The Thin Man (1934) – W.S. Van Dyke

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Dashiell Hammett’s novel is brought to life for viewing in the first recommendation for Bringing Up Baby, in the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book.

This one, sadly, leaves me kind of divided.

Nick (William Powell) and Nora Charles (Myrna Loy) are a highly enjoyable couple with a fun dog named Asta, and a penchant for a drink or two. Nicky used to be a detective, and when a murder occurs linked to an old friend of Nicky’s, Nora urges him to take it on so she can help and see him work.

The chemistry between Powell and Loy is palatable, and they are a lot of fun, and truly do look like a couple in love, as they joke and tease one another, make faces, and look out for one another. Everything with them, I loved.

It was the rest of the film that didn’t captivate me as much. I found myself urging the film to hurry up so we could get back to Nick and Nora, as they are just so much fun to watch. The Christmas party sequence is a lot of fun, and just watching the two of them pal around is so much fun.

The mystery though well-crafted, and with lots of suspects, just didn’t hold my attention, I wanted to get back to the Nick and Nora bits, and Asta being, well Asta.

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The characters have definitely caught my interest, and may in fact see me run down a copy of the original novel to look at but, the rest of the film simply couldn’t pull me in like those moments.

That’s not a commentary on the genre, or even the subject matter, the film just didn’t feel as good if Nick and Nora weren’t around in fact, to me some of the actors seemed downright wooden.

However, the film, no doubt due to the fantastic sense of fun that Powell and Loy bring to their characters, had a number of sequels, one of which, Song of the Thin Man, featured a very young Dean Stockwell!

The recommendations from Bringing Up Baby keep on coming however, and there are some films coming I’ve never seen, and have always wanted to… for instance, up next is Frank Capra’s Oscar-winning picture, It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert (both of whom one Oscars for their performances). I’m looking forward to it!

Have you seen the Thin Man series? Do you have a favorite? What is your favorite old Hollywood classic Rom-Com?

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Air Force One (1997) – Wolfgang Petersen

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Wolfgang Petersen is back on the 101 Action Movies list, and this time he’s joined forces with Harrison Ford, who portrays U.S. President James Marshall.

It’s a fun film, with a few plot holes but with a standout cast including Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Dean Stockwell, Xander Berkeley, William H. Macy, and Wendy Crewson.

On their way back from Moscow, where Marshall unveiled a tougher stance with their foreign policy, a barely vetted Russian news team, led by Korshunov (Oldman) joins the press cabin, and with a little help from a secret service agent, gets access to weapons and seizes the plane, holding all aboard hostage until General Ivan Radek (Jurgen Prochnow) is released and allowed to take control of the country.

Turning into a one man rescue team, this president, who was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam wages war on the plane, while his cabinet and family are held hostage.

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Meanwhile on the ground, the Defense Secretary (Stockwell), quite rightly recognizing that the President is under duress, begins an action to have him removed from office so that the VP (Close) can take over.

Marshall moves through the holds of the plane, as he begins to pick off Korshunov’s men one by one, until the two of them are face to face, battling it out on the edge of the plane’s open ramp.

While the politics are simple, the baddies easily identifiable, the film engages thanks in large part to its amazing cast.

The score, was done by the late Jerry Goldsmith, though he only developed a number of the themes for it and was actually Joel McNeely who completed it. I was always a sucker for a good Goldsmith score, though Alien is my favorite.

Looking back at the film now, it’s terrifyingly easy to pick out all the CG work, and I can’t help but wonder if I didn’t notice it when I was younger (unlikely) or I just didn’t care because Harrison Ford was kicking ass (more likely), but almost all of the stuff with the exterior of Air Force One in flight is blatantly CG work. Still, I suppose if you’re along for the ride and have already hit your suspension of disbelief button, what’s a little awkward CG?

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It’s always fun watching Harrison in the action role, and it seems the more askew his hair and tie goes in this film, the madder he is, and there’s no stopping him!

The film is tightly paced and moves at a lightning pace, allowing you to overlook the film’s shortcomings and just enjoy Ford being the hero and the president, which to be honest is the real draw in the first place, isn’t it? I mean I would certainly have voted for him!

This one is a great one to just throw on in the evening, grab a bowl of popcorn and settle in for a fun ride. It’s not claiming to be anything it isn’t and its sole purpose is to entertain, and it does that just fine.

After Han Solo and Indiana Jones, what is your favorite role for Harrison?

'Air Force One' Movie Stills

Dune (1984) – David Lynch

DuneDavid Lynch is always an interesting filmmaker, and more often than not, his films are wonderfully confusing and eccentric, Twin Peaks will always be my favorite of these, though Mulholland  Drive is probably a close second.

The 101 Sci-Fi Movies list brought me his adaptation of Dune to rewatch, and while I can appreciate it more now than I did when I first saw it, it still is very far from being his best work.

I saw this film when it first came out, after I had read the first book in Frank Herbert’s series. So at least I knew about the guilds, the families, and some of the politics that the world had created, but I was complete confused by the introduction of the voice modulators for the “Weirding Way.”

Despite it’s all-star cast, the stunning Francesca Annis, Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan, Dean Stockwell, Sting, Brad Dourif, Jose Ferrer, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, Richard Jordan, Virginia Madsen, Sean Young, Everett McGill, and Jurgen Prochnow the film is still a mess, no matter what cut of the film you watch, though Lynch has sworn off of all of them, and has had no involvement with any of the extended cuts that have been released.

kyleMacLachlan plays Paul Atreides the son of a Duke has been assigned to the desert planet of Arrakis to oversee the flow of the spice melange which allows the space guilds to fold space, uniting the known universe. In other words, whoever controls the spice, has the power.

The film’s villains, the Harkonnens, are feuding with the Atreides family, and the Emperor (Ferrer) is using that to eliminate the Duke (Prochnow), whom he sees as a threat.

Unfortunately, Paul and his mother Jessica (Annis) escape into the deep desert avoiding the giant worms that move all over the planet and have a unique connection to the spice. There they find the Fremen, who recognizing Paul as a the messiah of their prophecies take him in, and together they prepare for the final battle for control of Dune, the spice, and everything beyond.

wormI like the costume design (Bob Ringwood), the music (Toto) and the whole kind of neo-baroque, steam-punkish approach to the tech design of the world. But for all that some of the special effects are incredibly hokey, even for the mid-80s. The creature designs are by Carlo Rambaldi, and some of them are pretty interesting, especially the navigators, when you consider that at one point, there were supposed to be human.

In the end, I think the film tries to do too much in the time length it’s given, back when a film had to be two hours so it could play as many times in a day as possible. But tackling something like Dune without giving it all the due attention it needs, even the mini-series from 2000 didn’t seem to do it complete justice, and lacked the look and feel of the Lynchian creation.

virginiaIn the end, the film has become a cult favorite, and it is not without its merits, Vigrinia Madsen for starters. But, it’s more a curiosity to sit through, than a film to be viewed. But perhaps that is just me.

Still, it does have a number of quotable lines, great actors, and cool costumes.

What did you think of it?

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Hanging with Axel Foley

I revisited my old friend Axel Foley this weekend.

In the 80s the first two were simply awesome, it’s just too bad that they made such a misstep with the 3rd film.

The first film directed by Martin Brest, is Eddie Murphy at the height of his hilarity, but for all that, the film isn’t really a comedy, which is one of the huge faults of the third film, but we’ll get to that.

The first film has a gritty look and feel to it, at least while they are in Detroit, it gets a little brighter when Axel hits the west coast, but his character still remains gritty, if funny, devious and a wise-ass.

Axel comes to Beverly Hills to catch the killer of a childhood friend who was working out there and becomes embroiled in a crime caper centering around bearer bonds.

It took Murphy’s comedic styling (can you believe Stallone was in line to play the role – how different would that version have been?) and made him a maverick cop who eventually works together with the his Beverly Hills PD counterparts Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and John Taggart (John Ashton) as well as their chief Andrew Bogomil (Ronny Cox).

They are threatened by the always-reliable-to-play-bad-guys Steven Berkhoff and Jonathan Banks (although I always like Jonathan in Wise Guy).

It was fun, loud, and had a kick-ass 80s soundtrack, including the always awesome Harold Faltermeyer’s piece Axel F. There are wonderful character moments, Paul Reiser steals scenes (“this is not my locker”), the film is wonderfully paced and walks the fine balance between action and comedy, allowing Murphy to be fun, and carry out fights and shootouts, as a fairly believable cop.

So it was inevitable that a second film would be made.

And three years later in 1987, along came Beverly Hills Cop II.

Director by Tony Scott (yes Ridley’s brother) and covered in his trademark saturated colors and editing style, the second film was easily on par with the first film. Taking the characters we loved and Murphy’s considerable talents, and gave us more of what we loved.

In the two years since we had last seen them, the trio from Beverly Hills and the cop from Detroit had become stronger friends, and have been on at least one fishing trip together.

This time, our friends in Beverly Hills get caught up in a huge robbery and insurance scam perpetrated by Jurgen Prochnow, Dean Stockwell and Brigitte Nielsen, who are posing as Alphabet Bandits.

They make the mistake of choosing Bogomil as their ‘B’ crime, and Axel ruses out to the west coast (again) to find the people responsible for the crime. He, Taggart,(who’s going through a divorce) and Billy (who’s got some problems of his own) get to work on tracking down their suspects and meting out justice.

Scott makes use of all the things that worked well in the film, and while Murphy is very funny, his role is a little more serious, though he still has great lines, and a number of funny scenes (he comes across as a real guy who’s a good cop, but just naturally funny), and Reinhold’s Billy plays a bit more of the broad comedy.

This one seems to fall a little more on the action side of the action-comedy line just like the first, the two of them are strong entertaining 80s-era films.

It took seven years to make the next one.

At this point, Murphy seemed to be losing his comedic traction, and it was right before he reposition himself, successfully as more of a family friendly entertainer with films like Nutty Professor, Mulan, Shrek, and Dr. Dolittle.

I for one, miss the 80s era comedic Murphy, so when I first heard they were making a third film, I was hopefully optimistic.

John Landis climbed into the director’s seat, and while an able comedic director, and also one of my fave horror movies, An American Werewolf In London, Cop III was a misstep.

This time out, Axel’s boss, Inspector Todd (Gilbert R. Hill) who had some of the best lines in the first film, is murdered by villain Timothy Carhart in the opening sequence, and the really poorly constructed clues (honestly – if they live in Beverly Hills, why would they need towels from Wonder World (in the same town), if they could just bring some from home?) take Axel back to Beverly Hills to catch a killer and stop a counterfeiting ring working out of an amusement park (a poorly disguised Disney World stand-in).

It seemed the real reason to have it in the amusement park is to hang some poorly constructed scenes on it, and people would think they were having a good time and not realize how bad of a film it is.

Taggart’s character has apparently retired, and Billy’s character gets pushed to the periphery of the story as Axel wanders through sight gags, silly rides, and sequences to catch the killer.

It tries to be way too funny. And seeing how upset Axel got over his friend Mikey in the first movie, and Bogomil in the second, you’d think he’d be more upset, and angry over the loss of his boss, friend and mentor.

But apparently not.

The film is played too broad, and Landis forgot where the action-comedy line was and on which side to err.

If it had’ve been in the vein of the first two, this would’ve fit very well in the series, but it tried to play too many things for laughs, and it became hard to believe that Foley was even a cop in this film.

And while I’m harping… did we really need a cameo by George Lucas (among others?) and a symphonic version of Axel F?

No.

Do yourself a favor, stick to the original two films, and skip the third – it’s not the Axel Foley you know and love.

What did you guys think? And what are some of your favorite action-comedies of the 80s?

 

 

Wizard World Toronto Comic Con – Sue’s Thoughts

I’m just gonna put this out there right off the bat: I go to cons a lot. As often as financially possible, really. For the past several years, conventions and film festivals have kind of been my thing. And collecting things – prop replicas, toys and the like. Yep…I am a big nerd. More or less proud of it, too. ;)
When Wizard World brought their event to Toronto for the first time, I was on board before they even arrived. I was excited for something a little new and different to hit the city, and this one seemed to have a nice mix of classic guests and guests from more current things, with some wrestlers and reality TV stars thrown into the mix. It was the first convention that I could attend that brought me the lovely and talented Erin Gray as an actual guest – usually when I get to see her, it’s because she is working behind the scenes through her company, Heroes For Hire. I met Erin several years ago at an event in California, and now kind of consider her to be more of a friend, but the chance to do all the geeky things with her – like photo ops and autographs – while she was an actual guest was far too much fun for me to pass up!
So yeah, I’m a fan of the Wizard World events, and bought my pass for this one right around the time they announced that Sean Maher was coming, I believe! I would have been going, anyway (even without the Mind Reels table involvement), but I think Sean was the first announcement that solidified my ticket purchase!


Anyway, this year would prove to be an extra interesting one, simply because we got a table to help advertise our blog/podcast, and hopefully spread a little word-of-mouth promoting for some of our other favourite projects, as well. We had some Guidestones stuff, some Dyke Master 3000 stuff (and Dyke Master herself was there on the Sunday), we had advertising for both of my books (Carving The Light and Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads), and pics from several of our interviews, including those with the cast of Lost Girl and Bomb Girls. Just a bunch of things to show what we’re all about, and help pimp the stuff we love.


Because I had purchased my ticket before we got passes for the table, however, I was determined to enjoy as much of the event as I could, while letting others man the table more often than I was. On paper, Saturday was going to be a mostly photo op-filled day, while Sunday I planned to enjoy more Q&A’s and such. The only switch-up was that Paul Wesley (Vampire Diaries) was only there on the Saturday, so I needed to basically stalk his handsome self if I was going to get a chance to see him much at all. And because we were planning to interview our fave Last Starfighter duo on Saturday, we hoped to surprise them with an official photo op on the Sunday, once we all knew one another a little better. Basically, I went into the weekend with everything all mapped out for myself, ready to go.
And yadda yadda yadda – best laid plans, and all that – cons tend to take on a life of their own once they get rolling. So really, while I SORT OF stuck to my plan – a lot of things I wanted didn’t happen (ie every single Q&A on the Sunday) and even more things I hadn’t expected DID happen (ie The Edge…good grief, more on that shortly). I’ve learned over the years to just go with the flow and see where it takes me, and this event was a whole new kind of animal, once we got our table set up and access to the con floor ahead of doors open each day.
So, let’s see. Saturday once we got settled, I noticed that I could see where Paul Wesley would be sitting from where *I* was sitting, and that alone made me kinda giddy. I tried to get an idea of where everything was before the doors opened and people started arriving for the day. I always like to know where the guests are, where the photo booth is, where the panel rooms are, etc. Oh, and what kind of food will be offered, even though I know I should be avoiding it all together – and usually do. I just like to know where the smells will be once I get hungry. ;)
I also had to find where Phil Ortiz would be setting up to ‘Simpsonize’ people, because I really wanted to try and get that done first thing Sunday morning, if I could. I always like to take a quick walk through before the floor gets too crowded, just to get the lay of the land. I was happy to be in the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, too. I know the South Building is bigger, and therefore better for larger events, but my first con experience was in the North Building, and it always feels a little like home to me now, being there. There’s just somthing about riding the escalators up to the convention floor that is exciting – I had to stop and just stare for a minute the first time I went up there, and always feel that nervous/excited pounding of my heart every time I ride up and get my first glimpse of all the geeky treasures that await me that day; stretching out before me like a sea of promise and hope.
See? I’m not just a nerd – I’m a nerd who writes! ;)
First up on the official Sue Plan docket was a couple of photo ops with my lovely Firefly boy, Sean Maher. One pic is never enough…I really should have stretched them out for both days, but still…did two shots, right in a row, which was awesome, regardless.


Tim and I went to introduce ourselves to Lance Guest and Catherine Mary Stewart, so they’d have faces to put to the names and recognize us when it came time to interview them. They were both wonderful right from the start, and we officially got even more excited to do the interview after that first quick meeting. They both really took their time with each fan – and with us – which is always very nice to see. I like when things aren’t rushed. Except sometimes when I am far back in line, of course!


I had two more duo photo ops that day – one with Paul Wesley and Torey DeVitto from Vampire Diaries (has there ever been a more aesthetically-pleasing couple, I ask you?), and one with our fave Quantum Leap pair, Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. Both had huge line-ups, and passed in kind of a blur, but while Paul and Torey were friendly and beautiful, it was the Quantum Leap moment that sort of took my breath away…more after the fact than during, though. You see, I realized suddenly why I hadn’t been nervous for that one, and it was because I was standing with my arm around someone I knew very well – Dr. Sam Beckett. He’d spent years inside my livingroom, after all, and I’d gone on countless journeys with him and Al (oh, there’s Al now, on the other side of Tim!), so it felt completely natural to me, standing there. And for his part, Scott was SO open and gracious and…just…SAM – I didn’t even realize what had happened until after it was over. So crazy. In an awesome way, that is. :)


I didn’t get to see the whole of Paul and Torey’s Q&A, but I loved what I did see. Both of them were goofy and fun, they joked around a lot. I took a lot of blurry pictures from the back of the room, and was happy to note that the questions for each of them seemed to be pretty balanced. I hate when there are two people on the stage and only one gets asked all the questions. In a way, that little interaction made me like the show even more than I already do – I got to see the actors behind the characters, and feel somehow more connected to it all. Or something.
Our interview with Lance and Catherine went better than we could have hoped. Oh, we were interrupted a few times, and we went back and forth between them for awhile, until they were able to pull their chairs together and chat about everything together more, but all the wee hiccups made the whole thing even more fun, I think. We were laughing so much, and watching them joke around together was just delightful. You could see their genuine friendship and enjoyment of one another, and Tim and I both just kept cracking up at how fun they were. So awesome…I can’t wait to hear that podcast again once it goes up!


And then, finally, there was The Edge. Adam Copeland, known the world over as WWE superstar The Edge, and known to me as the mysterious and super-cool Dwight on Haven. I thought he was pretty good-looking with the long hair. Gave him a scruffy manly look. But holy monkeys, is he ever beautiful with short hair! As soon as I saw him, I decided a photo op with him had to happen. I didn’t care that he was only there for the day, or that his line-up was huge, or that I was one of the only people who wanted to talk to him because of his acting career, rather than his wrestling one. I was going to have that handsome creature put his arm around me and smile if it was the last thing I ever did. And so it was:

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I later spot the dude wandering the con floor, checking things out. Tim and I were alone at the table at that point, and I told Tim that if The Edge wandered our way, we had to give him our card and tell him we were Haven fans, and tell him that we interviewed Lucas Bryant and that we’d love to talk to him even by phone sometime before season 3, too.

And by “we” in all that, I meant Tim. Clearly, because I’d apparently lost the ability to speak temporarily once the man drew closer. After he’d had his little fun, Tim finally did hail him, and he came over and shook our hands and remembered that I’d told him I loved him in Haven and he took our card, said Lucas was an idiot and that’s why they get along so well and … I don’t really remember much more than that. I know I said stuff…yeah. It’s kinda a blur. In a great way. :)


Sunday didn’t go at all as planned, either, but I did manage to get myself Simpsonized, and Dyke Master arrived to attract attention in her sparkly gold shorts, so that was a ridiculous amount of fun. The Phil Ortiz line took up the first couple of hours of my day, but totally worth it:

Besides, we were all kept entertained by the presence of Toronto Batman, who had a booth right next door. :)
Watching Dyke Master work the room was really more fun than should be allowed. She pulled attention to her like moths to a flaming rainbow unicorn, and I loved every moment I got to spend watching. You really have to check out her comic/blog/Twitter/Etsy store, etc. She’s awesome, she skated through her first con experience like a champ, and I am very proud and honoured to know her. :)


I skipped every Q&A I’d planned on seeing on Sunday, but I spent a lot more time at the Mind Reels table, and had a great time getting pics taken with Lance and Catherine when they had a few minutes to spare.

First of all, you have to understand how much this pair meant to us when we watched Last Starfighter growing up. Catherine Mary Stewart was this really beautiful girl who seemed like such a natural, genuine sweetheart – and she is. Not only is she a delight to be around, but she’s actually more beautiful now than ever. Lance Guest was this really good-looking, sweet guy, who always seemed to be an incredibly intelligent, grounded, well-spoken dude – and he is. His eyes are somehow bluer than I remembered them, he’s taller than I anticipated, and the fact that we didn’t seem to annoy him with our…us-ness…was one of the happiest surprises I think I’ve ever had! The two of them together pretty much made our whole weekend, really. DEFINITELY a highlight!
So yeah, going back to their table the day after our interview and getting to giggle with them through a few casual shots for the podcast, and then having the official group shot taken as my last trip through the Wizard World photo booth for the weekend – all of that was like icing on an already amazing cake.


While we’re on the subject of photos, actually, I want to issue a quick shout-out to the folks working the photo booth this weekend. They were fun yet professional, and had even the largest lines running smoothly and quickly all weekend long. That ability to not only capture a person’s convention experience, but to also enhance it, is often overlooked, and I will always take a moment to thank the photographers, etc who I feel have done a good job for me in the brief time we’ve had together. It was my first experience with Celeb Photo Ops, but I truly hope it won’t be my last. They really were great!
What else? The Blue Jays won, Tim and I got awesome hot dogs and such from the street meat carts outside, and because Sunday was a slower day, we were able to pack up and leave a little bit earlier than initially planned – so we hit Silver Snail for a few more comics before heading home.
What can I say? We’re nerds – it’s how we roll. :)

Wizard World Comic Con Toronto

It was a pretty sweet weekend for Sue, and I. We had our first fan table at the Wizard World Comic Con here in T.O, and we had so much fun with it.

Our mornings started with a quick chat and beverage with our fellow con -goers and exhibitors. That is an awesome and eclectic experience because you just don’t know who you’re going to bump into.

Sue and I settled into our table, getting set up, and ready for the two days ahead of us. Sue and I were giddy with excitement over what we were going to see and do this weekend., and who we would be talking to, and all the new people we would meet.

First thing Saturday morning we wandered over to the Last Starfighter table to say hello to Lance Guest and Catherine Mary Stewart, as we were lucky enough to have a mutual friend who had arranged an interview for us.

Then we settled in, after our photo-op tickets had been purchased to chat with all those people who visited out table… and some of them looked very familiar…

It was also an odd experience to be working our table, and be approached to a couple of people I hadn’t seen in years and who were stunned to find me here touting our successful blog and podcast.

At out table, we were not only promoting our own site, we also chatted about Sue’s books Carving The Light, and Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads, as well as talking about the awesome webseries Guidestones and the new comic book series by our friend Kate Carlsen – Dyke Master 3000. We had a great bunch of people come over and chat about our podcast and blogs (welcome to our site if you came here because of Comic Con).

People were friendly, interested, and were more than happy to engage in conversation with us about all the things we cover here on the blog.

Kate skated around in front of our table (in character) and chatted with everyone! She had a great time, it was her first con experience ever, and I think she really enjoyed herself.

Sue got to say hi and have her photo taken with the Vampire Diaries guests, and then was completely gob-smacked by The Edge, like a giddy school-girl . I should make clear right now, that neither Sue nor I are wrestling fans, but we are huge Haven fans, and he seemed absolutely delighted that we were interested in that and his acting career.

We had a brief chat with him at our table and hopefully laid some groundwork for a future chat with him. He’s on his way back to Nova Scotia to join the cast for Season 3.

So while Sue was being all giddy about that, I got stunned to my core twice on the weekend.

Once when Sue and I had our photo op with Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell… Anyone who read my post on Quantum Leap KNOWS how much that show means to me.

So moments into the picture-taking process, after shaking Dean and Scott’s hand telling him what a huge pleasure it was to meet him, I had to just stop talking, or I was going to break down right then and there. You can almost see it in my eyes in our photo. I’m holding on but barely.

I stumbled out of the photo-op, and Sue was very sympathetic, knowing what an emotional experience I had just been through.

With The Mind Reels we’ve met and interviewed some amazing people, and at previous cons and expos I’ve chatted with some major names… But Scott and Dean together about knocked me down completely.

But I had to outdo myself on day two. In a moment when there weren’t a lot of people in his line, I stepped away from our table, which Kate was manning, and raced through his line-up, chatting with his minders and telling them no, no I don’t need a photo-op or an autograph, I just want to say hi.

Then it was my turn.

I almost froze.

I introduced myself, shook his hand, he was very gracious. And I explained about our blog and podcast, and pulled out a hard copy of the one I had written about Leap a couple of weeks ago. I told him, that I just wanted to say thank you…

And then I couldn’t talk anymore. I just about lost it.

I told him he could throw it out as soon as I stepped away, but I just had to give it to him, and say thank you. On that second thank you, my throat locked and I couldn’t say anything at all.

Scott was polite, friendly and thanked me for those words, and for coming to see him. I couldn’t do anything else but wave at him as my eyes and throat began to burn.

I just about broke down right there in the middle of the con, and barely stumbled back to our table.

I don’t know if he’ll ever read that post, but I know I gave it to him, I know it’s out there forever, so maybe someday… somehow… someone will get it into his hands. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually be able to talk to him.

Sue found a mo to step away to have herself Simpson-ized by original Simpsons artist, Phil Ortiz, it looks fantastic!

Sadly while Sue was away…

I was attacked…

Somehow, I survived.

It was touch and go there for a moment, since there were no stormtroopers, jedi or superheros around to save me.

I also made sure I ran over to introduce myself to Sean Maher, because if it wasn’t for our shared love of Firefly, Sue and I may never have met.

He was a little stunned at first that that was why I had come up to his table, but was more than happy to shake my hand over it, and accept my thanks.

The highlight of the entire weekend, and we told them this when we saw them, in our professional photo shoot, was spending time with Catherine Mary Stewart and Lance Guest.

They found time for us, each and every time we went to see them. We chatted back and forth, and the podcast should be just bril when it goes up next weekend.

It just blew us away, that these people, who we grew up thinking were cool, and still are, thought we were cool as well, and happily accepted us.

Both of them said very kind things, and were just amazing, they made us laugh, and by the end of the weekend made us feel that we were more than just another interview.

Like I said in yesterday’s post, meeting your heroes isn’t always disappointing, sometimes they exceed your expectations of them…

For me, Scott, Catherine and Lance (who is so much taller than you think he is) are those exceptions.

Thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do.

And Catherine and Lance, thank you for being so damned cool and friendly!

I call the Toronto Wizard World Comic Con a wonderful success!!

See you next year!

Quantum Leap

“Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished…

He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better.

His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear.

And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.”

Influence and guidance.

We all have them in our lives. Religion, politics, what have you.

I grew up a child of pop culture, and a lot of my morals, beliefs and convictions came from what I was exposed to or sought out.

Now before you roll your eyes, and feel pity for that concept, let me show you what I mean.

From Star Trek, I learned acceptance of other cultures and beliefs, a complete lack of racism, and to avoid pre-judging those I encounter. The fact that we can be all better together than we could ever be separately, best exemplified by the Vulcan concept of the IDIC, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination.Now, occasionally that may make me naive in some situations, but I would rather this open-minded naiveté then to be close-minded and cynical. Above all, it taught me hope. That we as a species, can survive these growing pains that we’re going through, that we can be better.

From Star Wars, I discovered the use of myth, and story telling (obviously I’m talking about the original trilogy on that mark) which led me to Joseph Campbell, and mythology of the world and its religions.

From Indiana Jones I learned not only to be stubborn, and to keep getting up when you get knocked down, but also that knowledge, where we have come from, is just as important to know as where we are going.

Jones is a professor of archaeology and he knows his history as well. It’s these things that give him that edge over his competition (sometimes). But he supports the concept of seeking out knowledge.

He tells his class that most of their work is done in the library, research, reading.

In that manner, he showed me, much like Trek, that it should be the expansion of our minds and our cultures that should be uniting us. We shouldn’t be dumbing ourselves down.

Now I realize what I just said, saying we shouldn’t be dumbing ourselves down while talking about pop culture. But not all pop culture is about dumbing us down (though some of it really seems to be doing its best).

There is intelligence, worthwhile beliefs and shared knowledge to be found amongst the gristle if one looks.

But when it comes to things that have shaped my moral codes, Trek shaped my early self, but then in 1989, along came a show that spoke to me on an emotional level.

Quantum Leap.

Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell through their characters, became dearest friends.

Al Calavicci was a bit of a drunk, a multiple divorcee and a womanizer before Sam recruited him for Project Starbright and then later Project Quantum Leap. Right there, you learn forgiveness, and second chances.

Which is kind of what Leap is about, creating second chances, setting things right that once went wrong.

Now I’m not going to argue about timelines, paradoxes, or freewill…

I’m going to talk about Sam Beckett.

Once again, a smart character, he holds several doctorates, and speaks a number of languages… See, smart is good, open-mindedness is good, not something to be vilified. The seeking out of knowledge not the obfuscation of it, or the sticking of our collective heads in the sand because we don’t want to accept truths that we don’t agree with.

The one thing Sam taught me most of all, is to do what’s right, no matter the personal cost to oneself. He sacrifices the chance to go home, to keep trying to make things better for everyone else.

Sam is a boy scout. He believes in the best for people, the idea of second chances, and giving people his trust.

All ideas that I’ve tried to adopt for myself.

But there’s more.

Sam and Al got me through some pretty tough times.

I was in a relationship that imploded, through no fault of our own. We were just completely opposite in beliefs, and ideas for the future.

But…

Through my belief and support I think I helped her, a little, to get her life underway.

And the more I looked through my life, I found little things like that. I imagine most of us could.

I had spent my life moving around the planet, through no control of my own, and meeting all manner of people, creating friendships, and helping people when I could.

Is it any surprise that I saw correlations?

Through the entire series, Sam was my avatar. I related to so much of what he was going through, the desire to see people happy, that things are Right, the desire to find my own home.

Their Halloween episode freaked me out, not because of all the spooky things that go on, but the fact that the image of Al, Sam’s best friend, is used against him, and in fact assaults him. That scared me most of all, the idea of someone you trust and care for turning against you so viciously.

Watching the way Sam was treated when he was Jimmy, or a woman, or a criminal, just made me wonder at how we as a species continue to get by.

We CAN be so much better.

But Sam continued on, determined to see the best in everyone.

I try to foster that in myself, though I know I don’t always succeed.

That’s not all they helped me with.

I went through some very emotionally dark times during the run of the series, and after it, and to put it lightly, I did waver on the edge of the abyss a few times.

But the beliefs portrayed by the characters, of all the films and shows I’ve listed helped get me through, as well as a number of people who I count among my closest circle of friends, and I’m fairly sure you know who you are, my own Kate Beckett, D’Argo, and Sue.

When I learned that Scott and Dean (who I already had a chance to meet once at Fan Expo two years back) were going to be in attendance at the Wizard World Comic Con, I knew I had to write this article.

I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to say these things to Scott and Dean at the con, one of the main reasons of course is that we’ll be manning our fan table.

So I wanted to put this message out there into the ether of the web in the hopes that they may hear about it one day.

Scott, Dean (sorry, I just feel like I’m on a first name basis), Thank You. Thank you both for getting me through. For showing me that we can be all that we can be.

Thank you for showing me that doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth doing. No matter the cost.

There were times, when Leap served as a security blanket, lines of dialogue were almost a mantra.

I was able to transpose myself onto Sam’s character, and through him, see that my own problems could be solved. It wouldn’t always be easy, but if it was, wouldn’t we all be doing it that way all the time?

And I did.

I solved them, with help. I worked them through, and I think, I came out so much better on the other side. It’s been a long road, and I’m still on the journey.

But each step, each leap, gets me closer to somewhere I can call my own.

Home.

Thank you.