A Fool's Utopia 11.9.12: Deaths that Should Have Been
Posted by Ron Martin on 11.09.2012
This week in one man's utopia we take a look at some examples where character deaths would have helped the end product. Also this week we talk NFL, Boy Meets World, election night, Rollergames and CVS zombies!
It seems like all anyone is talking about since my last column is Disney's purchase of the Star Wars franchise and what it means, who will star in the new trilogy or even if the new trilogy will contain any characters we already know. During all this hoopla, so to speak, I read a couple of articles about how Harrison Ford had wanted Han Solo to die during Empire Strikes Back. Personally, I don't think that would have been a good idea, but it got me to thinking about several movies/TV series that I thought would have been better had someone died at the end. Here's a short list I came up with. If you have better movies – I'd love to hear them.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
It's been a long time since I've watched Lord of the Rings despite owning all three movies (thank the God of Black Friday for selling them at $2 apiece a couple of years back), so I may be mixing my movies up. The same still holds true for Return of the King. We got the one guy (sorry, LotR fanatics – I'm not up on the names of all the characters) who died in the first film after briefly turning on Frodo, but after that the party pretty much remains intact. In The Two Towers our cadre of heroes with some allies literally fight off thousands of orcs and other monstrosities. At one point, the dwarf runs into the middle of like 50 enemies and comes out generally unscathed. Not only would it have been touching had one of the other characters would have died, but it would have been realistic. People get pissed off because of SuperCena over in the wrestling section? He's got nothing on these guys who literally take out whole armies without so much as a scratch.
I watched Zombieland again for the first episode of my Zombie Reckoning podcast. It's a great, great movie. I'm happy with the way it ended, but I do think perhaps Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) should have died at the end. The man had a death wish since the death of his son and I think it would have been in character for him to distract the zombies the way he did by locking himself into a game booth at a carnival and being attacked by about thirty of them. Since it was a zombedy, I don't have a problem with him getting out of the situation, but I do think it would have worked better had he become zombified. Same ending, just a zombie Tallahassee. I say this and he was my favorite character in the movie. It would have been more realistic, poignant and hell, if the rumored sequel comes about, a zombie Tallahassee would be something to look forward to.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Plenty of characters died on Buffy. Joss Whedon is very good at making you think "anything can happen" by killing off important characters that aren't really that important. Jenny Calendar, Jonathan, Joyce and Tara are all examples of this. They were important to our characters, but they weren't the Core Four. In Season Seven, when we knew the series wasn't coming back, Whedon went on a killing spree, taking out Jonathan, Halfrek, Anya and even Spike. Again – no one in the Core Fore, though Anya and Spike were certainly part of the "Scoobies." I know he had plans to continue the universe, not only on Angel, but with TV movies and possible spinoffs, but he again chickened out when it came to killing the mains. Hey, Anya was my favorite character and she died basically because he wanted someone to die. Spike's death was heroic and powerful (made less so by his return on Angel, but at the time, it worked), but not nearly as powerful as it would have been had Xander, Willow, Giles or Buffy bit the dust. Okay, okay, Buffy has died twice and come back – but in the last episode of the series it would have been for realsies! Whedon chickened out on killing both Spike and Oz when scripts called for it just because they were popular characters. I feel Faith is still alive for the same reason. We got very crappy Season Eight comics, but otherwise the world wouldn't have changed had he killed one of the Core Four.
Yeah, I know – it's a horror movie and plenty of people died. However, the right people didn't die. In what could have been a proper reboot to the franchise to give it more life for several more movies in the series, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson bit the pooch. The right answer would have to have killed all or two of Sidney, Dewey and Gail. Instead, Scream 4 became every other Scream movie in that everyone except for those three died. When Scream 5 comes out, instead of being excited to see where we're going with new characters that we fell in love with in Scream 4 (I'm looking (I'm looking at Hayden Panettiere's Kirby here), I'm dread the same old movie again where everyone but those three die. The original Scream set the bar high for its sequels. Scream 2 stepped up, but the rest have fallen way short.
This movie was way better than it had any right to be. It should have ended with some closure. I didn't think Sylvester Stallone in his sixties could be believable as a boxer, but the story written around it was perfect. Stallone is at his best when playing Rocky and nothing else he has done comes close. However, I think we needed Rocky to die at the end of this movie. We don't need the door open for more Rocky films, but we did need closure for one of the greatest characters in film history. I'm glad Rocky Balboa was made because I don't think this legacy should have ended with Rocky V. If Rocky Balboa is the last Rocky movie we get, that will be fine. I just think it would have been better had we got final peace with Rocky being laid to rest next to Adrian in South Philly.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
1. I worked the polls during Election Day here in America. If you don't live in American and don't really care, then skip down to the next bulletpoint. The rest of the RANDOM THOUGHTS will be election free, I promise. Working the polls makes for a long day (especially when you throw a shift on the bar right after the polls close on top of it), but it was worth it. Not for the paycheck, but just to see people excited about voting. I live in Indiana, so the Presidential part of the election was already decided here. We're almost always red. Even living in the most democratic county in the state, where we know the Presidential vote isn't going to count for much because of the Electoral College, we had a great turnout by many people excited to use their right as an American to elect their leaders.
Working at a bowling alley and being a bowler in southern Indiana, I'm surrounded by a lot of people who don't care more than saying a one liner about the President here and there about politics. They are certainly what many would categorize as "The Flock." It renewed my faith in the system to see all kinds of people coming out to vote with smiles on their face and excited for the opportunity. In my precinct alone (the smallest in the community) we had two blind voters, a guy who just became a citizen and this was his first election since, a person with autism and a lady who only had one leg. For these people it was extremely difficult to go out of their way to vote, but they did it because they wanted to do their part.
The best was an old lady – in her 80s – who showed up literally 1 minute before the polls closed with a walker. Her helper asked if she could still vote and of course she could. She was a delight, but had a deliberate pace and didn't get done voting until 6:30! Her name was Emily and she was about the friendliest person I've ever met. She had voted in every election since 1952. It didn't bother me in the least that it took Emily a long time to get in and out of the voter's chute because Emily and everyone else who voted at my polling location made my day. It made a twenty hour work day seem like nothing. Here's to hoping that Emily gets to vote in three to four more elections.
2. I screwed up on setting my DVR to record American Horror Story. I feel like coming in at such a late date ensures I won't get full enjoyment of the season. I also fear by not trying to get caught up and watch it that I will fall into Walking Dead category. I am constantly mocked for missing the first season of Walking Dead and thus not watching any other season so as not to ruin the experience. I guess I can see if ON DEMAND has the first few episodes of this season's American Horror Story. With all the leftover Halloween specials I have on my DVR, I have a lot to watch and very little time to do so. To quote Charlie Brown – "AARGH!"
3. SPORTS THOUGHTS:
a. My Colts are a surprising 5-3. While I don't expect them to remain in the playoff chase, they have an incredibly easy schedule and 8-8 is not out of the question. Andrew Luck is better than advertised in that he has the Peyton Manning-like effect of making everyone around him better. The only real receiver he has is Reggie Wayne, but yet Luck makes his other receivers look just as good. I'm excited for the Colts future as long as Luck stays healthy. With a more aggressive coach (whether it be Arians or Pagano), there might be a few more Super Bowls in Indy's future assuming the Colts keep adding talent around Luck.
b. Though I love me some Andrew Luck, I haven't forgotten my first love, Mr. Peyton Manning. It's a weird vibe here as everyone is behind both the Colts and the Broncos. If the Colts weren't doing so well, I think that Jim Irsay would be getting cussed right now. I looks as if I was right in that Peyton Manning is pretty much back to his old self. I would say my gamble on Eric Decker on three of my four fantasy teams is paying off, but I'm always losing so it doesn't really matter. I would feel weird if Peyton Manning wins an MVP or a Super Bowl as a Bronco. I'd be happy for him, but it would feel strange.
c. It's a lost fantasy football season for me. After starting a combined13-3 with my four fantasy teams, I am now 18-18 with five game losing streaks in two of the four leagues. My only hope is to remain atop the Pick Em League and rake in $130. Every move I make is wrong. Michael Turner sucks, so I take him out and he goes 100+ yards and a TD. I trade Alfred Morris for Greg Jennings for depth later in the season and Morris is a stud and Jennings may not play at all this year. Ugh. I'm going to play the role of a Cubs fan and look forward to next year.
d. After reading the Monday Night Raw recap over at 411Wrestling (I'm a company man!) the WWE pretty much made my Survivor Series decision for me. By making the one match I like – the elimination rules match – weaker and putting a second match in the Main Event with two guys I don't care about, there is no way I am shelling out money for this thing. I never understood the getting away from the elimination rules at Survivor Series. You have 11 other PPVS and 364 other days of the year to run Ryback vs. CM Punk vs. Cena, why do you have to do it on a card that should be all elimination matches? Use the elimination match to get Ryback a win over Punk without Punk losing the title to continue the feud. It seems so easy that a six year old could write it.
4. I am 100% down with the proposed sequel to Boy Meets World that would have Cory and Topanga as the parents of a teenage girl going through some of the trials and tribulations that they did at that age. I never watched Boy Meets World when it was on TV because I was a little old for it. However, I went through a secret Disney Channel phase in my mid-20s where I watched Boy Meets World and shows like The Jersey, So Weird and the like. At that time I pretty much saw every episode. Most likely, I would forget to record the new show and never end up seeing it, but I am voting for it, especially if you can get some of or similar writers to the original show. It was an underrated sitcom. What else is Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel doing? Is William Daniels too old to make cameos at this point?
5. I told myself that I wasn't going to buy discounted Halloween items this year because I just didn't have the cash. The day after Halloween, I walk into my local CVS and they have everything 75% off! How could I resist a two foot tall zombie that moves, lights up and makes noise for $5? It's not like you could resist him either. I've names him Morty. He was an accountant at the Steak N Shake regional offices until he went out for lunch one day and became lunch. Here's the problem I have with buying discounted holiday items – now I have to put him away for a whole year! What the hell, man!
USELESS TRIVIA AND SHAMELESS PLUGGING
LAST WEEK'S USELESS TRIVIA
Since I am writing this on Halloween, let's take a look at a well known Halloween tradition. Carving pumpkins originated from the UK and the tradition of carving what other vegetable?
ANSWER: A turnip. Jack-O-Lanterns were originally carved into turnips in Europe. When the tradition was brought to America, it was changed to pumpkins because they were more plentiful and easier to carve. Congrats to RYAN ABS for shouting out the correct answer.
THIS WEEK'S USELESS TRIVIA
Since I'm a Buffy fan boy, what role did Sarah Michelle Gellar originally try out for in the Buffy series?
As always, check out our latest episode of The Resurrection of Zombie 7 Podcast on iTunes. We just finished up our series on Pumpkinhead with a quick wrap up on the four movies bemoaning the fact that there are no more Pumpkinhead movies to come, trying to figure out the mythology of Pumpkinhead and wrapping general Halloween shenanigans before moving onto the rest of the holidays.
The latest episode of The Zombie Reckoning Podcast is still available to be listened to on The Horror Palace Network or on iTunes. It's the Battle for Halloween, putting Trick R Treat up against Trick or Treat. Here's a preview – it's a pretty one sided battle. It's free to subscribe, so you should be doing that. However, since I am the type of guy I am (desperate for listeners?), I'll embed the show below so all you have to do is hit play.
Also, of note, I will be one of the two writers on BEN PIPER'S FACT OR FICTION this week. Since I'm late with the column this week, it'll be out the same day as this column, so check it out!
THIS WEEK ON RETRO
You know this whole roller derby trend that sweeping the nation with girls taking on names like Lizzie Borden and Death Queen while they rollerblade in local sports complexes knocking girls from other cities on their asses? Yeah, we had that back in 1989 only it was coed – and on TV. I've written about Rollergames before, but it was as part of a column on my old school 1989 Saturday nights with Rollergames, wrestling and monster trucks. Until I discovered alcohol, those were the best Saturday nights I ever had.
Rollergames was a one year revival of the popular roller derby sport from the 70s. There were six teams and let's just say they gave the then WWF a run for their money when it came to "sports entertainment." The league was made of two conferences. The first conference had all the good guy teams like the T-Birds, the Rockers and Hot Flash. The second had all the bad guy teams; the Violators, Bad Attitude and the Maniacs. Each team had a roster of male skaters who would skate the first and fourth period; a roster of female skaters who would skate the second and third periods and a manager who would roam the infield, shout directions and sometimes interfere in the action. If you watch the video above highlighting a match between the Rockers and the Violators, you'll see each round started with two skaters going up a huge wall and jumping a ramp before scoring points.
It sounds cheesy now, but in '89, I bought into it hook, line and sinker. I was aware that a lot of the action was scripted like wrestling, but I didn't care. I was thoroughly entertained. In fact, if I dig deep enough in my old box of VHS tapes, I am sure I have the all-star game recorded on one of them still to this day. My favorite team was the Rockers, though I also like Hot Flash and Bad Attitude. I hated the T-Birds because they were Rollergames version of Hulk Hogan at the time. They always won because of some 80 year old guy who would take the helmet the last round and cruise by everyone, even though it was completely unbelievable. Didn't Mae Young win the women's title at like 80? It would be similar to that.
I hated the fact that there was a good guy and a bad guy hierarchy. Whenever Hot Flash or the Rockers took on the T-Birds, they would start cheating like crazy. I hated that. I also hated that they constantly promoted a Rollergames magazine, but I could never find it in stores anywhere. I walked all the way to the local Marsh only to be disappointed yet again. Hey, that was a long walk. With video games, magazines and the like, someone pumped a lot of money into Rollergames looking to make a big success out of it. It only lasted one year, so they failed. I guess I was their only fan.
23 Years Ago Today
November 9, 1989
"Listen to Your Heart" by Roxette
Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson