long time friend of the blog Erik Copper is kickstarting his album and you should head over  and throw money at him. Make it rain up in there.

That’s yer lot, Mouse away!

New Patrons!

A belated thank you to these new patrons:

Isaacblue72, an AI from the future who came back in time to teach us all about the magic of future funk.

Ragnar Haukur Sverrisson, who ruled the Viking settlement of Dublin from 1041 to 1982.

Castiel Destler, villain of the relatively obscure but well regarded James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Mission to Russia with a View to a Deadly Kill. 

I’m sorry, I suck, also please support my play!

Mouse where the hell is the review this is an outrage!

Sorry! Sorry, I’m really sorry. I was on holiday over the weekend and this review just slipped the hell away from me. I’m really sorry, especially since Qwirkyproductions has been waiting for this review since the frickin’ Obama administration. I’ll be ready for Halloween, promise.

Okay, well…you watch yer ass. See you next week.

Actually there’s one more thing…

You have GOT to be kidding

So my play, The Caspian Sea, came back from Alaska leaner, meaner and with a white wolf companion that it goes on adventures with. And now it’s getting a staged reading as part of the Newvember Theatre Festival on November 9th in the New Theatre Temple Bar. If you live in Dublin (we few, we happy few), tickets are on sale now and I’d love to see your face.

The rest of you, I’ll see your faces on Hallowe’en.

Ugh, of all the Patreons in all the world…

Damn it damn it damn it.

We got a new Patron and you’re probably thinking “ooooh smameann, he seems nice.”

Well he’s not nice! He’s the opposite of nice! For you see, he is none other than my third-from-the-top arch-enemy, the Unscrupulous Mouse!

“What? I just want to support you!”

“I’m on to you villain!”

“Good, good. The plan proceeds on schedule.”

“Your asides are going to the front again.”

“DAMNATION.”

Finals baby!

“THE BLOG AWARDS WOULDN’T KNOW A GOOD BLOG IF IT MUGGED THEM AND STOLE THEIR WALLET!”

“THEY ARE CRAVEN HACKS AND FOOLS! WHO ARE THEY TO SAY WHICH BLOG IS BEST?! WHO MADE THEM ARBITERS OF OUR CRAFT?! WE MUST RISE UP, MY BLOGGING BRETHREN, AND OVERTHROW THIS TYRANNICAL CANCER ON OUR HOBBY!”

“Mouse! Mouse! You’re a finalist!”

“Oh my God let me fellate you!”

“What?”

“Nothing. Thank you so much you have no idea how bad I needed this!”

“What’s that you were saying…”

“LAA LALAAA LAAA I’M A FINALIST I’M A FINALIST I’M LOUDLY SINGING THE FINALIST SONG!”

“Hmm. Catchy.”

Huge thanks to the Blog Awards Ireland and all of you. You’re the reason I do this, and I can never thank you enough. Congrats to all the other finalists, deepest commiserations to those who didn’t make the final list (dudes, I been there, I know it hurts like a mother). And now, time to see what delightfully Mexican-esque animal has been chosen for my new badge.

Oh ha fucking ha.

Disney(ish) Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse: The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

(Like Unshaved Mouse? Please consider supporting my Patreon.)

Some movies belong to a genre, others define a genre.

For example, if someone ever asked you “What’s Film Noir?” you could do no better than to plonk them in front of The Maltese Falcon and say “That.”

That movie perfectly encapsulates everything that we associate with the genre; the moody black and white photography, the moral ambiguity, cynical gumshoes, treacherous dames, shifty foreigners and all the fedoras in the world. We might argue over whether it’s the best Film Noir, but it’s definitely the most Film Noir.

It’s like, how much more noir could it be? And the answer is none. None more noir.

Which brings me nicely, like the old blogging pro I am, to Return to the Sea, which I feel confident in calling The Maltese Falcon of Disney Sequels.

“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Yeah, don’t.”

I haven’t seen all the DTV sequels but I’ve seen enough.

I’ve seen enough like George C Scott saw enough in Hardcore.

But, fair is fair, they have occasionally been able to surprise me. Some of the very best, I’ll even concede, are slightly better than the very worst of the official canon. But Return to the Sea will not surprise you. If you picture the platonic ideal of “Disney Sequel”, this is it. This is exactly what you imagined. A palpable lack of effort leaches into every cel of this misbegotten thing. Mulan 2, whatever its crimes against its heroine, has a loopy, unpredictable “what is it going to do next?!” chutzpah that I have to admit I kind of enjoyed. But Return to the Sea provides the kind of soul crushing tedium that can only be provided by watching a movie you’ve already seen but worse in every respect.

Scalpels at the ready folks. Let’s make some sushi.

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