MovieBob's Best Of 2009

DocBalance

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Pretty good list, though I was impartial to Watchmen. Up was my Number 1, followed by Christmas Carol. Blind Side actually takes number 3 on my list, so I heavily disagree with your choice there. There is no justification for calling it the worst of the year. There were DEFINITELY worse movies made this year, and the acting was superb. You may not agree with the message, but Sarah Palin it was not. Instead, it was actually pretty smart. There was nothing about "bucking the system" or being Mavericks, in fact it was quite the opposite. They worked WITH the "system", and the only "Man" they stuck it to was that one idiot from the NCAA. Did it communicate morals that are conservative? Yes. Is that bad? No. Avatar could be described(and has been described) as a heavily liberal movie. Yet I don't really care. Do I believe in the whole "White man bad, save the trees!" message? No. I still want to see the movie, because the message is always up to the viewer. Always. There may be an intended message an author or director encodes, but you can take whatever you want from something. As to the kind of preachy stuff that sticks around for decades, I think your being a little hasty there. This movie wasn't near as beat-you-over-the-head preachy as some (See Facing the Giants....), and while I personally don't mind that kind of movie, I know some people do. However, to dismiss Blind Side as "Sarah Palin fantasy" is to do it a great dis-service. It's much more than that.
 

MovieBob

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Skylane14 said:
They worked WITH the "system", and the only "Man" they stuck it to was that one idiot from the NCAA.
See, that's one of the reasons WHY it made my "Worst" spot - I HATED that scene. I always hate that scene.

MINOR PLOT-SPOILERS FOR BLIND-SIDE FOLLOWS:
In the scene in question, Michael Oher is being interrogated by an NCAA official as to suspiscions of unethical behavior on behalf of his benefactors. Apparently the family that adopted him off the street, the tutor who helped get his grades up and others are well-known as financial "boosters" of the university he's leaning towards playing football for. In other words, it looks more than a little likely that this supposedly ultra-charitable act is really a conspiracy hatched specifically to turn Oher into an athlete/asset to this specific school.

In the movie-proper, Oher freaks out at the very idea, then runs off for his old neighborhood and winds up getting into an improbable action sequence wherein he more-or-less morphs into Jet Li and tears a bunch of armed crack-dealers apart with his bare hands. THEN he reunites with his family, goes back to the NCAA agent - who the movie is presenting as an eeeeeeevil beaurocratic witch, Hillary-style pantsuit and all - and tells her off. The audience is meant to cheer for the "defeat" of someone so eeeeeevil that they could've possibly thought ill of this obviously sainted act of good ol'fasioned Christian charity.

It's the worst kind of "true story" deck-stacking - taking something that was a very REAL controversy (and which the Blind Side BOOK regards with a certain "well, maybe" detachment) - and twisting it so as to deflect critique. It's an ancient, cheap screenwriter's trick: Take the most obvious criticism of your plot and have one of The Bad Guys say it. That way, it LOOKS as though you've mentioned it but you've also sent the audience a subliminal hint: "Hey! If you're thinking on these same lines, you'd better not! Cuz that makes YOU on the side of this baaaaaaaad person!" It's lazy, cynical and pandering writing of the worst kind.

You can see a slightly-less-agregious version of it in "Avatar," where the only person who "calls out" Sully on being a traitor to his own home planet is Quaritch - who is, of course, a total douchebag. My favorite use of it is in "The Ten Commandments" (a movie I LOVE, just for the record) which actually takes time out onscreen to mention all of the "natural phenomena" explanations for the Ten Plagues... except that they person SAYING IT is The Pharoah ;)
 

LiquidGrape

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Watchmen was about as profound as soiling yourself while reading George Orwell.
You know there's something substantial at work right in front of you, but you're too busy coping with the shit smeared on top of it to really notice.
 

TheTygerfire

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Watchmen gets #1, and no mention of The Hangover or Star Trek anywhere? Buuuuuullshit.

And also, aren't you forgetting this was the year of Dragonball, Legend of Chun-Li AND Super Capers, and you pick Blind Side as worst movie?
 

LTK_70

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Just going to nitpick a bit here: Why call the Inglourious Basterds counter-terrorists? Is there even such a thing, or is it just a word invented for terrorists as the good guys?
 

DocBalance

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MovieBob said:
Skylane14 said:
They worked WITH the "system", and the only "Man" they stuck it to was that one idiot from the NCAA.
See, that's one of the reasons WHY it made my "Worst" spot - I HATED that scene. I always hate that scene.

MINOR PLOT-SPOILERS FOR BLIND-SIDE FOLLOWS:
In the scene in question, Michael Oher is being interrogated by an NCAA official as to suspiscions of unethical behavior on behalf of his benefactors. Apparently the family that adopted him off the street, the tutor who helped get his grades up and others are well-known as financial "boosters" of the university he's leaning towards playing football for. In other words, it looks more than a little likely that this supposedly ultra-charitable act is really a conspiracy hatched specifically to turn Oher into an athlete/asset to this specific school.

In the movie-proper, Oher freaks out at the very idea, then runs off for his old neighborhood and winds up getting into an improbable action sequence wherein he more-or-less morphs into Jet Li and tears a bunch of armed crack-dealers apart with his bare hands. THEN he reunites with his family, goes back to the NCAA agent - who the movie is presenting as an eeeeeeevil beaurocratic witch, Hillary-style pantsuit and all - and tells her off. The audience is meant to cheer for the "defeat" of someone so eeeeeevil that they could've possibly thought ill of this obviously sainted act of good ol'fasioned Christian charity.

It's the worst kind of "true story" deck-stacking - taking something that was a very REAL controversy (and which the Blind Side BOOK regards with a certain "well, maybe" detachment) - and twisting it so as to deflect critique. It's an ancient, cheap screenwriter's trick: Take the most obvious criticism of your plot and have one of The Bad Guys say it. That way, it LOOKS as though you've mentioned it but you've also sent the audience a subliminal hint: "Hey! If you're thinking on these same lines, you'd better not! Cuz that makes YOU on the side of this baaaaaaaad person!" It's lazy, cynical and pandering writing of the worst kind.
My response to that is as follows:
See, I don't see it that way. I didn't see her as an "evil witch", and I didn't see him "telling her off." He stated the facts, and she backed off. He didn't yell, or cuss, or even get defensive. He just said "I want to go there because my family went there." Then, she backs off. It doesn't look like a victory or a defeat. She doesn't burst into flames, scream, yell, or tear her hair out. She just gives him a look that says "Alright then. That's all we need to know."

I didn't see the NCAA as bad, just as alarmist. To paraphrase another fine contributer to the Escapist, Ben Croshaw, The NCAA were not being bad people, just stupid people. Could it have been possible that they were "boosting" him, trying to steer him to their college? Maybe. Then again, what parent doesn't? Are you honestly going to tell me that if you had a son or daughter looking at colleges, and the college you went to and loved offered him or her a scholarship, you wouldn't tell them to take it? It was, as you say an act of "good ol' Christian charity" that turned into sincere love, which is the greatest expression of faith. Misguided love? Perhaps. Then again, we are human. I don't know a parent out there who hasn't done something they ended up regretting out of sincere love for their child. You know what they say about good intentions and the road they pave.

Being a devout Christian myself(not looking to start a religious debate, lets not get into that), I may be a bit biased in this matter, but I don't see the harm in painting Christianity in a favorable light. Is there something wrong with it just being an act of charity? I would say it is even more cynical to think that they were just steering him that way when they took him in before they even knew he had football potential. The school didn't, that's correct. The family did, though. In fact, Sandra Bollock's character goes so far as to ask him whether he even wants to play football, and tells him to go to whatever college he wants. In light of all that happens, she tells him to go to the college she DESPISES, if he thinks it will make him happy. She even says it is the better choice. Manuplative? I think not.

I will be the first to admit that I "always hate that scene" as well. I'm about as cynical as they come, despite my beliefs. I think the world is a mudball populated primarily by people looking to further themselves. It would be easy for me to give in to the more cynical views given about both The Blind Side and Avatar. However, I think we can both agree that one way or the other, I'm going to miss out on a good movie. Hell, Iron Man can be viewed with some cynical undertones, with some terrible ideas, and so on and so forth. But I'm not going to skip it, because I don't believe those ideas. Even if they're true and what the director wanted, they sure aren't what I took away. If I were to skip Iron Man(or even worse, Dark Knight) because of possible ties to ideas I don't like, I would miss two of the greatest movies I've ever seen. I'd be discounting two truly great movies simply because I didn't agree. Now, I'm human, so I'm perfectly capable of such things, in fact I'm sure I missed out on more than a few good things (Kirby for one, for the same reasons you outline in Game Overthinker) because I didn't agree with what I thought they represented. It's the reason I still refuse to read Twilight(Don't even get me started on that one, we'll be here all night :p ), so I can't really fault anyone for it. I can only ask that we try and look beyond the perceived message and let it teach us something. Maybe you think it's preachy, or like Sarah Palin, or a dozen other reasons. But let's let go of that for a minute, and draw what we can from it. Sometimes, you'll get nothing but crap. But I will stake my reputation on the theory that 90% of the time, you can find something good. Except in Shaolin Soccer. That movie sucked, and will burn for all eternity.
 

theultimateend

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theflyingpeanut said:
I'd disagree with Watchmen, but that's just because it ddn't feel right to me. It was good, but I just couldn't enjoy it after the book. The voices seemed wrong, everything just seemed ... off somehow. Probably just me though, seeing how everyone else seemed to enjoy it.
Yup just you.

It happens though.

LiquidGrape said:
Watchmen was about as profound as soiling yourself while reading George Orwell.
You know there's something substantial at work right in front of you, but you're too busy coping with the shit smeared on top of it to really notice.
So you read books while hanging bare assed over them?

Otherwise your little metaphor there certainly breaks down mechanically.

The Big Eye said:
Partly plot, partly visual style, partly symbolism, partly a lot of things, right?
All I'm saying (okay, not all) is that either Alan Moore completely failed to understand anything about the Cold War beyond that there were Americans and Russians and Vietnam in it, or that he did manage to create a plausible Cold War alternate history scenario that was then glossed over or outright ignored by Zack Snyder in the movie adaptation. Either way, it made me a great deal more angry than I usually get about movies.
The whole one great tragedy bringing the world together is one of the oldest stories in human existence. It is the staple of one of the largest religions on Earth. I think that was his inspiration for the idea. Plenty of popular media uses the same cliche however in Watchmen it at least makes you uncomfortable, normally it ends up being boring and tedious.

I think that's why I like the hopelessness of it, all those people died, all those lives changed in an instant, and in a matter years (tops) it'll all fall apart as Rorschach's journal begins to be published.

The idea is that people will act entirely nonsensical if something more powerful than they can imagine is acting against them. Be it God, space alien, or a blue man who can change matter at will and teleport across lightyears of space in an instant. It is true and has been proven true over millenia. That's how you control people, you give them some spectacular story about an all powerful thing they could never match existing and having a problem with them in some manner. Keeps people in line.

Overall though this was the best adaption of a comic to a movie I've ever seen. Not to say I haven't liked others a ton (I usually do) but this was very well done. While they did change some things they still matched much of the atmosphere and raw emotion that the book presented.

I'm just surprised you were able to accept Dr. Manhattan but not able to accept the whole cold war bit. Nice job picking which was more unbelievable ;). (Basically just pointing out it is an alternate reality where we don't fully comprehend the psychology of all individuals nor the laws that make up the universe there. But I'll leave it at that since usually when I bring this up someone goes into an all caps rant about how it doesn't matter what they found most unbelievable was the most unbelievable part.)
 

CK76

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Y'know, I hear a lot of bad things about film industry these days, and quite a bit is true. However, when you boil it down to 10-20 films in given year, this was pretty good.

Moon, an amazing sci-fi film that really showcases an actors talents and has great atmosphere.
District 9, out of left field and best action sci-fi I've seen in years.
Up, which contained the one of the most profound montages on life I've ever seen.
Where the Wild Things Are, a work of genius that equals and succeeds one of my most cherished childhood memories.
Watchmen, which despite insane expectations managed to be very good despite flaws.

Several others, and I will find way to see Hurt Locker and Pernasses someday. Even lately Avatar, Fantastic Mister Fox and Up in the Air all have been good entries.

If you're willing to mine films, they still make good ones.
 

wilsonscrazybed

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MovieBob said:
Okay, might as well do this at least ONCE...

"Drag Me to Hell"
I saw this movie based on your recommendation in a Korean theater and lost my shit several times at the camp. Funnier was that I was the only one laughing; the humor didn't translate well leaving me to embarrass myself with belly laughs while the other patrons recoiled in horror (either at me or the movie, I don't know.)

That's when I started watching your videos in earnest. Thanks for a great year Bob, here's to another year on this great site of ours.
 

The Austin

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Watchmen? FUCKING WATCHMEN?

[HEADING=1] AM I THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS SITE WHO HATED THAT MOVIE? [/HEADING]

And no, I didn't read the book, but I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO TO ENJOY THE GOD DAMN MOVIE!!!

Lord! I sometimes feel like I'm the only one on this site who know's what a good movie is!

OK, OK. Calm down Austin... Calm down...

OK..... I'm OK now..... I'm OK.
 

ElArabDeMagnifico

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dududf said:
Damn right Watchmen got the #1.

They got EVERY scene from the comic, with exception to how Rorsach got his mask, and they changed the ending for the better (more logical in the long run)
Heck no they didn't get "EVERY" scene, or at least maybe they didn't in the theatrical version (which is the one I saw) - and the ending isn't as logical either because in reality everyone would blame...oh yeah, spoilers

America would be blamed for the disaster because they created and used Dr. Manhattan, and would probably cause more conflict instead, regardless of whether or not Manhattan attacked the U.S.A. too.

The Austin said:
Watchmen? FUCKING WATCHMEN?

[RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGE]
You just wanted an excuse to use the H1 tag didn't you?
 

dududf

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ElArabDeMagnifico said:
Well actually...

In the ending it showed EVERY nation getting hit by the blast. Every single nation, including Americas allies.

There isn't a reason to do that.

Also, I found it was a better endsing because the alien thing was only in New york, making Russia have no commitment to help kill it besides nuking America, which would get retribution. Also if the alien DOES die then that's it. Nothing to fear, nothing to force human kind to work together to protect itself against. A giant monster that will destroy all of North America is not a good ending. Also, that same monster could easily be destroyed by Dr. Manhatten himself, just turn the thing into oxygen, or into fluffy bunnies what ever works.

by making Manhatten the bad guy, and having him leave puts Earth in a alert state, never knowing when he may return and finish the job. Forcing unity through Fear. Also, I said I THINK they got every scene, excluding the changed ending and the Rorsaches mask scene.

Any who, that's that, if you wanna continue this PM me.
 

MovieBob

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The Austin said:
AM I THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS SITE WHO HATED THAT MOVIE?

And no, I didn't read the book, but I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO TO ENJOY THE GOD DAMN MOVIE!!!
Yeah, no, you weren't.

I didn't hate it in all caps AND in bigger print AND in red, but I did hate it.

Strangely enough, I hated it because I had read the book, or so it seemed to me at the time.

I strarted objecting to Snyder's "panel by panel" adaptation technique about ten minutes into the movie and it never wore off. It was like re-reading the novel, so the panels from the book were popping in my head in real time as the movie went on. This caused several effects:

1) An uncanny valley-like feeling where anything looking or sounding slightly different from how I had imagined these things felt terribly out of place. Everything. From the texture in Dr. Manhattan's skin to the character voices to the timing of the conversations to the background music. If something was off not from the book, but from how my imagination had filled the gaps between the panels and the things that comics leave for you to decide just felt ugly. This is probably why some people love it and others hate it. It may have to do with how close Snyder's take on those things matches your own.

2) A definite feeling that the pacing was not quite right. This is a novel put on the screen with very little structural work done to it. I don't think this is the same thing as 1, I think this is an objective thing that can be contrasted with other, better movies that are adaptations of other stories. Watchment is a serialized novel with clear cut episodes, it drags on and encourages slow, repeated viewing of several scenes, it defers lots of exposition to ancillary texts and lots of thematic elements to an ongoing side story missing from the movie... without using narrative techniques to compensate for all that, and they didn't in the movie, it feels... limp.

3) I got impatient at the end. It was a factor of 1) kicking me out of the movie and breaking suspension of disbelief and 2) making me tap my foot long before the movie was over... well, and of a big gulp interacting with Hitchcock's law on movie length (movie length should be proportional to the size of the human bladder, if you didn't know that). At any rate, I couldn't wait for the movie to be over. Not quite the feeling you want people to have during your protracted multiple ending sequences. Again, not enough adaptation work done here.

So yeah, I hated it. I thought it was terrible or, at least, bad. And bad movies are not my number one movie of the year. Bob, however, has his own list, so good for him. I still like his reviews, whether I agree with them or not (I couldn't disagree more with him on Star Trek, either, and not for the reasons he points out preemptively, but that's a subject for a different thread).

Oh, and an EDIT, if you don't mind:

About the whole "Watchmen ending" controversy, meet me after the spoiler tag:

Okay, here's the deal. They were never going to pull off a good ending for the Watchmen movie because the ending to the book is crap.

Seriously, it doesn't make any sense. You just kind of have to take Moore's word for it that a giant vagina-like squid is both the worst thing the best minds of the planet could concoct to scare the crap out of you and that scaring the crap out of you would make you love your neighbour.

Heck, Moore himself didn't seem to believe his own ending worked mechanically, because he felt the need to add some kind of mind control bomb going off at the same time to guarantee he'd have something to point at when people said the ending sucked: "It's not the squid, it's the psychic feedback, dummy!" It didn't work. The ending was the one criticism everybody had with the book when it came out, and for good reason. So it became the one thing all the people working on the movie script felt they had a license to rework.

But here's the problem, everything else just works like clockwork, no pun intended. Crappy and cheesy as it is, the whole story builds up to Veidt doing something unspeakable that kills a lot of people in order to save the world. You can put whatever you want in there, as long as it is something unspeakable that kills a lot of people in order to save the world and it takes writers, and artists and scientists to do it. At least if you want to keep the rest of the plot elements.

So my point is, the criticism about there not being a squid? That's misplaced. The criticism about the ending not making sense? Misplaced, it didn't make sense before, either. It's not the movie's fault, it's the story's fault. It's just not building up to a good mechanical payoff, that's a weak point of the source material, not of the adaptation.

The movie still sucks, though.
 

LiquidGrape

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theultimateend said:
LiquidGrape said:
Watchmen was about as profound as soiling yourself while reading George Orwell.
You know there's something substantial at work right in front of you, but you're too busy coping with the shit smeared on top of it to really notice.
So you read books while hanging bare assed over them?

Otherwise your little metaphor there certainly breaks down mechanically.
"Smeared on top of it" might have been an unnecessary addition, I confess.
But don't pretend like you didn't get my drift.
It was a shamble of a film with no discernable trace of competent direction.
 

Woem

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I'm glad you started of by saying it's a mix of what you thought were the best movies and what movies were perceived as being the best. I would definitely have add Drag Me To Hell as an "He's ba-ack!" milestone, rank Inglourious Basterds and move Watchmen off first place because it really wasn't that epic a movie.
 

The Austin

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Noelveiga said:
The Austin said:
AM I THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS SITE WHO HATED THAT MOVIE?

And no, I didn't read the book, but I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO TO ENJOY THE GOD DAMN MOVIE!!!
Yeah, no, you weren't.

I didn't hate it in all caps AND in bigger print AND in red, but I did hate it.

Strangely enough, I hated it because I had read the book, or so it seemed to me at the time.

I strarted objecting to Snyder's "panel by panel" adaptation technique about ten minutes into the movie and it never wore off. It was like re-reading the novel, so the panels from the book were popping in my head in real time as the movie went on. This caused several effects:
1) An uncanny valley-like feeling where anything looking or sounding slightly different from how I had imagined these things felt terribly out of place. Everything. From the texture in Dr. Manhattan's skin to the character voices to the timing of the conversations to the background music. If something was off not from the book, but from how my imagination had filled the gaps between the panels and the things that comics leave for you to decide just felt ugly. This is probably why some people love it and others hate it. It may have to do with how close Snyder's take on those things matches your own.

2) A definite feeling that the pacing was not quite right. This is a novel put on the screen with very little structural work done to it. I don't think this is the same thing as 1, I think this is an objective thing that can be contrasted with other, better movies that are adaptations of other stories. Watchment is a serialized novel with clear cut episodes, it drags on and encourages slow, repeated viewing of several scenes, it defers lots of exposition to ancillary texts and lots of thematic elements to an ongoing side story missing from the movie... without using narrative techniques to compensate for all that, and they didn't in the movie, it feels... limp.

3) I got impatient at the end. It was a factor of 1) kicking me out of the movie and breaking suspension of disbelief and 2) making me tap my foot long before the movie was over... well, and of a big gulp interacting with Hitchcock's law on movie length (movie length should be proportional to the size of the human bladder, if you didn't know that). At any rate, I couldn't wait for the movie to be over. Not quite the feeling you want people to have during your protracted multiple ending sequences. Again, not enough adaptation work done here.

So yeah, I hated it. I thought it was terrible or, at least, bad. And bad movies are not my number one movie of the year. Bob, however, has his own list, so good for him. I still like his reviews, whether I agree with them or not (I couldn't disagree more with him on Star Trek, either, and not for the reasons he points out preemptively, but that's a subject for a different thread).

Oh, and an EDIT, if you don't mind:

About the whole "Watchmen ending" controversy, meet me after the spoiler tag:

Okay, here's the deal. They were never going to pull off a good ending for the Watchmen movie because the ending to the book is crap.

Seriously, it doesn't make any sense. You just kind of have to take Moore's word for it that a giant vagina-like squid is both the worst thing the best minds of the planet could concoct to scare the crap out of you and that scaring the crap out of you would make you love your neighbour.

Heck, Moore himself didn't seem to believe his own ending worked mechanically, because he felt the need to add some kind of mind control bomb going off at the same time to guarantee he'd have something to point at when people said the ending sucked: "It's not the squid, it's the psychic feedback, dummy!" It didn't work. The ending was the one criticism everybody had with the book when it came out, and for good reason. So it became the one thing all the people working on the movie script felt they had a license to rework.

But here's the problem, everything else just works like clockwork, no pun intended. Crappy and cheesy as it is, the whole story builds up to Veidt doing something unspeakable that kills a lot of people in order to save the world. You can put whatever you want in there, as long as it is something unspeakable that kills a lot of people in order to save the world and it takes writers, and artists and scientists to do it. At least if you want to keep the rest of the plot elements.

So my point is, the criticism about there not being a squid? That's misplaced. The criticism about the ending not making sense? Misplaced, it didn't make sense before, either. It's not the movie's fault, it's the story's fault. It's just not building up to a good mechanical payoff, that's a weak point of the source material, not of the adaptation.

The movie still sucks, though.
Wait? What do you mean panel to panel? Was his book ACTUALLY a comic?

And the reason I threw in the caps and the red font was simply shock really. It's a special kind of feeling, the feeling of knowing everyone is against you. And especially considering I pretty much idolize Movie Bob, I am just feeling frustration that even HE loved the movie.



ElArabDeMagnifico said:
The Austin said:
Watchmen? FUCKING WATCHMEN?

[RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGE]
You just wanted an excuse to use the H1 tag didn't you?
[HEADING=1] No, this is an excuse to use the H1 tag [/HEADING]
 

MovieBob

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The Austin said:
Wait? What do you mean panel to panel? Was his book ACTUALLY a comic?
Er... yes, it is a comic. 12 issue series, best known as a graphic novel release, widely regarded as one of the best graphic novels ever?

Anyway, I do recommend it, even if you didn't like the movie, although it may very well have ruined it for you.
 

The Austin

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Noelveiga said:
The Austin said:
Wait? What do you mean panel to panel? Was his book ACTUALLY a comic?
Er... yes, it is a comic. 12 issue series, best known as a graphic novel release, widely regarded as one of the best graphic novels ever?

Anyway, I do recommend it, even if you didn't like the movie, although it may very well have ruined it for you.

..... Wait... What? The book was a comic book?

Thats pretty cool I guess. Yea. If its a comic I should check it out.

Edit: Wait. Does it have blue penis? I don't need any more blue penis.