Blogs and Ends: The Ides of March Edition


Okay technically not the ides yet.  Also, I don’t care.

First up.


Captain Marvel has blown the doors off the boxoffice with an opening weekend take of $153 large domestic.  Beating Wonder Woman’s opening by about 50 million.

Cataline shall now quote himself, “I said it was going to suck. I never said, it wasn’t going to make money.”  And as usual, I was right.  I know a lot of you were pulling for it tank like Solo did but you have to remember two things.

One; Marvel films are made for a general audience rather than a specific fanbase.  The people who only knew about it from the commercials weren’t aware of any controversy.

Two: the Star Wars fanbase was furious with Lucasfilm when Solo launched because of the utterly craptastic and franchise destroying, The Last Jedi.  The truly excellent Avengers Infinity War was last Marvel film to be launched.  There simply is no general fan rage.

Those things said, it also appears I was right about it being a very, meh, flick not really any better than Antman and Wasp.

Another Captain Marvel Spoiler: The Skrulls, which have always been a bad-guy infiltrator race, have been turned into the good guys, who are refugees fleeing the Kree and seeking asylum on earth… because OrangeManBad and #BuildBridgesNotWalls…
Speculation that Secret Invasion would be the next big plotline — where the Skrulls impersonate world leaders and some of the Avengers — seems wrong, as the Skrulls are now just Nice Space Immigrants coming to earth as an Act of Love…
Also, it had been a joke going around that Nick Fury’s eye gets scratched out by a cat. This was a fan joke. Fans made this joke because it was so absurd. Except… it’s what happens. It is now canon that when Nick Fury said, in Winter Soldier, “The last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye,” he was referring to the cat he was cuddling who suddenly and without provocation scratched his eye out (and then he went back to being friends with it again). Womp womp.

Just to be clear, I haven’t seen it myself and I am not going to.  But these guys watched for me, so that was nice of them.

If that’s the future of the Avengers going into the 2020s, then there is no future for the Avengers.  It will peter out in five years and everyone will simply say that the superhero thing had run it’s course rather than admit that Marvel went down hill.


Shazam will be out before the next Infinity War movie but only just.

Honestly, while I was pulling for this one, this second trailer has me wondering how good it will be.  It feels like some of the 1990s superhero comedies and frankly there was a reason they didn’t make major bank.  They never really took the heroes seriously. They all felt a bit like the 1960s Batman TV show. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.


When I was kid there were still a few dime stores around.  Nothing in them cost a dime by then but they still existed.  What didn’t exist was dime store culture.

That lost bit of Americana where a bunch of bare foot boys wearing coonskin caps and carrying their bb-guns would wander into one to buy pop, candy and comic books with their paper route money.

And honestly, it never even occured to me to miss it.

So, why bring it up?  Because of something I discovered recently about Gen Z.  They are desperate for late 1980s mall culture.  The trend is that they like to play stuff like this in their smartphones and wander around them.

That music is called vaporwave and yes, it’s the mall muzak I used to here back when I wonder around them when I was an aimless kid with a little time to kill.

When Michael Tills from Kentucky wants to escape, he goes to the mall. He visits the old ice cream parlor and orders his favorite: mint chocolate chip with a scoop of bubblegum. Tills heads over to the skateboard store where he used to buy chunky DC sneakers and griptape for his board. He stops by the water fountain at the center of the mall, the place where he took his first date and had his first kiss. The mall is a happy place, reminiscent of a time when he was younger and carefree — where his life played out to a soundtrack of Weezer, No Doubt and the Counting Crows.

Except, Tills never experienced such a mallrat adolescence. In fact, the closest mall to his home, the Fayette Mall in Lexington, is so small that you could probably visit every store in under an hour. And being born in 1999, his friends are more likely to be listening to Drake, A$AP Rocky, XXXtentacion, or more commonly, the artists that appear on Spotify’s curated playlists.

Indeed, Tills’ life at the mall is imaginary. He’s nostalgic for the 1990s, which he thinks was a better time to live. At the core of this mental construction is “mallwave,” a lo-fi subgenre of vaporwave that listeners refer to as “music optimized for abandoned malls.” Like Vaporwave creators, Mallwave musicians use soft drum tracks, ambient sounds and low-quality synthesizers to create soft, calming electronic music. But they also mix in pop music associated with the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with the purpose of creating a holistic “nostalgic” experience, one that recreates the experience you would have had when visiting the mall. Or, in Tills’ case, what that experience might have been like, for people who lived it.

Gen Z knows they’ve been dealt a bad hand. Of course they are looking back to a world where you would head to mall to hook up with your friends, see what new albums had been released at Sam Goody. then cruise through Waldenbooks. By then you’d picked up a few of your friends so you would head to Babbages to look over the latest computer games, which would all be to expensive, so you go to  the arcade for a bit. Then it was time to visit the food court.  Not that you were that interested in finding food.  What you were looking for were slim girls in sprayed on Jordache who were covertly checking you out. At that point it was time to go say, “hi.”

Stranger Things season three is going to blow the doors off with this demographic once again.


Okay, I’m done here.




5 thoughts on “Blogs and Ends: The Ides of March Edition

  1. Putting aside how woke CM is, who thinks it is a good idea to throw in a new character one month before the culmination of 10 years of films and have that character save the day? Simply from a storytelling aspect, it is horrible. It could turn Endgame into a disaster.

    The fact is the MCU has been running out of steam. It has mainly been inertia keeping it going the past few years. Most of the films have been pedestrian films with one or two good ones. It was going to be downhill after Avengers 3 & 4 no matter what. A lot of people are ready to get off of the treadmill of superhero films.

    Yeah, the second Shazam trailer does not inspire confidence.

    The third, and hopefully final, season of Stranger Things will be interesting. Can they maintain quality? Two held up fairly well except for the side trip in the one episode.


  2. I’m looking forward to the goof-comedy Shazam! (2019) – I’m so over the superhero thing, as I suppose i have been since I caught Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – on some cable channel or another. Not even a second Deadpool flick was enough to lure me back, although i did check out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017) on Netfllx.

    Then again, I could just be a weirdo outlier, since I also enjoyed 1999’s Mystery Men.


  3. I miss malls. Born in the 80s, raised in a post-Soviet, American hyperpower world, where any problem could be solved with dollars or TV-guided bombs. Weird to think that my childhood occurred during the last days of the old America.


  4. Our local mega-mall had a brief resurgence in the early 00s, Westfield bought it up booted out the cheezy stores and by some miracle chased off the black kids who all but made it an unspeakable but totally avoided place. Then they brought in two clothing stores that fashionable white kids with money would spend big money at, but that did not last long. Now you can wander in there and it’s all Mexicans or other immigrants running it and all Mexicans wandering about with their families on the days it is too wet to be out mowing the grass. The facade is still there, but that point of America at its peak shopping experience long gone, I imagine the folks who go there wonder where all the well off and attractive white kids have gone and deep down if it weren’t for the easy money they think they would have been better off in the old country.


  5. just a heads up, Artisanal Toad’s web site got taken down.

    the notable thing about that being that he was also hosted by WordPress.

    the unpersonings are spreading beyond the Goolag Archipelago.


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