Rest in peace STAN LEE … thank you for all your entertaining + inspiring creations

Today the world lost a beloved legendary comic book writer who’s been entertaining and inspiring us for decades. Stan Lee died today, he was 95.

The co-creator of SO many iconic Marvel characters — Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Thor, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four — Stan Lee was larger than life. There’s even a Wiki page dedicated to ALL of the fictional characters he created or co-created. Some even called him a real-life superhero, and rightly so. He was an inspiration to many, and was a pioneer in his field as a comic book artist… he broke down barrier between artists and audiences as THR pointed out in this article, and he condemned racism and bigotry through his heroes in his comics, as well as directly using his Marvel “Stan’s Soapbox” column in 1968…

I remember reading how Stan Lee often felt that what he did (as a comic writer, editor and publisher) wasn’t really important work… as many people in entertainment could relate to. But of course his work inspired millions, as many people would attest today as we all mourn him.


I watched his documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story at Twin Cities Film Fest in 2011 and wrote a brief review of it here. His characters resonated with people as they too had real problems and real angst that people can relate to. X-Men for example, deal with a message for tolerance for outcasts, real-life themes that are still pertinent to this day that elevate the comic-book stories to be more than simply entertainment.

I greatly admire him and am one of those millions who are entertained as well as inspired by his creations. I read a bunch of articles about Stan Lee today, but one of them stood out to me because it came from a personal experience: What 20 Years of Lunches With the Comics Legend Taught Me. Apparently the ‘private’ Stan Lee wasn’t that different from ‘public’ Stan Lee and he’s just as eccentric (in a fun way) as I had imagined.

Naturally, tributes have been pouring in all day from various celebrities … this one from Captain America himself echoes my sentiment about Stan Lee… and clearly, not every superhero wore capes.

Let me end this small tribute with this video of every Stan Lee cameos from 1989. In fact, I had just seen his cameo (in cartoon form) in Ralph Breaks The Internet as one of the main characters was in the Oh My Disney fansite.

I always enjoy seeing Stan the Man in all his cameos, but some are more memorable than others. My top three favorite cameos are:

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier – “I am SO fired!”
  • Captain America: Civil War: “Are you Tony Stank?”
  • Thor Ragnarok: “My hands aren’t as steady as they used to be.”

You’ll be sorely missed, Stan Lee… but your legacy shall live on forever.


What’s your favorite Stan Lee’s comic book creation… or if that’s too tough to answer, what’s your fave Stan Lee cameo(s)?

TCFF Final Day: Stan Lee Doc & Closing Thoughts

The TCFF concluded its 6-day film festival with a wonderful family event Parade of Superheroes where kids get to dress up as their favorite superheroes, which is a great tie-in to the Stan Lee documentary playing mid afternoon.

In the last six days, I saw a total of eight films and attended four panels. I got to interview a pair of Hollywood young talents Drake Doremus & Anton Yelchin, as well as seeing an awesome character actor Tom Sizemore in person! I also got to talk to amazing people and make new friends with fellow bloggers Mitch, June and Matt.

On Sunday, I was able to attend the Women and Filmmaking panel right after church. Minnesota Women in Film and Television Board Member Meighan McGuire mediated a panel of three women filmmakers, Elise Plakke (director of 14 Minutes shorts), Barbara Allen (director of Signing On documentary), Tracie Laymon (on of Girls Girls Girls directors).

From left: Megan, me, Tracy, June, Barbara & Elise

It was an insightful panel as each woman discuss their journey to make their films and the challenges/breakthroughs they made along the way. During the Q&A, I asked them what they think of the state of women filmmakers in Hollywood today as I personally feel there should be more of them in the movie biz. Megan responded that sometimes life choices could be a factor in getting a female filmmaker established, for example if they get married or have kids, they might have to dip out of the business which may affect their career. Elise however thinks that women filmmakers are on the up swing today with easier access to technology and perhaps wider acceptance in the industry. After that question, one of TCFF Board of Directors Bill Cooper shared that the percentage of films made by women shown at TCFF this year is 26%, I sure hope that number will continue to rise in the coming years.

The last film I saw was…

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story

I’m a huge fan of superhero movies, so as I said in this post, this is the one doc I was looking forward to the most.

It’s snappy documentary about the life of the world’s greatest comic-book creator, done in a lively style as fascinating as Stan Lee himself. Born Stanley Martin Lieber of Romanian-Jewish immigrants, he split his first name into two to save his real name for when his dream career of being a novelist. Using archival photos and panels from various time period, the filmmakers showed his journey from growing up in the Great Depression, joining the Army during WWII (he was categorized as “playwright,”), and how he ended up working in the comic industry. It was at Timely Comics when he met Jack Kirby who ended up illustrating most of his comic creations. It’s clear Stan Lee admired Jack very much, as he numerously paid tribute to him and credit him for being one of his greatest influence.

Stan & Joan Lee – then and now

The documentary also include interviews from various directors and actors who have brought his Marvel characters to life. My favorite part is the segments about Lee’s longtime wife Joan (they’ve been married for over six decades), and to this day they have such a healthy and warm relationship. Apparently, it was Joan who urged him to do one last comic book that Stan has always wanted to do during the slowest period of the comic business, which was supposed to be his last one before he has to explore other career options. The result is Fantastic Four, which ended up being really successful. That comics then propel Stan to create more characters such as Spider-Man and X-Men.

Stan Lee’s characters resonated with people as they had real problems and angst that people can relate to. X-Men for example, deal with a message for tolerance for outcasts, real-life themes that are still pertinent to this day that elevate the comic-book stories to be more than simply entertainment.

I really admire Stan Lee so I really enjoy this documentary. Yes it can be seen as a ‘praise fest’ to some but that is fine by me, I think he deserves it and he was humble enough to give credits where it’s due. I highly recommend this documentary to anyone who appreciates comics and/or comic-book movies.

Click to see who won awards at TCFF

It’s definitely been a blast covering the film fest. It’s much bigger and better this year with the addition of the gaming initiatives, panel additions and a lineup of 70+ films, which is impressive considering its only our second year! I know it’ll only get better from here!

Congratulations to Jatin Setia and co. for another amazing year at TCFF! It was truly a feat to transform your vision into reality. Of course it helps to have such a great staff alongside you: Bill Cooper, Naomi Dahlgren, Amanda Day, John Mellesmoen, and the rest of the staff. I also want to thank lead programmer Steve Snyder for selecting such wonderful movies and Katie Stroup from Allied Integrated Marketing for inviting me to the Like Crazy interview.

Great job everyone, I’m sure you all deserve the much-needed sleep by now!


Thanks everyone who’ve stayed with me throughout my TCFF coverage. I really appreciate your comments on my reviews, posts, etc. I hope one day you get to experience a film festival on your own, whether a local or international one. It definitely makes me appreciate films more as I get insights into how they get made.

Long live cinema!

TCFF Full Lineup is here! See what’s playing from Sept. 20-25

As TIFF is underway in Toronto starting yesterday, I’ve been anticipating our own Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF) that’ll be starting in two weeks starting Tuesday, Sept. 20. A couple of days ago the full lineup is finally announced, yippeee!! I am truly excited for this, I think the organizers did a great job getting a great mix of studio features, documentaries, independent movies, and locally-produced films.

Download the full lineup list (PDF)

I’ve previously reported the films that will open and close the event, which are The Bully Project & Like Crazy, scheduled for Tuesday and Saturday, respectively. Now below is a list of other lineup highlights with info about which filmmakers/actors will be attending:

Wednesday 9/21

Summit Entertainment will present 50/50, a film formerly called I’m With Cancer that’s been catching a lot of buzz around film festivals. Inspired by personal experiences, it’s an original story about friendship, love, survival and finding humor in unlikely places. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen star as best friends whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis in this new comedy directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by Will Reiser. Star Anna Kendrick will be conducting a Q&A following the film.

Looks like I’ll be packing lots of tissues to see this one. Even from the trailer, it looks like it’ll be an emotional and heart-wrenching movie about how a 27-year-old man deals with his diagnosis. Levitt consistently turns in a good performance but looks like he ups the ante in this one. Check out the trailer below:


Thursday 9/22

White Knight is also another unlikely comedy that deals with a hot-button subject matter. It tells the story of the Leroy Lowe, a Grand dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan who confronts everything he’s been taught to hate when a Hispanic field worker becomes his cellmate. There’s also has an unconventional love story between Leroy and Madalena, a beautiful Mexican maid hired to clean the warden’s office.

The main cast from the film, Tom Sizemore, Hector Jimenez, and Olga Segura will also host a Q&A after the film.

Friday 9/23

Wahooooooo!!! [doing a little dance with both hands in the air]… ok, now that I’ve got that out of the way…

Y’all already knows how much I’ve been anticipating this, so imagine my delight when I heard Machine Gun Preacher is going to be shown at TCFF!! It’s scheduled for limited release on Sept. 23 but it might be another couple of months before it arrives in Minnesota.

In case this is the first time you heard it, this film by Relativity is based on a true story staring Gerard Butler as Sam Childers, a former drug dealing biker who found God and becomes a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who have been forced to become soldiers.

I’ve posted the trailer, poster and one of the clipsfrom the movie, but in the last couple of days, I found more stills and clips.

Butler with Michael Shannon

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Build It Again, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Childers playing with the children, posted with vodpod

Sunday, 9/25

Now this is a must-see for any comic fans or anyone who enjoys watching any Marvel superhero movies. With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story is a feature length documentary on the life and creations of Stan Lee.

Here’s the full description from TCFF official site:

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story explores the vivid life and imagination of Stan Lee from the early days of his Great Depression era upbringing through the Marvel age of comics and beyond. The film uncovers original transcripts, illustrations, photographs and stories of Lee’s fascinating journey from his early years at Timely Comics.

Told through the words of Stan himself, as well as numerous interviews with comic book creators, actors, film producers, family and friends, “With Great Power” paints a portrait of a man whose creativity knows no bounds and whose characters have grown from humble beginnings in the pages of Marvel Comics in the early 1960’s to power house properties in all media  – including film, television, video games, toys, merchandising, and beyond.

I definitely will be seeing this one. Stan Lee is such a hugely charismatic guy and his legacy is nothing short of amazing!

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Other studio films include the horror comedy Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Undefeated, which chronicles the Manassas Tigers’ 2009 football season, and Thunder Soul, a story of extraordinary alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band, who return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old “Prof.”

In addition, Twin Cities Film Fest is excited about the other programming and events for 2011, which will again feature Minnesota films, including different Minnesota Shorts Series,  some Women in Film programming, India Independent programming, panels, and a special screening of Fargo.

Tickets will be available Friday, September 9th on fandango.com. Please visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org or www.showplaceicon.com for more information.


Minnesota film fans, I hope you can set aside some time to support this wonderful event! As for the rest of you, are you interested in any of these fims?