Jay & Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow

An Experience

Sometimes life works in mysterious ways to make sure you don’t fuck yourself over from experiencing some of those moments you will never forget. This is that story. (Skip the next two paragraphs if you want to only know about the show and not how I got there).

So, let’s take a journey back to about five months before December 6th where I come across a Kevin Smith (follow him you fools) twitter post decreeing that he and his heterosexual life mate, Jay Mewes, would be taking America (and possibly parts of Canada) by storm promoting their newest film “Jay & Silent Bob Reboot”. In my nerd hype state at that moment, I purchase one ticket (this will be a mistake, trust me) for $60 and message three of my best friends telling them about it. They seem hyped enough and I, expecting they would be prudent in their purchase to join me, leave the matter in their hands (second mistake). This, in turn, would come to bite me straight in the ass as I had forgotten a key element, that these group of friends are literally the worst at following up on anything (I moved into my house 3 years ago, and none of them have driven the hour and thirty minutes to come see me. Oh well.).

So, here I am holding a ticket to an event to see THE Kevin Smith, one of my personal favorite directors (and king nerd) and just a straight up cool dude. Having watched all his Q&A’s on DVD, I never thought that I would get this chance to see the man in the flesh. Unfortunately, anxiety has a funny way of fucking with you and I told my wife that I didn’t want to go by myself. Reluctantly, I post my ticket on StubHub for $100 (Figured I might as well get $40 for my trouble). Months go by and my ticket stays unsold, so I’ve sold my fate as to being fucked. But, there always appears a light at the end of the tunnel (sometimes it’s a bus, but whatever). Anyways, there had been another ticket that had went up about the same time as mine for the low, low price of $320. As I do not have Kevin Smith money, I said “No thank you”. However, 5 months later that ticket’s price dropped down to $120 (Yes, I know double the original) and luckily for the seller of that particular ticket I was stuck in a Phoenix hotel with nothing to keep me entertained. So, I de-listed my ticket, said “Fuck it” and purchased another ticket to bring my wife along for the ride.

The Myth, The Legend, The BOB

Fast forward this story to the night of the show. After an hour and a half drive, we arrive in the parking lot of The Loft Cinema (btw, I had never been to this movie house) which I doubt had been updated since the 70’s. Neon and the light from the marquee illuminated an old school, silver travel trailer that had been converted into a food and wine truck (We skipped this attraction as I just wanted to find two seats before we were left sitting in opposite ends of the theater. BTW, this show was also sold out. Tucson showed up.) We manage to find seats and patiently waited. I can honestly say, I have never felt more comfortable in a theater of people before. If you couldn’t find a nerd in Tucson, it was because they were all here to support a buddy movie featuring a mute in a trench coat and his blond, loud-mouthed co-star. I was so excited to even have made it this far. About 15 minutes later, our efforts to get to this point would be greeted with a much more trim Kevin Smith, from the one I had seen on those DVD’s, who would go on to express how this was his 53rd sold out show, how this movie was one big personal love fest for Kevin Smith by Kevin Smith as Kevin Smith was the biggest fan of Kevin Smith, and how he thanks everyone for showing up (and probably overpaying) to see him and his friend do the same thing they had been doing for 25 years. He would go on to introduce Mewes who had apparently been pulled from an update of Fortnite, but was ecstatic for this showing as he had family in the audience who had attended. They also went on to show us three, hilarious and creative, audible ads featuring Jay and Silent Bob before they started “Jay & Silent Bob Reboot”. S/O to audible for sponsoring this tour along with our own little podcast. Get a free trial by going to audibletrial.com/thenerdcorps.

I don’t want to be that guy who spoils, so I’ll try and keep my descriptions as simple as possible about the movie. If you’re a fan of any movies about or featuring Jay & Silent Bob (from Clerks to Dogma to Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) expect to laugh from the beginning to the end of this film. There’s no time for oxygen in some places. Expect for big, celebrity cameos as Smith guilt tripped anyone and everyone he knew to be in the film after his heart attack (he confirmed this himself in the Q&A). Jay Mewes’ performance will give you those nostalgic fits of laughter along with some pretty well formed scenes which will pull on the heart strings. The stand out star in this film is strangely neither of the characters whose name graces the title, but Kevin Smith’s own daughter Harley Quinn Smith. Though Jay and Silent Bob bring the laughs, it is Harley who drives the movie forward and gives Mewes the chance to flex some acting muscles we had rarely seen in previous works. She along with a great supporting cast and possibly the most celebrity cameos to ever be put on the big screen, help to create a feel good, fun time at the movies, where we can properly show our appreciation for Kevin Smith’s creation to honor Kevin Smith. (And yes, Ben Affleck is totally in this movie).

I will just say, if you are lucky enough to make it to the Roadshow, please stay for the Question and Answer segment after the show. Kevin Smith gives honest, heartfelt, and hilarious answers to random questions fans throw out there. I will tell one story from this because I think people need to know how caring these two guys are.

Yes, those are giant inflatable joints that they gave away to audience members.

One of the audience members went on to tell Kevin how thankful she was that he made movies and how she and her husband’s first date was to see “Jersey Girl”. But, she also expressed how her husband had passed away three years ago and she had come to the show to show Smith and Mewes support as she knew that’s what her husband would have wanted. She goes on to ask if this was the final movie for Jay and Silent Bob. Kevin Smith proceeds to bring her on stage and give her a hug (Mewes also gets a hug out of it) and then Smith holds her hand the whole time while answering her question. Which, by the way, both a Clerks 3 and Mall Rats 2 are currently going into production. I think this experience shows why Kevin Smith is one of the most beloved directors of our age. He is super appreciative that the “one magic trick” he was capable of with the creation of Clerks has paid off for the last 25 years because of the fans. (If you weren’t aware, Clerks was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry about a week ago).

To give this movie a rating (as is The Nerd Corps way) would be difficult to say the least. I know the experience of this film would be far different if I had been alone on my couch instead of watching this film in a packed theater full of Jay and Silent Bob fans including the real life versions of Jay and Silent Bob (and honestly, I think this was one of the best dates my wife and I have ever gone on. So, thanks Kevin). So, in lieu of a rating, I will say just to go watch the movie when it drops on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Amazon Prime on January 31, 2020 or before hand if you can make it to one of the stops on the Reboot Roadshow and decide for yourself.

I can safely say that this night will be embedded into my memory until I cease to exist and I am damn glad I decided to go out of my comfort zone and see great people creating great things. YoungYoda out.

For The Fans…

A Review of EL camino: A breaking bad movie

Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Another movie this year which I chalked up to being “unnecessary”, but in this instance I still believe that. But, did I watch El Camino the second it dropped on Netflix? As Walter White once proclaimed, “You’re goddamn right.” I guess this review has a hint of spoiler territory if you’ve never seen the original six seasons of Breaking Bad. If this is the case, be sure to stop reading here and go watch the series as it is one of the best television moments to ever grace the airwaves.

When we last left off the story of Jesse Pinkman, he was driving off into the sunset in an El Camino stolen off the once living, meth dealing white supremacists whose corpses now littered the very compound they had been keeping Jesse hostage in. This all of course thanks to Walter White’s last minute heroics which included robots and a fully automatic machine gun (Seriously to all the readers, go watch Breaking Bad). Anyways, to me this was the perfect send off to a beloved character who was only supposed to get a very short episode arc, but due to Aaron Paul’s prodigious performance, he became the Oliver Hardy to Bryan Cranston’s Stan Laurel. This ending sees Jesse burst through the locked gate of his previous forced residence as we get a close-up to his face both laughing manically while crying tears of relief and delirium. It left all viewers who watched with the idea that Jesse, a character who had gone through hell during this last season, would have a happily ever-after. Vince Gilligan had capped off one of his greatest achievements with an ending that left most, if not all fans, satisfied.

A little more than six years later we get El Camino, whose existence is more of a love letter from Gilligan to the fans. Was it necessary? Far from it. Was it satisfying? Oh, hell yeah it was. The story starts right at the very ending of Breaking Bad and doesn’t slow down. We find that not all stories are straight forward and sometimes our characters go from the frying pan and into the fire. Fans of Breaking Bad will not lose that feeling of satisfaction by the end of this movie, but will have more details to go with it.

Seeing Aaron Paul back as his titular character is refreshing and getting call backs to conversations he had with his past castmates from Jonathan Banks to Bryan Cranston made me nostalgic for the series. Two characters whose portrayals must be recognized are that of Todd Alquist, played by Jesse Plemons, and Ed Galbraith, played by the now late Robert Forster (who passed away, the same day the movie was released, at the age of 78). These two characters help to provide the details of Jesse’s past and move the story forward into his future. All I can say is that it is a must to have the exact change when purchasing a vacuum.

Can a two hour movie provide the same quality as six seasons? No, but Vince Gilligan has penned a love letter to the fans that allows us to see some of our favorite characters one more time. For that, I am giving El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie a 9.25/10. YoungYoda out.

I Exist.

A Non-spoiler review of joker

Photo Credit: Collider

If life is a comedy, then for Arthur Fleck, no one is laughing.  Though I’ve thrown out words to describe this movie previously, such as “unnecessary” or even to go as far as saying “a money grab” I must now eat them with a side of humble pie.  Though there is no absolute Joker origin story, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have crafted an unsettling look into madness and what could have easily caused the Clown Prince of Gotham to put on the face paint. No, it wasn’t falling into a vat of chemicals or facial scars that created this Joker, but rather governmental budget cuts and an uncaring society who looked the other way time and again.  Joker is eerily realistic in its portrayal of violence which can cause an anxiousness few films could ever attain (Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade being one of those…minus the violence of course).  This movie does not shy away on its social commentary either, putting modern society’s gun violence, lack of attention and facilities for those with mental illnesses, and the widening wage gap right in our faces.  For a movie about a clown there are no gags, few puns, but just raw manic emotion which will make all audiences wonder, “Where does Joaquin Phoenix go from here?” as he leaves it all on the screen. So, let’s all put on a happy face and be glad DC finally decided to take a risk and birthed a classic. YoungYoda out.

“It’s a good lie.”

A Review of the farewell

Photo Credit: businessinsider.com

This may be the most difficult review I will ever have to write for a movie.  Lulu Wang has created art which crosses all thresholds and is relatable to any audience. The Farewell is masterful in dredging up familiar moments.  Moments which include the happiness of family gatherings to the horrible, gut-churning acceptance of a reality where cancer may soon take your patriarch. 

Its portrayals of the ridiculousness of how families deal with both marriage and death are both different yet recognizable.  Even though this family is predominately of Chinese origins, any race or culture can understand and appreciate the events happening on the screen in their own lives.  Even the dinner scenes have those similar bickering moments between relatives we’ve all had to be witness to.  This is a film whose emotional connection to its audience may be unmatched by any film which has ever come before it (and I do not say this lightly). 

The superb casting works hand in hand with the script to create a family unit that comes across as being real and not one haphazardly thrown together to be portrayed on the big screen.  I would be very surprised and disappointed if Awkwafina does not garner a Best Actress Oscar Nomination for her portrayal of Billi, the somewhat somber and cynical grandchild of the bubbly and full of life (and also unfortunately cancer) Nai Nai, played by Zhao Shuzhen.  The supporting cast also help to carry the burden of Nai Nai’s cancer (as they refuse to tell her as to not scare her to an earlier grave) throughout the film.  Their interactions help show every side of a family trying to deal with the ever-looming presence of death including humor, guilt, and heartbreak. 

The vulnerability presented in The Farewell is as unnerving as it is beautiful.  This along with the ending scene, which is almost a guarantee to elicit the waterworks, is why I am calling this the best film of the year and it is only September. 10/10 long cries. YoungYoda out.

(P.S. This review is purposely short as words are difficult when it comes to the emotional intensity of this film.  My suggestion is to go watch it and understand where I’m coming from.  Much love.)

Encyclopedia of Super

A Review of Jason Inman’s Super Soldiers

Photo Credit: WorldofBlackHeroes

I suppose I should be proud to be the writer of ‘The Nerd Corps’ first book review on this site as I offer up my opinions on Jason Inman’s ‘Super Soldiers’ in this post.  As an adult it has grown quite difficult to find time to read as my attention has turned from only school and books to a life full of dog walks, significant other dates, podcast recordings, movie watches and full-blown attention deficit disorder at times.  I did my best to read this as quickly as I could and unfortunately that was over the span of a few months.  So, to Jason and everyone else, I apologize in the time it took to write this review.

Starting off, let me introduce Jason Inman who you may have heard on the podcast twice as he graciously agreed to talk with myself and Raul for around an hour each time (Episodes 85 and 237 if you want to take a listen).  Jason is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, an author of books (duh) and comics (Jupiter Jet, Science!, etc.), and quoting from his website jasoninman.com “a former host of DC All Access and a regular guest on Collider Movie Talk, Geek & Sundry, Collider Heroes, Screen Junkies, SourceFed, and Film HQ…Besides uploading weekly videos on his youtube channel, Jawiin, Jason has hosted his own podcast Geek History Lesson for over five years which was nominated for a Podcast Award”.  These two aspects of Jason, that of a veteran and that of the encyclopedia of all things nerd, come into play with his book Super Soldiers which focuses on the comic book heroes and villains who served the United States military. 

First, I must comment on the ease of reading I found with this book.  Jason has the ability to condense a lot of history of these super powered figures into four to eight pages each. His inclusion of many of the lesser known heroes and villains such as Gravedigger, Isaiah Bradley, and Nuke along with various unfamiliar (to me at least) details of the more popular figures (Captain America, Punisher, etc.) helped keep my attention piqued as each chapter I was exploring the details of someone I didn’t know or finding out more about the heroes I had grown up with.  Jason does not shy away from the controversial aspects of each character’s history either but delves right into their history, be it Batwoman’s sexuality during the peak of “don’t ask, don’t tell” or the mistreatment of Gravedigger and Isaiah Bradley due to being black men in a WWII America.  Any comic book fan will want to run out and pick up the back issues of many of these character’s comics (I’m personally going to buy up as much of Gravedigger’s “Men of War” as I can find).

On top of all this, Jason includes his own military experiences helping to bridge that gap between comic book lore and reality.  From speaking on the difficulty of transitioning back to civilian life, just like War Machine, to pranking his sergeant ala Beetle Bailey, he is able to compare and contrast the life of an enlisted soldier with these fictional stories of super powered (and sometimes not so superpowered aka Sgt. Rock) heroes.

This, in my humble opinion, is a must read for all fans of comics and comic book heroes.  The amount of information contained within these 218 pages is astounding, so be sure to keep this close at hand when researching who came before Captain America or how Flash Thompson went from bully to hero.  As Sir Francis Bacon coined once upon a time, “Knowledge is power” and as Super Soldiers goes, “Knowledge is Super Power”. YoungYoda out.

P.S. be sure to pick up Super Soldiers on Amazon and give a follow to Jason at the following: Twitter & Instagram- @Jawiin; Go listen to his podcast “Geek History Lesson” (@GHLPodcast) wherever you listen to podcasts.