Friday, February 23, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 201 – Tanya’s Island Needless Commentary

Part of an ongoing series – the Needless Things Irregulars gather in the Phantom Zone to provide their own unique commentary on classic genre films!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Possible Remakes that Could Actually Be Good

By Jerry Chandler

A lot of people treat the word “remake” attached to a project as an automatic sign of a bad product. Some people- often people not realizing that some of their favorite movies are remakes –will also greet the news of remakes with declarations about how remakes are automatically inferior to the originals or are automatically devoid of any level genius or originality. One of my favorite remakes, 1986’s The Fly, is a film that puts a lie to both of these statements.

Admittedly, many remakes can be horrible. Typically, bad remakes come about because someone somewhere in a studio in Hollywood wants to remake or reboot a popular film or TV franchise just to try to jump back onto a money train. There’s often seemingly very little love or passion for the original versions, and some great deal less thought seems to be put into executing a new version thanks to the laziness of thinking everyone will just know what they’re supposed to know once the movie starts. There’s also an issue created when the original property is a hugely popular film or franchise with generations of fans. Of course, one way to get around that last bit is to let people who love the less than well-loved films get a shot at doing some remakes or reboots based on those. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Days of the Dead: Ray Wise Panel

by Beth

You know him, you love him, you might even be a little unnerved by him. It's Ray Wise! But don't let the fact that he's played a bunch of bad guys fool you you. He was insanely nice during his panel, when we stopped by to say hello at his table after the panel, and again when we went on Saturday for Mr. Tibbs to get an autograph and picture with him.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 200: The Version You Can See!

Be sure to join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and get in on the conversation for this week’s episode! Let us know what you think!

Procrastibate” by 

Interstitial music provided by The Mystery Men? 

You can follow Dave as Phantom Troublemaker on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest on pop culture!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 200 – LIVE 200th Episode Extravaganza!

Join Dave, the Needless Things Irregulars, and some very special guests for a night of entertainment recorded live at the Intown Coffehouse in Atlanta, Georgia!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bring on the (Better) Villains

By Jerry Chandler

This weekend will see the release of Marvel’s much anticipated Black Panther film, and then hot on its heels will be Avengers: Infinity War. For Marvel’s cinematic universe, this is literally a year that’s been ten years in the making for them. It’s been an occasionally bumpy ride. They’ve had some truly great films come out as they’ve built towards the ultimate showdown with Thanos, but they’ve also had a few four finger stinkers hit the big screen as well. 20th Century Fox has been chugging along for a longer time now with the X-Men franchise in much the same way, although their films actually featuring the X-Men as a team have been unfortunately getting a little more reliably meh as time has worn on. I’m largely not even going to discuss what they did with Fantastic Four; especially as the Disney/Fox deal means we likely won’t see a misfire of that level with the team again. I’d mention Sony and Spider-Man, but that’s basically just part of the MCU right now.

Then there’s DC. They’ve been trying to play catch-up with Marvel while wanting to create their own version of Marvel’s shared universe. Sadly, while some efforts have been entertaining, they’ve not quite just yet stumbled onto their version of a winning formula. Even more unfortunate, their most recent three films all showed that they’re as susceptible as Marvel (maybe even more so) to replicating the biggest failure of so many modern superhero films. It’s a failing that Black Panther may even be facing from the early looks at it, but one hopes that it will give a much better showing than other films in this regards.

The villains suck. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 1 Special Edition

The first episode of the Needless Things Podcast was posted on January 1st, 2013. It's a conversation between Phantom Troublemaker (Dave) and Beau Brown about the 30th anniversary of Masters of the Universe.

It was originally posted on the Internet Archive because we had no idea what we were doing. Now, five years later, the episode has been given a new introduction and outro and is finally being included in the Podbean library of episodes to be distributed to itunes, Stitcher, Uranus, and everywhere else podcasts aren't sold.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Beth's Days of the Dead Recap

By Beth

You should all know by now that I love horror movies, and spooky stuff in general. Several years ago Sharron and I got day passes to go to Days of the Dead just for Saturday. It was fairly small, inexpensive, and relatively quiet. I had a good enough time that I’ve been wanting to do it again. Since my horror buddy was out of town the last few times it happened, and Mr. Tibbs isn’t usually one for crowds, I haven’t been back until this year. It’s changed a lot since 2014, and it was all for the better.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Every Needless Things Podcast Ever

By Dave

This Friday I will be releasing the 200th episode of the Needless Things Podcast.

Five years ago in January I released the first episode, which was a modest conversation with our pal Mr. Beau Brown that celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of Masters of the Universe. Every year since we have recorded a Masters episode as close to the beginning of the year as we can.

Today’s post is mostly just a list of links for your convenience. I wanted to put all of the episodes together in one spot so everyone could see the amazing range of topics and guests all in one shot without having to browse the site.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 199 – Toy Stories LIVE at Days of the Dead Atlanta

LIVE from the Days of the Dead Atlanta horror convention – Dave, Nicole Gould, and Ryan Cadaver host Needless Things Presents Toy Stories: Plastic Horrors!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Science Fiction’s Technological Dream, Less than Dreamy in Real Life

By Jerry Chandler

Technology was always going to make our lives better and make our sometimes-limited leisure time more enjoyable. At least that was always the point- when dealing with this specific form of technology -of so many of the little throwaway scenes in so much science fiction over the decades. The machines around us were in their way going to grow smarter, and thus they would be able to serve us in ways people could only imagine experiencing until recent years. One of the ways they would do this was by analyzing the things we regularly liked to hear or see or do and find similar things to that to expose us to when we asked for something to hear or see or do. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews February 2018: “Light on Toys”

By Dave

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for.

It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in April.

Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Days of the Dead in Pictures

by Beth

So Days of the Dead 2018 is over, and we've got more than 6 months until Dragon Con. Sigh...
At least a good time was had by all. A little too good for some of us. The flu I was fighting all week came back with friends, and I missed too much work last week to stay home today, and get any writing done. I've got a full recap, as well as 2 amazing panels to cover. I saw more than 2 panels of course, but Ray Wise and Malcolm McDowell we're so good that they'll need their own posts.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 198 – Masters of the Universe Part 2

Mr. Beau Brown returns to the Needless Things Podcast for the second part of a wide-ranging conversation about Masters of the Universe!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why Do So Many Fans Seemingly Hate the Genres They Claim to Love?

By Jerry Chandler

I’m a fan of horror movies. That’s the understated way of saying it. I’m also, of course, a fan of other genres. But, yeah, I tend to really enjoy horror, science fiction, and fantasy. You could also throw superhero into that list, but I’ve always considered that just fantasy with a sometimes small twist of science fiction mixed in and given a new coat of paint. After all, as has been pointed out by others, some modern superhero storytelling is essentially just the modern evolution of the tradition of the telling of ancient myth stories.

I’m also the type of geek who has always loved to learn about the ‘why’ of the things I enjoyed. When it comes to these genres. I would never compare myself to an academic or a historian when it comes to the level of knowledge I have about the ins and outs of the history of the genres across the various mediums or how the genres can be used to tell very meaningful human stories in disguise. However, I do try to learn as much as I can about these things. As such, I think I’m in a good position to be able to say that stories have been told and still can be told in these genres that rise above the level of disposable entertainment. Indeed, all of those genres have been used to tell stories that have touched on important social commentary, made huge political statements, addressed the human condition, and even ventured into the realm of the deeply philosophical. They’ve also all been able to and still can produce absolute classics of storytelling.

Apparently, having the opinion that some of these genres are capable of this kind of thing has me not only on the other side of a debate with many in the mainstream of American pop culture these days, but also with some in fandom who somehow or another claim they love some of these same genres I do. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Toy Stories - Christina's Toys of the 80s

By Christina

A depressing night hit me recently, with sad events occurring that left me in a mix of anger (at not only others, but at myself in all honesty) and in shock and sadness/tears.  In an attempt to alleviate the pain I went from some time on the PS4 killing Trinity soldiers in Rise of The Tomb Raider (which killed virtual men, but not the sadness) to Netflix.  

In the midst of my “Flix-Surfing” my heart jumped for temporary joy when I saw a new show that had joined the online ranks:  The Toys That Made Us.  Only a few episodes seem to be up at this point, but it was enough to send me back in time to the best days of my life.  The days of the thirty minute commercial, when cartoons were awesome even though they were just an advertisement for the joyful playthings that we all opened up on Christmas Day and birthdays.  The time when, thanks to these action figures and play sets, we spent most of our years either singing or screaming the likes of “I have the power!” “Yo, Joe!”  “Thundercats, hooooo!” or whatever we were into in that moment. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What Were They Thinking? Nightmare City (1980)

By Jerry Chandler

Have you seen the news from the last week? Have you seen this bit of news? It appears that archeologists have determined that the Giza Pyramid’s mystery chamber may hold Pharaoh’s “meteorite throne” and have determined that they really want to get in there and take a look. See, this is why scientists and archeologists and other professionals should be required to watch a steady diet of horror films. If they did, they would understand what this could mean.

What could this mean, you ask? For one thing, it could mean radioactive mummies. Do you know what radioactive mummies are? They’re just the Egyptian version of radioactive zombies. Do you know what you get with radioactive zombies? You get Nightmare City and being locked into a cycle of terror, carnage, death, and unresolved endings brought about by bad writing and a horrible gimmick twist that should have gotten everyone involved smacked until the stupid came out of them.

What’s that? You don’t know what Nightmare City is? Then let me tell you about it. There will be some huge spoilers coming, but, trust me, you won’t care if this movie gets spoiled for you or not.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Superstars of the DC Multiverse!

By Dave

In 1995 I had a dream.

This was not a noble dream that would change the course of human history, nor was it an ideal of hope and peace for the future.

It was a literal dream and not only was it stupid, it is one of many indicators that my toy obsession is probably even unhealthier than I think it is. I mean, who has dreams about upcoming toy lines?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Days of the Dead Atlanta

by Beth

It took some doing, but I was able to secure myself a press pass for Days of the Dead which will be taking place at the downtown Sheraton February 2-4. Actually, I got 2 passes so Mr. Tibbs will be coming too so that he can take pictures for me (I'm terrible at getting pictures of the cool stuff I see. I can take notes or take pictures. I'm not great at doing both), and he'll allow more "divide and conquer" than I can do on my own. I may have to start doing this at Dragon Con if it works out well. Days of the Dead is a horror based convention that's been happening every February for several years. It's been a long time since I've been, but really enjoyed it, and thought I'd try my luck at getting in as press. It worked, and now I'll be able to tell you about all the great things you missed (in case you can't come) and things you might miss if your plans and panels don't match up with mine. Not everyone who will be appearing has a panel so I'll break this up into 2 parts. The people, and then the panels or events I want to see.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 196 – Next of Kin Needless Commentary

Part of an ongoing series – the Needless Things Irregulars gather in the Phantom Zone to provide their own unique commentary on classic genre films!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Intruder (1962)

By Jerry Chandler

By 1962, Roger Corman was well on his way to creating the film resume that unfortunately earned him such nicknames as "The King of Schlock." He’d found low budget success with such films as The Wasp Woman, A Bucket of Blood, Little Shop of Horrors, It Conquered the World, Sorority Girl, and Teenage Doll among others.

How much success had he found? It depends on what you consider successful. After being burned by the nature of the studio system, Corman struck out on his own to make the movies he wanted to make. None of them were the comparative financial successes that Star Wars, Jaws, or Avatar would be for others in later years. You certainly won’t find them regularly listed in the top ten or top twenty box office winners for the years in which his films were released. But, one thing Roger Corman could for longest time say about his films is that they earned a profit at the box office. For decades, Roger Corman could make a claim that few others in the business could; even those who had made far less than the 400+ films Roger Corman has directed and/or produced at this point. He could for a very long time say that he had made hundreds of films and never lost a dime on any of them.

Well, except for one film in 1962. It’s something of a shame that The Intruder was for decades the only film Roger Corman lost money on, because, in some ways, it was one of the best films he’d made at that point in his career.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Toy Review – Suicide Squad Harley Quinn from Hot Toys

By Dave

I decided over a year ago that I wanted to review a bunch of different versions of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad. I love the character design, which lends itself to plenty of variations between manufacturers. And there were plenty of manufacturers – Mattel, Medicom, Bandai, Funko, Mezco, and possibly more that I’m not thinking of.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 195 – Masters of the Universe Part 1

Masters of the Universe toys have a significantly lower profile these days, so rather than attempting the usual annual recap, Dave and Mr. Beau Brown are having an Eternian free-for-all! No Masters-related topic is off limits as two superfans discuss their love of Mattel’s franchise.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why Does It So Often Feel Like Studios Are Run by Morons?

Hollywood studios have never been completely moron free. A quick look through the history of Hollywood reveals a lot of head scratching moments that likely cost people a good sized chunk of change over the decades. Sometimes it’s just a little thing that makes it seem that way, sometimes it’s a huge thing, and sometimes it’s in the way various studio heads seem to view their potential audience. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018 - The State of Toys

By Dave

Needless Things started as a toy review site, basically.

I shared recollections, life stories, and events as well, but there’s a lot less of that now.
There seem to be a lot less toy reviews, too, so I wonder what we’re even doing in this year of 2018. Podcasts, mostly. I like those a lot more and it seems that the internet does, too.
I do still collect toys and I’m actually getting a little more satisfaction out of the hobby lately because I only review one every once in a while. Mostly I just open them up and enjoy them as opposed to waiting until I’ve got time to take pictures and opening them in a certain way and in a certain order.

Once something turns into a job, it can cease to be fun. Especially if it’s a job that pays jack squat.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

10 Reviews in 5 Sentences Each

by Beth

Another Christmas, and another several nights spent watching movies with my brother. He not only has Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but also torrent sites that Mr. Tibbs and I are afraid to use. Yep, as much as we love movies and free things we’re total pussies. We’re old enough to remember Napster, and when people started getting in trouble for illegal downloads. This year he stayed for 5 days so you know we watched a lot of stuff. Much of it was pretty good, and not all of it was movies, but there really wasn’t anything I wanted to spend 1,000 words on individually. Okay maybe the new Star Wars, but that's old ground to cover at this point. So if you liked 13 Movie Reviews in 5 Sentences Each you'll love this. Or you'll hate it. Up to you really.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 194 – Finish the Nog

Recorded LIVE in the Phantom Zone!

Ryan Cadaver swings by the Phantom Zone for a conversation about movies and more! 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

“Superhero Fatigue”

By Jerry Chandler

2014, 2015, and especially 2016 and 2017 were filled with superheroes on the big screen and the small screen. This has been the case for farther back than 2014, but the last four to five years have been seemingly extremely superhero heavy. Every major movie studio was launching a film with an eye towards starting a franchise, and channels like CW were transforming into Superhero Central. Even streaming services were getting in on the act with exclusive superhero shows in both live action and animated forms. In fandom, the age-old war between the Marvel Zombies and the loyal DC Comics fans had renewed itself and moved to a larger battlefield as Hollywood itself was at times seemingly trying to transform itself into Marvel and DC.

The tipping point was coming fast. The big failure moment was just around the corner. The collapse of the superhero film genre was about to happen with the very next bloated, over the top, four-color abomination the studios were readying to unleash on the superhero fatigued audiences of America.

Well, at least that’s how the world worked according to some of the various social critics, movie critics, and jaded fanboys of the world. They certainly made sure you knew this is how the world was right before the launch of every major superhero film- especially the Marvel ones -over the last few years. They were especially loud about their predictions before films with characters that “no one wanted to see or cared about” like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.

These people were and are, of course, full of and spewing extraordinarily large quantities of bovine manure.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews January 2018: “We’re All Broke So Who Cares”

By Dave

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for.

It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in March.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Phantom Troublemaker’s Best of 2017


I’m not gonna lie – I had a pretty darn good 2017. I started a little down and bummed out; somewhat directionless, but I made some decisions and some changes and the year just seemed to get better as it went on.

While I don’t want to rely too heavily on pop culture diversions, as variable as they are, I do think there was a ton of fun stuff to enjoy.