What is PeekScore?: PeekScore is a rank from 1 to 10, assigned to every person. The higher someone’s score, the “more important” they are on the web. In calculating your PeekScore and updating it often, PeekYou takes into account your known presence and activity on the Internet, including but not limited to your blogging, participation in social networks, the number of your friends, followers, or readers, the amount of web content you create, and your prominence in the news.
Green Lantern is the story of a fellow who happens upon a dying alien who bestows upon him a magical ring which gives this fellow super-powers. This ring also grants this hapless young gent entry into an intergalactic society of defenders of truth and justice, and all that good stuff which stirs the hearts of patriots and comic book nerds alike. It’s a hell of a tale.
It is also DC Comics’ most recent attempt to really branch out from their Superman and Batman franchises (and relaunches), and create for one of their other characters a summer blockbuster of the sort that Marvel Comics have been releasing to enormous commercial success, nearly annually, for a bunch of different characters, for a few years now.
As we like to do with the casts of Hollywood’s assorted gilded offerings and smoldering leavings, we’re putting this group of fine thespians through the PeekScore test, and seeing where these crazy kids and weathered veterans measure up in the digital footprint department. Predictably enough the film’s star, Ryan Reynolds, tops the list. Some of the actors listed below only appear in the film in voice roles, or bit cameo parts, but these are the major names attached to the film. (Beneath the list more extensive commentary can be found.)
||Ryan Reynolds||He’s a bit more difficult to dislike than you maybe want him to be. He seems a nice and bright enough guy, not incapable of being passingly amusing, and he’s not without charm and ability. He’s hardly brilliant, and he seems a bit lightweight, but we’ve had far worse movie stars.||8.37 / 10|
||Tim Robbins||Was there ever an explanation offered for why he – one of the most notoriously outspoken liberals in, perhaps, Hollywood’s entire history – donated money to Michele Bachmann‘s campaign? We’re curious.||7.51 / 10|
||Geoffrey Rush||After he won the Oscar(R), smart money was on him going the way of F. Murray Abraham. He never quite managed that, but instead lingers as an occasionally impressive, often overwrought, performer regarded with more respect than he probably warrants. Eh, he’s okay, I guess. I’ve not even seen that many of his films.||7.37 / 10|
||Blake Lively||Her name is quite positive. That’s nice. I know nothing whatsoever about her, but the kids seem to think she’s terrific. Again, nice.||7.11 / 10|
||Angela Bassett||Looking through her IMDB page it’s occurring to me that I paid to see five of this woman’s films, in the theater, during the times of their initial releases. Perhaps I’m a bigger fan than I’ve been realizing. Thinking about it, I may be been drawn to her because she makes me feel safe. With Angie by your side, no one will be taking your milk money today.||7.02/ 10|
||Michael Clarke Duncan||I never saw Green Mile, but a friend insists there’s a scene in it where Duncan’s character heals Tom Hanks’ gonorrhea with the tender touch of his magical, gentle giant mitts. Could this possibly be true? Rather than look it up, print the legend I say.||6.84 / 10|
||Peter Sarsgaard||For me, he’s sort of the living equivalent of “drawing a blank.” But, I know he’s done full-frontal in a couple of things, so I’ll just go ahead and mention that. Also, folks seem to think he’s really good, but I’ve not seen enough to opine.||6.55 / 10|
||Temuera Morrison||Because of his Star Wars association, he’s some kind of a big deal with the sorts for whom any association with that long tarnished franchise carries weight.||6.17 / 10|
||John Tenney||Until this very moment, I’d never heard of Jon Tenney. He’s been in some stuff the nice people seemed to like, though. You should totally check him out.||5.68 / 10|
||Mark Strong||Quick, name three things Mark Strong was in. Exactly. I’m sure he’s great, but I’ve got nothing really to add here. It would be rude, though, to leave this completely empty.||5.13 / 10|
A NOTE FROM THE PEEKSCORE COLLECTIVE: Today’s PeekScore blog update is breaking with our previously disclosed, highly unusual method of creation, and is being composed by a solitary author. A bad batch of brie made its way to the PeekYou commissary, and the lone lactose intolerant in our midst – who traditionally we relentlessly mock for his almond milk, and numerous food allergies about which he’s forever whining “seriously guys, that stuff could kill me!” – is the last man standing. It may or may not be the case, that he may or may not have been – contrary to our explicit claims otherwise – the sole author of every single word published in this blog over the past month, or so. It’s not really for us to say. Nevertheless, we hope you’ll welcome him as warmly as you have us for lo these many blogging seasons.
-The PeekScore Collective
In the earliest days of the cable channel Nickelodeon, back in the late-70s/early-80s, the bulk of its programming was produced by (what was then known as) Warner Communications’ experimental, ahead of its time, interactive cable TV system QUBE (click through the link for the rather extensive backstory there). Prior to Nickelodeon’s official birth, the QUBE system counted among its numerous “community” channels, which aired original content, a children’s channel named Pinwheel. Although the QUBE experiment eventually went belly-up, Pinwheel was developed over time into what we now know as Nickelodeon, and wound up being offered as its own independent channel on cable systems around the country (you are encouraged to consult your local library for more background on all of that).
Although QUBE was a high profile venture, it would seem the bulk of its funding went into its forward-thinking, two-way interactive functionality, and not necessarily its original children’s programming. The earliest Nickelodeon shows, which I believe mostly originated from Columbus, OH (where the QUBE experiment was originally launched), had a rather decidedly rough around the edges, “local TV” charm to them. Even as a small child I recognized this, but – although I was a quintessential product of the “Star Wars” generation, and was quite admittedly fond of the higher-budgeted and slicker entertainments with which I was ever more frequently being bombarded – I was drawn to this humble production quality (personified by the frequent airing of various station ID interstitials featuring a mime, shot by a single stationary camera against a black backdrop, doing whatever the hell mimes do, to an instrumental version of the 50s hit “Music! Music! Music!”). The channel had what my 8 year old mind perceived as an approachable and personal feeling to it. It would be inappropriate to utilize the dedicated PeekScore readership as a sort of free therapist, so I won’t speculate as to why that sort of perceived warmth might have struck me as appealing when I was a kid. But, let’s just say, with television as a best friend, it was always appreciated when it was nice to me.
The most impressively primitive and economical of all these early Nickelodeon series was titled, with astounding clarity and accuracy, Video Comics. As the name suggested – particularly if you lacked much in the way of imagination, as apparently did those who named it – the program consisted of a series of still images of the frames from old comic books; with voice over actors, crude sound effects, and I seem to recall the occasional simple musical cue, dubbed over each image. I believe each episode would cover a full issue, and story lines would be allowed to play out over multiple episodes. It’s been 30 years since I’ve seen a second of it, so I’m partially relying upon the odd recollection online in my recounting (of which there are shockingly few, given how much this damn show resonated with me), but that’s surely better than the gist of it. It made the famously crude, largely inanimate, 1960s The Marvel Super-Heroes cartoon look like Fantasia by comparison.
All of the books used were DC Comics titles. Earlier in the day, during the mornings and early afternoons when toddlers (and slightly older kids, like me, who were constantly pretending to be sick) were home, episodes of the program intended for this younger demo would air. These primarily featured issues of Sheldon Mayer’s treacly children’s comic Sugar and Spike, and perhaps another kiddy title or two. Later in the day and the evening, though, is when they’d show the cool stuff, for the older kids; including Mystery in Space (a 50s/60s title, with stories starring an inter-dimensional traveler/hero named Adam Strange), the early 70s run of Swamp Thing (drawn by the incomparable Berni Wrightson), and what I believe were 60s (or, to employ nerd parlance, “silver age”) issues of Green Lantern.
As someone who was a halfhearted comics reader at best, at that time, these things were a revelation. I have no idea how I didn’t continue on to become a full-blown comic book geek (particularly as I hardly shunned nerdy things). In a real way, though, I was as taken with this show’s whole strange, bargain basement aesthetic as much as I was the compelling stories. The combination of what were already by then older, dusty comics with this rudimentary production gave the whole thing a very intimate quality, which I can recall so vividly I almost feel uncomfortable doing so. Again, not to make you good people my shrink, but I’ll leave it to you to speculate as to why a recollection of warmth would birth unease (I honestly have no clue).
Regardless, around that time, I did purchase back issues of a number of the titles featured, and did embark upon a lifelong fondness for those old Adam Strange and Swamp Thing comics. I never pursued Green Lantern, even for as much as I was taken at the time with its rather epic, sci-fi storyline. I guess you can just chalk it up to the fact that old comic books cost money, and little kids have none (none of their own, anyway), and therefore I could only buy so many. Or, chalk it up to the fact that I was sort of a pretentious kid, and Swamp Thing and Adam Strange were simply more obscure.
So why am I burdening you with this non-anecdote, and half-history lesson of cable television’s relatively nascent days, and droning on of a program most of you have never seen, and even if you had seen it would probably barely recall? Well, at first I was going to write about the upcoming Green Lantern film in the irrational and convoluted style you’ve come to depend on from us here at the PeekScore blog (a style I promise you we’ve hardly retired). I realized, though, that today my heart wasn’t in it. The first trailer for the Green Lantern looked silly, and fairly terrible. The second trailer, though, triggered a wave of the sad middle-aged nostalgia which you’ve endured to get to this sentence. It also looked a fair bit less terrible, if no less ridiculous (it is a superhero film, after all).
In my now abandoned draft for this initial, movie-centric Green Lantern entry, I coined the term “pec-tacular” to goof on the way entertainment rags might describe Ryan Reynolds and his famously well-maintained physique. I wound up Googling the “word,” and found that others had already beaten me to the coining (specifically – and I suppose this is a testament to the guy’s actual pectacularity – to describe Reynolds). It suggests a frightening truth regardng our culture’s collective consciousness that, while independent, this was not an original thought. I was simply trying to be ludicrous and obnoxious, and satirize the sort of weak half-puns which masquerade as wit in the hands of our struggling culture’s barely literate mass media. Each of the other scribes I encountered who employed the term were, I think, trying to charm and disarm the reader, and also do so in such a self-aware way that they actually defied any attempt at satire. Anything that willfully stupid is essentially mockery-proof. At the end of the day, they win, as their intentions, when compared to my own, were ultimately vastly more noble; much as I seem to vaguely recall (and even more so just assume) the Green Lantern was, and I suppose still is.
So, with that, who are some of your favorite super-heroes? Are you familiar with Video Comics? Did you work on it? Do you have VHS copies of it? Comment for us, the good PeekScore folks. We’d love to hear from you.