Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

August 11, 2014 at 11:18am

Nerd Alert! - The Sixties, The Expendables 3, The Real History of Science Fiction ...

William Shatner chimed in on "The Real History of Science Fiction." Photo courtesy of BBC America

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Getting your ass to Mars, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.


I hope you've been watching The Sixties on CNN. This briskly-edited, emotional-wallop-packing series recalls how the Baby Boomers came of age in the '60s, then gradually, inevitably gave up on their dreams and softened their acid-fueled idealism. Now, as the Boomers age through their own 60s, it appears they have nothing better to do than reminisce about LBJ, Apollo 11 and Royal Crown Cola. (Yes, I know they still make RC Cola, but when was the last time you drank it?) I have little room to judge, as my idea of an epic Saturday is to curl up with four hours of I Love the '80s and a nap. Anyway, The Sixties' finale airs at 9 o'clock Thursday. It's called "Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll," aka "How I Met Your Grandmother."


Harrison Ford!  Mel Gibson! Arnold Schwarzenegger! Wesley Snipes! Sly Stallone! I bedazzle these names with exclamation points because there was once a time, and I'm of an age from which it seems only yesterday, when their appearance on a marquee promised the best - or at least the most handsomely produced - of summer blockbusters. Ooh, what would it be this time? Would Harrison Ford point his Finger of Doom at a power-mad Nazi? Would the Austrian Oak gasp for life-sustaining oxygen as his eyeballs hyperextended and the Martian atmosphere terraformed? Would it always be safe to bet on black, or would Wesley Snipes end up dodging the IRS? I'm afraid, my young readers, it was all of the above. Our mighty heroes of old, and boy, do I mean old, have been replaced by the frat boys of Zeta Alpha Apatow, feather-haired gym rats cosplaying as superheroes, and terabyte upon terabyte of CG sharknadoes. The world has moved on.

But as a bald, burly supervillain of that bygone era once proclaimed, "I have something to say: it's better to burn out than to fade away!" And that, along with hundreds of checks that cleared, is why the abovementioned stars (currently entering their nova stage, having long ago converted all the hydrogen in their cores into helium) have joined forces to bring you The Expendables, Acte Trois. As we all remember so clearly, the first one's plot was ummm, a lot of shooting happened? Bullets? That already-compelling storyline was enhanced in Episode Two, in which I think some propane exploded? Maybe an airplane with knives on it? Somebody rassled a bear?

Movies like The Expendables 3 are why Netflix (or, as I like to call it, the fireman's pole into a shame spiral) was invented. It's the kind of movie you watch when, a.) you're a man over 40, and b.) your night's entertainment will also include a $5 pizza buffet, furtive exploration of Olympia's new strip bar Desire, and a case of Milwaukee's Best. It'll make you feel like more of a man and less of a person. And before you ask, yes, Kelsey Grammer does play a dude named "Bonaparte." Sly Stallone and your adolescence wouldn't have it any other way.


If you're wondering where the promised last episode of The Real History of Science Fiction went a few months ago, it's airing Saturday at 9 on BBC America. It's about time travel, which maybe explains how this happened. Don't forget to set your DVR and/or flux capacitor.

Disney CEO Robert Iger recently announced that his company would start work next year on a "significant" new theme-park project devoted to all things Star Wars. He then intoned, "Many Bothans died to bring us this information." Or maybe that was someone else-I've napped since then. 

Personally, I'm a huge fan of the upgraded Star Tours attraction that re-launched in 2011. I'd love to see something along the lines of a speeder bike steeplechase, TIE fighter shoot-out, or animatronic aliens in a Mos Eisley cantina. The latter could feature frosty blue milkshakes. In your face, butterbeer!

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may you never reveal you went all the way with LBJ.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens, Pop Culture,
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