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Where does art come from? Bob Ross. End of paragraph.

Where does inspiration for art that's not as good as Bob Ross' totally awesome and exceptionally easy to reproduce on your own art come from? That's hard to say. From the beauty of nature. From the words of a brilliant writer (you're too kind). From an attractive person. From sweet, nourishing peyote, as it sends you on a mystical journey to battle wolves made of human feces and giant Spanish robots that demand sex at every turn, but only one of whom holds the secret to why you have bat wings.

Bob Ross Inc.
"And if one wing has golden scales and the other doesn't? That's not a mistake; just a happy little accident."

Inspiration is fluid and unpredictable, like the T-1000 in a vat of molten margaritas. But one of the places you probably don't expect it to come from is the barrel of a gun. (Metaphorically, of course. Except in one of the cases I'm about to tell you about, when death was totally being threatened in a James Bondian plot of kidnapping and intrigue! Get your snacks now, it's totally going to be a good one.) Although it's worth noting that Suge Knight apparently held Vanilla Ice by the ankles off of a balcony to get him to sign over the rights to "Ice Ice Baby," so the use of force may not get you art so much as it'll get you "Ice Ice Baby." Hey, remember when everyone was all, "Dude, this is 'Under Pressure' by David Bowie," and then Vanilla Ice's defense was, "No way, that song goes 'dun dun dun da da dun dun,' and my song goes 'dun da dun da da dun dun,'" and that was an actual, real thing he said? Yeah.

Generally, no one is ever forced to create a work of art. But there's a wise old saying artists have used for generations: Shit happens. Sometimes you have to make art because if you don't, you're going to regret it. Sometimes art gets ahead of inspiration, or more often than not, money fucks this up and then you end up with stories like these, of art that maybe no one actually wanted to create so much as they had to. Oh man, I can't wait to see what I mean!


Columbia Pictures

I'll take it on the chin right here that, in my original title for this article, I said "awesome." As in, the works of art I'm describing here are awesome. So I'm calling Spider-Man both art and awesome. Now, you're positive I don't mean Spider-Man 3, because what a turd-encrustulated mishap of celluloid skidmarkery that was. And you're right; I don't mean that. And I don't even mean the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Which I could, because they fit the premise, minus the "awesome" part, because no matter how great Emma Stone is ... no. Just no. Those didn't work. Instead, I'm referring to a movie I haven't even seen yet: The announced Spider-Man reboot. Bold? Yes. It's the only way Felix flies. Bold like the mesquiteiest of barbecue sauces.

As you may be aware, Sony owns the film rights to Spider-Man, but their ownership is hinged on tenuous contract chicanery. Basically, if they want to keep Spider-Man, they have to use Spider-Man. It's the use-it-or-lose-it principle of sex appeal and superhero filmmaking. That's why we had to endure a second Uncle Ben murder, Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, the unfulfilling dubstep villain Jamie "Sparkmeister" Foxx, and a cameo by Paul Giamatti in a full-body trash compactor. Sony had to make those movies, and in years to come, executives will say that at the pearly gates when they have to account for their sins.

Especially the dubstep one.

Sony is all set to reboot Spider-Man again, in what will be their third bite at the same withering apple. But I still feel bold enough to claim "awesome" in my title. (If the editors change my title, then don't worry. We will know the truth, and it'll be our little secret. Just like those other secrets I told you not to tell anyone about, and so help me if you spill the beans.) Why? Because in the new Spider-Man, we will not have to endure Uncle Ben's death. For the first time in the history of superhero movies, someone is just going to assume that we already know who the character is and spare us a lengthy origin story.

Because who the fuck, in 2015 and beyond, doesn't know who Spider-Man is? And even if they don't, why are they going to see his movie? Fuck those people. Fuck everyone who goes to see the 50th goddamn iteration of Superman and wonders, "Golly, where did this Super fellow come from? I'm really interested in his backstory, which was established a million goddamn years ago and is probably more widely known than the story of how our country was founded!"

Instead, the new Spider-Man will let us enjoy just a Spidey adventure, and it may even feature a non-Peter-Parker, nonwhite Spider-Man, just to further shake things up, which is good. And it is all happening because Sony is forced to make these movies, even if they don't want to. Even if they don't want to rake in tens if not hundreds of millions in profit. Must be a hard life.

Game Of Thrones


If you don't watch Game Of Thrones on HBO, you're somewhat less of a person. Like, you still have a right to life and whatnot, but eh, you're not invited over for birthday parties or warned about toxins in the water, because no one really cares that much.

When Game Of Thrones first debuted, it was awesome and nearly in line with the books. It wasn't a forced production by any means, and it was pretty satisfying to watch -- and not just for all the sex and incest and boobs and violence and dragons and boobs and sex. The acting is quite good, and George R. R. Martin's story is better than free fudge.

And sometimes it even has that.

A funny thing happened this past year, though, and that's called "time." From here on out, George R. R. Martin exists in the past, while Game Of Thrones exists in some netherworld of uncreation where nothing has happened yet but we still get to see it every Sunday night. The show caught up with and passed Martin's books, and the producers either had to just stop the show mid-story or continue past the source material. They wisely chose to power through with their award-winning, cash-printing, dragon-boobing parade of awesomeness. So from here on out, everything we see came into existence simply because George R. R. Martin's pace is a little less Stephen King and a little more Stephen "I died in 1900" Crane.

Whatever Martin writes from now on will be the past as far as show watchers are concerned, and whatever HBO produces will be some kind of futuristic monstrosity that's not meant to exist in our time and space, but has to by virtue of the fact it'd be kind of stupid not to make it.

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Korean Film Studio

Pulgasari is not a top-secret masturbation technique. Nor is it the next Pokemon-like evolutionary step in pierogi. It is in fact a movie about a socialist monster who stands against capitalism. I bet you wouldn't have guessed that in under seven tries.

The story behind Pulgasari is far better than the film itself, and I say that having not even seen the film. You'll notice I'm taking a lot of liberties with things I know nothing about these days, and it's because I'm chock-a-block with pluck and aplomb that comes from my superlative powers of deduction. For instance, I have easily deduced that a North Korean Godzilla ripoff that somehow uses a man-in-a-rubber-suit kaiju as socialist propaganda can't possibly be as awesome as the fact that the movie was made when Kim Jong-il kidnapped the director and his wife from South Korea after binge-watching James Bond movies, and kept them prisoner for five years until they agreed to make him a movie about a monster who fights alongside peasants against a feudal lord in a mad display of anti-capitalism.

Korean Film Studio
I don't need context to know that this is a good movie scene.

Now take a moment to appreciate how this occurred. Kim, who at this time was North Korea's Minister of Hollywood*, was known to be a massive film fanatic, and he would import all the latest and greatest Hollywood hits while trying desperately to set up a North Korean film industry, arguably to do nothing more than shame South Korea and maybe spread some insanity, since everything North Korean is insane. His idea was to get in touch with a famous South Korean actress and have her travel to Hong Kong, under the guise of meeting with Chinese filmmakers who were interested in collaborating on a business venture that would rejuvenate her declining her career. As you can imagine, once she got to Hong Kong, someone put a sack on her head and drugged her.

Later, her husband, a famous director, traveled to Hong Kong to find her. A sack drugging later and they were both in Pyongyang, ready to make North Korea's kaiju dreams come true. And after five years of resisting, they gave in. Here's the entire 95-minute movie, if you have nothing to do right now:

Oh my god, wasn't that swell? As swell as any kidnapping-induced movie you've ever made, no doubt.

As it happens, Kim Jong-il was as insane back then as he was in later life, when he tried to convince his countrymen he had no butthole. So he came to believe his kidnap victims were his good friends and let them travel to Austria for a film festival, where they promptly ran to the US embassy and told them the whole man-in-a-rubber-bat-shit-suit crazy story.

*May not be his actual title

Van Morrison's Contractual Obligation Session

Columbia Records

Van Morrison is famous for occasionally being mistaken for Morrissey, probably with hilarious results, and also "Brown Eyed Girl." Yeah, he had a lot of other songs, but ask what Nirvana is famous for and you're getting "Smells Like Teen Spirit." It's the way music works.

Back in the day, Van Morrison found himself on the wrong side of a contract dispute. He wanted to leave his record label, while they wanted him to never stop recording "Brown Eyed Girl," only with different names and tunes. After some unpleasant time trying to figure things out, his contract was bought out by Warner, but he needed to record 36 tracks for his old label before they could finally put a nail in that coffin. The result is 36 of the most awesome tracks any musician has ever or will ever record under duress to teach a record label how to go fuck themselves with a record player. This is probably my favorite track:

Followed pretty closely by this one:

I appreciate the need for a Danish or a sandwich, and I would be happy to have Van Morrison diagnose me with ringworm, so these two really hit home for me.

Legend has it Van recorded every single one of these tunes in a single recording session, and that he didn't even bother tuning his guitar beforehand. Unsurprisingly, the label felt that these songs were unfit for release, but what the hell did they know? Record labels have allowed Celine Dion to aurally buttfuck us all for years now.

Van Morrison went on to record hits like "Into The Mystic" and whatever the hell else he sang after these sessions, none of which we would have had if the man hadn't been forced into a creative corner of badassery that led to songs about whistling and dumb guys named George.

For more from Felix, check out 6 Worst Kinds Of Sex Partners and The 5 Worst Excuses People Actually Gave For A Hit And Run.

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