Podcast

Amusement Park Podcast 014: We Will Miss You, Stan Lee

stan_wave

On the latest Amusement Park Podcast, we pay tribute to Stan Lee and the Marvel icon’s role in pop culture. Also, George R.R. Martin’s struggles with The Winds of Winter, Hallmark Christmas movies update, and what we’re enjoying this week.

If you’re enjoying our podcast, please leave a review on iTunes and help boost our signal. You can also tell us what you think at amusementparkpod@gmail.com and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @amuseparkpod. We’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening!

You can subscribe to the Amusement Park Podcast everywhere you find podcasts:

comic books

Stan Lee left behind a legacy like no other

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Writing a tribute to Stan Lee was something I’d been thinking I should do for quite some time. After all, (Stan) the man was 95 years old and there were various reports about his deteriorating health. Just as a newspaper would get an obituary ready, I thought I should get something ready — whether the piece was written for another site or my own.

Sure, laziness and procrastination were probably the primary reasons for not getting that done. But the idea of writing something in anticipation of Stan Lee’s death was also very upsetting. He still appeared to be lively and vibrant in his many Marvel movie and TV cameos. It seemed as if Smilin’ Stan might just live forever.

Thanks to those movie cameos, even my sister knew who Stan Lee was. She grew up with me endlessly reading and collecting comic books, of course. But when I pointed out the guy who co-created Spider-Man on the screen, she recognized him every time he popped up in the handful of Marvel movies we saw together. She’ll never be able to escape superheroes entirely.

(By the way, will Lee’s last live-action cameo have been in Venom?) Unless he’s in Avengers 4, his final on-screen appearance may well be in the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which hits theaters in mid-December.)

There will and have already been so many tributes, eulogies and obituaries dedicated to Stan Lee that I’m not sure I could possibly add anything. All I can contribute is what Lee and his many iconic creations mean to me to this day. So often when people write a tribute to someone, the piece ends up being about the writer more than the subject. As much as I’d like to avoid that, I don’t think it’s possible here.

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Podcast

Amusement Park Podcast 013: The Curse of Heisenberg

heisenberg_right

Unlucky number 13! The latest episode of the Amusement Park Podcast looked dead, but we brought it back to life! This week, we discuss the Breaking Bad movie (and Ian still not watching the series — c’mon!), a potential three-hour Avengers 4, plummeting numbers for Marvel’s Netflix shows, and Chris’s dedication to Hallmark Christmas movies.

If you’re enjoying our podcast, please leave a review on iTunes and help our signal grow stronger. You can also leave feedback at amusementparkpod@gmail.com and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @amuseparkpod. We’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening!

You can subscribe to the Amusement Park Podcast all over the place:

movie reviews, movies

Fun and assured, Ant-Man and The Wasp is ideal follow-up to Infinity War

lilly_rudd

Every time a new Marvel movie comes out, there seems to be a compulsion to rank it among the previous superhero blockbusters. That sets an awfully high bar for Ant-Man and The Wasp, which doesn’t seem quite fair. Should it really be compared to a massive crossover epic like Avengers: Infinity War?

None of the Marvel movies are “small,” but the smaller scale here is an ideal follow-up to Infinity War‘s galaxy-spanning scope and grave stakes. Much of the speculation leading up to Ant-Man and The Wasp — from sites that needed content — focused on where the story fit in relation to the Avengers’ battle with Thanos. Does it take place before Thanos and his cronies attack Earth? Does it deal with what happened after Infinity War?

++ Avengers: Infinity War is an appetizer, but still a superhero epic with plenty of gut punches ++

While this is obviously a sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man and sort of a sequel to Captain America: Civil War — at least with the repercussions of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) deciding to help Cap out in his philosophical conflict with Iron Man — it’s also a fairly standalone story that isn’t largely constructed as a setup for bigger films to come. Yes, it takes place before Infinity War, but those events are eventually addressed. (You know better than to leave before the credits are finished with a Marvel movie.)

The one big plotline left dangling from Ant-Man was the fate of the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne (played in this sequel by Michelle Pfeiffer). During a mission with the OG Ant-Man, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Janet sacrificed herself — shrinking to sub-atomic size and getting lost in the Quantum Realm — in order to disable a nuclear missile. But Lang showed that it was possible to return from the Quantum Realm, inspiring Pym to find the wife whom he believed was forever lost.

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newsletter

Not a Newsletter: 03/18/18

evans_reading

We’re late with Not a Newsletter once again, after showing promise last week with an early posting. But after talking with friends and family, it was determined that one of the remedies for that which is currently driving me crazy is to try and unplug as much as possible on weekends.

As I’m sure is the case for many of you, that’s not easy for me. Work and leisure inhabit much of the same space. If I’m reading something, it’s probably online. (I really am trying to pick up books and magazines…) If I’m watching something, it might also be online, especially if it’s streaming.

Thus, a message from work or a topic that could make a story is only an alert or click away.  Then I look at the clock and I’ve wasted most of a Saturday or Sunday sitting at a computer. It’s not making me pleasant. Unpleasant may be my default setting, but there are degrees of unpleasantness. Unfortunately for those around me, I’ve been on the “very unpleasant” side of that spectrum.

So maybe this would have been posted earlier otherwise. But maybe — probably not, but maybe — I was also a more pleasant human being on Sunday.

This was watched

Since I’m online most of the day, constantly looking for story topics while editing and writing, most entertainment before 4 p.m. ET has to come in quick hits. Twitter and Facebook provide plenty of that, naturally, but YouTube has also become a reliable source for chuckles.

As a result, I’ve become a fan of WIRED’s “Answers the Web’s Most Searched Questions” series, in which celebrities answer the questions that people ask about them on Google. (Another favorite is Vanity Fair’s “Fear Box” series, in which celebrities reach into a box and try to figure out what they’re touching. Yep, I love celebrities.)

The cast of This is Us is adorable, and thus this episode of the WIRED series is adorable.

Words were read

Donald Glover is Lando Calrissian in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

** This is probably going to be the year of Donald Glover. He’s going to play young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story. There will probably be new music to come, though not from Childish Gambino. And Season 2 of Atlanta is playing now on FX, which is what most of this article — which took me longer to read than I’d like to admit — is about. [New Yorker]

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newsletter

Not a Newsletter: 03/10/18

ronan_reading

Rather than gripe about the things that got on my nerves and made me angry this week, which has become the favorite intro during the short life of Not a Newsletter, I thought I’d try to tell a story instead.

Timehop is one of my favorite apps, providing a daily social media nostalgia trip. I often enjoy seeing photos I took on that day, links to tweets, or even links to articles I wrote years ago that sometimes seem as if they were written by someone else who was more talented.

But this photo from five years ago popped up this week:

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Of all the junk currently cluttering my desk to plant my geek flag and reconnect with my inner child, my Ron Swanson bobblehead is probably my favorite. My niece, then two years old, often enjoyed looking at it (surely entranced by the mustache) and making that head bobble.

But five years ago, she accidentally knocked Ron off my desk, causing his head to snap off. I wasn’t mad. It was an accident caused by a two-year-old. It was just a goofy keepsake. I knew some Gorilla Glue would fix it.

Little did I know that my niece was upset. She didn’t show it by crying or anything like that, though she was surprised when the doll broke. Maybe she expected me to yell at her. But later in the day, she was laying on the floor watching TV and holding Ron’s headless body. Ron’s head was right next to her.

I had to chuckle, but it kind of broke my heart too. I had no idea she was so attached (unlike Ron’s head). Or maybe she just felt bad. Two days later, Ron was restored and she was happy (maybe relieved). Everyone’s been OK ever since.

It showed me how much of a soul this kid has. Five years later, that’s still absolutely true.

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