Category Archives: social media

Hail Hydra! You know the drill

hail hydra steranko

If you saw “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” you know (spoilers) that Marvel’s longtime super-science, super-evil group Hydra plans a big role.

And you know that “Hail Hydra” is the special password members of Hydra have used since the first “Cap” movie.

Of course, “Hail Hydra” has been around in the comics as long as Hydra has been around, and in the movies  it’s never been used more effectively than when Garry Shandling’s corrupt senator whispers it in corrupt SHIELD agent Jasper Sitwell’s ear.

So the exchange almost immediately inspired a host of Internet memes.

hail hydra lost in translation

This is the first one I saw.

hail hydra bush cheney

This one is great.

hail hydra godfather

And this one.

hail hydra bert and ernie

Can’t top this one.

 

Mission ‘Veronica Mars’

veronica_mars third season cast

As much as I enjoyed “Serenity,” the big-screen follow-up to Joss Whedon’s cult classic TV series “Firefly,” it didn’t set the world on fire at the movie box office. So it’ll be interesting to see how “Veronica Mars” does when the former UPN and CW show comes to the big-screen on March 14 courtesy of a Kickstarter campaign.

I’ll be there, no doubt, and I know a few other fans of the series – which aired for three years ending in 2007 – but was a decade ahead of its time – will be, too.

But it’s hard to imagine the movie will be a box-office success. And you know what? That’s okay.

“Veronica Mars” was nothing more than a cult series during its three seasons on TV. And while I wish it had been a hit and was still on the air, those of us who watched it then loved it.

Like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and a few other cult classics, “Veronica Mars” probably suffered from airing just a little before the prevalence of social media, especially when paired with TV watching. It’s pretty common now to see people live-tweeting “The Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones” or, before its finale, “Breaking Bad.” “Veronica Mars” would have greatly benefited from that kind of love, which can turn a small cult show into a big cult show.

If you haven’t watched it, I urge you to seek it out, online or streaming or on demand or on disc. Because “Veronica Mars” was almost certainly the smartest, darkest, hippest, snarkiest and most downright appealing show to mix noir crime drama with a coming-of-age story.

In the Rob Thomas-created series, Veronica (played by Kristen Bell) and her father, County Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) live in Neptune, California. Veronica is part of the high school in crowd when her world is torn apart: Her best friend Lily Kane (Amanda Seyfried) is murdered. After Keith pursues Lily’s father, a software millionaire, for the killing and the case falls through – a more “perfect” suspect is arrested and confesses to the crime – Keith is thrown out of office by Neptune’s vengeful upperclass. Veronica is exiled by her crowd and, on a fateful night, is given a date-rape drug and assaulted.

If “Veronica Mars” sounds dark, it is. But it’s lightened not only by the way Keith and Veronica deal with their outlier status – Keith opens a detective agency, Mars Investigations, and Veronica helps out in the office but takes on her own cases at school – but the tone of the series is slyly, ironically funny.

Not that the series could help but be darkly funny with a cast that included not only Bell and Colantoni but Jason Dohring as Bell’s sometimes antagonist/often boyfriend Logan. Logan was the “bad boy” that so many fans loved to see Veronica with.

The series walked a delicate balance between high school and college heartbreak – Veronica found out what it was like to be an exile in teen society – with real noir crime stories about missing persons, assault and murder.

Bell was always believable as the resourceful young woman who often put herself in danger but never came across as a superhero. In fact, it was her vulnerability – and her realistic and loving relationship with her father – that gave the heroine, who could be hard-edged, a lot of heart.

“Veronica Mars” had its finger on the pop culture pulse, including when Veronica adopts the expletive “frak” from the contemporary “Battlestar Galactica” series and when “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon, a big fan of the series, stopped by for a cameo.

Thomas’ eye for casting the series’ many supporting and recurring roles was second to none. Besides Seyfried, who went on to a movie career, small roles were played by cult-y actors from Ken Marino as Keith’s rival PI Vinnie Van Lowe to Krysten Ritter as Gia.

If the “Veronica Mars” movie isn’t a huge hit – or even, hard to imagine, isn’t very good – that’s too bad. But the series will always be the series and it will always be good.

‘SharkNado,’ ‘Ghost Shark’ and great exploitation movies

screamers advertisement

I still remember my expectations when I saw “Screamers” at a drive-in theater in 1981.

They were pretty damn low.

After all, “Screamers” was sold with the catchphrase “Be Warned: You Will Actually See a Man Turned Inside Out” on the poster. When a movie is sold on that kind of pitch alone you know it’s got problems.

When that scene doesn’t even happen in the movie, you know the suckers who paid admission have problems.

Anyway, “Screamers” – which was actually an Italian movie called “Island of the Fish Men,” made two years earlier, then released with some footage added by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures – was pretty weak stuff.

ghost-shark

It’s appropriate that the universally liked Corman has, in recent years, produced cheap sci-fi movies for the SyFy channel, home of “SharkNado,” a huge hit on SyFy a few weeks back, and inspiration for “Ghost Shark,” which aired Thursday night. Neither were Corman productions but might have been. That’s because the mix of inspiration and desperation that went into the writing, filming and marketing of these movies was vintage Corman.

“SharkNado’s” best marketing tool was one that couldn’t have been planned or bought by SyFy. The Twitter reaction to the movie the evening it aired added greatly to the movie’s impact on the pop culture landscape.

When SyFy aired “Ghost Shark” – an inferior movie to “SharkNado” but one with some funny and audacious scenes – the channel seemed to try to prime the Twitter pump by superimposing lame “Tweets” in the upper left corner of the screen.

Didn’t work.

I often wonder how modern technology and social media who have affected the plots of movies that predated their invention. In the case of “Screamers” back in 1981, I can only imagine how my friends and I would have digitallly picked the movie apart there from our drive-in vantage point.

‘Sharknado’ blows us away

sharknado

“Sharknado” owned us all last night.

Social media like Twitter were ablaze Thursday night with jokes and jibes about the latest SyFy movie, featuring TV “stars” like Tara Reid and Ian Ziering fighting to survive a series of tornados and waterspouts raining … er, sharks … down on Los Angeles.

The sight of sharks falling from the sky and maliciously trying to snap up everything in sight was hilarious.

But even better was the accompanying Twitter onslaught, with almost everyone I follow, well-known and unknown, commenting on the show.

SyFy, the network behind “Mansquito” and “MegaShark” and other cheap and cheesy movies, blew up the Internet.

A big win for all of us. Especially the sharks. And Tara Reid.

Yes, more pop culture on Twitter

You know what the world needs even more than a blog about pop culture, with an emphasis on the fun, geeky and goofy?

A Twitter feed about pop culture, with an emphasis on the fun, geeky and goofy.

I’ve been on Twitter for my job for a couple of years now and I love the 140-character-at-a-time, headlines-and-links nature of Twitter. It is, in many ways, the most direct way of communicating on the Interwebs.

So I’ve decided to start a pop culture Twitter account.

If you’re so inclined, check it out at @Pop_Roysdon on Twitter.

Once you’ve had Facebook, you’ll never go back

In watching the reaction to the new Facebook today — reaction that ranged from irritation to outrage — I was reminded of David Letterman’s straight-faced observation about pop star Madonna back in the 1980s. “I think she wants to shock us,” Letterman said, tongue in cheek.

Earlier today I compared FB to a significant other who flirts or picks a fight just to make sure we’re still paying attention and not taking them for granted.

Sure, there’s some legitimate reason for upgrading and offering your users the latest and best features. But I think FB wants to remind its bazillion users how much it means to us.

Even if that means pissing us off.

As someone who has been in the communications business since I was a teenager, I can testify to the feeling engendered by reader reaction. No matter if it’s a complaint about a controversial story or photo or, even worse, the removal of a beloved comic strip, the response is appreciated. It means people are paying attention, that you’re still part of their everyday lives.

Face it, most of us might never take up Twitter (although you should, because it’s really fun) or Google+ (yawn). But for those bazillion of us who check in to FB every day — even if our devotion is far more casual than “checking in” via Foursquare or more low key than posting our latest rant about an irritating co-worker or prodigious child — we’ll keep checking in, no matter how many times we threaten to quit FB.

And no silly revamping of the way our pages look will keep us away.

Now, let me tell you what I don’t like about the new Facebook …