Hi. It looks like you and I are going to be seeing a lot of each other, now that this snazzy new weekly column deal is happening. If that's the case, we've got to lay down some ground rules so we know where we stand. Here's how it is going to be:

Rule 1 - The movie business is driven by opinion, not fact; and the geek business doubly so. I'm going to say some things you disagree with - and at some point I'll probably insult something you like. I'm an opinionated guy, and I tend to think I'm right about everything. But let's be fair, you know you do the same. If it makes you feel better, feel free to hate/make fun of things that I like if you ever feel slighted. I'll even provide a list of possible topics.

Rule 2 - A good relationship is built on open conversation. See that comment option down there? Use it. Use it like Popeye uses spinach. I want to know what you are interested in, and I want to know when you disagree with me. Sure I'm a writer - but I'm only one geek among millions - and you've all got opinions as legitimate as my own.

Rule 3 - I'm allowed to make new rules at any time, and break them at will. It IS my column, after all.


Okay, now that we know the ground rules, I need to get something off my chest. If we're going to do this whole honesty thing, I think it is important for me to get this out up front; it'd be wrong of me to start our relationship with secrets and lies. So...here it is: I liked V for Vendetta. I know this isn't a big deal for most geeks - but if you've read anything I've written lately, you know that I've been skeptical at best about the film's prospects. I'm not a big Wachowski fan; and despite Alan Moore's penchant for being pretentious, I generally side with the guy when he says his work has been poorly translated to film. And if I'm being perfectly honest, I never really thought Vendetta was his best work. It's fun, but it never really blew me away.

So I come to you hat in hand to admit that I enjoyed the flick. You were right. How do you like that? I start my first column by telling you that I messed up when writing about a geek movie - which is supposed to be my area of expertise. But I have a defense! Read on...

My defense begins with the fact that I also saw Ultraviolet this weekend, and on some level I enjoyed it as well. I realize that it was a terrible movie - but I liked it. And it was amusing to see gun-kata in action again. I also enjoyed Fantastic Four, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Brothers Grimm. The list goes on, but I'm afraid I'll humiliate myself if I go any further.

Here's the crux of the matter: I am both a cynical and demanding critic and an eager fanboy combined within the same journalist. Because of this, I process films on two different levels, which somehow manage to function entirely separate from one another. Let's take the Fantastic Four as a case study, because the World's Greatest Comic Magazine has been my biggest comic book love since I was a very small child. Ergo, you'd presume that if anyone was going to be offended by the inaccuracies of the film, it'd be me. And you know what? I was. I was angry that my Four didn't get a better shake for their silver screen debut. And yet if you examine my DVD collection, you'll find Fantastic Four sitting right there. Why? I'll tell you why - because holy cow, the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing was stomping around Yancy Street. And the Human Torch was flying. He was on fire, and he was flying. Tell me that isn't cool.

Ultraviolet? I'm not sure that the plot of the movie (if such a thing existed) even made sense. But she was riding her freaking motorcycle up the side of a building! And she was using gun-kata. How can you not love that? I can provide you a point-by-point list of the what made that movie stupid - and I'll mean it - but I still loved watching it. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? It raped the plot of a graphic novel series that I absolutely adore. But the Nautilus was freaking beautiful, and Sean Connery was Alan Quartermain.

How do I justify these two separate reactions? I don't, really. I just call 'em like I see 'em. Maybe it helps as a writer, because it allows me to react to movies from two different perspectives. Maybe it just makes me wishy-washy. Ultimately, though, let's keep in mind rule number one: the final determination of a movie's value to you boils down to your own opinions. Watch the sucker and react. Sure, maybe it'll result in your DVD shelf having the Fantastic Four on it when your elitist geek buddies tell you you're selling out your loyalty - but who cares? Movies are made for you to enjoy, not for you to use to impress your friends.

So there you have a brief understanding of where I'm coming from as a geek beat journalist. Keep that in mind when you read what I have to say, and maybe it'll help you boil down my thoughts into a usable form. Stay tuned every Tuesday for The Geek Beat - starting next week I'll bring you a round-up of the current geek news, complete with plenty of personal opinion. Until then, keep your eyes open for any geek news to share with the class; we always love to hear from you.