This is My Boomstick

Thursday, September 28, 2006

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those that don’t know who Bruce Campbell is and those that are part of his fan-base. The latter group, though lesser in number, more than make up for it with their fanaticism for Campbell’s work in the B-movie genre and various projects across a wide range of media. With his newest book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way, the two groups may start to even out.

Make Love is an autobiographical novel. It details the fictional events of what would happen if Campbell tries to transcend the B-movie genre by taking a bit role in Hollywood’s latest romantic comedy.

Despite a botched audition Campbell is hired by director Mike Nichols to play the humble sidekick, Foyl, alongside Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger. In an effort to impress the cast and crew, he decides to use method acting to get under the skin of his supporting role. As the story progresses, the lengths Campbell goes to research his character becomes more absurd and out of control. Campbell finds himself face to face with studio executives, the secret service, an international thief and other oddball characters.

In addition to Campbell’s engaging writing, the book also includes a number of hilarious graphics to supplement the story. While I won’t spoil the over-the-top outcome of Campbell’s excursion into Hollywood, Make Love does leave the reader with an interesting revelation. As Campbell puts it, “What Hollywood considers A-list blockbusters are really just pumped-up, cheeseball, Saturday matinee serials.” B-movies have always been the films willing to take the risks. Even though a good number of them lack the talent and quality of Hollywood productions, they represent the core vision and desire of filmmaking — pretty much what makes the movies so magical in the first place.

On Sept. 23, I stood in line to meet Bruce Campbell at Metro Entertainment on State Street. Other fans in line ranged from assistant Artsweek editors, Film and Media Studies advisors and even a vampire with actual fangs. I had a chance to talk to Bruce Campbell in person before he continued on his cross-country drive to promote Make Love.

“With a car, I can bring whatever drink I want with me. I can even carry my knife while I drive. Flying’s for fools,” Campbell said.

I was surprised to find out that Campbell had never met any of the celebrities included in his novel. The seemingly intimate portrayals are completely based on public perceptions of them through the media.

“What are the things you know about Richard Gere? He’s a Buddhist, right? So you’d think he’d be a pretty laid back kind of guy. I take that perception and put him with my character. Before you know it, he’s giving me a roundhouse kick to the face,” Campbell said.

Campbell hasn’t received any complaints from them either. Why would they, considering how Campbell’s character is the only one that gets portrayed in a negative light? Rather than attack specific individuals, the novel provides a satirical perspective on the mainstream film industry and its tendency to write off B-movies.

Through Make Love and his personal appearances, Campbell proves that he is as charismatic and witty, if not more so, than his onscreen roles. And with works ranging from film, television, books and comics, there are barely any mediums left that Campbell hasn’t tackled.

“What’s left for me to do? Golf? Forestry? You tell me,” Campbell said.

For anyone that still doesn’t know who Bruce Campbell is, they should take the necessary steps to acquaint themselves with him. Just make sure not to call him “Ash.”

Here's the Artsweek cover for that issue:

And here I am with the man himself:

Review of The Covenant

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

For far too long, onscreen representations of witches involved discolored skin, warts, Goth cosmetics and/or lesbian subtext. Director Renny Harlin, veteran of supernatural masterpieces such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4” and “Exorcist: The Beginning,” takes witchcraft back from these dubious depictions with “The Covenant.” In this film, the witches don’t receive their power through blasphemous pagan worship but instead inherit it from patriotic ancestors who helped found the New England colonies. These witches attend the prestigious Spenser Academy, excelling in social stature and in their involvement with the swim team. They support the American automobile industry by driving cars like the Hummer H3 and the 2006 Ford Mustang. Basically, the film’s witches are poster boys for wholesome American values.

Like any hit movie, everything worth seeing in the full-length film can be edited down into an explosive two-minute trailer. Caleb (Steven Strait) and his three friends are the Sons of Ipswich, descendants of witch families that centuries ago made a pact to only use their abilities, known as the “Power,” in secret. All goes well until the deviant Chase (Sebastian Stan) transfers to the academy. Mysterious circumstances give Caleb reason to believe that somebody is openly using the Power, and eventually Chase outs himself as a fifth descendant who is lusting for Caleb to give him more power. Luckily, the special effects are not done well enough to distract from the story.

“The Covenant” offers its own spin on the actual use of magic: Utilizing the Power shortens the user’s lifespan. The film also takes the allegory of magic addiction, previously seen on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a step further by mixing the natural growing pains of puberty into the metaphor. The Sons of Ipswich gain some of their powers in their early teens and receive the rest at the mystical age of 18. Unlike the evil witches in other films, who use their powers to force lost campers to stand in the corner of a cabin, the foursome responsibly uses the potentially limitless possibilities of their magical abilities for harmless activities like lifting skirts and spiritually projecting into the girls’ shower room.

If all these ingredients don’t provide the film with enough substance to please the most discerning filmgoers, there’s also the film’s casting and writing. Make no mistake: These sons of witches are hotter than a burning stake. While the cast could understandably be mistaken for a catalog of male models, the members of the Sons of Ipswich have one gigantic feature that differentiates them from the typical non-acting statue — their sex appeal is further supplemented by the film’s witty dialogue. With verbal gems like Chase’s threat to make Caleb his “weeyotch,” or one of the gang yelling, “Harry Potter can kiss my ass” as he drives off a cliff, “The Covenant” is nothing if not a well-written film.

“The Covenant” is also based on a comic, which was based on an original screenplay. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean the script was rejected in its first incarnation and is only now in theaters near you because the studio was desperate to capitalize on the latest comic-book-turned-movie trend. In fact, this actually just means that the film comes from the artistic creativity of a committee of people rather than the single vision of someone whose only qualification is that they actually know how to craft a film.

There’s no mistaking the level of quality of “The Covenant.” It puts a spell on anything around it, as shown by how the film beat out Oscar-worthy flicks like “Crank” and “The Protector” during its opening weekend. Watch this movie and feel the true power of “The Covenant” for yourself — just don’t blame Artsweek if the theater refuses to give your money back afterward.

The Mark Side of UCSB: Roommating Season Is On

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Now that you’re all settled in, what do you think of your new roommate — roommates for the unlucky triples? He seems cool, right? Doesn’t get in your face, has good hygiene, and seems to share some of the same interests. Who are you trying to fool? That relationship will change soon enough and probably over the most frivolous of circumstances.

For the freshmen, the questionnaire process that resulted in your pairing was a simple list of likes and dislikes. It’s the same type of method used by dating services, and how successful do you think those programs are? Did you even take the time to seriously think about each answer? All it takes to get the two of you at each other’s throats is a single instance of miscommunication. It could be as insignificant as eating leftover cheesy bread or as traumatic as walking in on a session of Double Vaginal Double Anal. In addition, these incidents tend to pile up over the course of the year, especially with the DVDA. It’s not uncommon for roommates to simply go there separate ways come June.

Think for a moment about the types of people that end up sharing close living spaces. There are couples, family members, prisoners and, of course, students. These people that end up living in the same room either have some type of intimate relationship or are forced to share due to efficiency measures. It’s completely understandable that you don’t enjoy living with a complete stranger. Even living with a friend doesn’t guarantee much. The two of you might enjoy hanging out, but that changes when you can’t decide who has the worse case of diarrhea to use the bathroom first.

I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a room with a gamut of ridiculous fucktards. I’ve lived with a fresh-off-the-boat Eastern European, a wannabe frat boy, a videogame addict and a jackass New Yorker that farted as frequent and loud as he bumped his favorite ’80s music.

It’s real easy to blame the other guy. It’s so easy that you’ll overlook the least likely person you’d expect to be a bad roommate: yourself. Well that can’t be possible. You’re perfect in every way, right? Surely, you’re roommate and their friends don’t talk about you behind your back.

There was only one time when I completely got along with a roommate. That was because we didn’t sleep in the same room. It started one night when I needed to stay up all night to write a paper and he wanted to stay up to play World of Warcraft. He realized it was more convenient to just stay in the living room due to his new proximity to the computer and kitchen. But that isn’t an applicable solution for many of you.

The one true answer to the roommate dilemma is simply to live without one. The most any of you can really hope for is to live in a single room. I lived in a studio two summers ago and I consider it one of the best summers in my life.

It might seem a bit early to think about roommate problems, but you’ve got nine long months ahead of you. You should be prepared to learn things no person should ever have to about a total stranger. Because if living by yourself isn’t a feasible option, then you’re going to have to be ready to retaliate when you find out exactly how many of your personal belongings can fit inside a two-inch hole.

Daily Nexus Art Director Mark Batalla prefers solitary confinement to rooming with a jackass New Yorker.

Opinion Cover

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'll probably do a color version of this picture later this month. One of my co-workers felt my forehead for a temperature due to my recent streak of girly art where the figures are fully dressed and have modest bust sizes. Guess I'm gonna have to do something about that real soon...

Posted by Batalla at 11:37 PM 0 comments  

Austin 3:16

Monday, September 04, 2006

Making her return to Hullabaloo is Austin McQueen. Since all previous strips were done in grayscale, most people assumed Austin was blonde due to her limitless cheerfulness and naivete. Nope, I've always visualized her as a redhead. Plus it goes with the noodle noggin nickname I've associated with her character. I still haven't finalized her design, but I'm going for the Shakira look this year.

Posted by Batalla at 2:33 AM 0 comments  

Exploring UCSB

Friday, September 01, 2006

Finally, here's the cover to the orientation issue. Since the issue's theme was children's programming, I chose to do a grown up Dora the Explorer. Also included Blue and David the gnome and his wife. Coloring in CMYK is different than RGB. Since I couldn't get the hues I wanted, I had to rely more on color contrasts. At first I wanted to pack it with more characters, but I'm starting to like the open and simple background.