Tag Archives: movies

Mall Marvels

Link to Today’s Post.

Oh, good. Logan, got my advice. Despite presumably having the entire summer to continue seeing each other, Logan is drawing a line under this date. Never again! After this is over, she’s never going to go to the mall with Malcolm, never going to eat ice cream with Malcom, and never going to watch a Marvel movie ever again. Good for her.

I do find the meta-joke funny here. (Not the strip itself, it’s pretty clumsy.) They went to see ‘the latest Marvel movie.’ Batiuk’s writes everything a year in advance, but he knew there would be ‘a latest Marvel movie’, no matter when this arc ran. There is always a latest Marvel Movie. There will always be latest Marvel Movie. The virtual reality computer chips Elon Musk will get us all to implant in our heads 20 years from now will come with Disney+ preinstalled and undeletable, and our decaying brain matter will be eternally wirelessly downloading the latest Marvel Movie as we lay dead and rotting in our Disney Corporate caskets in the Magic Kingdom to Come.

Weird that Logan is saying this is the first time they’ve ever eaten ice cream together. I mean, they’ve been friends, at least casually, for years. We saw them hanging out at Komix Korner together after school. But they’ve never eaten ice cream in proximity? Or just gone to the mall to kill time with Bernie and Connor?

Wait, what mall is this?

Thanks to strips the glorious Batiukstorian, Billy The Skink, dug up last week, we know at some point there was a Westview Mall. At least at the time of Les and Cindy’s graduation. Which surprises me because Westview doesn’t seem like a big enough town to support a thriving mall. Especially now that malls everywhere are dying a slow agonizing death.

When Cayla farmed her daughters out as labor for Christmas break in 2020, they certainly weren’t working at the Westview Mall.

An apt punishment for someone in their eighth year of college.

‘TH’ Mall is probably supposed to be Mammoth Mall; the mall in Centerview where Crankshaft used to traumatize children as a photo op Santa.

Crankshaft, the superior Funkyverse Protagonist.

Mammoth Mall is also where a very late Act II Darin and Pete went in 2006 for Senior Skip Day.

Also in attendance, Darin’s old nose.

And at the time Mammoth Mall is referred to, by both Linda and Pete as THE Mall. So I think we can safely assume that Mammoth Mall in Centerview is ‘the mall’ for both towns.

Do you remember Hispanic Linda? Harriet Farms Remembers.

But, that doesn’t make any sense. Because Crankshaft learns in 2019, (and ten years in the past?) that the mall was supposed to be closing.

Of course this could be a ploy to get rid of Crankshaft…

Indeed, in 2017 the Mammoth Mall was already as empty as the mall from Silent Hill 3, and full of similar haunting horrors.

Horrors beyond imagination, eating at a Toxic Taco.
Look how the tiny cashier in the one open store is drawn leaning on the counter bored!
I have nothing but respect for Davis.

Of course, in August 2019 there was still enough of a crowd for Crankshaft to taunt multiple groups of innocent children about the inevitability of summer’s end.

This is petty and spiteful and juvenile. I love it.

And for the 2020 Christmas season, either a year or eleven years after Cranky got fired from his Santa gig, there wasn’t a shortage of traffic.

I will give you small green paper to wrap this paper box in additional paper so that my loved ones may tear it off and throw it away and then return the paper box here to get the original small green paper back.

So Mammoth Mall is Schrodinger’s Shopping Complex. When unseen it is both dying and fine simultaneously. But when observed in strip it is always either dying or fine, based on Batiukian forces beyond our understanding.

In a way, it stands for the dual fates of malls in modern society. Many are sad, desperate shells, full of broken dreams, and dentist offices. Some are still doing fine, still a hub for women to shop, teens to hang, and men to wait on benches staring blandly at their phones. And I’m guessing that everyone is within day-trip distance of one of each kind.

When my mom calls me up and asks if I want to go to the mall, I always wonder which one she means: The living, or the dead?

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“N”, the bag

Today’s strip marks Summer’s first appearance since… oh wait, yeah, sorry, that’s (Marianne) Winters, not Summer.

Summer actually has appeared in this strip as recently as 7 weeks ago, which is not something you could often say since she graduated high school. Even so, it’s kind of remarkable that Les and Cayla have interacted more over the past few years with a now-Oscar-winning actress than they have with their own children, both of whom (still!) appear to go to Kent State… less than an hour away from where Westview is generally considered to be.

And by “remarkable” I mean 1/4 inch AU from reality. I think I would have found it more relatable and more entertaining had we focused instead on the adventure that must have been Marianne’s efforts to bring an Oscar stuffed in a small drawstring bag through a TSA checkpoint.

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Clap on! Clap off!

Marianne does NOT look like someone who is willing to give away her Oscar in the first today’s strip. No, she’s looking at that Oscar the way most characters in this strip look at comic books.

The rest of this is as rote and pat as an Oscar acceptance speech can be, so let’s have some fun with another crowd shot of “famous” faces. Help me fill in the blanks and fix the mistakes where my corrective lenses deceived me.

  1. A replicant
  2. NO NECK JOE!
  3. Alana Haim deserves better seats than this
  4. Stanley Tucci on a ski trip
  5. David Duchovny’s face
  6. HAL 9000 putting on its best gold
  7. Debra Jo Rupp
  8. General U.S. Grant again
  9. A cumulonimbus cloud
  10. I don’t know, but her body language is appropriate
  11. David Duchovny’s hair
  12. Cousin It
  13. Beldar Conehead
  14. Hogarth Hughes
  15. Maria, from Sesame Street
  16. Cassidy’s sister, Alexus Kerr (see, I can do it too, TB)
  17. Yoko Ono
  18. Harold Lloyd (I mean, if Phil Holt is alive…)
  19. The Chinless Contessa
  20. Given her glare I’m guessing this is either Gretchen Gold or Cordelia Rama
  21. Burt Reynolds (again… Phil Holt)
  22. Jennifer Anniston’s hair
  23. Sid, from accounting
  24. We have General Grant, so why not Robert E. Lee too?

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Hai-can’t with this

Here is today's strip
Is it worse than we all feared
Or simply as bad

If I was popcorn
I would be quite offended
By this portrayal

Les hated this film
Why would he even watch this
Was happy it failed

In this case, "writer"
Would not describe Les as he
Did not write the script

This deserves more scorn
I'm a skink, I can't rant, so
I'm counting on you

Rip this thing to shreds
Kill it with all of the fire
Or just acetone

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Special Enragement

In today’s strip, Marianne is coming off as not simply composed but rehearsed, belying the nerves and words she had just a few days ago. Or maybe Marianne is just that good of an actress and really is worthy of that Oscar… I have to admit, only a great actress could say that Mason and Lisa’s Story deserve Academy Award nominations without breaking out in riotous laughter.

Let’s look at some odds on who this Oscar-worthy “very special person” is:

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My mother, the car

Quite the crowd on hand in today’s strip, with the first panel serving as the Batiukverse equivalent of the semi-famous crowd reaction photo from the 2017 Academy Awards’ wrong envelope incident. While the crowd of stars watching Marianne are not quite of the same wattage as those in the 2017 audience, I still spy some big names.

  1. OK, I don’t know who this is, but his mouth is huge
  2. The shirtless Nazi who gets shredded by a propeller in Raiders Of The Lost Ark
  3. George Foreman
  4. Dorothy Hamill (what’s with all the sports people?)
  5. The giraffe that stole David Cassidy’s hair
  6. A Dilbert cosplayer
  7. General/President Ulysses S. Grant
  8. Who invited Creepy Pete?
  9. Christopher Columbus (not that one)
  10. Soft-serve ice cream
  11. SHEMP!

Quite the menagerie present to hear Marianne call back to the time she went AWOL, nearly committed suicide, and then quoted her mother quoting an actress who was one of Hollywood’s most famous suicides. Anything to fulfill your parent’s dreams. How inspiring!

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Clothing Time

The entirety of today’s strip is going be spent on that same “picture the audience naked” advice from the last strip? This is where the story arc has decided to stall during the requisite Funky Winkerbean storyline doldrum?

Heck, we skipped right over Marianne being presented her Oscar… I’m assuming this is because Rick Burchett isn’t around to draw Conan O’Brien. I’m torn on whether that is a good thing or not. On one hand, there could be some level of unintentional comedy in seeing the cowering, flop sweating trainwreck Marianne from today’s first panel struggle to not fumble the Oscar hand-off from Anthony Hopkins. On the other hand, such a scenario would probably wind up being an even more insufferable attempt at making Marianne endearing than today’s strip.

Cindy probably appreciates Marianne’s opening line, though.

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Naked and Famous

OK, three weeks until the actual Oscars ceremony, plenty of time to build suspense. Will Marianne beat out Gretchen Gold and Cordelia Rama for best actress? We won’t know for sure until…

The first panel of today’s strip?!

Uh, points for brevity, I guess, though in this case it is most certainly not the soul of wit… or any other word positively associated with writing. In the absence of anticipation as to whether or not Marianne will win the little golden man statuette, we have the ridiculousness of professional actress Marianne (and no stranger to public speaking and media attention) not having any remarks prepared despite having an apparent one-in-three chance of winning. This is compounded by the ridiculousness of her asking advice on accepting an award from a guy whose work outside of Lisa’s Story and Starbuck Jones consisted of Dino Deer, My Dog Pookie, and being incredibly nervous about simply doing a table read (!!!) for the unfinished masterpiece that was Lust For Lisa.

At least Cindy’s shtick is consistent.

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Shmucks in a row

Today’s strip begs the classic 5 Ws (and an H) of writing. It also begins the Oscars story Variety promised last month. Yeah, I thought that maybe if I buried the lede it would stay in the ground, but alas.

Who is Mason talking to on the left? Wait, he calls her Marianne… that’s supposed to be Marianne Winters? The lady with the pentagon head and the pigtail-bun hairstyle my niece insisted on wearing when she was a toddler is Marianne Winters?

What is with TB’s willingness to use Hulu and HBO’s trademarked names but still insist on sticking to the eyeroll-inducing “Netbusters”?

When does TB think the Academy Awards ceremony takes place? We’re three weeks out from this year’s Oscars broadcast… Does that mean? Oh no, please no. I really hope TB just got the dates wrong.

Where is the “chateau” where this “real party” is happening? Chateau Marmont? Haha, really? I guess if you don’t know… then you don’t know. I’m in no hurry to find out, either.

Why are Cliff Anger and Vera Nash here? Neither one was involved in the Lisa’s Story movie at all… well, other than inexplicably being at the film’s wrap party.

How is this story going to end? Insufferably, no doubt. I don’t think any other outcome is possible.

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A Funky Thing Happened on the Way to Flash’s Forum

beckoningchasm
March 2, 2022 at 10:35 pm
When Pete says “You addressed climate change in that column” it sounds like either 1) the column only ran once and was sensibly discontinued, or 2) every single column that appeared was about climate change. Because that’s how that sentence reads.

But wait, BC, there’s a third option: reprint that eco-sermon from 1972 in every ish of their new comic. That wouldn’t be too preachy, would it? Many of you have pointed out that the Stan Lee “quote” was addressing pollution, not climate change. While both topics are of course related, climate change has only more recently been regarded as a threat. By characterizing it as “climate damage,” Pete’s making Flash and Stan sound like they were ahead of their time.

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