25 Days of SuperChristmas - Dec 06
Energize you, Batman? My pleasure!
Was happy to be asked to go on the latest episode of Wham Bam Pow, a podcast I love a lot, to talk about a Movie That Made Me.
The movie that had the biggest impact on young, tow-headed me was of course Superman: The Movie, but they’ve talked about it before, and, as some of you may know, I’ve also talked about it before.
On other podcasts.
Like, a lot.
So I chose another, much cheesier movie that occupies a special place in my heart, and pants: 1981’s Clash of the Titans.
You can listen to the WBP episode to hear the hugely funny Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher and Ricky Carmona talk to me about this flick, but I wanted to use this space to provide a visual companion to one aspect of it I didn’t get around to discussing.
I speak, of course, of the film’s true and egregiously uncredited star. I refer to its white-hot emotional center, its lynchpin, its charismatic heart.
I speak, as you have likely guessed, of Harry Hamlin’s right nipple.
I call it Gary.
Early on in the film, Hamlin’s Perseus prances around in a loincloth. Both nipples are offered up to the audience’s lascivious gaze, as is only meet.
But once the plot kicks in, he must put aside his Blue-Lagoon chic and find him some more sensible adventurin’ couture. In this case, a plain toga:
Huh. That’s odd. Y’all have seen togas in swords-and-sandals epics before, right? They don’t … fit like that. They generally cover the whole torso, or most of it. But not here.
No: here, the fabric drops waaayy down below the pec, exposing his right nipple to the elements, and our ogles. This is ancient Joppa-by-way-of-Studio 54.
But wait .. he’s getting a costume change, dressing himself for his wedding. Surely he’ll … Ah.
… I see. Hello again, Gary. Good to see you. You’re looking well.
By this time in the film — about halfway through — I always find myself (me! a middle-aged gay dude who has put in his time and earned the RIGHT to perv!) incongruously thinking, “Dude. Harry. Do me a favor? Put that thing away. Seriously. I’m worried you’re gonna snag it on something. Just like maybe slap a sticker on it. Or, you got some masking tape and a coaster? Maybe that.”)
But no, Gary hangs out, balefully staring at us throughout the rest of the film, earning himself more screen time that Burgess Meredith, Laurence Olivier and fucking Bubo combined. He hangs in there all the way to the movie’s joyous, moistened end:
Now, I was a 12-year-old kid when I saw this in theaters. Lascivious thoughts didn’t occur to me — at least, not consciously. (At the time I’d taken to hanging out with the hottest kid in school while telling myself, and others, that the guy in question “has just got this CHARISMA, you know? You just wanna be around him. Hang out. Be his pal.”) (It would be years before I was able to acknowledge that there’d been other things I wanted to do with him, in addition to the above. Most of which involved our swimsuit areas.)
Regardless. This is OLD SKOOL Clash of the Titans, and it was a Movie That Made Me.
I leave you with this shot of Laurence Olivier’s Zeus, impatiently waiting for the shrooms to kick in at the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular in the Anaheim House of Blues.
25 Days of SuperChristmas - Dec04
What I love about it is how it’s engineered to help you discover new books, by placing them all on a vast virtual table and letting your tastes and interests guide you as you filter through over 200 titles. Romance alongside poetry alongside science fiction alongside “literary” fiction alongside biography alongside comics.
Because a good book is a good book.
I contributed reviews, mostly of comics. Would have loved to have contributed more, always, but my book’s deadline is not as far away as I’d like to be. I’m happy that the new comics I’ve loved the most this year won’t be relegated to another “Best Comics” list, which many, many people in the NPR demo would blithely ignore.
If even one self-avowed non-comics person idly clicks on a review of Dash Shaw’s New School or Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth because they’re among the books tagged as “Seriously Great Writing” (which they are) that’s one person who just might get blown away by a medium they’ve rejected. Because a good book …
Well. You know.
Here are the names of the people on the NPR Books and NewsApps teams who worked very, very hard on this. They are good eggs. The best of eggs.
The heavyweights of the podcasting world square off in pursuit of being crowned “The year’s best podcast.” It’s a lot like Frazier vs. Ali, but it’s actually just Marc Maron’s neuroses vs. Pete Holmes’ never-ending chuckle.
Surprised/grateful that PCHH made it onto this list.
Of course, if I were coming up with a Best Podcasts of 2013 list, it’d look way different. We wouldn’t be on it, and it’d be considerably longer, so as to include these consistently great shows that didn’t make it, for reasons that mystify:
Jordan, Jesse Go!
Getting On with James Urbaniak
My Brother, My Brother and Me
Thrilling Adventure Hour
Stop Podcasting Yourself
Judge John Hodgman
Slate’s Political Gabfest
Slate’s Culture Gabfest
How Was Your Week?
Wham Bam Pow
Never Not Funny