Yee’haw pardners, (sorry, American readers!) it’s time for another adventure into Seriously Geeky Sundays, brought to you by he President of Our Hearts, the incorruptible Heather from the golden state of Just Geeking By! Thank you, as ever, for your tireless question forgery!
In case you didn’t guess, or missed the title for some reason, today’s piece is all about North America, be it covered in stars and stripes or big red maple leaves! Let’s saddle up and check out the mission briefing shall we?
Week three of our Around the World in 8 Sundays (a multi-week theme taking us around the world) takes us to North America as the United States celebrates Thanksgiving this week.
Question 1 – Who is your favourite Northern American character?
But… there are so many of them! Indiana Jones, Marty McFly, supposedly Guile from the Street Fighter movie (I’m watching you, JCVD) and, of course Captain America himself!
But I’m going to go for Mr Steve Rogers’ rival/friend Tony Stark, aka Iron Man for my pick. When I say this, I refer to the version from the MCU, because I don’t really read comics I’m afraid! Why choose Iron Man though?
Well, there’s nothing better than a flawed character with a good redemption arc, and Stark very much fits this bill. He starts out a wealthy, vain and unscrupulous billionaire, weapons manufacturer layabout and ends up, through escaping capture in Afghanistan (thanks the the heroic sacrifice of his fellow captive) using his technical genius and bottomless funds to aid mankind instead of profiting from it.
As soon as he creates his first suit of power armour, we know Tony’s ride is going to be a wild one and, though he fights rival weapons manufacturers, glowy-hot Guy Pierce, angry Mickey Rourke and literally aliens, Tony’s biggest enemy is always himself. His paranoia, ego and dry wit often put him at odds with the the other Avengers and, sometimes, even lead to him making really big mistakes, like creating killer, self replicating robots.
And if all of that won’t sway you, remember: he loves you 3000.
Question 2 – What is your favourite film set in North America?
I can never choose favourite films in any bracket, including this one. So instead I will talk about a film I love set in the USA, namely 1971’s Clint Eastwood vehicle Dirty Harry.
This, for me, is the ultimate “loose cannon cop that doesn’t play by the rules” movie (it even has a sub-plot where he tries to ditch his partner because he “always works alone”), in which San Francisco detective Harry Callahan goes head to head with a psychotic sniper called Scorpio. The pure amount of ’70’s badass in this movie makes it a true spectacle, the story has lots of twists and turns and that monologue about the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum will go down in history! Check it out, punk!
Question 3 – North American history features frequently in pop culture, which part do you feel is overdone and which do you wish was covered more?
Hmmm, good question.
I’d say the USA’s involvement in the Second World War has been covered to death at this point, let alone the entertainment industry’s habit of inserting a plucky squad of mouthy American GIs into many battles where there were either none at all or they didn’t play that large a part. If I have to see one more game or movie where Uncle Sam’s finest save the world, I’ll… probably roll my eyes a bit.
That said, stories in which US soldiers take part in realistic battles and act like normal human beings instead of demi-gods can be fantastic, Black Hawk Down will always be in my top ten favourite movies.
Please don’t go, American readers, I love you really!
As for covered more, I’d say more stories set around the War of Independence. The story of a gang of plucky colonies going up against the might of the tyrannical British Empire, that’s fascinating! If anyone else agrees, I would highly recommend Bernard Cornwell’s The Fort, which takes place in this era and is a fantastic read.
Question 4 – North America tends to be seen as mainly just the US and Canada, which other countries do you recognise in fandoms?
I’m struggling to answer this one!
I mean North America is the USA and it’s sensible, friendly northern neighbour Canada!
I suppose in the world of fandom we have fictional nations such as The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Gilead, a fanatically religious hellhole of a place where women are treated like glorified cattle (definitely not on my places-to-visit list) and stories like The Man In The High Castle have alternate versions of the USA, where the Axis powers won the war and now occupy the nation, something which we also see in things like Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, Resistance 3, Freedom Fighters and, of course, Red Dawn (though, admittedly, the last two were the Soviets, not the Axis powers!)
Question 5 – Although Hollywood is at the center of the entertainmen industry, the Canadian entertainment industry is blooming. What is your favourite Canadian production?
I admit, I was worried about this question, thinking that I hadn’t seen any Canadian movies, my good friend and fellow blogger Solarayo would be very disappointed, I bet!
But, after a bit of Googling, I discovered I’ve actually seen a couple, and one of them is a stone-cold classic of sci-fi weirdness: Splice!
If you haven’t seen this mental movie, I recommend you get that changed. The story of two scientists who, in classic nosey scientist style, play God and create life, soon come to regret it when it grows at an alarming rate and takes over their lives. It’s equal parts gross, tense, tragic and, in one memorable scene, will have you shouting “what the actual f**k Adrien Brody!” at your screen!
Question 6 – Broadway musicals are a national treasure in the US; do you like musicals?
If you’d asked me that pre-2012, I’d have scoffed at such a question: muscials aren’t for me! I’m a MAN!
Thankfully, I’ve evolved a great deal since then, since meeting my lovely wife, for she introduced me to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and we’ve even seen it live a few times on stage!
Since then I’ve watched any enjoyed the likes of The Greatest Showman and, yes, even the Mama Mia movies, after some negotiation and bullying from my better half. I wasn’t too into the first one, but the second one was leagues better, if you’re asking. (Though no Gimme Gimme Gimme in the second one is a bloody travesty!)
And that’s it, another adventure has drawn to a close, like the sun setting over the Rio Grande! Thank you as always for your company and, if I may be so bold, please check out all of the other writers under the #SeriouslyGeekySundays hashtag, they’re all amazing and some of them are even from North America and Canada!
Well, keep it real!