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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #2: “Megatron Must Be Stopped. No Matter The Cost…”


When I was a kid, I had a small handful of movies I’d watch almost every day.

Among those movies, were Son of Godzilla, Secret of NIMH, and Transformers: The Movie.

As much as I adore everything that is Godzilla, and as much as I enjoy watching intelligent rats stage crazy-ass sword fights; Transformers: The Movie was far and away my favorite of these movies.

While some (read: Orson Welles) would criticize Transformers: The Movie as being an hour and a half long toy commercial, for kids who grew up watching it; there’s no denying that it had a charm to it that made it truly special.

More than that, Transformers had a severity to it, a real sense of life and death stakes that made you, especially as a child; truly give a damn.

Say what you will about it being a feature length marketing device, in my book any movie that goes out of it’s way to kill off nearly every major character in the franchise within it’s first 20 minutes has at least some semblance of legitimate dramatic merit.

Hell, of all the retarded-ass kid’s movies that I used to watch, Transformers: The Movie was one of the only ones my mom was willing to sit down and watch with me.

Unlike Scooby Doo. My mom fuckin' HATES Scooby Doo...

Combine the film’s rather morbid tendency to be cruel to it’s main characters, with decent animation and a kick-ass glam rock soundtrack; and you’ve got a recipe for success.

It’s interesting to note that, for me at least; Transformers: The Movie represents most of what I know and love about the original Transformers cartoon.

I was born a few years after Transformers began to fade from the mainstream, and as such; I really didn’t see much of the TV series outside of a re-runs on the “Power Cube” every once in awhile.

If it weren’t for me having an older brother that was around to experience the Transformers phenomenon first-hand, I don’t think I would’ve had nearly as strong an association with the Generation 1 stuff.

Thank God for my brother, otherwise I would’ve been denied the pleasure of growing up watching the 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies EVERY FUCKING DAY!

While one could (and indeed should) argue that the live-action Transformer movies are overlong and meandering piles of tripe Elmer’s glued together with eye-fucking CG and rejected elements from the National Treasure movie’s scripts; the 1 thing I think we can all agree they did right, was Optimus Prime.

PIMP.

Optimus Prime is one of the most admirable and heroic characters in all of fiction.

Steadfast and noble, he is the picture of stoicism and bravery that we all wish we could live up to when the chips are down.

Peter Cullen’s voice breathed life into the character of Optimus Prime much in the way Kevin Conroy did for Batman in the Animated Series.

In short, Cullen is Optimus Prime.

While the live-action movies flipped the charming minimalist aesthetic of the Generation 1 cartoon on it’s head, and often failed to allow him the opportunity to speak with the same regality by feeding him hokey lines; just hearing Peter Cullen’s voice come out of the CGI Optimus Prime was all I needed to see that even Michael Bay couldn’t completely fuck up his character.

... However he proved himself all too capable of ruining Devastator.

As shitty as the live-action Transformer movies are, at least 5 minutes of them contain scenes of Optimus Prime being just as I remembered him.

That doesn’t forgive the 2 and a half hours+ worth of crap contained in the rest of the film’s running times, but even so; it counts for something.

That being said, our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment is perhaps Optimus Prime’s finest moment, that of his heroic, and tragic; last stand against Megatron and the invading Decepticon forces:

Words can’t describe the EPIC MANLINESS of this moment.

At this point in the movie, the Autobots are really taking a pounding and don’t know how much longer they can hold out.

The vast majority of the Autobots from the first season of the TV series are killed off during the conflict, leaving Ultra Magnus and a ragtag group of Autobots, both young and old; to defend Autobot City.

Just as the cities’ defenses begin to crumble at the hands of Devastator, a lone shuttle swoops in from above; dropping Grimlock and the Dinobots in to pacify the rampaging Constructicon.

Pictured: The face of a winner.

As the Dinobots struggle in battle, Optimus Prime steps from the shuttle; grimly surveying the destruction of his people’s Earthbound sanctuary.

With any eerie sense of finality lingering the air, Optimus Prime transforms and rolls out; for perhaps the last time.

Pictured: JUSTICE on Wheels.

CUE AWESOME FUCKING INSPIRATIONAL ROCK SONG.

Pimp that he is, Optimus’ first move in battle is to RUN THE FUCK OVER Thrust.

From that point forward, the difference in power and capability between Optimus and the rest of the Transformers becomes readily apparent.

Still in truck form, Optimus is fired upon by several Decepticons; with all of the incoming laser blasts having no effect other than maybe singeing his paint job.

Leaping into the air and simultaneously detaching his trailer, Optimus does a MANLY gravity defying flip through the air, all the while CAPPING THE FUCK out of every Decepticon in sight:

Way to put a hole in Soundwave's face there Prime.

Make no mistake, this is Optimus Prime at his PIMPEST and most BADASS.

With the majority of Megatron’s heavy hitters out of the picture, Optimus corners the evil robot and issues perhaps the MANLIEST of MANLY ultimatums:

Despite that EPIC-NESS, the 2 continue to exchange AWESOMELY MANLY remarks until, inevitably; Megatron claims he will kill Optimus with his bare hands, then proceeds to spear Prime’s ass to the ground.

As the 2 legends of Cybertron exchange blows, the young Autobot, Hot Rod; surveys the battle, itching for an opportunity to step in and prove his worth.

Cutting back to the fight, Prime manages to toss Megatron into a wall, whereupon the devious Decepticon takes an opportunity to go back on his previous declaration and toss a sharp rod into Prime’s hip.

Immediately capitalizing on his opponent’s moment of weakness, Megatron lifts his arm blaster and fires several volleys at Prime.

Deftly slipping the incoming blaster fire, Optimus rushes Megatron and cracks him with a wicked right cross, knocking the Decepticon leader to the ground and severing the blaster from his forearm in one fell swoop.

Take his heart Prime! Take his heart!

Ever the sneaky bastard, Megatron once again makes use of a foreign object, picking a beam saber off the ground and swiping it across Prime’s stomach.

Pictured: Megatron and Prime re-enacting the infamous "Taun Taun Scene."

Sparking from the gut, Prime clutches his wound and staggers backwards, prompting Megatron to leap into the sky and initiate one of the single coolest shots in cinema history:

With an AUTOBOT SHORYUKEN, Optimus manages to counter Megatron’s overhead assault, only to end up being mule kicked in the chest by Megatron’s immediate retaliation.

With both fighters off-balance, the 2 robots slam into each other and tie up in a grapple.

As Megatron threatens to tear out Optimus’ eyes, our hero nevertheless manages to overpower the evil robot, grab him BY THE EARS; and toss his ass a CITY FUCKING BLOCK.

With Megatron severly injured and face down on the ground, Prime retrieves his blaster rifle and points it at Megatron.

Acting very much out of character, the ruthless and dastardly Megatron pleads for mercy.

Rightfully suspicious of his nemesis’ uncharacteristic behavior, Optimus is ultimately robbed of an opportunity to gauge a proper course of action as Hot Rod jumps in from out of nowhere and tries to subdue Megatron, only to end up being held as his hostage.

Pictured: Why Hot Rod isn't exactly my favorite Transformer...

Grabbing a blaster pistol he found hidden amid the rubble nearby, and with Hot Rod now being used as his human shield; Megatron fires a volley directly into Optimus exposed stomach plate.

Too strong and too brave to take a knee, Optimus withstands the first shot, only to be felled by the 3 that follow.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Optimus Prime's life...

Ditching his hostage, Megatron stands over Prime and taunts him at gun point, with the words:

“It’s over Prime…”

With those words, Prime; summoning the last of his strength, rears back and uncorks the MOTHER OF ALL DOUBLE AXE HANDLES directly into the Decepticon emblem of Megatron’s chest.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Megatron's life...

His chest plate shattered to pieces, Megatron falls off the nearby ledge, bounces off the balcony below, and crumbles onto the ground below.

With their leader utterly defeated, the battered and beaten forces of the Decepticons flee from Earth; leaving the Autobots to tend to their own.

Shortly thereafter, Optimus Prime would die, and Megatron would begin life anew under the guise of Galvatron.

Anyway, this has been our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments in all of movies.

Check back tomorrow for the reveal of moment #1!

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Thoughts On Tron Legacy

I went to see Tron: Legacy in theaters today.

No, I didn’t watch it in 3D, and no; I was not at all excited to see it.

The original Tron was a movie that I never really had any sort of love for.

Sure, it was an astounding technical/visual achievement for it’s time, but that doesn’t mean it was all that good a movie.

To be perfectly honest, even as a kid I found the original Tron to be a muddled, confusing, and downright boring film.

“Boring” is a powerful word when used to describe a film consisting entirely of flashing lights and pretty colors.

As I sat in the theater today, I couldn’t help but feel that this Tron for the new generation; seemed to share many of the problems of it’s predecessor.

The film wasn’t bad, it was just sort of mediocre; and horribly paced to boot.

If ever there was a film that lost it’s way in the second half, it would be Tron: Legacy.

The basic plot of the film involves Jeff Bridges’ character from the previous film, Kevin Flynn; becoming trapped inside the digital realm of his own design, The Grid.

While doing whatever the fuck he does in there, he creates a digital program copy of himself, named Clu; and instills within him a “simple” directive of creating a perfect world.

As seemingly all computer-to-man exchanges seem to turn out, Clu ends up obeying this command to a fault, going so far as to usurp his creators position of power to achieve his goal.

It’s a fairly interesting set-up, that sadly is introduced to us far too late in the game to garner any significance to the audience; nor does it amount to any sort of dramatic pay-off.

Make no mistake: Tron is not a writer’s film.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, the little tidbit of the plot I just gave you is not something made apparent to the audience right off the bat.

Instead, we get treated to an introductory segment wherein our would-be protagonist, (he kind of gets shoved to the side… As does everyone else once THE PLOT gets dropped on us in the second act) Kevin Flynn’s son, Sam, (Garrett Hedlund) shows off for the 3D cameras through a series of EXTREME activities.

Truth be told, I found myself snickering through all of this, (as well as most of the film) as I couldn’t help but feel that it was the filmmaker’s way of justifying Sam’s physical prowess during the action sequences in the grid.

We see him ride his motorcycle, WRECKLESSLY, thereby showing he can drive a light cycle.

We see him do some hood jumping over cop cars that looks curiously like free-running, showing he’s not a feeb.

And on top of that, we see him do some fancy computer hacking, showing he is indeed computer literate enough to solve the mystery needed to START THE FUCKING MOVIE.

The reason I found this humorous, was the fact that I kept wanting them to show us a scene of him playing some Ultimate Frisbee in the park, y’know; to justify his awesomeness in Discs of Tron.

I’m jus’ sayin’, if you’re gonna’ take the time to cover your bases so artificially, you might as well cover them all.

Just so we can all say I talked about the plot, (Tron has a plot?  Since when?) the whole thing starts out sentimental and heartfelt, then it turns into a chaotic mess of (decent) action scenes, then THE PLOT comes crashing down, stopping the film’s momentum dead in it’s tracks.

From there we lose any sort of affinity we might have had for any of the characters, Michael Sheen acts faggy, and the whole thing ends with an anti-climactic bang.

Without exagerrating, the story progression felt like it was written by a 5 year old with A.D.D.

People, places, and essential plot devices seem to manifest at will, all in an attempt to streamline the process of getting the characters from point A to point B.

Despite the convenient nature of The Grid’s layout in regards to the central plot, it amazes me that somehow the film is still boring, and manages to throw us in the doldrums for more than half it’s running time.

Rest assured, most of the breadcrumbs of dramatic tension that the film attempts to sprinkle in the early goings are either ignored, or… No, actually they were all pretty much ignored.

Anyway, from an acting standpoint, I felt that everyone did alright with what the script had to offer.

Jeff Bridges was “fun,” I guess.

His retro dude-isms were decidedly out of place, and therefore worthy of a smile or 2, but for the most part his character, along with most everyone else; felt anemic and devoid of any real character.

Even so, Jeff Bridges has an inherent inviting aura of gravitas to him, so it’s hard for me to say anything bad about his performance.

I will say this though:

The digital mask used to portray Clu as a young Jeff Bridges was a pretty decent likeness, especially in profile and from over the shoulder, but the lips of the damn thing just looked wrong to me.

A friend of mine and I were joking that the “Digital Bridges” bore a resemblance to Bill Maher, such that we both felt Maher should’ve been cast in the part.

It was most apparent when he was speaking, particularly when yelling, (watch out for the speech sequence, he looks like shit…) but otherwise it was a decent attempt.

Good try, but we haven’t breached the uncanny valley just yet folks.

I feel it’s worth mentioning, that Michael Sheen will likely go down in history as the foremost authority on playing faggy Brits.

Seriously man, take one look at the man’s imdb, and you’re likely to find like 20 fuckin’ listings of him playing “Faggy Brit #4.”

While it may sound like I’m making fun of him, (I am) one should also note that Sheen’s just happens to be the only real notable performance in the entire film.

Watch out for all the cut-backs to him during the nightclub sequence, his posing and dancing were truly inspired.

And faggy.

Moving on, coming into Tron, Garrett Hedlund was an unknown item to me.

Despite having just seen him as one of the lead actors in a multi-million dollar film, I have to say, the man is still a nobody in my book.

‘Nuff said.

Olivia Wilde’s performance in the film was decently entertaining, bearing a wide-eyed inquisitiveness that made her a bit more endearing than most characters; however her place in the plot was somewhat lost to me.

She was apparently of vital importance to the story, as well as to the human world outside The Grid, however the explanation as to why felt inadequate.

Oh well, maybe I just couldn’t hear it over the FUCKING DAFT PUNK MUSIC!

That’s right folks, Daft Punk did the music for Tron: Legacy!

Not only that, they’re also in the fucking movie!

Did I mention Daft Punk did the music for Tron: Legacy!?

In case you couldn’t tell, the above statements were an example of sarcasm on the part of the Azn Badger.

Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy is actually quite good.

There are some fairly inspired themes, particularly in the film’s quieter moments, and the whole score gels well with the aesthetic of the movie quite nicely.

My only real issue with the soundtrack, is probably more the fault of the editor and the director than Daft Punk, and that’s the fact that, like Inception; I felt the soundtrack held too large a presence in the film.

Much like anything in this world, if you pollute your film with too much music, no matter how beautiful; it will end up being detrimental in the long run.

Anyway, let’s get to the one part of this review that I’m sure everyone is here for:

The visuals.

Tron: Legacy is a very handsome film.

The artistic design is striking and beautiful, as well as imaginative and inventive to a fault.

The color palette is decidedly bleak for the most part, with black (as opposed to white in the first film) being a constant in most of the designs, and other colors being used as a highlight.

Rest assured, in classic Star Wars fashion: Red = Bad, Blue = Good.

To the credit of the digital artists, I found myself genuinely at a loss when it came to determining which props and sets were real, and which were digital.

Unlike in George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, wherein the sets bore an artificiality to them that made the actors “pop” out from them, many of the railings, floors, and walls in The Grid were lit/rendered with such attention to detail and texture, that I honestly couldn’t tell if they were real or fake.

Speaking of texture, I want to thank the design team of Tron: Legacy for going the extra mile to design actual costumes for virtually all of the characters in the movie.

You all probably know how I feel about the upcoming Green Lantern movie, and how silly the digital Lantern suit looks to me; so it comes as a surprise to me that Tron would contain actual physical costumes, and quite good ones at that.

Everyone sort of looks like Dark Knight Batman/ninjas in The Grid, and while that doesn’t really do it for me personally, I have to say; they were stunningly well-designed.

On that note, the whole film has a very cohesive look to it that was clearly meant to reflect the orderliness of a computer system, however the metaphor seems to have stopped there.

Many of the design choices, while all wonderful to look at, are a little bit silly; even by sci-fi/fantasy standards.

In the world of The Grid, there are drunk hobo “programs,” (in the form of people wandering the “streets”) and there are dance clubs.

The streets of The Grid are perpetually covered in puddles of “water,” and programs carry umbrellas to shield themselves from “rain.”

Not only that, planes in The Grid show a tendency to stall when pushed too hard.

They’re little things, I know; but purposeful oversights to an imagined world’s continuity for the sake of art always make me giggle just a little.

In summary:

Tron: Legacy is a fantastical visual experience, just don’t expect any sort of depth to it… Or any entertainment value above the level of “mediocre.”

Well designed and imagined, the film is simply lacking in the one area that usually matters most in any film:

Writing.

That being said, if you do go see Tron: Legacy, make sure to look out for shades of Star Wars in Jeff Bridges costuming, as well as some of the events during the films final act.

When Jeff Bridges told his son to hop on the gun of their escape craft, I nearly cracked up waiting for him to tell the kid, “Don’t get cocky!” while he was shooting down TIE fighters, er, I mean “Tron Planes.”

Anyway, thanks for reading!

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Azn Badger vs. The Giant Spider

You know who that fighter pilot on the right used to be before I shopped him? Clint Eastwood, the original spider killer.

Last night the Azn Badger had an epic life or death struggle with a giant fucking spider.

Clearly, yours truly was the victor, as I was able to type this whole up, but I tell yah’, things got pretty hairy there for awhile.

Let it be known, the Azn Badger has an intense hatred for, and fear of spiders.

Anyway, here’s how it went down:

So it was around 1 AM, and I was lounging around watchin’ Dante’s Peak on Encore.

I was just about to pass out around that time, but I told myself I was gonna’ stay up long enough to see the part where Pierce Brosnan tells Linda Hamilton:

"It's okay, it's got a snorkel."

I love that scene.  Puts a smile on my face every time.

*Cough!* ANYWAY, right after that, I turned off the TV and headed to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Everything went smoothly, I mean I splashed my shirt an’ all, and I almost dropped my cup, and I bumped my knee on the counter…

Okay maybe it didn’t go all that smoothly, but the point is, I got my water and was about to head off to bed when out of nowhere my literal spider-sense went off, and I spied a massive shadow hiding under the vacuum closet door!

I tell yah’, I about shit myself right then and there.

This fucker was massive, really you don’t even know.

Seriously, he was the really savage kind of big, the kind of big where you can clearly make out all of their individual body parts.

He was a muddy dark brown, with menacing pair of mandibles hanging down from his ugly fuckin’ head.

I guess mandibles are like the sports cars of the Animal Kingdom. COMPENSATION.

While his body wasn’t ‘roided out like a tarantula or some shit, in fact he was kind of scrawny in his midsection, he had a thick-ass set of legs that absolutely screamed:

“This fucker can move.”

Legs an’ all, he was a little big bigger than my palm, finger webbing included.

Kinda' hard to see, but it's true, it's true...

What?

The Azn Badger has webbed fingers.

Big fuckin’ deal.

At least I’m not ugly like you.

ANYWAY, being the cerebral and cool-headed individual that I am, I caught myself, clenching my fists, hiking up my shoulders and saying to myself, aloud:

“That’s a big spider.”

You remember that one scene at the beginning of Die Hard where the dude on the plane tells Bruce Willis to make fists with his toes to calm his fear of flying?

Well, being as I was standing there in the kitchen, paralyzed with fear, my mind didn’t consciously shift to “What would John McClane do?” mode, but for whatever reason I found myself curling my toes to hide them from the advance of the, very likely; lightning quick 8-legged death machine standing before me.

My fears proved to be unfounded though, as Spider-Douche hadn’t so much as twitched in the half-minute or so that I had been staring at him.

I fuckin’ hate that about spiders.

They’re quick as fuck, and supposedly some of the most efficient predators alive, but when it comes to dealing with us people, (and badgers) they’re just plain retarded.

Seriously, you chase them into a corner, and instead of, you know; climbing the wall like a smart person, for whatever reason they charge straight at you like they’re the fuckin’ Juggernaut or some shit.

I don’t know, maybe they know we’re afraid of them or something.

Maybe they’re counting on us to recoil in terror and let them pass.

Maybe they aren’t aware that Kleenex and tissues were invented long ago, specifically to allow us the means to meet them in single combat.

Speaking of tissue, that’s exactly where my mind went after about a solid minute of pacing back and forth muttering to myself:

THAT’S a big spider.  That’s a BIG spider…”

Finding no tissue within reach, I decided to bust out the big guns and grab a handful of paper towels, about 4 of them to be exact.

There was no way I was gonna’ let that fucker get one of his hairy brown legs on me, post-mortem or otherwise.

With spider kryptonite in hand, I set out to do battle with the vile beast of 8-legged death.

Then it hit me.

“Remember Badger, this fucker can move.  Ain’t no way you’re gonna’ get inside on him by charging straight in.  You need a plan.”

THIS is what happens when you don't have a plan.

With that, my mind dug through it’s recesses in search of tools or strategies I could play to my advantage over this monster.

REACH,” I thought.

With only 2 steps to go before certain doom, I bid a hasty retreat, praying to God that the beast hadn’t caught on to my gambit.

With my eyes glued to the still immobile God of death, I Scooby-Doo walked back over to the sink and grabbed hold of a dish rag.

A bead of sweat formed on brow, as doubt began to settle in.

“What if I miss?  I’m not a very good shot…”

The 8-legged beast from beyond twitched in response, no doubt sensing the incoming attack.

All thoughts and reservations left my mind as my instincts took over, and with a great “HWAH!” I side-armed the divine dish rag straight into the beast’s grotesquely mandibled face, pinning him to the corner in the process.

Like following up a lead jab with a right hand, I followed the rag in for the kill.

No sooner had the rag hit it’s mark, I was on top of that spider fuck like white on rice.

Doing a modified baseball slide on the kitchen laminate, I splayed out on my side and rammed a right cross into the rag for each and every one of the great beasts 8 legs of death.

After taking a deep breath, I slowly righted myself and extricated the rag from the corner.

The deed had been done, the beast vanquished and sent back to the hell it crawled out from.

No song, nor fanfare would arise from my great victory that evening, but it felt good to know that my parent’s and I could rest without fear of the 8-legged terror mauling us in our sleep

As I marched off the battlefield, and to a very well earned rest, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Yoda’s words from Star Wars Episode I:

"Always two there are. No more, no less."

Deep in my mind, I knew this to be true among the spider clan as well.

Only time will tell if the spider I defeated that evening was the apprentice, or the master…

So, what did we learn today kids?

Let’s review:

The Azn Badger is afraid of spiders.

He’s clumsy.

He has webbed fingers.

His mind jumps to movie references to get him through crisis situations.

And he can’t throw worth shit.

So, you still sure you wanna’ keep reading this blog?

That’s what I thought.

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