Posted on February 5th, 2017
It's the laziest of Super Bowl Sundays, because an all-new Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• The Right God.
• Our Reality.
• Our Reality, Redux.
• What About This Guy?
UPDATE: Here's the full story of Dan Lasko, as told to Pedigree...
Bullet Sunday will be back next week. Assuming there's a Sunday to put bullets on.
Posted on January 15th, 2017
Don't give the horrors of reality another thought, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• iPhone! A decade ago, Steve Jobs unleashed the iPhone on an unsuspecting world. The reactions at the time were gold. And, in hindsight, hilarious. The Telegraph has a nice retrospective on it all which you can read by clicking here.
• Banshee! I was recently turned onto an amazing Cinemax television show, Banshee, by long-time blogger friend Karen Sugarpants. It's the story of a man who gets out of prison after 15 years and, after an accidental series of events, ends up sheriff of a small Pennsylvania city in the heart of Amish country. I was hooked immediately, and have been binging all four seasons over the past week. It's packed to the rafters with insane amounts of violence and sex... but, in-between all that, there's some fantastic moments. Like when the sheriff hires a former white supremacist as a deputy in the middle of an assault on the police station...
Seasons 1 & 2 are streaming on Amazon free for Amazon Prime members. If you can stomach the show, it's worth checking out.
• Ghibli! Speaking of Amazon Prime Streaming... there's an upcoming animated series called Ronia, the Robber's Daughter by the magicians at Studio Ghibli...
Gorgeous. And available at Amazon Prime Streaming come January 27th!
• Switch! I've owned a lot of video gaming systems over the years. But my favorites have all been Nintendo. It doesn't matter that my XBOXes and PlayStations have better graphics and more power... it's the Nintendo systems that have the most fun games and innovative gameplay. Wii was a quantum leap forward. Wii-U was kind of a misstep, but still had amazing games available. And now Nintendo has announced their latest... Switch...
Needless to say, looks like a pretty nifty way to play video games. I'd buy one, but I never have time to play much anymore. If you're looking for more details on the system and the games being developed for it, Nintendo had a presentation on it the other day.
• GO GO MEOWER RANGERS! Now that Power Rangers is getting rebooted, it seems only appropriate that this cat-infused version of the show is working its way around the internet...
Good luck. And may the meower protect you!
• Diet! Um. Yeah...
"Diet Racism" and "Diet Homophobia" are responsible for me taking a mini-sabbatical from Facebook this week. I've got my sanity to think about.
No more bullets for you. See you next week!
Posted on January 13th, 2017
Many years ago (I'm thinking 1998), while I was at a Star Trek convention (yes, I know)... they had a roundup of Trek news you had to sit through before William Shatner (or whomever it was) took the stage. The guy that was reading the news was kind of an asshole, but the internet wasn't what it is now*, so this is how you got the TV gossip of the day. Eventually the guy started talking about the upcoming new series... Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He then announced that Michelle Forbes, who played Ensign Ro on Star Trek: The Next Generation, had declined to be a part of DS9. This was kind of shocking to hear, because Ensign Ro was Bajoran and the space station was next to Bajor. Ro was, presumably, the lynchpin of the series.
And that's when the news guy said "Big mistake, Michelle. Big mistake. Deep Space Nine is going to be huge. And you missed out."
I remember sitting in the audience thinking "How the fuck does he know Michelle Forbes was making a mistake? Maybe playing the same character over and over isn't something she wants to do. Maybe she found something she enjoys more than acting? Did you even think to ask Forbes why she decided not to join the show?"
But of course they didn't. Creation (the company behind the conventions) made their bread and butter off of Star Trek, so it was easier to just blindly bash anything that was a threat to their cash cow. Michele Forbes had turned her back on Trek, so Creation was turning their back on her.
At least until she agreed to speak at one of their conventions, I'm assuming.
I was reminded of all this after I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole and ran across this response from an interview with... Michelle Forbes...
"There were all sorts of rumors about why I didn't take [the DS9 role] and that I was quite arrogant about the whole thing. It wasn't that at all. It was, again, about wanting variety in my career. If I'd gone on to do DS9, I might not have had the variety I've been lucky to have in my career. That's not to say I wasn't grateful for the opportunity; I genuinely was. However, I had to make a choice that felt right for me, which was a difficult one, especially as a young actor being offered a steady job."
So... what people saw as a massive mistake doesn't sound like it turned out to be much of a mistake at all.
Sometimes the easy and obvious road isn't always the best journey to take.
Which is quite the important life lesson.
*Yeah, that's putting it mildly. This is what the internet was like in 1998...
Posted on January 10th, 2017
And so... about those Golden Globes...
I'm not a huge fan of award shows, because the winners rarely reflect the movies I enjoy and the performances I gravitate towards. But, then again, my favorite films of 2016 were Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, and Deadpool, so make of that what you will.
Anyway... this year the Globes were better than most, but there are still some corrections I would make...
Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
Who Should Have Won: Sebastian Stan, Captain America: Civil War (the entire weight of the movie rested on The Winter Soldier, and Stan killed it).
Best Original Score: La La Land
Who Should Have Won: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Arrival (beautiful, powerful stuff).
Best Original Song, Motion Picture: "City of Stars," La La Land
Who Should Have Won: "How Far I'll Go," Moana (never saw "La La Land").
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Who Should Have Won: Viola Davis, Fences (never saw the film, but... Viola Davis).
Best Actor, Musical or Comedy: Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Who Should Have Won: Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool (not even a contest).
Best Screenplay: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Who Should Have Won: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, Doctor Strange (markedly fresh super-hero fare).
Best Animated Film: Zootopia
Who Should Have Won: Kubo and the Two Strings (Zootopia was fun, but Kubo was on another level entirely).
Best Foreign-Language Film: Elle
Who Should Have Won: The Handmaiden (absolutely stunning cinema).
Best Director: Damian Chazelle, La La Land
Who Should Have Won: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Captain America: Civil War (wrangling this many heroes in a coherent film is amazing).
Best Actress, Musical or Comedy: Emma Stone, La La Land
Who Should Have Won: Grace Helbig, Electra Woman & Dyna Girl (no joke... the funniest female performance I saw all year).
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: La La Land
Who Should Have Won: Deadpool (so obvious).
Best Actor, Drama: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Who Should Have Won: I dunno.
Best Actress, Drama: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Who Should Have Won: I dunno.
Best Picture, Drama: Moonlight
Who Should Have Won: I dunno. Moonlight looks good, but Arrival was the best drama I saw in 2016.
Best Actor, Television Drama: Billie Bob Thornton, Goliath
Who Should Have Won: Matthew Rhys, The Americans (a great show and he's great in it).
Best Actress, Television Series Comedy or Musical: Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Who Should Have Won: Kristen Bell, The Good Place (what can I say, I love her and I love this show).
Best Television Series Comedy or Musical: Atlanta
Who Should Have Won: No Tomorrow (love Atlanta, but No Tomorrow is my favorite show of 2016)
Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Who Should Have Won: Charlotte Rampling, London Spy (this was a great show, and Rampling had a lot to do with why).
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Who Should Have Won: The Night Manager (such a great spy thriller).
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
Who Should Have Won: Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager (seriously, such a good show).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Who Should Have Won: Olivia Colman, The Night Manager (ditto).
Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Who Should Have Won: Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager (ditto again).
Best Actress, Television Drama: Claire Foy, The Crown
Who Should Have Won: Keri Russell, The Americans (toughie... loved Foy, but think Russell had the edge).
Best Television Drama: The Crown
Who Should Have Won: Westworld (as much as I liked The Crown, Westworld was my favorite).
Best Actor, Television Series Comedy or Musical: Donald Glover, Atlanta
Who Should Have Won: Donald Glover, Atlanta (absolutely deserved).
Posted on December 29th, 2016
And now is that special entry where I wrap up MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF 2016!
Which was kinda difficult to narrow down because alternate programming from studios like Netflix and HBO are changing the game.
THE TWELVE BEST...
#1 No Tomorrow (The CW)
Girl falls for boy. Boy believes the world ends in eight months. They learn to live like there's no tomorrow while falling in love. Easily my favorite show currently on television, it's not just the central romance that's worth watching. The secondary characters are all fully-realized and equally interesting.
#2 Luke Cage (Netflix)
Sweet Christmas! After the genius of Netflix's take on Marvel's Daredevil and Jessica Jones, I was expecting that Luke Cage would be good. But not this good! It's just so wonderfully fresh and different... largely in part to the strong presence of its Harlem location and a jazz-appropriate soundtrack. And don't get me started on the flawless casting... Mike Colter IS Luke Cage! Adding Alfre Woodard to the mix is just gravy.
#3 Stranger Things (Netflix)
I ignored this show when it first appeared... until everybody and their dog started telling me I should watch it. The fact that it's so 80's nostalgia perfect would be reason enough for me to love it, but the story is actually pretty darn entertaining... kind of a cross between ET and The Goonies with spooky overtones. How the Duffer Brothers managed to get a team of young actors this good is almost a bigger mystery than the show. Then they added Winona Rider, which is all you really need to know.
#4 The Good Place (NBC)
I fully admit that I did not warm to this show quickly. But I stuck with it because Kristen Bell is a national treasure and everything she does is entertaining. Then the show found its footing and I fell in love with it. The humor of Kristen Bell's character ending up in "heaven" when she really should have gone to "hell" is fluid... almost ethereal in spots... but then it turns a corner and it's punching you in the face. And that's what makes the show so special. No show made me laugh in 2016 more than this one.
#5 Atlanta (FX)
Is there nothing that Donald Glover can't do? I didn't really understand what the show was about, but tuned in just to see what Glover was up to (he was half of my favorite thing in Community). So glad I did. Atlanta is seriously good television that has some of the most amazing, depth-filled characters you'll find. It's got humor to it, but it's a stabbing kind of funny that doesn't detract from the story. If you haven't given the show a try, just watch that first episode and try not to get hooked.
#6 Westworld (HBO)
When I found out that Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris were attached to HBO's Westworld remake, I was intrigued. Actors of this caliber do not tend to gravitate towards shit. Then I saw that other terrific talents such as Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, and Tessa Thompson were onboard as well. What was going on here? I had to know. Turns out that HBO got a fantastic, mind-bending, thought-provoking story that is worth watching. Beautifully shot and having true depth to it, Westworld opens the discussion about whether man can be destroyed by his own creation... and whether that's actually a bad thing. But then adds enough twists to insure you'll never quite know the answer.
#7 Black Mirror (Netflix)
Kind of a Twilight Zone for a modern era, Black Mirror is a collection of thought-provoking stories of the near-future. If you take my advice to watch, I have a suggestion. Start with Episode 2 of Season 1 (skipping Episode 1), watch the remainder of Season 1, THEN watch that first episode before proceeding to Season 2. The reason is that the first episode is so freaky and "out there" that you will probably get the wrong idea of what the show is capable of. But once you've seen the other episodes, you'll be able to appreciate the first one for what it is in the grand scheme of things.
#8 The Night Manager (AMC)
A John le Carré adaptation that is firing on all cylinders. If you're into spy thrillers, this is a mini-series that's worth a look.
#9 The Crown (Netflix)
As a royalphile who's fascinated by the British Royal Family, I often find myself watching documentaries and series that are informative but boring. This is something different entirely. Following the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown is a beautiful mini series that will be broken down into six series of ten episodes each. If successive seasons are as terrific as this one, I'm set for the next five years.
#10 Lucifer (FOX)
I'd call this show a guilty pleasure," but I'm not feeling much guilt for being a fan. Especially with this latest season where "Mom" comes to town, which has been some of the best fun you can have with a television show.
#11 The Americans (FX)
This is a show that flows in and out of my "Best Of..." list, but is consistently great television and is always worth watching. The opening of Season 4 this year blew the roof off the show (again) and upped the intensity to a whole new level. Given its complexity, I don't know that I would advise jumping in the middle... you really need to start at the beginning... but it's such a great show that you'll be glad you did.
#12 London Spy (BBC America)
And now for something completely different! When Danny has a random encounter with Alex, it's love at first sight. But then things start to go terribly wrong when Alex turns up dead and it's revealed that he wasn't who he claimed to be. This plunges Danny into a rabbit hole of espionage as he tries to find out the truth about what's happened. The resulting story is a slow-burn thriller that is entertaining despite its flaws (of which there are many). In the end I don't know that the show was particularly great, but it was memorable in a way most shows in this genre are not. This is most likely due to the haunting talents of Ben Whishaw.
FIVE MORE WORTH WATCHING...
As a fan on the comic book of the same name, I didn't have much confidence that Seth Rogan would do it justice as a television show. He was the one who screwed up The Green Hornet, after all. So imagine my surprise when the adaptation turned out to be pretty darn good! Dominic Cooper has a handle on Jesse Custer, which was essential... but Joseph Gilgun and Ruth Negga as Cassidy and Tulip O'Hare is what pushes the show to the next level. Disturbingly funny with just enough horror to keep things interesting, Preacher should appeal to even non-fans of the book.
Spoofing the epic shit-show that Lost turned out to be seems like it would be an easy chore. In reality... not so much. But then comes along Wrecked, a comedy centered around a group of plane crash survivors stranded on a mysterious island... and it kinda works. By no means a "smart" comedy, it relies on easy laughs and situations that are far from brilliant, but the characters manage to make it worth watching. Especially Todd (Will Greenberg) whose selfish and eccentric nature are gold.
Game of Thrones (HBO)
This past year is kind of wearing me out on the whole show, but it's still incredibly compelling television. Apparently it wraps up in two more seasons, which will be a welcome alternative to things being drawn out to tedium, but it's anybody's guess as to whether we're going to get a satisfying conclusion. Will it all be worth it in the end? The series of books are still far, far from being finished, so we're heading into unknown territory.
This modern take on Sherlock Holmes is still going strong. Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu still have amazing chemistry. The mysteries are still well-written. And, if anything, this latest season has been one of the best yet... stripping away distraction to focus on what makes the series so good. Could have easily made my top-twelve if there wasn't so much excellent fresh programming being released.
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America)
To be honest, I'm not sure if I liked this series or not. It's quite different from the Douglas Adams books, and not always in a good way. Still, it's bizarre, fresh, and overall interesting enough that I'm glad I watched it. And it was rather smart how it all came together at the end, which is always a good thing. If "regular" television is boring you, this might be the ticket.
ANIMATION WORTH YOUR TIME...
The show that never disappoints. The fact that we only get three more seasons before Adam Reed packs it in is terrifying.
Hands down the most bizarre mix of comedy and tragedy you will ever see, the third season of BoJack was its most ambitious yet.
CANCELLED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN...
My favorite show from last year started the second half of its first season strong. Indeed, Stop Me Before I Hug Again (airing in January) is one of the best episodes of the entire series. But then things went terribly, inexplicably wrong. A trip to Russia started a spy arc that disappointed. We got more of Brian's stupid, stupid family. And then the writers lost their minds completely when they had NZT (or a knockoff of it) go public in the last two shows. How in the hell they planned on recovering from that serious misstep we will never know, because CBS performed a mercy killing and cancelled it. From how things ended up, I'm not sure this was a bad move... but I will still miss the show. When it was good, it was the best thing on television.
MY MOST OVERRATED...
The OA (Netflix)
Holy shit what a disaster. After a non-stop barrage of people telling me to watch, I finally relented. And hated most everything about it. From the plodding, never-ending boredom that stretches out over eight long, grueling episodes (seriously, they could have done this in three) to the wacky interpretive-dance insanity that injects itself into the tedium, I slogged through every episode while wishing death would take me. Any time I complained about the show, people were telling me "you just don't understand its genius" which is code for "don't question this incomprehensible bullshit." Yeah, I get what they were attempting to do... and kudos for trying to put an original spin on a show that was far better (Stranger Things), but no thanks.
A critical darling that is firmly cemented in the top five of most every critic in the known universe, I just could not get into this show. I don't like any of the characters and didn't find the humor to be all that entertaining.
This is Us (NBC)
There is nobody I know who isn't head over heels in love with this show. I just don't get the appeal.
South Park (Comedy Central)
A show that's been on my "Best Of..." list since I've been making "Best Of..." lists completely shit the bed this year. Rather than concentrate the funny on individual episodes, this year we got an inexplicably crappy multi-part epic centering around internet trolling, Denmark, and the presidential election. Of course there were funny moments (this is South Park, after all), but this entire season has been a horrific disaster that never seemed to crawl out of the wreckage.
What a total and complete pile of shit. The original show was a romp of ingenuity that was held together by the charms of Richard Dean Anderson. The revamp is a dumbed-down wankfest headed by a character so unlikeable that I can't fathom how I am expected to root for him. On the contrary, I spent the entire show hoping MacGyver would die so the supporting cast could be the focus.
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
After bitching endlessly about how unremarkable and dull this show is when it has potential to be slaying week after week, I was given renewed hope when it was announced that Ghost Rider would be making an appearance this season. Didn't help. Still mired in talking-heads-we-have-no-budget-for-what-counts tedium that has me racing to fast-forward through the bulk of each episode. Just give it up already. I'd rather have Coulson back in the movies where he was far better utilized.
Posted on December 25th, 2016
Hoping you're having a Happy Christmas if you're into that kind of thing, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Faith. I was saddened to hear that yet another of my pop artist favorites from the 80's had passed away... this time George Michael. As half of the duo WHAM!, and later a solo artist, he had an entire catalog of hits that influenced a generation of musical artists and pop culture at large...
Rest in peace, sir. Your music will live on and on.
• LIVE FROM NEW YORK! I've watched this behind-the-scenes video three times now. Absolutely fascinating how Saturday Night Live can time things down to the wire like this on a live show...
I wish SNL would release more of these. Sometimes, they would be more entertaining than the actual show.
• BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR! This is epic...
This guy should totally do audio books.
• IT'S NOT MINE! For those who think I'm paranoid for having two complete camera security systems at my house... I give you this IMGUR thread about a guy who found that somebody was living in his home while he was at work. Holy. Crap.
• The 1947. I always love behind-the-scenes videos of manufacturing processes and this one from my favorite ball-cap manufacturer, '47 Brand, is pretty slick...
A lot of work goes into creating a great cap!
• The 1975. And now, for the best Christmas present of all, here's The 1975's full concert from The O2 in London. Don't know how long they'll keep it posted, so enjoy it while it lasts...
Amazing. And the only contender for my favorite album of 2016.
Here's ho ho hoping Santa treats you kindly tonight.
Posted on December 18th, 2016
I'm dashing through the snow over the mountains... but fear not, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• No It's Not Equivalent. I swear... it's getting worse every day. Every time I see false equivalency being applied to an issue in the interest of being "fair and balanced," I want to punch somebody in the face. This time it's The Los Angeles Times unleashing this crap when they published letters saying that US internment of its citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II was justified. Clearly there is no "other side" to Japanese internment being totally unjustified and a horrendous blight on humanity (in general) and the USA (specifically). Unless you are a psychotic asshole. And yet here we are. Thanks, L.A. Times... I needed a reminder that psychotic assholes are everywhere!
• New DuckTales! I'd like to say that DuckTales was one of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid... but it didn't start airing until I was three years graduated high school, so that's not quite true. In any event, it's getting revived with a bit more star power than the original behind the voices...
You can bet I'll be watching. Let's face it, I still act like a kid.
• Sandcastles in the Sand. While I was never a fan of Growing Pains (Kirk Cameron was always a fucking asshole), I was a fan of Alan Thicke's Canadian talk show and his subsequent American talk show, Thicke of the Night. Which is why I was sad to see he had died this week. Later in life, he was cast as himself as often as he played characters, which is a testament to his effect on North American culture. One of my favorites was when he appeared as Robin Sparkles fictional dad in flashback videos of How I Met Your Mother...
You will be missed, sir.
• Emergency! Come Right Away! Another sad passing... Bernard Fox has left us. He'll forever be known as Dr. Bombay on Bewitched...
Here's hoping he's having cocktails with Uncle Arthur in the Great Beyond.
• Animal Welfare? Inhumane, cruel, and horrifying. But nobody will care and nothing will be done because everybody wants their 99¢ McChicken McNuggets...
If people want to eat meat, more power to you. But I can't fathom the person who doesn't care about the pain and suffering of those animals that end up on their plate. The health risks are just icing on the cake.
• Driven! I'd say that winter driving is the worst, but the unprecedented number of assholes on the road makes all driving "the worst." Winter just makes it even worse...
Over the mountains I go...
Annnnd... wish me luck.