Out Now – 14th March 2014

Veronica Mars

Need for Speed
Aaron Paul leaves the epic small screen hit Breaking Bad to star in a film adapted from a computer game that, when I used to play at least, had no real plot beyond driving cars. Still, they promise to have not used any CGI so the stunts should be pretty.

The Zero Theorem
A mediocre offering from Terry Gilliam in which Christoph Waltz is suitably eccentric but not a lot actually happens. Read my attempt at a review here. “A great big shrug from me.”

Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars has crawled her way onto the big screen thanks to her fans shelling out to get a film made. We all know that I am excited, and enjoyed the cinematic outing, but will the film have an impact? With a UK cinema release numbering just 10 venues lets hope for a breakout success and expanded release. (Also out on Video on Demand today should you not be near one of the ten cinemas.)

Under the Skin
Scarlett Johansson is an extraterrestrial prowling Glasgow in a transit van searching for male prey that mostly consist of unsuspecting members of the public. This is art house science fiction that I have been known to claim “prioritises atmosphere and visuals (not just visual effects)”. The film is dead good and if you don’t like it then I reserve the right to peer down my nose at you over the top of my glasses.

The Stag
Irish bachelor party based comedy set in the great outdoors and starring loveable Jim Moriarty from Sherlock. I’m taking bets as to whether an actual stag (you know, one with antlers) shows up at some point.

The Rocket
A boy seeks to prove that he is not a bad luck charm by entering an ominous sounding Rocket Festival. I hope someone is there to advise him not to approach the rocket after it is lit and to put sparklers in a bucket of water like we all do… right guys?

Ironclad: Battle for Blood
Turns out that Ironclad was not only a film that existed but also a film that enough people saw for it to warrant a sequel. You learn so much writing these things.

“The story of a family and a love affair told through the journey of a young woman called Suzanne.”

Back to the Garden
“It is a year since the death of an inspirational theatre director and teacher, and his widow is struggling to come to terms with her loss. The film is both a meditation on love and loss and an evocation of the joys and sadnesses of later life.”

Plot for Peace
“A documentary that reveals the untold story of apartheid’s fall, and the mysterious French businessman who was instrumental in Nelson Mandela’s release from jail.”

Veronica Mars – Film Review


I’ve talked to you a lot over the years about Veronica Mars, even more so over the past few weeks. Starting as a teen noir TV series in 2004 Veronica Mars followed High School detective Veronica (Kristen Bell) as she tried to solve her best friend’s murder, figure out who raped her, and help out at her dad’s private detective agency. It was a surprisingly dark teen drama with clever dialogue and believable characters. The show was beloved by too few people and finished in 2007. Rumours of a film continuing the story were rife as usual and I was not convinced. Cue 2013 and the film has a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign which spawned a dozen imitators and more importantly raised funds for the Veronica Mars film to be a reality.

In the opening two minutes of the film a quick montage is shown summarising the traumatic teenage years of Veronica and serves as a chance for any non-fans to catch up on what they have missed. From there we see Veronica in her new life in New York City, trying to put the past behind her as she embarks on a career as a lawyer and rekindles her romance with the ever reliable Piz (Chris Lowell). Back in her childhood town of Neptune, California the world has not changed so much and soon enough her ex-lover Logan (Jason Dohring), with whom she shares an epic love story, has been accused of murder and needs the assistance of the best former teen detective he knows. Not one to deny the call of the man who has smouldered at her so often Veronica drops everything and hot tails it back to Neptune.


Neptune brings with it seediness, drama, and pretty much every character from the TV series you could have hoped for. In the naive belief that the film still has a few surprises you haven’t read about yet I won’t go into too much detail but suffice it to say that Veronica is staying with her dad Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) and her old school friends Wallace (Percy Daggs III) and Mac (Tina Majorino) are back by her side all grown up but still willing to get their hands dirty. When the film returns to Neptune, and in particular when Veronica finds herself at the school reunion, the film suddenly felt like a return home for the fan in me. All the characters are so familiar and throughout there are subtle nods to events that have taken place that cement the film firmly in the Veronica Mars canon.

Series creator Rob Thomas has both written and directed the film and in doing so has had to adapt both his shooting style and the way in which he stretches out the central mystery across the script. In the TV series there would often be a mystery per episode alongside a series-long arc, often involving the death of at least one person. Here in the film a murder is again at the centre and the mystery struggles a little to fill the feature-length running time. As for the shooting style it is clear that a conscious effort has been made to ensure that this film will look impressive on the cinema screen and not just when streamed online. Thomas has pulled the camera back giving every shot a little more scope and letting Neptune fill the screen alongside its inhabitants. The film may only have had a small budget but this does not harm the aesthetic as it showcases production values of a much wealthier shoot and while dialogue heavy scenes do dominate there’s a stunt or two thrown in and nothing ever feels limited or compromised.


Dealing with themes including murder, betrayal, blackmail, and corruption Veronica Mars has lost none of the dark edge that made the series such a cult success. This alongside the carefully honed dialogue and characters with whom you share three years of history Veronica Mars is every bit the film that the fans deserve. I laughed, I gasped, I got the warm fuzzies, and I noted a dozen times when the film would subtly nod to its parent series and let the fans know that they were in safe hands and that nothing had been forgotten.

I don’t know what the film’s appeal will be to those new to Veronica and the town of Neptune. This film is such a labour of love and was funded by, and made for, those who obsessed over the original three series. There is an introduction to catch you up on the basic back story but with 64 episodes condensed to two minutes there’s no way you can care about the characters to the same degree. Perhaps take this as motivation to finally watch the TV series your friends have been harassing you about so you’re all set to properly enjoy the film. I’d love to hear how well the film plays to a non-fan; hopefully it will work on its own and drive viewers back to the series.

As a fan of the series and Kickstarter backer I am biased as anything but I really enjoyed the film and look forward to seeing it again this Friday on the big screen. It could have all gone horribly wrong but thankfully instead we have a solid film that will please rather than horrify the fans and hopefully act as a calling card for a series that needs a little more love.

Veronica Mars is on very limited release from 14th March 2014. Full list of cinemas below:

Empire Cinemas
Leicester Square (London)

Showcase Cinemas
Dartford (London)


Veronica Mars – The First 2 Minutes

Veronica Mars

Let’s take a quick break from the Oscars to talk about one of our favourite subjects at the moment; Veronica Mars. The film is out in a handful of UK cinemas, and available on Video on Demand, next Friday and in the meantime I am contractually obligated to post everything I possibly can:


As such let me present to you the first two minutes of the film, two minutes which nicely sum up the entire three years of the TV series. A clip to catch up your friends perhaps?

Veronica Mars – UK Trailer

Veronica Mars

Finally! We have been sent the UK trailer for the Veronica Mars movie which gets a limited UK cinema release on 14th March 2014 and will be available for digital download on the same day.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Veronica Mars universe please read my previous ramblings, and that time I got statistical. For the die-hard fans I give you the trailer, enjoy:

Excuse me while I get inappropriately excited.

How to Succeed at Kickstarter: A Statistically Unsound Guide


Yesterday one of the Kickstarter stories we were following came to a surprisingly abrupt end as Melissa Joan Hart closed the campaign for Darci’s Walk of Shame two weeks early and with a mere fraction of the target raised. Clearly Hart and chums were hoping to have the same success as Rob Thomas with his Veronica Mars project and Zach Braff with his ongoing Wish I Was Here endeavours but Hart could see she wasn’t going to pass the $2-million mark she needed and pulled the plug.

So why didn’t Darci experience the same success as her contemporaries? Is it as simple as the fact that Sabrina Goes to Rome was a long time ago, was awful and that Hart has a much smaller fan base than Braff and Veronica Mars? Is there a convoluted and inaccurate mathematical analysis I can perform? I bloody well hope so.

To begin my numbers-based investigation I gathered together some statistics for each project. I looked at their Kickstarter success, or lack thereof and the three lead actors Twitter accounts to get an idea of fan base size. I also looked at the three existing titles which the respective Kickstarter projects relate to (Veronica Mars, Garden State, and Sabrina Goes to Rome) and noted their IMDb user rating and the number of years since their release. Here’s what I gathered:

Kickstarter Stats

The first thing to note is that Mars and Braff are pretty similar when it comes to their average pledges and Twitter followers yet differ greatly in the amount of money they have raised. Melissa Joan Hart has much less money and followers but gets far more money per pledge. No proper trend here so I will be ignoring the number of Twitter followers a lead actor has.

At a quick glance however it does seem that a higher IMDb rating for the previous release and a more recent release make for a larger amount of money raised. The bubble chart below makes this clear:

Kickstarter Chart 1

The size of the bubbles is the amount of money raised on Kickstarter and the largest is for the highest rated film/show which was released the most recently. From here I continued on my pointless journey and created a new metric of IMDb score divided by the number of years since release (a sort of combined recency and quality score) and plotted it against the amount raised:

Kickstarter Chart 2

And there we have it! A direct relationship between how much you can raise on Kickstarter for your film based upon the recency and quality of your previous work.

Kickstarter Formula

Amazing! Inaccurate! Time-wasting! Superb!

An endlessly useful formula I think you’ll agree. What this means is that we can calculate the ideal value of IMDb Rating/Years Since Release that will get you to the $2-million mark. That value is 0.705 and is also endlessly useful because we can use it to make the table below:

Years to Succeed

This tells us how many years you can wait until you try to make a follow-up film on Kickstarter based on your TV show or film’s rating on IMDb. For example Buffy the Vampire Slayer has an IMDb rating of 8 and has been off-air for 10 years so still has another 1.35 years until it will no longer raise sufficient funds on Kickstarter. On the other hand Freaks and Geeks has an IMDb rating of 8.9 but has been gone for 13 years now so is just too late.

So if you own the rights to an existing franchise and fancy raising money on Kickstarter use my handy formula to see how much you will be able to raise. You are welcome.

DISCLAIMER: This is in no way accurate, does not take enough projects into account, and ignores far too many other factors to be of any use.

Veronica Mars What Have You Kickstarted?

Darci's Walk of Shame

Me and Kickstarter have been on an emotional rollercoaster of late and my poor friends have been subjected to a rant or two. Let’s see if I can get all of the rant out of me now so I can move on with my life and stop fretting.

My emotions started high when Veronica Mars achieved more than double its goal of $2-million. This was a show that I loved which wasn’t going to get a film made any other way. The film was largely being made for the sheer love of it all and us fans were happy to lend a financial hand. I did have some reservations about what this would mean for the future of funding for smaller films but all in all was pleased that Rob Thomas would finally be making a film follow-up to one of my all time favourite shows.

Veronica Mars

Then over a week ago I received an email/tweet/telegram from a friend telling me to have a look at Melissa Joan Hart’s Kickstarter as she was trying to emulate the success of Veronica Mars in a way we found ridiculous. The film Hart is trying to get made is called Darci’s Walk of Shame and is to be written and directed by Tibor Takács. Don’t remember Tibor? He directed the visually uninspired TV film Sabrina Goes to Rome. It’s not exactly the pedigree that inspires this particular Kickstarter user and their rewards were near carbon copies of the Mars project. This seemed less of a passion project and more a half-hearted attempt to get Hart a film to work on.

Darci's Walk of Shame

At this point I was all ready to write a slightly mean piece entitled Melissa Joan Hart, Veronica Mars is Smarter than You which would have been amusing and smug and make me feel like a happy little blogger. Then Zach Braff entered the fray.

Zach Braff is a bit of a special case where I am concerned. His debut, and so far solo, film as writer/director Garden State was the first film that made me realise there were other cinematic options outside the mainstream. The film is far from perfect but it is special to me and I have been waiting for a second feature from the Scrubs star for quite some time now. Braff last week launched his own Kickstarter for a second film, Wish I Was Here, with his eyes set on the now standard target of $2-million. I was elated. How much would I give? How much could I afford to give? This was all very exciting and gave my article a happy ending rather than a simple rant. And then…

And then…

Wish I Was Here

And then I read his Kickstarter in full and had a think. Never a wise proposition. It turned out that Zach Braff had already successfully raised the money for this second film but had turned down the deal when Veronica Mars opened his eyes to an alternative funding route. Braff cites creative freedom as his motivation for taking the Kickstarter route and while this may well be true a large financial incentive should also be taken into account. With his original funding deal Braff would presumably have had to relinquish some of the film’s profit to his investors one it had been released. With the Kickstarter model Braff receives all his money from fan donors, and let’s be clear these are donors and not investors, and so takes on no financial risk for himself or anyone else.

Zach Braff, a man who at one point was earning $350,000 per episode on Scrubs, is asking his fans to pay for his next film. Yes, I realise that is totally at the fans discretion (and I hypocritically have yet to decide if I will join them) and they receive various rewards, but I can’t help but fixate on the fact that the film would have gone ahead with or without Kickstarter. Braff is not even offering a copy of the film as part of any reward tier; you can donate as much as $10,000 but you’ll still have to pay when the film itself comes out.

I like Zach Braff and I don’t think he is being particularly conniving or deceitful in his Kickstarter campaign but this was not his only option. If his Kickstarter had somehow failed to reach its target I imagine we would have still been able to see a relatively unchanged Wish I Was Here in a year’s time. In the meantime there are various projects that genuinely need Kickstarter to get them the funding they need for production. To pick one at random the feature film Bonobo is looking for just £7,500 to fund filming this summer but is struggling with no big names attached and no existing fan base.


When alternative funding sources are available, and have been offered, it seems almost insulting to instead ask for handouts from admittedly willing fans. I don’t think I will be able to afford it if every film I want to see requires a donation from me before it can enter production. When a film’s budget enters into the millions then they are likely to be expecting the profits to reflect this. Hollywood is a lucrative industry built on large investments and larger rewards. Relying on us to fund their projects means they remove the risk but keep the potential profits for themselves.

As I said I am a hypocrite and a fan and can’t promise that I will boycott all future larger Kickstarter project but I hope that anyone willing to give a millionaire $30 to make their next feature will consider throwing a few pounds at a smaller film like Bonobo. I can’t promise that Bonobo will be any good but after All New People I can’t promise that Wish I Was Here will be either.

Loving, Hating, and Tolerating How I Met Your Mother


In 2005, I was pushing two American television shows on everyone I knew: one was Veronica Mars, a teen private eye drama, which, after being cancelled in 2007 is on its way back with a crowdfunded film. The other was How I Met Your Mother, a Friends-esque sitcom that’s now into its eighth season and has a ninth (and last) promised. Seven years ago, I was introducing Ted Mosby and co to all my friends, now I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I ever watched the show, let alone still do. What changed?

A quick recap: the slightly shaky premise of How I Met Your Mother is that in the year 2030, a man called Ted Mosby is telling his two teenage children the story of how he met their mother, with a lot of digressions to the varying antics he and his friends got up to while living in New York during their twenties and thirties. (Personally, if I was telling my kids the story of how I met their other parent, I’d skip all the other people I slept with en route but I’m repressed like that.)

Although American and showing a real lack of ethnic diversity amongst its regular cast (apart from Ranjit the taxi driver and Barney’s Brother of Colour), HIMYM did a pretty good job of showing what life was like for western middle-class, urban twenty-somethings in different relationship situations. It had distinctive, easy to like main characters, comprised of long-established couple Lily Aldrin and Marshall Eriksen, serial womaniser Barney Stinson, career-focused Robin Scherbatsky and Ted himself, trying to find The One. It made smart, snappy observations about modern day life and gave them catchphrase-friendly names. It used its format cleverly – in the episode How I Met Everyone Else, Future Ted was unable to remember the name of a girl he dated, resulting in her being referred and addressed to as ‘Blah Blah’ for the whole episode.

HIMYM was one of those rare sitcoms that, for a while at least, didn’t just make you laugh but made you care for the characters at the same time. Lily leaving Marshall made me weepy and when they got back together again, it made me smile somewhere deep inside.

himym-castHave you met Ted? (And Lily, Marshall, Barney and Robin?)

Given the whole premise of the show, HIMYM has a history of potential-mother fake-outs. We questioned whether each woman Ted had a relationship with could be The Mother: Victoria, Stella and Zoey were all possibilities, but it began with Robin. HIMYM’s very first fake-out when way back at the beginning Future Ted told his kids about his first date with “Aunt” Robin.

And in that very first episode was the root of one of things that went sour. I got so sick of the roundabout that was Ted and Robin. We learnt in episode one that Robin was “Aunt” to his children, once round with them was enough to learn why it could never have worked, why did we have to keep seeing them sabotage each other’s relationships? A little bit of foreshadowing works but this tendency has leaked out across the rest of the series. There are now too many incidences of advance knowledge that we are working our way towards, making a lot of plot developments seem pointless.

So, I don’t understand why we had to witness Ted steal Victoria away from her impending marriage, when we knew full well that they were never going to make it as a couple. Or suffer the indignities that Robin is putting herself through to get back together with Barney when we’ve already known for months that she’s going to (I’m ten episodes into Season 8).

Possibly more infuriating than too much advance knowledge given to the viewer, is not enough background established by the writers. Almost every episode features an instance of retconning and it’s very tiresome. Frequently Future Ted tells us about something that the gang “always” did but that we’ve never seen before. The series used to actually build up its plots but when Robin broke up with Nick because he was stupid, there had been no previous examples of his stupidity before that one episode.

The characters I loved so much have become caricatures of themselves. Acceptable personality traits have been exaggerated to the point that I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be part of that group. Ted’s pedantry and snobbishness is no longer just quirky. Robin is shallow, horrible to people and has gone way beyond self-involved. Lily has reached new levels of manipulation of her friends, Marshall is increasingly wet and pathetic – whereas Barney, meant to be the moral vacuum of the group has probably remained the most consistent. Holding him to such low standards means that when he makes a generous and mature action, it’s a pleasant surprise.

I have so many other gripes: how Lily’s bi-curiosity is treated as either a trivial joke or something for the men to drool over; how every single main character has either been left at the altar, broken off an engagement or tried to end someone else’s wedding; the lack of depth to any of Robin’s relationships away from Ted or Barney… so why am I still watching?

Well, familiarity makes for comfort-viewing – it’s the TV equivalent of putting on an old hoodie and it’s not as if I’m putting myself out by trying to keep up with USA pace; I catch up in blocks on 4oD when I’m having a quiet evening. But mostly, it’s because I’ve been sucked in by the whole premise of the show: I’m waiting to find out who the mother is. Even though I expect I’ll be disappointed by however they set about revealing her to us, I just want to know. Which apparently is enough to make me tolerate a once-loved television series that I wish had ended four seasons ago.

And all of this brings me back to the Veronica Mars Kickstarter (you didn’t see that coming, did you?) I’m extremely ambivalent about donating to the project, so ambivalent that I haven’t done so yet. As well as not being thrilled at the idea of paying a media giant for anything other than for my cinema ticket (as previously commented on by Tim), I’m worried that the legacy of a brilliant television series will be damaged by a bad feature-length film. And if something else I once loved is going to be ruined, I don’t want to be personally responsible for it.

A Long Time Ago We Used to Be Fans

Veronica Mars The Movie

For anyone with their finger on the pulsating veins of television and films, as grim an image as that may be, should by now have become aware of the Veronica Mars Movie Project Kickstarter campaign. If not all you need to know is that fan favourite TV show Veronica Mars was cancelled after three seasons back in 2007 and is now raising money for a movie on Kickstarter.

One the one hand this is pretty incredible. A show I love is now going to have a follow-up film, the likes of which I haven’t seen since 2005 with the Firefly film follow-up Serenity. Warner Bros told series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell that if they could raise $2-million Warner Bros would distribute the film, and presumably take a healthy cut of the profits. For the studio this is a no-brainer as they don’t have to gamble nearly as much money as they would if they had to stump up production costs. Instead the film is funded by fans, to the tune of almost $5-million at the time of writing, in return for DVDs, T-shirts, and other fan-baiting fare.

The campaign has broken many records on Kickstarter and only needs a few more backers before it breaks them all (I think). But is this a good thing? I do want a Veronica Mars movie but also have hesitations when it comes to the general public essentially donating money to a large company without getting the opportunity to properly invest with no chance of proportional monetary reward. Let’s face it, Warner Bros could easily fund the film themselves; $2-million is nothing to them but they simply don’t think the film is worth the risk.

Naturally with the success of one franchise getting a movie funded the fanboys and girls start to hope for their own favourite cancelled series getting a big screen reprise. The idea of a sequel to Serenity was quickly bandied around the internet but Joss Whedon himself was quick to put that to bed:

Right now, it’s a complete non-Kickstarter for me.

At the end of the day Kickstarter is a marvellous tool for giving funding to projects that can’t find it elsewhere and this is the only way a movie of Veronica Mars was ever going to be made. Is it ideal for fans to fully fund the film? No, but they/we are happy to do it so who am I to complain? My Kickstarter philosophy is that I will only give money to projects that need it, that I am passionate about, and that give me something I actually want in return (no thanks to anyone offering me a mention on Twitter). Veronica Mars meets my criteria so has received a small amount of money from me; nothing too extravagant though; I already have too many T-shirts I don’t wear.

As for whether this will change the face of film-making is yet to be seen. Kickstarter already helps fund thousands of independent films with no studio link and I believe that it should continue to do so for the most part. The Veronica Mars projects are a rare find; a project which has a franchise attached, active fans, and creative talent that still want to make more and have the time to do so.

You still have until the end of the week to donate, why not throw a few coins into the jar?

Veronica Mars Movie? I Doubt It

Since its finish three years ago, as with most cancelled TV shows, talk of a movie spin-off from Veronica Mars was rife before the idea was pretty much given up on last year. Out of nowhere yesterday the show’s creator Rob Thomas said, “It’s not dead,” before continuing to explain that while the film is far from being green-lit, or even written, he still wants to make it.

I’ve no idea how it came up in conversation as the film seemed little more than a Serenity fuelled fan fantasy and not something that is actually feasible. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Veronica Mars and was sad to see it go but there isn’t really an audience for one; even in the US few people watched the show which is why it was cancelled. In order to make a film version you need a big fan base in place to ensure a healthy profit.

Of course even if you can guarantee an audience the film itself could well be terrible. Yes Serenity was a great follow up to Firefly but Dead Like Me: Life After Death was a pretty good example of when a TV series should be left to rest in peace rather than dragged back for one last woeful story.

At the end of the day I’d kill for a bit more Veronica Mars, but I’d rather they got on with it than kept dithering about with it in development hell. Shiv or get off the pot you might say, if you were illiterate.

Forget 3D, We Need Better Wig Technology

Watching this weeks Lost reminded just how bad Claire’s new wig is and how bad wigs on TV are in general. In light of this I made a little collection of some of the worst TV wigs in recent years, oddly all blonde women. Now read on as I try to sound like I know something about women’s hair.

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars in Veronica Mars
Most episodes of the first season of Veronica Mars included a flashback featuring Veronica with longer hair. Sadly this hair was in the form of a horrible, flat, unconvincing wig that ruined my concentration. I think the biggest giveaway was the complete lack of styling given to the hair, it looked like the wig was just plonked on before the scene began with no real care. In later years when Bell grew out her hair it was even more obvious that that just wasn’t how Veronica Mars would look with long locks.

Hayden Panettiere as Claire in Heroes
In early Heroes episodes Claire’s hair was real but in later season she started donning a wig, presumably because Panettiere had dyed her hair and the show would lose even more viewers should the cheerleader stop being blonde. Sadly the wig was a weak illusion as it sat lifeless on her head with an odd amount of bulk at the back where her own lengthy hair was all bunched up.

Elizabeth Banks as Avery Jessup in 30 Rock
The oddest thing about this instance of wiggery is that as Banks is wearing a wig pretty much identical to her normal hair, the wig seems plain unnecessary. As with the other wigs it was a bulky failure, the hair looking all dry and straw like. This is not the glossy mane of a Hollywood star! Most other instances of wig have a reason but I just don’t see why Banks has to wear one. Madness.

Emilie De Ravin as Claire in Lost
Sadly this Claire is a double offender, having sported two equally obvious wigs during the series. The first, seen on the left, was for a flashback and was to save De Ravin from having to dye her hair. The picture way up top shows her latest wig which is a big crazed mess. This tangled wiggy masterpiece is possibly the least terrible of the lot as the surrounding layer of crazy slightly masks the giveaway bulkiness of the hair beneath the wig. If it’d been up to me I’d just back-comb her hair everyday.

The main problems with these wigs is the lack of styling, the straw-like texture of the hair and the inevitable heft of the actresses’ real barnet beneath the wig. Sort it out! Nothing can ruin the realism of a scene more than an obvious wig. Or I’m just weird. The upcoming Scott Pilgrim is also worrying me with the appearance of wiggery in the promo stills.

Now I’m off to wrestle a bear, or do something equally manly.