A Real Cliff Anger

Link to today’s strip

Look at the insane lengths Batom went to in order to work an old “Starbuck Jones” film into the strip. Of all the possible ways he could have done that, he chose to have Mason charter a private jet and fly out to Ohio (for reasons still not made clear) with Cindy, Pete and Darin to visit Jessica, who lives with them in Hollywood but was in Ohio at the time, all so they could go to an old SJ movie playing in Centerville. I mean it’s so bizarre and so preposterous no other person could have possibly dreamed it up. It defies logic on so many levels all at once, like he deliberately set out to create the most wildly implausible premise and sequence of events he possibly could. And not only that, he does it EVERY SINGLE TIME with EVERY SINGLE ARC. It’s totally mind-boggling.

Cliff Anger, sigh. I’m almost embarrassed not to have seen it coming. The man has a gift, you gotta give him that. It’s so sad how that gift doesn’t help at all with the comic strip though, isn’t it? So let me see if I have this right: there’s a theater in Centerville called “The Valentine” that only shows “last chance” films that no one will ever want to see again? Is there a big pit out back where they burn the films after their final showings, just to be sure? Interesting concept but I can’t see how it’s economically viable, long-term.

“It’s Saturday night! How shall we allocate our limited entertainment budget?”

“I know! Let’s go to the “The Valentine”, see a terrible old movie and wallow in old comic book nostalgia centered around pop-culture fads from two decades before we were born!”

I don’t see it. One thing I do know is that I’ve rarely wanted to punch a “one-off” FW character more than I want to punch Snooty Centerville Hipster Ticket-Taker Guy. Add “how does this place stay in business?” to the pile of FW mysteries and anomalies.

And IMO this AuthorGuy needs to make up his mind already: is SJ a red-hot and much-beloved property that’s sweeping the globe or is it a forgotten cult classic unknown to all but a few nerdy Ohioians? Because it can’t be both. Pick one already and run with it, all this dilly-dallying is getting really annoying.

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19 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

19 responses to “A Real Cliff Anger

  1. I realize that Mason is depicted as a well-meaning dimwit, but even he ought to know (really ought to know) that they are called “second run” theatres, not “second chance.” A “second run” theatre can be a lot of fun, as they usually have pizza and beer and the admission is a dollar or two.

    Yeah, it’s a bit of a nit-pick, but for an auteur who has people visibly irked because others cannot remember the full name of “The Amazing Mr. Sponge,” it would be nice if he respected other endeavors to such a degree.

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    Showing movies literally nobody else wants to show or see doesn’t seem like a good way to keep a business going. I wonder if that Kickstarter is still going, ten years later. Thank goodness some people randomly flew in from California, or they’d have no customers at all, from the look of it.

  3. SpacemanSpiff85

    I’m sure Jessica is thrilled that Pete’s hanging out with her and Darin on their date. Actually she probably is, since he pretty clearly has his hand on her ass. .

  4. billytheskink

    While the Superman curse has doomed numerous actors to typecasting and (supposedly) death, the Starbuck Jones curse has doomed generations of audiences to actors with aggressively punny names. Like everything else in FW, it is unfathomably less interesting than its real life inspiration.

    Is that supposed to be Crankshaft’s grandson, Max Murdoch, at the box office? This isn’t quite as on-the-nose as most Crankshaft crossovers, which is… not as bad as possible.

  5. @billytheskink: Yeah, I’m guessing it’s supposed to be Max, who seems to have settled into the morose, listless despair required of all Funkyverse adults very nicely.

    Also, “last-chance movie theater”? So these are the movies that you will never be able to see anywhere else. Except on DVD or Blu-Ray. Or Netflix. Or YouTube.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    Just take a second to ponder all of Batiuk’s various fantasy worlds on display here, it’s incredible. There’s Starbuck Jones and that vast, ever-changing mythology, there’s Darin with his “Lisa’s Story” ties, Jessica, daughter of John Darling, Pete, the author of “The Amazing Mister Sponge” and the Crankshaft connection. The various universes inside that sincere head of his are all in collision now, whirring around like the ping-pong balls in a lottery machine, only much, much slower.

    Coming next week: the gang charters a bus to take them to the big Starbuck Jones Con over in Dayton where Les will be giving a speech on how those old Saturday matinee serial SJ films inspired him to write “Lisa’s Story”…and guess who’s driving the bus!!!

  7. SpacemanSpiff85

    @Epicus Doomus:
    At this point it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if the next arc is Dinkle watching a debate between incumbent President of the United States Starbuck Jones, and his opponent, that old jackass who used to drive the bus in Centerville, whatever his name is.

  8. I don’t understand. Why would they go all the way to Ohio to see an old Starbuck Jones movie? Why not see it at the NuArt, or, if it’s not there, then probably CineFamily will have a whole weekend devoted to SJ. Those venues are both in Los Angeles, and CineFamily is just a few blocks from the LA Farmers Market.

  9. We have a bad pun that displays Batiuk’s whining ignorance of the world outside his bunker. We have another actor with a bad pun for a name. We have a narrow focus on Ahia. Soon, we’ll have a warped look at old movies that makes us wish that the Valentine had been leveled with the cast of Crankshaft in it.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    How does he know the venue is amazing when he hasn’t even been inside yet? They really need to shake Mason down for donations as that is the only way they will stay in business for another month. Oh wait, over on Crapshaft, they were talking about a business plan for this place so I guess they have that handled.

    In the real world, Mason would have had his Hollywood friends obtain the film and do a private showing…but that wouldn’t provide a months worth of strips.

  11. He really bent over backwards for this pun, changing a common term (second run) into an obscure one that isn’t even the equivalent (only citation for “second chance” I can find is a “SNL” ref) merely to set up a gag that’s not remotely clever. Make that “bent over backwards and up the ass”.

  12. HeyItsDave

    @SpacemanSpiff85 – Pete and Darin are actually holding hands behind Jessica’s back.

  13. Don’t forget that last year Mason Jarr the actor halted production just so he could fly to Westview for two weeks and read the *entire* run of SJ (reading priceless, mint original issues might I add) to research his character’s motivation or something, and this was back when Les was the only local he knew, so this silliness is par for the course – Although it should be said that the whole trip was just the “excuse” Batiuk needed to force Mason to meet Cindy (who in 30 seconds went from ‘seasoned veteran journalist doing an interview’ to ‘shameless starfucking groupie’), and in defiance of even more logic, Mason’s about to make her Mrs. Summers-Winkerbean-Jarr…

    So sure, why not? Let Mason charter a flight to Cancer County, Ohio just to see a movie he could easily see any time in his home theater (For a B-list actor, Mason sure does have an incredibly dull lifestyle – Is this really his idea of a “good time”??)… Not sure why Pete Rattabastardo has to go if he’d rather be doing something else, and I don’t know how Mason gets to travel everywhere in public without being recognized by anyone, since he is a well-known actor and the SJ movie (if it ever gets completed) has reached global buzz levels right now… Hell, you would have thought Cindy would have personally alerted the local media since she just has to show the whole world (i.e., Central Ohio) she isn’t so old, saggy, and dried up that she can’t get her hooks into a Hollywood leading man…

    While I’m in the question-asking mood, I’d also wonder why the studio never uses these genuine “Mason Jarr travels to blue-collar middle America because comics!” –stunts for publicity/promotion… I’d also ask why a movie project that’s two years late and hundreds of millions over budget can just afford to have its leading man and primary script writer just up and leave for 2-3 weeks for “vacation” from a job they aren’t even doing… I’d also wonder how Mason can afford to not do any other work in the 2+ years he’s been assigned to this stillborn project – He could have gotten acting roles in multiple movies while waiting out the delays… Also, I want to know why Mason/Darrin couldn’t have gone home on their own dime, since they’re getting paid damn well for being a couple of unqualified cronyism hires… And the less I ask about Darrin’s wife and kid moving out to L.A. only to come back to Westview because of reasons, the better…

    Naturally there’s no point in me even asking these, since we know this story arc ends with Mason and Cindy saying ‘I do”, Les showing up to magically ‘save’ the SJ production, and three weeks of 1955 Darrin/Pete watching this SJ movie back when it was new…

    I’ve been trying to avoid commenting on FW, but the strip’s black hole of suckitude has too great a pull…

  14. @HeyItsDave still bringing it strong… those are some of the most perverted smirks I’ve seen in a long time…

  15. Jimmy

    Fret not, dear hearts. Next week we discover this entire Mason Jarr story was a Les fever dream.

    In reality, Cindy is out of work and has packed on 40 pounds because the only food she gets is leftover pizza from Funky out of pity. Mopey Pete is hustling to support his expensive designer drug habit he picked up in New York. Darin and Jessica have the toddler removed from their home when they are discovered to live in abject squalor. His pizza app never really caught on (remember when he was a hotshot MBA who somehow knew web development?).

  16. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    So. Nobody wanted to maybe get a date for Mopey Pete? He’s just going to lurk around while the two couples heavy pet during the movie? Mopey is the ultimate 5th Wheel.

  17. HeyItsDave

    @$$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$ – Pete’s going to sit behind them in the dark and fap.

  18. Chyron HR

    Well, you know, say what you will about Starbuck Jones, at least it’s not BvS.

  19. Rhinestone Flyboy

    Is that Crazy Harry working the booth?