The Joy and Inspiration of Scooby-Doo

Our heroMy new book MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE has been released via amazon.com in eBook and print.

 I thought it would be fun to write on some of the influences for the novel.  This week I will discuss my obsession with the kids who drive The Mystery Machine.

It has always amazed me how few people get Scooby-Doo, Where are You. I’m not talking the kids or the parents or simply those who find it while flipping through the stations. No, I mean the producers, the directors, and the actual writers of the characters. Yes, Hollywood never got the friends of Mystery, Inc.

One of the first articles I ever wrote for the internet, back in 2001, was related to the genius of Scooby-Doo (I was venting in the article about my dismay around the casting and scripting around the first Scooby-Doo live action movie; that was even before I saw the disaster of a movie), and how surprised I was then (and still am), how wrong they were being. Honestly, who could blame those producers? When the actual cartoonists, after the original series’ run, rarely gave the property any respect; turning it into a device to showcase B-level stars or worse having Scooby chase 13 real ghosts.

Real ghosts? Seriously?

That idea right there is almost more damaging to the fictional reality created for Scooby-Doo and his friends than the introduction of Scrappy and Scooby’s other relatives. Even as a young kid that questionable variation to our hero’s adventures, in I am certain an attempt to steal some thunder from Ghostbusters, made me groan (and don’t get me started on the character of Flim-Flam).

When I was studying film writing, I once said in a class that I would love to adapt Scooby-Doo someday for the big screen. Some thought I was joking and laughed, others looked at me as if I was crazy, but one got where I was coming from and we both shared a nod. See, in the right hands, Scooby-Doo is awesome in its simplistic horror madcap comedy spree.

Jinkies! Pass the Scooby Snacks. Continue reading

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Discussing Brave

This discussion/review is filled with spoilers so if you have not seen Brave… Well, go see it, it is great.

I’m not sure whether to compliment the marketing division at Disney or scold them, but Brave is not the movie they were selling to us. Oh, it is a good film, and I really enjoyed the trip, but it’s not the film I felt like we were seeing in the ads.

Yes, there is magic, there is the princess with the bow, there is some adventure in the end, but it is not on a grand magical stage. If anything the film seems smaller than all that, and even seems to decrease in size over the picture, since we keep returning to locations we have seen before, again and again.

Yes, in many ways, Brave is a small  and personal film, with only a small cast dealing with an issue that doesn’t affect the entire world but only one country in a minor political way. Kingdoms are not going to fall because of this story. Princess Merida is not fighting to save the world with all of the odds against her; no she is only trying to save one person, her mom. Continue reading

So tomorrow Brave opens. I already have tickets to see it with my son. I have to admit I am pretty excited about the film, especially since all of the ads we have seen are from only the first act of the film. I love going to the movies and not knowing what to expect, it is so rare that occurs. There is also going to be an ad in front of the film for the new Monsters, Inc. film. I have to admit I have some misgivings about Monsters, etc. While I loved the film, my son (who is four), has not yet considered the idea of monsters under the bed or in the closet. I feel like showing him Monsters, Inc. (or the new one) will just open a can of worms that will be impossible to put back in; he has quite the imagination.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Being a parent of young children has made me an expert in a few different, new, and exciting fields.

You need to talk about superheroes, I am your man. If you want to discuss which lullaby CDs are best, and more importantly, work, talk to me.  Which TV shows for kids might actually educate your child, I’m an e-mail away. Also, if you want to know about Pixar, I have an altar for them in my house.

Well, maybe not a real altar, but it does feel that way sometimes. Of course, can you truly use the word altar to describe a state that seems to have taken over your whole house? From the toys on the ground to the boy dressed like Dash from The Incredibles.

In my house, simply put, we live Pixar films.

Heck, when I discovered I was going to be having a daughter, her…

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Joss Whedon: Our Outsider Makes Good

I became a fan of Joss Whedon around the sixth season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I’m sure that honest admission at the start might already turn off some readers, but let me add that after getting hooked I bought all of the boxsets of the other seasons and used them to help draw in others, while using all of my skills at peer pressure and bribery (and sometimes even blackmail).

I was living in LA at the time, studying writing at the University of Southern California, and I was startled by the news story that his show was able to jump stations. Now, I remembered the movie and couldn’t believe that this was the same thing we were talking about. That idea? Really? All I remembered about the film was that it starred PeeWee Herman. Yet, the idea, and the accomplishment of such a TV production feat impressed me and led to me turning on the show and giving it a shot.

That old blind Scott feels like a very different person from the Scott writing this. I want to shake my head in annoyance at him, throw something at him or even bitch slap him. In the least, there should be some ridicule and taunts. Continue reading

The Fears of a Four-Year Old Superhero

My four-year old son has four superhero capes, he is very careful to choose the right one to wear on a given day.

He has two different superhero identities. They are Super Greyson and The Grey Lightning.  Super Greyson can fly, The Grey Lightning can run fast; both fight bad guys and monsters.

And yet, for all of these capabilities, my son (like any normal four-year old) has fears. So far there has not been a concern about monsters in the closet; we’ve been avoiding Monsters, Inc. for that reason (While I love the film, Pixar you open a possibility of a can of worms with that one!), but there are others that have crept up to surprise both his mother and myself.

Bad Guys

You think a superhero would be okay with bad guys, but his fear of them seems to have really grown in the last few months. Continue reading