Monday, December 24, 2012

Top Christmas Movies

I really don't have anything profound or in-depth this Christmas season. Frankly, it's not my favorite holiday - all the joy, charity and merriment sucking the marrow out of delusional lost hope and painstaking self-isolation. Blah humbug; give me a good horror movie and some candy or beer(s) and parade of green and orange! Besides, I always had my doubts from an early age about a boisterously jolly fat man being able to enter (i.e. break into) a house my dad routinely made certain was secure from intruders. (A suspicion finally confirmed while staking out on Christmas Eve.)

For the 12 Days of Christmas, my top 12 Christmas movies to watch each season:

1. King of Kings (1961)*
2. Ben-Hur (1959)*
3. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
4. A Christmas Carol (1984)
5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
6. White Christmas (1954)
7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
8. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
9. Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
10. A Christmas Story (1983)
11. Elf (2003)
12. The Ref (1994) 

*Also good for Easter 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

©2012 Steve Sagarra

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Super Friends Unite!

The new trailer for Man of Steel has been released, and I have to say that for the first time in a long while I am actually excited for a Superman movie. Why would I say that? For starters, I am a Batman and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) fan, and not much of one when it comes to Superman. Don’t get me wrong, I like the character and actively watched Smallville; it’s just that he’s all-powerful until…OH NO…KRYPTONITE!!! If I were Supes, I would round up all the kryptonite in the universe and either destroy it or keep it safely locked away for those times when it might be needed against other beings such as General Zod. Rather than allowing, oh I don’t know, EVERY ENEMY TO POSSESS YOUR ONE WEAKNESS.

I digress…

From the looks of the trailer, this Superman reboot is not your typical camp of previous live-action films (sorry Christopher Reeve). It looks dark and brooding, but with a sense of hope the good that one super-powered alien can bring to humanity. It is also possibly the first in a DC Comics Justice League movie series, a la Marvel’s The Avengers and related films like Iron Man and Captain America. Of course, that’s the rub:  in order to do justice to a Justice League movie, you need a few stand alone origin stories of the mainstay DC characters as well. Hence, Superman – the comic book superhero that pretty much started it all and has made comic book collecting a passion for decades. Even before Superman Returns, the franchise has been in need of a reboot.

Naturally, one cannot have a Justice League without Wonder Woman. The warrior princess from Themyscira is a cornerstone of the triumvirate comprised of Superman, Batman and herself. Fortunately, there is talk of a WW movie. And Batman? Christopher Nolan just finished a Batman trilogy; would there need to be a reboot of the franchise so soon? Whether that series would be a tie-in or not – and the end of The Dark Knight Rises alone would hamper that scheme (oh, sorry...*SPOILER ALERT*) – I feel a stand-alone Batman movie before a Justice League one would be unnecessary. A person could never read a comic book, but they know Batman. Rather than yet another rehashing of his origins, all that would be needed is a cameo by an already operating Batman (aka Bruce Wayne, there can be no other *SPOILER ALERT*) tacked onto the other films hinting at their forthcoming alliance, again a la Marvel. This then could lead into a stand-alone sequel/reboot afterward that ONE CAN ONLY HOPE would delve deeper into the later adventures of “The Caped Crusader.” (Hey look, a movie title that would have been more original than…The Dark Knight Rises.) As for Green Lantern, the movie equally could serve as a catalyst for a reboot of and/or sequel to the titular movie starring Ryan Reynolds, again with really no need to have another stand-alone movie tied-in beforehand.

You may be asking, “What about my favorite character Aquaman?” Short answer:  I hate Aquaman. No matter how hard DC tries to revamp the character and make him cooler, he still is no match for Marvel’s Sub-Mariner. Like Wonder Woman, though, there is talk of an Aquaman movie, as well as (it's about freakin' time!) a Flash (Barry Allen) one. That said I do feel there is room for Green Arrow, another of my favorites, who has seen a boost in popularity thanks to the television series, Arrow. If DC wanted to capitalize on it, they could do for their green-clad archer what Marvel failed to do in the underdeveloped characterization of their purple-clad archer, Hawkeye, in The Avengers. (Probably THE major disappointment of an otherwise awesome movie).

What I do know is that with the movies set to come out in the next few years…I am now hoping the Mayans were wrong. 

©2012 Steve Sagarra

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Concealed Weapons: How The West Can Be Won

Nine years ago, I wrote a post – “Concealed Weapons:  How The West Was Won?” – as a response to conceal-carry laws going into effect around the nation. I am fine with saying that I was wrong about the barbarity that was sure to ensue from such laws. Given that fact and my changed attitude from even four years ago toward conceal-carry laws over the last decade, I considered simply deleting the post as if it never existed. Doing so, however, would deny my evolution on the issue.

To be clear, I still do not feel guns are the answer for civility among humans. Unfortunately, in the name of self-protection, certain humans seem only capable of learning a lesson in civility looking down the barrel of a gun. I also believe in the Second Amendment, which intrinsically guards and protects all other rights (particularly, those of the First Amendment) outlined in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights against those who could seek to take them away – namely, the very government the Founding Fathers had established. It was not designed as an exclusivity clause restricting access to certain types of weapons, but rather as a measure ensuring citizens had access to any and all. Given they had fought for and won independence from a tyrannical government that had sought to oppress their rights, they had the foresight to deem the necessity of such protections.

When an incident like a mass shooting or murder-suicide occurs, we should not have a knee-jerk reaction to dismantle those principles. Instead, we as a society would be better served to understand the root cause of those incidents – mental illness, domestic abuse – rather than assail the nature in which it was carried out.

The sad irony of “gun control” is that it only makes victims out of law-abiding citizens. On the other hand, criminals and the mentally disturbed by nature will not magically comply with the continuous propagation of gun laws politicians pass and agencies attempt to enforce. As my dad stated when teaching me as a kid how to shoot a rifle, “a well-aimed shot is the only proper gun control.” If there were more, not less, law-abiding citizens able to take that shot in times of a crisis, rather than being progressively handcuffed by laws and regulations, perhaps gun-related tragedies could be minimized. It is flawed logic to think that laws can and will end behaviors society deems illegal; from drug use to murder, none in the history of mankind have brought about such a utopia free of criminality.

©2012 Steve Sagarra