Oscar For Joker No Trick

When Heath Ledger died of an overdose last January, their were almost immediate calls for him to receive a posthumous Oscar nod for his work as the Joker in The Dark Knight. It all seemed premature and a little bit exploitative, as only a few had seen the film

The calls came again when the film was released in January, from his co-stars:
Michael Caine: "Heath will surely get a posthumous nomination for an Academy Award"
Maggie Gyllenhaal: "In a way I feel funny thinking about the Oscars when he isn't alive, but at the same time I'm a member of the Academy and I would vote for him."
Gary Oldman: "He may be the first actor since Peter Finch. He may even win the damn thing." Finch being the only person to win posthumously, earning the best-actor prize for 1976's Network two months after he died.

Critics have also praised Ledger's work as Oscar-worthy and having seen the film, I can't disagree. Still, it seemed unlikely. For all its dark reality, it's still a summer blockbuster, the kind of popcorn film the Academy rarely gets behind.

But perhaps we are going to witness one of those occasional moments in time where the most popular movie of the year intersects with the Oscars. Warner Brothers obviously believes its possible and has launched a For Your Consideration campaign, looking for nods in 15 different categories (including best picture), but mostly focusing on Ledger's performance.

I'm beginning to think it might just happen.

(Link via Ampersand)

Somebody Out There Likes Me

Much to my surprise I have landed on the Best Cultural/Entertainment Blog list at the 2008 Canadian Blog Awards. I'm one of 25 nominees, so that's pretty gratifying.

At least one of my competitors appears to be an American author (Robin Slick, not that there's anything wrong with that), some have media profiles (Dead Things on Sticks), others Facebook support groups (Mikes Bloggity Blog). Some are new to the scene (Department of Culture) while others have been hanging about for years (Townie Bastard), and some are kinda odd (I Rate Science Fiction Doctors) at least one is boycotting the awards (Sheena).

It's an interesting collection, worth checking out, if only to expose your self to some different thinking. Am I the best of the lot? Uh... sure. Actually, that's for you to decide — and you don't even have to be Canadian to vote! Yes you can.

One vote per person (or at least IP address) and I won't ask again. Unless I get to the next round.

Bunnies Christmas Vacation

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse."

In case you haven't guessed, the 30-Second Bunnies have taken on Christmas Vacation.

Simpsons: Up And Atom!

Artist and blogger Dean Fraser, of Springfield Punx, turns superheroes, villains and other pop culture denizens into residents of Springfield, turning out several every month. Or in the case of the Month of MARVEL, he did, well, a month's worth of characters.

He has also collected his Simpsons universe of one page, reminiscent of the
Simpsons and Futurama cast photos. Everyone should be made over in yellow.

Turbaconducken: A Wonderful, Magical Animal

I don't know if I've ever seen anything that has made my mouth water and appalled me at the same time. Bacon-wrapped chicken, stuffed inside a bacon-wrapped duck, crammed inside a turkey — wrapped in bacon of course.

So wrong, but yet so right. Forget turducken, I must eat this. From the twisted minds at Bacon Today.

(Link via Yes But No But Yes)

Star Trek: The Remixed Generation

The new trailer for J.J. Abrams reinvention of Star Trek (a la Batman and 007) only hit theatres last weekend, but it has already been subjected to numerous remixes, mashups and fan edits.

I figure a perfect nerdstorm is accounting for the quick turnaround. Trek fans feel an incredible sense of ownership over the characters of Kirk, Spock, et all; there is much trepidation about the use of young actors and any re-envisionment in general; and they are all pretty much online.

So hence we get the trailers for Star Trek 90210, Top Trek and, to my amusement, The A-Trek (above) among others, which you can see over at TrekMovie.

I don't know if this bodes well for the film. Trek fans were already going to see it, so nothing lost, nothing gained, but if people are already turning to parody, I'd be a little concerned. Or maybe awareness is all that matters. In any case, it made me laugh, which is all I care about anyway.

(link via Topless Robot)

Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational

Quick, name the first Muppet that comes to mind. You're likely to say Kermit, Big Bird or, if you're of a certain age, Elmo. But in the cast of thousands, there are many that are on the outside edge of the spotlight.

Such as Link Hogthrob, captain of the USS Swinetrek, of Pigs in Space fame. Hogthrob is precursor to Furturama's Zapp Brannigan. All bluster, no brains.

Topless Robot put together a fabulous list of the eight most underrated Muppets, all with clips, that makes me love this blog ever more.

Popaganda: The Pop Culture Revolution

Who needs world wars, political ideology and elections to delve into the world of propaganda? Papa Smurf needs you and Waldo is watching. I've got a thing for spoofs and parodies, and if you can tie together two disparate cultural elements, I'm sold. I attribute it to a lifetime of watching shows like The Simpsons and The Muppets. So behold, a collection of pop culture propaganda posters.

Invincible: An army of Berts couldn't hold me back. From Michigan illustrator Kevin Skinner. This was the image that set me off looking for all the rest.
Update: Kevin got in touch and he is selling his final print over on ebay. He says it is a reductive linocut, so it can't be printed again, so get bidding.

Waldo: Forget finding Waldo, Waldo's watching you. From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 5)

Smurfs: Red Revolution. Come to think of it, the village really was a commune.

Smurfs: Of couse some take a more positive spin, and believe in the pro'papa'ganda. He will know if we are there yet.

Muppet Propaganda: Kermit the Gorf, from Thought Faucet. A Gorf appears to be a wonderfully obscure Muppet reference, and I love the poster.

Plant of the Apes: You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you all to hell!"

Wizard of Oz: Fly my pretties, fly! From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 2.

Spongebob: Fight for Bikini Bottom

Lord of the Rings: I want you for the fighting Uruk-Hai. Hmm, can Orcs read? From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 5.

Mad: What me worry? Must be a poster from Cracked. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda.

Jack: Long live the American Nicholson Party. "Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules." From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 3.

Willy Wonka: Oompa loompa doopadee dee, if you are wise you'll listen to me. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 3.

G.I. Joe: You can't beat COBRA if you get VD. You'd figure that there would be way more G.I. Joe posters - seems the perfect subject matter. From Chris's Invincible Super-Blog.

Transformers: All hail Megatron. From the aptly named All Hail Megatron series from IDW Publishing.

Rocketeer: Some revisionist film history, as Cliff Secord lets the rocket pack fall into the hands of the Germans. From Something Awful.

Street artist Shepard Fairey created a series of Hope posters supporting Barack Obama's candidacy for President. They were quickly parodied into 150 different versions. These are four of my favourites:

Star Wars: Long before there was Barack Obama, there was a new hope. Luke Skywalker.

Debork Obama: Says the Swedish Chef, "Yom-yom-yommm, mit de chocolad. Bork, bork, bork!" By Sleeper Cell.

Winnie the Pooh: Wouldn' you trust a bear of very little brain? By Commissar Maksim.

ALF: It seems to be that ALF would be of very little hope for Melmac, as the planet has already blown up. Easier to keep your promises I suppose.

Animal Farm: Four legs good, two legs bad

Star Wars: Our Imperial Forces. There's no war like a clone war.

BattleStar Galactica: So say we all!

Gnomes: This ain't your garden variety revolution. I knew they were up to something.

South Park: Respect our authoritah. Really fits well with Cartman's fascist bent.

Star Wars: The Empire — Ensuring your safety by choice or by force

SuperMario: The Mushroom Guard

Pokémon: I choose you, Pikachu. Much like everyone else in the draft, he didn't really have a choice. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 8.

Waldo: But where is Waldo? At least they let hi keep the hat. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda.

Star Trek: Stop this Klingon brute. Who knew Star Fleet was so xenophobic?

Futurama: You're not paid to think.

Spongebob: Are you sponge worthy? Loose lips sink ships to Bikini Bottom.

Kool-Aid: Oh yeah! From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 4.

Mary Poppins: Just like a spoonful of sugar is all it takes to corrupt you children. Serves you right for letting some woman who blew in on the wind into your house. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 6.

Previously Popped Culture...
Suddenly Last Supper
Would You Like Fries With That?
Find Waldo, Yet Again
Come as You Are: Nevermind The Parodies
Pillow Talk: 25 Strange Throw Pillows

Fly Me To The Moon...

Fly me to the Moon
Let me sing among those stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars

Nothing to add here, just really loved this picture.

Photo: A plane flies past the full moon on November 13, 2008, seen from the southern German town of Kalchreuth, near Nuremberg, Bavaria. (Timm Schamberger/AFP/Getty Images)

Three Imaginary Boys

A mopey 26-year-old once spoke musically to a 15-year-old. Can a 49-year-old do the same for a 38-year-old?

I was that 15-year-old (the pic is when I was 17, close as I could find) and The Cure diverted me from a path of Top 40 mediocrity. There wasn't a great moment of epiphany when I first heard Robert Smith, but there was when I saw his picture taped to the inside of a locker door of a girl I was far too shy to talk to.

She was what would now be called a goth, but this was the mid-80s in London, Ontario, a solidly staid and middle class town, so she was, of course, labeled a freak. There was a small handful of them at my high school and as somebody who belonged to no particular subculture, our paths never crossed.

So when I saw the birds-nest haired visage of Smith, I figured this was my way in. Get to know The Cure and I'd get to know her. It worked, kind of. For the next six years, I became obsessed with the band, but today I can't remember the name of my goth inspiration. I got as close as calling her one day, but it went no further. But my love affair with the band was intense.

I bought everything they released, pasted up pictures and extolled their greatness to all and sundry. But I never fully bought into the image, never teasing out my hair or lining my eyes and lips in black, which actually made me stand out at the concerts. Which led to one of my first, and best, geek showdowns.

One summer at an amusement park, two typical Cure fans, spying me wearing a tour shirt came up and accused me of not being a real fan, in the righteous way that only teenagers can muster. The demanded I tell them what the band's last two albums were and I responded by listing off The Cure's discography in reverse order, down to the UK-only release of Three Imaginary Boys, which I owned on vinyl. The backed off, apologizing profusely.

But during university, my ardor cooled, as it turned out I really wasn't a despondent teen. Their music remained static, but I moved on. So when I read a review of 4:13 Dream, the band's 13th studio album in 29 years, I was intrigued. Could I go back? Were they playing in this decade, or had they been standing still since I'd last paid them any mind?

The simple answer is not much has changed. Smith, the messiah of melancholy, is still feeling glum, proving that boys do, in fact, cry. The guitar work sounds au courant, but when Smith warbles "I won't try to bring you down about my suicide," he already has.

Above: Poster from the Toronto stop on The Prayer Tour, from The Cure Concerts Guide. Still one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Almost four hours!

Come as You Are: Nevermind The Parodies

Remember the baby chasing the dollar bill on the cover of Nirvana's seminal album, Nevermind? Yup, that's Spencer Elden, all of 17 now and likely chasing more than a buck for recreating this photo. Happily, this time he wore a bathing suit.

Of course this got me thinking, as I'm wont to do, about parodies of the album cover I've seen here and there, which are are now conveniently located below:

The most famous version was of a baby version of Bart Simpson chasing the almighty Krusty buck, for the November, 2002 cover of Rolling Stone. It's rare to get official parodies.

Of course the King of Parody is the other exception to the rule. "Weird Al" Yankovic's Off The Deep End, which featured Smells Like Nirvana:
Were so loud and incoherent
Boy, this oughta bug your parents
You know you've had an impact when "Weird Al" spoofs both your hit song and your album art.

A nice take on a Van Gogh self-portrait and a comment on how much money everyone has made on the back of his art following his death. Shades of Courtney Love. Found on one of Worth 1000's brilliant photoshop contests.

LinkA mashup of Jaws and Nirvana. Cute. Again, from the archives of Worth 1000.

Millions of users at a buck a download? I think Apple found their Nirvana with the iPod. From Flickr user axb500.

Just another way those bastards killed Kenny. From a South Park fan art page, in case you couldn't tell.

I think I mostly amused by the Neverfind band name. Yet another from the whizzes at Worth 1000.

And lastly, what roundup of parodies would be complete without a Lego entry? From a collection of Lego album cover parodies. Is there anything minifigs can't do?

Previously on Popped Culture...
Suddenly Last Supper
Popaganda: The Pop Culture Revolution
Would You Like Fries With That?
Find Waldo, Yet Again
Pillow Talk: 25 Strange Throw Pillows

I'm Coo Coo For Killing Stuff

I can't resist cereal mascot humour. Enjoy for the few days before Fox has it pulled down.

Update: Oh yeah, they pulled that, as expected. But too late, there are more versions out there.

All Movies Are Better With Muppets

It's been sometime since there was a new Muppet movie, and even longer since there has been a good one. While Jim Henson Co. is working on Happytime Murders, a muppet comedy in the "film noir detective genre," earlier this year FARK users tried their hand at inserting the "not quite a mop, not quite a puppet" characters into some more adult fare.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Gonzo takes gonzo journalism to a whole new, literal level. I always suspected there was something odd going on with him.

Single Orange Muppet: People have always suspected there was something untoward about the relationship between Bert and Ernie. And of course we now all know that Bert is Evil.

The Muppets Take Manhattan: In this post 9/11 world, stange outsiders conqouring New York takes on a whole other meaning.

Be sure to check out the FARK thread — there are dozens more.

Madness? This... Is... Lego!

Lego minifigs! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in Denmark! Flickr user keithcku has created an incredibly detailed version of a poster from 300, in celebration of 30 years of the figures.

There are a couple of Lego versions of the 300 trailer floating about on YouTube, among many other parodies, but none of them seem to match the visual prowess of the film, but this mashup with Monsters, Inc. seems to do the trick.

Imperial Stormtroopers... Wheeee!

Roger Denyer's t-shirt design combines to '70s classics: Star Wars and space hoppers. Who needs a TIE fighter or an AT-AT when you can bounce your way into battle? (Much like Fry does on Futurama's War is the H-Word.)

Now go and check out more of Roger's designs and pick up a shirt. If you had an online t-shirt store, he'd buy one from you.

Here Be Anthropomorphic Dragons

A map of online communities (click on the map for a larger version) and social networking from the web comic xkcd. It's from last year (so of course I'm only seeing it now) and already some of the lands should be resized (up Facebook, down MySpace) and a new island of lolcats is probably required, but other than that its incredibly detailed and funny.

Strange Maps, where I origianlly came across this clever piece of cartography, has a version with a slew of comments explaining some of the more obscure terrirtories. And I'm off to sail the Sea of Memes on my way to the Ocean of Subculture.

In A Voting Booth Far, Far, Away...

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Happy voting day, my U.S. friends. Here's hoping you get Lando Calrissian instead of Emperor Palpatine.

Boot Hill For King of The Hill

It's the end of the line for the Hill family of Arlen, Texas, after 13 years. Most TV shows don't make it that long, let alone cartoon. It would be a remarkable run were it not airing at the same time as The Simpsons, the juggernaut of the cartoon world.

The show was never as flashy as The Simpsons or as edgy as South Park or Family Guy, yet it carved out its own niche as an almost-realistic animated show. It was that realism that made the show unique in the 2D world. Characters felt real emotions and, most unusually, time progressed. Bobby grew older (ok, not 13 years older, but still) and characters changed. I was stunned when Nancy Gribble ended her 14-year dalliance with native "healer" John Redcorn and renewed her vows with her conspiracy-obsessed husband Dale. Changing a major focus of a character is just not done.

But all good things must come to an end and the show has had a good run — already having survived once cancellation from Fox. Hopefully the network allows for a finale, but I'll be happy if they just end the show like any other episode and I can go on believing that these congenial, redneck suburbanite Texans are carrying in the alley as normal. Yep.