Typical Fan: The Psychology of why we need Superheroes


Video games, comic books and super heroes in general are seeping into every crevice of the Pop Culture landscape. An estimated 150,000+ attendees of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con which will have an estimated $140 million positive impact on the economy. Still not convinced? Maybe the $1.5 billion box office income of 2012’s Avengers movie or the well over $1 billion estimated income of this year’s Black Panther will help you see that its easy to see that super heroes are extremely popular. As previously said, the popularity goes well beyond the movies; and is seeping all over the Pop Culture landscape. So why do we need superheroes? What is the draw to invest so much of our time, money, and emotions into these superheroes? Why do these super heroes and even villains receive so much idolization thusly becoming role models to children and adults alike? Why do hardcore fans stick around after the increase in popularity and commercialism of the industry?

SamsonFoxFeatureComicsThe term ‘superhero’ was not used until 1917 and was very popular during the Golden Age of Comics (the 1930s). The current Modern Age of comics brought about more psychologically complex characters, as well as a larger audience base. Many have claimed that superheroes are an integral part of American society; and despite some otherworldly aspects, comics are a reflection of our world. During World War II, Marvel famously showed Captain America punching Hitler in the face. Then years later (after finding out that President Obama collected Spider-Man comics), Marvel put Obama on the cover of their The Amazing Spider-Man issue No 583 where ‘Spidey meets the President’. Continuing to address and be on the forefront of social issues, in 1992 Marvel revealed Northstar to be a homosexual. Comic books and super heroes writers seem to mirror our lives, which in turn makes them even more relatable.

So we have established that the evolution of comics and superheroes themselves sometimes reflect the events that are happening around us as well as address the societal problems that our world is facing; but what about our idolizing relationship to a superhero? As we readIron Man Repulsors comics, especially the young audience, we not only increase our ability to read and understand more complex works; but we develop emotions and morals. Take for example, Tony Stark. Despite Tony’s celebrity status and the ultra-powerful Iron Man suit…he is a broken character. Throughout the years of Iron Man comics, the Tony Stark/Iron Man character has had to deal with insecurities due to his broken relationship with his father, has suffered from alcoholism, suffered panic attacks and even bouts of paranoia. This flawed character, much like many other comic book superheroes, help us see the human qualities and make us look at ourselves. But like fairytales and children stories, superhero stories serve a didactic purpose. Most superheroes teach the reader how to succeed in life. Whether that success is to better the world around them and defeat evil villains or just by demonstrating exemplary behavior. On the basic level, they educate readers between right and wrong.

When we are little, most of us pretend to be law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, cowboys, or someone in the armed forces. The same principles that cause use to look up to those people, are the same reasons they pretend to be Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man, or Superman. These superheroes are larger-than-life, epic characters that do anything to take away evil and make things right. We admire paramedics, Marines, firemen, etc. because they help save us in our times of need. The Stamp_Day_for_Supermanpsychological theory called terror management theory proposes that people’s fear of death strengthens their allegiance to certain cultural values. For example, during times that we witness evil and death a typical response would be for us to think more about the fragility of life and it leads us to value heroes even more. Heroes also fulfill our need for fairness and lawfulness, which is sometimes lost in our normal everyday lives. In the 1950s Superman TV show always spoke of Superman’s never-ending quest for “truth, justice, and the American way”. They bring us hope.

While video game characters, comic books and superheroes of all types are exaggerated WonderCon_2012_-_Captain_America_and_girl_Captain_America_(7019315865)examples of what traits we hope to exhibit, they fill a purpose. We admire the masked superhero. The prosocial behavior has a positive impact on the readers/players. We sometimes find ourselves escaping the setbacks and failings that we are experiencing in our own lives; and we are living vicariously through these characters. Sometimes these characters help us face real adversity in our lives. Giving us courage and inspiring us to overcome health problems, failures, or even just the everyday challenges that we find. Heroes lift us up on a personal level by allowing us to compare and contrast the traits that they portray; and allow us to personify the best parts of their personalities, ethical commitments, and moral traits.

My son, Daniel, may have said it best when he said that when he’s watching a good movie or playing video games that he can forget about stressors, homework or chores; and just be lost in that character’s world. The characters that we play, watch, read, cosplay, or enjoy are sometimes flawed souls with admirable intentions. Just like normal life, we can be flawed and be successful. We can have complex backstories and have different motivations. We will continue to love and idolize these characters because we see a little bit of ourselves in them…or maybe we see something that we want to add to our own story.


Featured Image – Spidey cosplayer hugging a girl by US Defense Dept. – http://www.defenselink.mil/home/images/photos/2005-04/photoessays/pi20050428d11.jpg, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=124594
Fox Comics featuring Samson‘s original uploader was Konczewski at English Wikipedia – Grand Comic Book Database (http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=574), Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Hyju., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17710516
Firefly, the Archie Comics Superhero in Top-Notch Comics #10. November 1940 by and accredited to Bob Wood, – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Hyju., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17798406
Iron Man Repulsers Cosplay By Chris Favero from USA – CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34364573
Captain America and girl Captain America at WonderCon 2012 by and accredited to The Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA – CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33398682
Screen Capture of George Reeves as Superman in the US Government Film “Stamp Day for Superman” by and accredited to U.S. Treasury Department – United States Treasury Department film, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13616319
Spider-Man with Donald Rumsfeld by and accredited to US Defense Dept. – Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6265138

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: The Dodge M4S

I was re-watching the 1984 version of Red Dawn the other day and I was reminded at how many big stars came from that cast. Despite his tumultuous headline making personal life which was fueled with drug induced outbursts, knowingly having sex with over 200 partners after learning he had HIV, and allegations of domestic violence; Charlie Sheen has been in some very entertaining movies and TV shows. Charlie Sheen was all over the place throughout the 80s well into the 2000s. But one of my favorite Charlie Sheen movies was the cult classic independent action-horror flick: The Wraith. As a child, I was obsessed with cars. I guess you could say that I still am. Infamous movie vehicles like Smokey and the Bandit, Cobra, or Cannonball Run; or TV shows like The Dukes of Hazard and Knight Rider fueled cars to be a pivotal part of movie culture. The 80s were full of iconic TV and movie vehicles and some even went a step above that. Movies like Christine, The Car and even Maximum Overdrive showcase vehicles who come to life and reek havoc. The same year that Emilio Estevez starred in Maximum Overdrive; his brother Charlie Sheen starred in The Wraith.

the wraith movie still 2The Wraith centers around teenager Jamie Hankins, who has been mysteriously murdered at the hands of the psychotic leader of a ruthless gang of car thieves. He comes back to life seeking revenge and to save his girlfriend who is now being intimidatingly possessed by the gang leader. He shows up covered from head-to-toe in black body armor and a black race helmet. No one is aware of who the driver actually is and as he quickly beats them at their own street racing game; he takes the members of the gang out one-by-one.

What makes him even more unique is that his vessel of revenge is a groundbreaking concept car: an all black Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor. The Dodge M4S (M4S meaning Mid-engine 4-cylinder sports car) was a prototype sports coupe that was built by Dodge in 1981 to literally demonstrate the current technology held by the company. Despite reportedly costing Dodge around $1.5 million to create, the concept car was the wraith movie stillcommissioned and paid for by PPG Industries. The powerhouse came at the hands of a 2.2 liter four cylinder Cosworth-headed 16 valve 14 cylinder twin-cam engine with dual Garrett T25 turbochargers and a Bosch fuel injection system. It made between 440 and 500 horsepower; while having roughly the same torque; before experts from Ferrari and Lamborghini were called in to help produce an a whopping 800 hp from the mid-engine 2.2 liter. The high horsepower output was handled by a hand-built 5 speed transmission and the record speed was clocked at 195 mph. The body was a streamline 2-door coupe that was comparable to the Lamborghini, Ford GT or Ferrari.  The M4S, now more commonly known as the Turbo Interceptor, was a supercar that would go on to influence car makers for years to come. The twin-turbo setup was later adopted by Porsche and Toyota.

Dodge M4S Pace CarDodge provided the filmmakers the molds to create six exact replicas of the M4S body to create stunt and dummy cars to be used in the film. Four basic shells were created to be used in the crash and explosion scenes; while two drivable stunt cars were made for racing footage. Due to launching to 60 mph in just over four seconds and having a top speed of nearly 190 mph car, a reckless stunt driver for the movie almost died. The original car, which was so powerful had to be toned down for the sake of the filmmakers, was used for the movie’s close-up shots. Sadly, the car never went into production. The original Dodge Turbo Interceptor is now housed at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, MI. Thankfully those old molds are being used to create kit cars; so that is our only hope of ever getting our hands on one of these beautiful supercars…unless of course you are one of the lucky people to have purchased one of the extras from the movie studio.



The Wraith movie stills attributed to New Cinema, Fair Use.

Featured Image – Dodge M4S Pace Car photo by and attributed to Joe Pappas, Fair Use.



Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Hollywood Dynasties

Ever found out that two actors or singers were related and it kind of blew your mind? I mean, it almost seems that Hollywood likes to keep it in the family? Or is it really true that it helps to know someone in Hollywood? I would imagine that its easier to get into the business when you have someone in your corner. Especially when that person is your mother, your brother or your great-uncle. So with that being said, I present to you my pick of the most influential Hollywood Dynasty families.

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Most Influential Hollywood Dynasties:

Honorable Mention: Bridges –

Before branching out on an extremely successful movie and TV career, actor Lloyd Bridges was finding success on Broadway; but by the 60s he had his own TV show on CBS. Lucky for Beau and Jeff; he often featured his two sons. Beau and Jeff both went on to star in critically acclaimed roles. I mean, Jeff is the Dude…man.


10. The Stillers –

Jerry Stiller and his wife Anne Meara were the cream of the comedy crop during the 1960s. They went on to star in movies and even legendary TV shows like Seinfeld, The King of Queens, and Alf. The couple went on to have kids and their son is an Emmy award winning actor. Their son, Ben Stiller, is one of comedies biggest names and this family is definitely a comedy and Hollywood dynasty.


9. The Douglases –

The movie industry was booming in the 1950s and dramatic roles in war and Westerns went to Hollywood’s leading men. Kirk Douglas was one of those men. But by the time 1955 rolled around, he was bucking the system and formed his own production company to produce his own projects. He even famously collaborated with the infamous Stanley Kubrick. He defied Hollywood’s blacklist and then gave his son Michael the rights to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which he produced back in 1975. Besides the 1975 movie becoming a best-picture winner, it continued to spring board Jack Nicholson into superstardom. Michael has had his fair share of accolades by winning everything from an Oscar and a SAG Award to receiving an A.F.I. Lifetime Achievement Award. And also Michael is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones…which is an accomplishment in itself. Michael’s oldest son has been a bit of a disappointment but the two children he shares with Zeta-Jones are set to slide right into their place in their Hollywood Dynasty.

Pharrell Williams & Absolut Ruby Red Pre-VMA Bash

8. The Wayans –

What would be considered to be Hollywood’s largest and most successful comedic dynasties; Keenan, Damon, Kim, Shawn, Marlon, Dwayne, Nadia, Elvira, Diedre, and Vonnie Wayans have found success in TV and film. The members of the Wayans family have starred in, written, directed, and produced more than a dozen TV shows and films. Together they boast a net worth of over $100 million. In the early 90s, brothers Damon and Keenan were shot to stardom in their groundbreaking sketch-comedy TV series In Living Color. In Living Color helped launch the careers of Hollywood elite: Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez and many more. In the early 00s, Keenan also created the successful Scary Movie franchise. The children of the Wayans are now entering the business and are slated to be just as dynamic as their parents.


7. The Baldwin brothers –

The eldest Baldwin brother, Alec, may be the most well known but the Baldwin’s boys (Alec, Daniel, William and Stephen) are all in the business. Alec has felt the most time in the limelight, earning himself an Oscar nomination for The Cooler, plus two Emmys, three Golden Globes, and seven SAG Awards for his pivotal role on NBC’s 30 Rock. Thanks to Oliver Stone, brothers: Daniel, William, and Stephen were cast in his 1989 Born on the Fourth of July. Together they have appeared in over 300 films and TV shows. They have produced a flock of famous daughters and many have famous wives and ex-wives.


6. The Sheens –

Ramon Gerardo Antonio Estevez was born to an Irish mother and a Spanish father. Despite opposition from his hard working father, he borrowed money from a priest and moved to New York City in hopes of fulfilling his dreams of becoming an actor. He invented a new, more Hollywood friendly name “Martin Sheen” by combining the last name of two big TV stars: CBS casting director, Robert Dale Martin and televangelist archbishop, Fulton J. Sheen. He decided to change his name after receiving hesitation when he would try to call for an appointment with a casting director. He honed his acting skills and started a family. His son Carlos Estevez took on his father’s Americanized last name when he started acting while his other famous son did not. So…you get it now. Martin Sheen is the father of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez (though Martin’s other children are also in the business they are not quite as successful). So the son of immigrants becomes a world famous actor and one of his son’s becomes the highest paid actor in the television series. Not only did he start a dynasty but I would say that that is an amazing success story.


5. The Smiths –

“Meat is murder.” Wait…no. I am not referring to the English rock band formed in Manchester, England back in the 1982 led by vocalist Morrissey whose song “Asleep” has been listened to by me 452 times according to my iTunes account. I am of course referring to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, his wife and their progeny. Will Smith became the only actor in history to have eight consecutive movies that grossed over $100 million in the domestic box office, while his wife Jada Pinkett Smith has starred in over 30 films and starred as Fish Mooney in the critically acclaimed crime drama Gotham. They have two children who started out with their parents in some of their movies; but Jaden (their  oldest son) starred in the remake of The Karate Kid and their daughter Willow became the youngest artist to be signed to rap mogul Jay-Z’s record label after her debut single went platinum. They are the definition of the new generation of what it means to be a Hollywood dynasty.


4. Garland/Minnelli –

Hollywood is full of power couples. Whether they are still together or sadly broken apart like Brad and Angelina, the power couple sometimes produces an offspring who has that automatic ‘in’. This was definitely the case for infamous actress Judy Garland (yes I’m talking about Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz) and director Vincent Minnelli. That last name ring a bell? Well if your first thought was to Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning singer and actress; then you would be correct. Judy Garland and Vincent Minnelli birthed a star: Liza Minnelli. Despite being married four times, the actress and singer has never had any children. While the dynasty ends with Liza; you can’t deny the Pop Culture power in this family.


3. The Barrymores –

Drew Barrymore may be known for being the little girl in ET and that girl who starred in most of Adam Sandler’s Rom-Com movies…but her lineage is nothing short of impressive. She could possibly be more than a dynasty…they could almost be Hollywood Royalty. Drew’s great-grandfather Maurice Barrymore (birth name Herbert Blythe) was an Indian born stage actor. His second wife (Georgie Drew Barrymore was an American stage actress and comedian. Their youngest son Lionel was a film director as well as a famous actor of stage, screen and radio. Lionel starred in over 200 films; including and the 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life. His brother John also became an actor and in the 1920s was known as the ‘greatest Shakespearian actor of his generation’. He and second wife, poet Blanche Oelrichs had a daughter who became an actress in the 40s and 50s. His third wife, Dolores Costello, was known as the “Goddess of the Silent Screen” and was one of the most successful silent film stars in history. Their son John also became an actor and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television. Despite all of John Jr’s marriages ending in divorce; we come full circle to his daughter Drew.  Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe Award winning actress, producer and director. Though Drew had a strained relationship with her family due to her father’s “problems”; hailing from Hollywood royalty had to help her get more than just her foot in the door.


2. Fisher/Reynolds –

In the 1950s, musician and actor Eddie Fisher married actress Debbie Reynolds. Fisher was burning up the pop charts at the height of his crooning career; Reynolds had just had her big break in the classic Singin’ in the Rain. The marriage ended almost as quickly as it began because Fisher struck up a relationship with Debbie’s best friend: the scandalous Elizabeth Taylor. Well, the broken marriage didn’t keep her down and she went on to become an Academy Award winning actress. She was also a mother. A mother to a beautiful daughter: Carrie. Yes! Carrie Fisher, the iconic Princess Leia from the Star Wars movie franchise, was their daughter. Carrie’s brother Todd is a producer and cinematographer while her half-sisters are actresses as well. Carrie went on to have a daughter of her own who is already poised and pouncing upon her Hollywood career.


1.The Coppolas –

If you are a movie buff then you probably recognize the last name Coppola. What you probably don’t realize is just how large the outstretched arm of this family’s Pop Culture influence is. The patriarch of the Coppola family is Carmine Coppola, who studied music at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music before working with Arturo Toscanini with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in the 1940s. When he left the Orchestra in 1951 to pursue his dream of composing music. He worked as an orchestra conductor on Broadway and then became truly famous for contributing music to his son (Francis Ford Coppola)’s movies: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and Apocalypse Now. He went on to compose music for nine other movies while his son has went on to become a pivotal figure in the New Hollywood wave of filmmaking. His ability to convey a beautiful story on screen is celebrated around the world. His movies Patton, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II and Apocalypse Now are featured in the Writers Guild of America’s list of 101 greatest screenplays of all time; while The Godfather, Apocalypse Now and The Godfather Part II are listed in AFI’s greats movies of the last 100 years.

That would be enough to qualify the Coppola’s to be a Hollywood Dynasty but the story does not stop there. Carmine’s daughter is none other than Talia Shire (birth name Talia Rose Coppola). That name still not ringing a bell? Connie Corleone from The Godfather films? Or maybe you would recognize her if I were to scream, “YO Adrian!!!” She played a truly iconic role in one of the greatest movie series of all time: Rocky. For her roles, she was nominated for two Academy Awards. She and her first husband, composer David Shire had one child but her other sons Jason and Robert (birthed while married to film producer Jack Schwartzman) are actors.

The last branch on this much larger and ever growing tree that I will explore is the third child of Carmine Coppola: August Floyd Coppola. August is an American academic (earning his doctorate degree at Occidental College), author, film executive and advocate for the arts. Despite his numerous achievements, we are perhaps more familiar with his son: Nicholas Kim Coppola. You may not recognize that name because he changed his name when he entered the entertainment business to forge his own path and not utilize his family name to break into show business. What did he change it to you ask? He kept the first part but change his last name to Cage. That’s right. Nicholas Cage is actually Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire’s nephew. And there is no telling as to what the future holds for the latter generations of the Coppola Hollywood dynasty.


Featured imageHollywood Sign by and accredited to Sten Rüdrich – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=752108
Publicity Photo of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara with autograph by Unstated – eBay, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20513110
Cropped screenshot of Kirk Douglas from the trailer for the film A Letter to Three Wives, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4205586
Wayans Brothers image attributed to Coachella Valley Weekly, Public Domain, coachellavalleyweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/FP_Wayansbros.jpg
Alec Baldwin speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International, for “The Boss Baby”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. Image by and attributed to Gage Skidmore, from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Alec Baldwin, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56229448
Martin Sheen image by and accredited to Brian McGuirk from Providence, RI – Me and President Barlet, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5114657
Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailor for The Wizard of Oz, Licensing information: https://web.archive.org/web/20080321033709/http://www.sabucat.com/?pg=copyright and http://www.creativeclearance.com/guidelines.html#D2 – The Wizard of Oz trailer, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2438854
Will Smith at Time 100 Gala photo by and attributed to Amanda Cogdon – Rocketboom vodcast, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=869516
Drew Barrymore image by and attributed to David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5938890
Screenshot from Debbie Reynolds in I Love Melvin movie trailer – I Love Melvin trailer, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3484726
Francis Ford Coppola in 2007 image by flickr user squidish; cropped on 02/02/2009 by Before My Ken – flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5852010



Eeny Meenie Miny Moe

Portrait_of_Terence_from_Vaticana,_Vat._latTerence the Roman playwright (born in 195 AD), in his work Phormio, coined a new phrase: “auribus teneo lupum”. The phrase is translated as “holding a wolf by the ears” and is much like the more commonly known phrase ‘holding a tiger by the tail’. The two phrases evoke the image of man or beast managing or coping with something that is normally too difficult to accomplish. Like…holding a wolf by the ears or holding a tiger by the tail. The image presented by this extended metaphor is so ridiculous of an idea that you can not imagine something like that in reality; but the phrase is so common that someone must have done it at one time or another.

The phrase is so common that a very similar wording is used in a child’s nursery rhyme. Remember the cute little counting rhyme that has existed since the 1800s where one kid goes around the room and other kids are ‘counted out’ or ‘chosen’ by a random process of elimination? That’s right I’m referring to “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe”. This children’s rhyme can be spelled in many different ways and has existed in various forms in many different languages. Though the origin is not exactly known and has even been quite controversial due to racist slurs found in the rhyme (I won’t be getting into that). The most common version that most Americans are familiar with is:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

Though there have been many variations throughout the last 200 years such as replacing tiger with similar nouns like ‘piggy’ or ‘tigger’ (I’m hoping that you can see where the racial slur would have been inserted without me having to discuss it); while the action verb hollers has been replaced with variations like ‘wiggles’ or ‘screams’. Along with the many variations, the phrase or references to it has popped up in many places throughout Pop Culture. My favorite author Salman Rushdie named his leading character and his three sisters Ina, Minnie, Mynah, and Moor; while one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands Radiohead released their 1997 album OK Computer on vinyl, the band eeny meeny miny moechose to use ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ instead of letters and numbers (Side A, B, C, D or any numerical variation) to designate the sides of the 2 record LP.  There have even also been many instances in cartoons, comic books, video games, books and movies in which the ‘Eeny meeny’ song was sang by a character making a choice. Sometimes the song was sang for comic effect or sometimes added a creepy effect to someone making the decision of whom they should kill. I don’t think that anyone could forget Negan’s now infamous execution scene in the season six finale of The Walking Dead. Or even even how the rhyme was used in movies like Natural Born Killers and Pulp Fiction.

Whether found in a movie, sang by a child on a playground with her friends, or even used as the name of a building that houses mostly high end stores in Japan’s Fukuoka Hakata ward; there is no loophole to escape the influence that the children’s rhyme has had on Pop Culture anymore than we can deny the comparison between a phrase found in this classic children’s rhyme ‘catch a tiger by the toe’ and the similarly worded phrases of ‘holding a tiger by the tail’ and Terence’s ‘holding a wolf by the ears’. It makes you wonder if we as a human race yearn to control these violent animals; but realize the audaciousness of what would be a truly deathly desire.



Alleged portrait of Terence, from Codex Vaticanus Latnus 3868 by Unknown – File: Vaticana, Vat. lat. 3868 (2r).jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18960421

The Walking Dead Series 7 premiere poster owned and accredited to AMC, Fair Use, http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead

Pulp Fiction Eenie Meenie gif accredited to Giphy, http:/giphy.com/gifs/chris-christie-w0y3J0QY3ZEU8

Featured Image – Department store Eeny Meeny Miny Mo in Fukuoka City, Japan image By Pontafon – Photo created by Pontafon, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7510118


Best Movies of 2017

I love being entertained. With that being said, I thoroughly enjoy a good movie. As you half sing the champagne laced lines of what portions that you actually know from Auld Lang Syne (you know the New Years Eve song) and lean to kiss your selected sweetie; I was poached on my couch watching movies while everyone was either asleep or playing in video games (you can figure out who was who in that scenario). After a conversation with a friend of mine on Facebook the next day while reading his favorite movies of 2017, I realized just how great this year was in regards to movies. So as I always do, my first thought was to write a blog and do my favorite thing: make my own top ten list. I know that I usually do my top 10 lists on Tuesday but here is a Wednesday Top 10 list. 🙂 So here is my “Best Movies of 2017” list. Not only are they my favorite of 2017; but I’m suggesting that you watch them if you have not.

Honorable Mention. Justice League – The super hero movie is here to stay. They are becoming more and more of a spectacle; and there are no larger names than Batman and Superman. So in the aftermath of the successful Wonder Woman and Batman/Supermanmovies, the most logical thing would be for them to push a Justice League movie. I’m sure that the extremely successful Avengers movies didn’t have a thing to do with the idea. Despite a lot of hate from critics, the Justice League movie allows you to see the powerful group on screen.

spider-man homecoming poster

10. Spider-man: Homecoming – Michael Keaton, my Batman, was starring as the villainous Vulture in this stand alone Spider-Man movie. We had seen Tom Holland and his version of Spider-Man a couple of times already and I was impressed. I liked him and I had hopes for this movie. Now don’t get me wrong but Disney, I mean Marvel likes the muddle with characters. I won’t go into detail but sometimes they just need to leave well enough alone.

ghost in the shell movie banner

9. Ghost in the Shell– My wife would say that I wanted to watch Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in the Shell because of my affinity and celebrity crush status of well…Scarlett Johansson; and there is only slight truth in that. The truth is, 13 year old me who was completely obsessed with Anime and would wake up early to watch shows like Bleach and over-watched movies like Ghost in the Shell and Akira was going into full geek mode. The fact that the movie version of Ghost in the Shell just happened to star my celebrity crush…was just as they say ‘icing on the cake’.

lost city of z movie poster

8. The Lost City of Z – I admit that I initially wanted to watch this movie because Charlie Hunnam (who was on one of my favorite TV shows Sons of Anarchy). The movie ended up being a spectacular showcase of a true-life drama that centered around the British explorer Colonel Percival Fawcett. Col. Fawcett disappeared in the Amazon during the 1920s looking for the mysterious city of Z. I know I probably gave away the whole entire movie with that spoiler but the trials and tribulations that they go through are worth the watch.

thor ragnarok movie poster

7. Thor: Ragnarok– I felt…cheated. Like there could have been so much more to the storyline behind Thor’s Ragnarok. The blending of the Planet Hulk and Ragnorok story lines did produce a believable and definitely entertaining movie but…like many Marvel movies, their stirring away from the original comic book story lines hurts the feelings of some of us actual comic book fans. Despite me catching feels, the story was great and Chris Helmsworth would have made a spectacular He-Man. I mean he made a great Thor. 😉

wonder woman movie poster .jpg

6. Wonder Woman – I have to admit that in the beginning I was not sold on Gal Gadot being cast as Wonder Woman but after watching her in the self titled Wonder Woman movie…I admit that I was wrong. She was spectacular as the Amazonian Goddess. Watching her discover her powers and unearth her destiny…all while palling around with Captain Kirk, I mean Chris Pine…was great for me.

star wars the last jedi movie poster

5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – I won’t talk too much about this movie because it might include spoilers to the movie that my wife was not able to see with me and Daniel in the theater. So…I’ll just say that even though Disney upsets me with how they treat some characters in the Marvel brand; they absolutely do amazing things with the Star Wars brand. Not only have they made the CGI and production of these movies amazingly great, the story itself is spectacular. That is. It is worth the watch. Yes you are free to make some more Disney.

baby-driver movie poster

4.  Baby Driver – Baby Driver was one of those movies that my best friend and I decided to watch in his man cave. The movie surpassed all expectations and the overall flow of the movie makes you want to watch it multiple times to catch the nuances that you might have missed the first time or second time. The cast was amazing and the soundtrack….oh I don’t want to ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it but turn up the surround sound, sit back and wait for an amazing movie. By the way, prepare to hate Jamie Foxx while you watch this movie. Trust me, you’ll need to prepare yourself.

john wick 2 movie poster

3. John Wick: Chapter 2 – I’ve always been a fan of Keanu Reeves. Whether it was the Matrix trilogy or even Bill and Ted; Keanu was one of my favorite actors. His John Wick movies are what Steven Seagal wishes his movies were. The John Wick character is an ex-hitman who is literally drug out of retirement to seek revenge. And the second chapter in what I hope is a long, long line of movies continues right where the other one stopped. Keanu’s ability to become a character and bring his own personality into a role is definitely visible and I suggest watching this movie. If you don’t like blood and violence…you uh…might want to watch something else though.

guardians of the galaxy vol 2 movie poster

2. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 – Oh how I love the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Vol 2 may have just risen above the original on my favorites list. But this specific Guardians of the Galaxy movie gives you exactly what you would want in a movie: great acting (yes even from Batista), comedy, suspense, action, great CGI, love, and a plot twist. The movie fits amazingly well in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and you can even see how it will tie into the current Infinity Wars storyline.

logan movie poster

  1. Logan – Oh the speculation that surrounded Logan when word got out that they were going to do a Logan movie. What comic book story line would they use? Was Clint Eastwood play Old Man Logan? Would it show him finally interacting with the other Marvel characters, like in the Old Man Logan comic series? I was excited to say the least, because ever since the 1990’s X-Men cartoon, Wolverine was my second favorite character of all time of any genre (second to He-Man of course). When I finally watched Logan I brought my dad and Daniel along with me because the Western-esque vibe to Logan would entertain my dad and well…its a comic/action movie, so Daniel would be entertained. Little did I know, that by the end of the movie all three of us would be blubbering and crying like babies who had had just steal our candy. The movie is amazing. The movie that shows the vulnerability of everyone’s favorite X-Men doing his best to take care of Professor X in a Mexican border town before their lives being shaken by the discovery of a new mutant. This mutant is the laboratory created daughter of Wolverine and allows Logan/Wolverine to find something that he had lost long ago: love. It is by far one of my favorite movies of all time, my favorite super hero movie of all time and definitely would earn the top slot in the best movie of 2017.

All movie poster images and likenesses used as Fair Use.


Mr. Bean: An Origin Story?


I have never hid the fact that I played a lot of video games and watched a ton of TV/movies in my youth. Before my parents upgraded to the elephant sized satellite dish whose movements tracked broadcasting signals beamed down from some celestial satellite in the sky; we were stuck with the normal 80s and early 90s TV stations: CBS, Fox, NBC, and my favorite PBS. PBS wasn’t just the channel that entertained and educated me through Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood but PBS made me laugh. Shows like Are you Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances caused me to wake up my parents multiple nights from the laughter that would come from my laughter that broke the quiet in the house. PBS brought me to sci-fi comedy shows like Red Dwarf and introduced me to a show that would become one of my favorites, Doctor Who. But after that giant satellite dish was planted in our backyard, I found a familiar face on HBO: Mr. Bean.

Atkinson_RowanDuring the early 90s my family stumbled across Mr. Bean, as the sketches would be released throughout the early 90s. The British sitcom, created by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson (the man that portrays Mr. Bean), was based the show after a character that Atkinson created while he was working on his master’s degree at Oxford University. The ‘child in a grown man’s body’ and his teddy are seen in the show solving various everyday problems, while causing disruption with the unusual solutions to the seemingly simple tasks. Mr. Bean rarely speaks in the show and this adds to the hysterical interactions with the people around him.

Mr_Bean_in_Serbian_(4333769801)During its five-year run, Mr. Bean only produced 15 episodes; but the show itself has not only has been sold in 245 territories worldwide, it inspired an animated cartoon spin-off and two feature films that found Atkinson reprising his role as Mr. Bean. Atkinson has appeared countless times as the Mr. Bean character in other venues: Countless sketches for Comic Relief, a performance at the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, and even a Snickers commercial. The show has definitely had its impact in the world of Pop Culture, because the two most popular TV shows according to Facebook fan likes is The Simpsons and…you guessed it: Mr. Bean. Despite the show’s regular run ending over 20 years ago, Mr. Bean is the second most liked TV show on Facebook at 61.5 million as of 2015. Here’s some perspective…The Walking Dead, whom some in the Pop Culture community would consider one of the most popular shows has about half of the number of Facebook likes as Mr. Bean. And Game of Thrones has half of that!

So…besides my adoration for the show, what fuels this blog today you may ask? As I was re-watching the series for the umpteenth dozen time, a thought crept into my mind of Beanandteddywhich I had never even imagined. Who is Mr. Bean? Rowan Atkinson himself likened the Bean character to that of “…an 11-year-old boy who’s given the responsibilities of an adult but hasn’t learned better.” “There’s always this sort of feeling of a childlike innocence combined with a childlike vindictiveness and selfishness and instinctive anarchy.” So what is the origin of this naive comic hero? Don’t laugh too hard at this or scoff too loudly but I think that Mr. Bean…is an alien.

Mr._bean_title_cardNow I know that I might have lost some of you on this one but bear with me for a second. Just take for instance the opening credits of the show where Mr. Bean falls from the sky in a beam of light, while the fall is accompanied by the heavenly Southwark Cathedral Choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba which is translated as “Behold the man who is a bean”. Later episodes show Bean being dropped from the night sky in a deserted London street against the backdrop of the St Paul’s Cathedral. That’s not enough for you? How about at the end of episodes three and six, he is shown being sucked right back up into the sky in that same bean of light. Still not convinced? Well even Atkinson himself admitted that Mr_bean_animeBean has a “slightly alien aspect to him”. In the animated series episode “Double Trouble”, the alien aspect of him was brought to light when he was sucked up into a ‘UFO’ with aliens who look exactly like him. At the end of the episode he is even sent back ‘home’ in the same beam of light and similar accompanying choir-esque music.

Bean_Budapest_(5044219305)Though Mr. Bean is never actually outed as being an extraterrestrial, the evidence is there to think about and adds another dimension to the character when you re-watch the episodes, imagining that the experiences are that of an alien…trying to live in an alien world. Or if he was a man whom aliens abducted, tested upon, and is again and again re-abducted for the aliens to best observe life on this alien planet. Many fan theories out there agree with my hypothesis and in a 1993 interview Atkinson himself places more weight on the fan theory that Mr. Bean is in fact an alien. Atkinson explains that referring to the Bean character in an un-produced Mr. Bean episode,

“He sees this spaceship landing in a field and he stops the car. He looks up and suddenly the door (lowers) and this bright light comes out of the spaceship and a Mr. Bean walks out of the spaceship…and then another Mr. Bean and they all shake hands and then 25 more Mr. Beans all come out of the spaceship and pat him on the back and say ‘very nice to see you’. And then all the Mr. Beans go back up into the spaceship and the door goes up and that’s the end of Mr. Bean.”

SONY DSCHim being an alien could easily explain why everyday tasks like interacting with other humans, ordering food at a restaurant, driving around in his British Leyland Mini MK, or even going swimming are so hard for him. Either way the humor of the show comes from the absurd solutions to our everyday problems and the complete disregard for the people around him when he solves these problems. Or better yet his pettiness or even the malevolence. So does it matter if Bean is an alien or not? Of course not, but since Atkinson admits that he’ll never retire the character, maybe a new Mr. Bean movie or possibly TV episodes will finally reveal the mystery behind the ‘man who is a bean’.



Mr. Bean and Teddy screenshot – Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12850641

Bean tag in Budapest by Metro Centric – Budapest, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53778477

Mr. Bean title shot by Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24330368

Rowan Atkinson by Gerhard Heeke – Photo taken by Gerhard Heeke., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=226929

Mr. Bean movie advertisement in Serbia by David Bailey from Laktasi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53778490

Mr. Bean Cartoon image – Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2224196

Rowan Atkinson and Manneken Pis in Brussels by Antonio Zugaldia from Brussels, Belgium – cropped verion ofDSC00220, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2757565

Mr Bean on a Mini by Nathan Wong – originally posted to Flickr as Mr Bean at Goodwood, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9681387



The Purposeful Behavior in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo_JulietIt could go without saying that when someone says ‘love story’ that you will more than likely think of Romeo and Juliet. The story has represented the image of true love and romance since it was first performed at the Globe Theater in 1595. The story has been and is retold in many forms; while the story itself is quoted and referenced throughout Pop Culture in movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Princess Diaries, songs like “Love Story” by Taylor Swift and “(Just like) Romeo and Juliet” by The Reflections, or even a TV show like Doctor Who. So I think that we would be foolish if we said that the story has not had a considerable influence on not only Pop Culture but our society in general.

So what about the actual story in Romeo and Juliet? Writers explain that there are only seven basis plot types in literature: overcoming a monster (which has existed since Beowulf and Biblical stories like David and Goliath), rebirth, a quest, voyage and return, rags to riches, comedy, and in our case…the tragedy. So if we think about the story itself, what causes the tragic story of these two star-crossed lovers whose death ultimately brings together the feuding families of the Capulets and Montagues? In regards to human behavior, what drove the now archetypal young lovers into one another’s arms in love and ultimately in death?

According to the principles of praxeology, humans engage in purposeful behavior. Meaning that humans and their decision-making processes are based on their preferences. In his book Human Action, Ludwig von Mises states that, “human action is purposeful behavior. …(a)ction is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at end goals, is the ego’s meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person’s conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life.” Is it possible to say that the love between Romeo and Juliet, demonstrates a tragic display of what happens when the forced behavior of humans meets the chaotic complexity that is life?

Act_II_Scene_VIAn ‘action axiom’ is defined as something that ‘embodies a criterion for recommending action’, and essentially states that ‘if something holds, then the following should be done.” Despite any last-ditch-efforts, the families in Romeo and Juliet could not rectify or correct the chaotic turn that their chosen behaviors had taken. Their love could be nature itself repairing the predetermined course that their families had chosen for them. It is definitely defendable that the love, and regretfully tragic death, of Romeo and Juliet is merely the result of the family’s predetermined action axiom. Although the meeting of Romeo and Juliet at the ball was happen stance; the push and pull of the Capulets and Montagues to keep them apart was the the cause of their love. Even through the families had fought to achieve a desired result; who would have thought that the result of their choices would have been the death of two love-struck teenagers? Sadly the result of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic story is based on the actions of some other ‘Human’s Action’. 


Featured image: Sir Frank Dicksee’s 1884 Romeo and Juliet painting by Frank Dicksee – http://www.odysseetheater.com/romeojulia/romeojulia.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=896519

Romeo and Juliet 1879 poster available from the US Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1648057

Romeo and Juliet, Act II – Scene VI by Sir John Gilbert – Melhoramentos Edition, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1455599