#Face of a Franchise

Face of a Franchise: John Connor

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a flick that has everything going for it – groundbreaking special effects, a story that adds a unique twist to the original film, and Conan the goddamn Destroyer! But all of these structures are supported by the crux that is Edward Furlong’s performance as John Connor. After all, this figure is the boy who would grow up to be the man that leads the resistance against the robo-tyrants. Barely a teen during the filming, Furlong paints a flawless portrait of a boy who is without hope before being visited by two time-travelers – one Austrian super-machine who wants to save him and one Agent Doggett who wants to kill him.

At this point, it’s a classic tale. And without Furlong, I’m not sure it would be.

A few years later, Hollywood decided that there were more diamonds to be mined out of Mount Terminator. Thus, more sequels were commissioned. Due to some mysterious circumstances *cough*drugs*cough* Edward Furlong was not invited to reprise the role of John Connor. Utter bullshit, I say! Who cares if Furlong’s strung out on China White? Couldn’t a good director use that? Hell, John Connor’s a man rising against supercomputer overlords, shouldn’t he seem exhausted?

Whatever, man. It’s just politics, as per usual. Totally.

In any case, the sequels saw John Connor portrayed by two different schmohawks. In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Nick Stahl was thrust into the role of humanity’s savior. Stahl was a shoo-in for the face of the high-action franchise, seeing as he had starred in Mel Gibson’s directorial debut. In Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale put his own spin on the character of John Connor. Uneasy about filling the shoes of his predecessors, Bale called upon the assistance of some of our generation’s greatest actors, individuals of unquestionable integrity.

It’s clear that Bale wanted nothing but professionalism on the set of T4.

Nick Stahl or Christian Bale – who is the better John Connor?

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Face of a Franchise: Jennifer Parker

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

Take a look at the image above. Good lookin’ babes, huh? Slightly over-the-hill, no doubt, but these ladies seemed to have aged more like wine than vinegar. And hell, who doesn’t like a nice cougar? America’s been lusting after slutty old broads for the last forty-four years.

True beauty transcends time. And so do these babes.

One of the most important plot elements of Back to the Future is that Marty is going to fuck his girlfriend Jennifer Parker during a weekend retreat. He’s really pumped about the prospect, especially since it’ll cheer him up after having been smoked in the battle of the bands audition. Unfortunately, his pussy of a father loans the family car to his shitbird boss, who of course smashes it up while drunk. As a result, Marty goes back in time to rewrite history so that he can bang Jennifer whenever he pleases.

Or something.

In any case, the role of Jennifer Parker was first rocked by Claudia Wells. The actress did a superb job of inducing boners, thereby helping viewers of Back to the Future further sympathize with the protagonist (and his carnal desires). Had a lesser-quality woman taken the role, society may have never experienced a collective erection and this modern-classic may have fallen by the wayside.

*HOWEVER*

Due to an illness in the family, Claudia Wells was unable to participate the second two chapters of the BTTF trilogy. As a result, Elisabeth Shue assumed the role of Jennifer. With Shue’s performance, the audience was able to glimpse into the year 2015 and see what Marty McFly’s future turmoil could look like. The second and third flicks featured Jennifer much more prominently, requiring more screen time from Shue than her predecessor.

Claudia Wells defined the role, but then bowed out and pretty much faded into obscurity. Elisabeth Shue spent way more time as the character, but was just going through the motions someone else choreographed.

So – who do you think is the better Jennifer Parker?

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Face of a Franchise: SNL Fat-Guy

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

In my humble opinion, Saturday Night Live has had two periods that can both accurately described as classic – the late `70s and the early `90s. Both of these eras stand out because their respective casts were absolutely stacked, filled to the brim with a wealth of members whose individuals talents rocked but whose combined efforts fucking murdered. I mean that in a good way. And yet, even with such commendable collaboration, both casts had a fan-favorite.

From 1975 to 1979, John Belushi explored comedic territories on SNL that have barely been ventured into since. Belushi was the epitome of what it meant to push sketch comedy to the limit. Sure, he could do impressions and characters, but he’d also go on emphatic tirades and put his body on the line in the name of his art. Before his time on Spaceship Earth was up, he’d immortalize himself not only as an original SNL cast member, but also as the star of Animal House and one half of the Blues Brothers.

However, Generation X had their very own SNL fat-guy. Perhaps even more winsome as his predecessor, Chris Farley was beamed into the homes of millions every week. Not only did he make us gut-bust, but he also inspired us to feel good. Yelling into the camera, falling through tables, warming our hearts with a smile, Farley possessed that intangible comedy attribute. While he undoubtedly stole the show with features such as Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, the man proved his worth as a supporting player with Billy Madison and Dirty Work.

I know this week’s dilemma is a little different. And truthfully, I don’t think I can decide. So it’s up to you.

Who’s better – John Belushi or Chris Farley?

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Face of a Franchise: James Bond

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

James Bond is the most popular fictional secret agent of all time. And why shouldn’t he be? After all, the dude has pretty much set the archetypal standard for the Suave Spy character. He’s that perfect balance of gorgeous yet gritty, cutthroat yet clever. He’s a man capable of accomplishing any mission, whether it’s securing nuclear secrets or banging a smokin’ babe.

Of course, with nearly fifty years worth of movies under his belt, James Bond has been portrayed by a few different folks. In my experience, any Best Bond Debate usually comes down to two choices: whoever is currently portraying the agent and the precedent-setting Sean Connery. But truthfully, I think that this discussion can, and should, extend beyond Daniel Craig and Forrester.

For most of the 1970s and 1980s, Roger Moore helmed the James Bond franchise. Moore’s 007 is noted for being a bit campier and more lustfully-minded than other portrayals. Movies like Octopussy give us a Bond with gadgets that are kooky and dames that are sexy. Audiences ate up this depiction, and by the end of his tenure Moore would be known as the actor with the most Bond-years.

On the other hand, Pierce Brosnan reinvigorated the stagnant franchise with 1995’s Goldeneye. Some might argue that Brosnan injected new life into James Bond, giving the character a sensibility and usefulness in a post-Cold War world. The Brosnan-Bond could also be credited as having tempered the character, bringing him back to the idea of a man with a license to kill. Moreover, Brosnan’s involvement in the series also made possible the greatest first-person-shooter of all time.

So who’s the better Bond? Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan?

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Face of a Franchise: Superman

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

Superman might be the hardest of all comics characters to cast. Why is that? Well, whoever plays him has to convey the power of a God while still coming across as a down-to-earth, awh-shucks farm boy. He eats mama’s apple pie and shits lightning bolts. He’s jacked as shit, but not a beefcake roid-head. Capable of pulverizing mountains, but always wears a smile that warms hearts.

Yeah, it’s a tough one.

From 1993-1997, Dean Cain graced ABC television with a magnanimous performance as the Man of Steel. So impressive was his four-year stint that he’s gone on to secure himself a spot as the host of TV’s greatest freakshow.

On the other hand, Brandon Routh graced the silver screen with his portrayal of Kal-El in 2006’s Superman Returns. While the film was a disasterpiece both financially and plot-wise, Routh should be commended for his work.

So who is it? Superman from that wacky TV show? Or Superman from that disappointing movie?

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Face of a Franchise: Anakin Skywalker

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

In 1977, moviegoers were introduced to Darth Vader – an evil, robotic space-samurai capable of manipulating an invisible shroud of mystical energy that blankets the entire universe. Oh, and he also has a goddamn laser-sword.

In 1999, Jake Lloyd was given the opportunity to play the childhood incarnation of Darth Vader – a little boy named Anakin Skywalker. Lloyd comes across as an overly-optimistic, stiff, terribly scripted, and ultimately unaffecting playground-dweller.

In 2002 and 2005, Hayden Christensen took hold of the reins as he played the part of teenyboppin’ pre-Vader. Through his performances, Christensen proves that the Dark Lord of the Sith was once an unnecessarily moody, stiff, terribly scripted, and ultimately unsympathetic teenager.

It’s a question none of us want to think about…

Who’s better – Jake Lloyd or Hayden Christensen?

I can’t wait to see the comments on this one.

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Face of a Franchise: Harvey Dent

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

In Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, Billy Dee Williams delivers a Harvey Dent that is strong, tough on crime, and grandiose. However, narrow-minded fanboys scoff at Williams’ performance because of the fact that he’s…um…well, a dude with a mustache.

*Ahem*

On the other hand, Tommy Lee Jones’ performance in Batman Forever summons the true madness of Harvey Dent, the notion that residing within any single individual is the potential for unquantifiable conflict. Jones’ civil war of the mind affects every single viewer…who can look past the black lights and neon lasers.

So how about it? Who’s the better Harvey Dent – Lando Calrissian or No Country for Old Men?

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Face of a Franchise: April O’Neil

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

Judith Hoag v. Paige Turco

In the first TMNT flick, Judith Hoag portrayed April O’Neil as charming, headstrong, and fierce. In the subsequent installments of the trilogy, Paige Turco came across as a paint-by-numbers reporter…but looked damn fine.

So how about it – who is the real April O’Neil?

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Face of a Franchise: Captain Kirk

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

William Shatner v. Chris Pine.

Whattaya think? Is Shatner a shoe-in because he’s the original urbane explorer of space? Or does Chris Pine’s reimagined Kirk, the Solo-meets-Skywalker take on the Trek universe, go places his predecessor simply couldn’t?

Let the games begin.