Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2023
I've been crapping on Apple a lot lately.
But not without reason.
Apple used to be the GOLD STANDARD in interface design. Everything was incredibly well-thought-out and intuitive. But now-a-days? Most everything they do is shit. And I simply don't understand why. Yes, Steve Jobs is gone, but surely there are people in Apple who give a crap about making sure that you can use their apps without wanting to beat the shit out of somebody?
But apparently not.
Because I was reminded about this when I was having to use the GUI abomination that is the AppleTV app (whether it's on a Mac, AppleTV, iPad, or iPhone). This app has been shit for ages. It was made even worse when Apple decided to prioritize AppleTV+ over absolutely everything... ramming their service down your throat like a fucking jackhammer. Even over content you purchased. Like when you search for the movie Ted...
But that's just the beginning with their idiotic search. Want to search your library? You can't just click on LIBRARY and search. If you do that, you'll end up searching within AppleTV+ and their media store content. Oh no. To search your library, you have to type into the SECOND smaller search box. And do you know how many times I forget to use the tiny box? ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And do you know why? The second smaller search box DOESN'T FUCKING EXIST UNTIL YOU CLICK ON A TINY FUCKING MAGNIFYING ICON THAT'S UNDER THE SEARCH BOX!!!
Only then does the search box even bother to appear...
Absolute fucking lunacy.
But wait! It gets worse! Let's say that you use the universal search box anyway to get to your movie because you forgot about the smaller search box. What happens then? As you see from the first screenshot above, you have no fucking clue where the movie is at. Is it on AppleTV+? Is it in the store? Do you have to buy it? Do you own it? Who the fuck knows?
You have to click through to see where in the hell it comes from. In this case, I own it... although it doesn't tell me I own it... I just have to infer that I own it because there's a "Play" button instead of a price tag...
But let's say you're on your AppleTV and don't want to type out the title to get to it since it's a huge pain in the ass? Well, then you get to scroll through your entire fucking catalog of titles! And since I own hundreds of them, that will take a while. Let's say that I want to watch the movie 4th Man Out. With Apple, it's scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling because Apple puts numbers after letters...
Here it is! Right after Zoolander...
Let's compare that to how Plex allows you to navigate. I use Plex to catalog all my ripped DVDs (which is a legal backup of my massive DVD library). Since I paid for 4th Man Out both digitally and on DVD, it's in both places. Although since Plex puts numbers in front of letters, I don't have to actually scroll anywhere. It's right there at the start...
Not really a fair contest. So let's try another. Zoolander. Another movie I bought on both DVD and digitally. With iTunes, I have to scroll through hundreds of titles to get to it. But look on the right hand side of the Plex interface. See those letters there? No scrolling needed. I just click on "Z" and there it is!
This is especially fantastic on the Plex app for AppleTV... which is far, far superior to what AppleTV itself actually offers.
HOW FUCKING EMBARRASSING FOR APPLE!
For the love of God, spend the tiniest fucking portion of your billions of dollars and DO SOMETHING!
Don't get me wrong... there's still a lot of companies who are even worse at this than Apple. But given where Apple started, this is nothing short of tragic.
And I have no idea what it's going to take to get Apple off their stupid asses to actually fix this crap.
Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Gizmodo has a story on the ten projects that James Gunn is overseeing for the new DC Comics Universe of movies and shows.
Gizmodo has Creature Commandos listed as "Creative Commandos" which is hilarious. — All I can say that is if these projects were from anybody but James Gunn, I would be laughing my ass off. What's odd is that the new Superman and Batman films aren't coming out until 2025... which is later than I'd thought it would be, but still pretty ambitious. An entirely new universe debuts in just two years? Again... if it were anybody but James Gunn, I'd be laughing my ass off. My comments below...
Creative (s/b CREATURE!) Commandos (An animated HBO Max show) — It's like... what a bizarre choice. An entire series devoted to monster soldiers? Sounds like a Halloween special, but okay. Something tells me that this was in process before James Gunn took the big chair (with Peter Safran).
Waller (A live-action HBO Max show) — I really hope that Viola Davis is in this, because she's SUCH an amazing actor. UPDATE: Confirmed that it will indeed be Davis.
Superman: Legacy (Theatrical film) — I am confident that James Gunn will find a way to make Superman relevant while also interesting... something that Zack Snyder wasn't able to do AT ALL. I am a bit concerned that the whole "Gods & Monsters" arc for the New DCU will fall into the same trap that Snyder fell into, but it's James Gunn... so... yeah. Maybe.
Lanterns (A live-action HBO Max show) — The Green Lantern movie was a pile of shit so bad that I couldn't believe some of my favorite actors were involved. Terrible, terrible movie. A show might be a way to showcase the many interesting Green Lanterns from the comics, so it could be a very cool show to watch. UPDATE: Apparently this will be terrestrial-based, meaning that it's mostly Hal Jordan and John Stewart stories, so we'll see.
The Authority (Theatrical film) — Now this could be interesting! The comics started out SO good, and if they did a straight adaptation it could be fantastic... so long as it's an R-rated movie, because otherwise why bother?
Paradise Lost (A live-action HBO Max show) — Amazons, I guess. Could be something that pre-dates Wonder Woman to give her eventual debut good context. I hope that they don't fuck up the Greek gods like the (otherwise excellent) Wonder Woman movie did. They're saying it's their "Game of Thrones" so who knows?
The Brave and the Bold (Theatrical film) — Batman & Robin? In my early comic book days, The Brave and the Bold was alway Batman PLUS some other DC Hero (or villain!) teaming up. But still... I will be very interested to see what Gunn has in mind for Batman. Hopefully something more like the Nolan trilogy instead of the emo-goth bullshit we got from the last Batman movie! UPDATE: It's going to be the Damion Wayne version of Robin which is the best news possible. I hope that they make him a little nuts without taking him full-on psycho, because the majority of kids just don't have the acting chops to pull that off very well.
Booster Gold (A live-action HBO Max show) — A LONG time coming. Like... this should have been done a decade ago. I love the character, and hope that eventually the show transitions into the "Blue & Gold" show I've been dreaming of (Booster Gold and Blue Beetle as made amazing by Keith Giffen). Hopefully they get a writer with decent comedy chops to do this right.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (Theatrical film) — Poor Supergirl. The character herself is so interesting... as shown in the Animated DC shows... but her lone live-action movie was trash (despite having Faye Dunaway and Peter O'Toole!). I really, really hope that they hire a truly great FEMALE writer AND director to do this movie right. She deserves it. And there's plenty of great comics to be inspired from.
Swamp Thing (Theatrical film) — Lord. There are a lot of other DC characters I would have put in a film before Swampy. His good TV show was not so long ago (2019), and the idea of a complete film has already been done. Soooo many other movies would have been a better idea than this. I hope "Swamp Thing: The Movie" ends up worth stepping all over others that deserved it more.
I want a Legion of Super-Heroes live-action HBO Max show. I want a Black Canary & Green Arrow show. I want a REAL Justice League movie. I want a Deadman series. I really want a Zantana movie. Where's an Amethyst animated series at? And holy crap... how cool would an Adam Strange series be? Is Guy Gardner going to appear in Lanterns? Because a show for HIM would be great. So many possibilities!
I'm more confident in the DCU now than I was as we suffered through all the Zack Snyder crap, which makes me happy. Nobody wants successful DC movies than me (with the exception of the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods and The Flash: Flashpoint, both of which star highly problematic actors that I really wish would just go away and take their bullshit with them.
Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2023
What blows me away is how Marvel Studios puts it all on the screen. They don't "hold anything back for the sequel" but instead treat every movie like the last movie they will ever make.
AND THAT'S WHY THEY ARE SO SUCCESSFUL!
After basking the the majesty that's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I am making my way through all the Chadwick Boseman Black Panther appearances. The first of which wasn't in a Black Panther film... or even an Avengers film. It was in a Captain America film!
What was also in Captain America: Civil War? The first MCU appearance of Spider-Man!
Plus we get Iron Man, Black Widow, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Vision, Ant-Man, and Winter Soldier! It was basically an Avengers film. Inside a Captain America film. Which is crazy. How many studios would even do that?
Other studios would drag things out so they have something for future movies... then wonder why nobody gives a crap about the watered down film they release. Marvel isn't interested in that. They put everything into the film they are making right now... then force themselves to come up with something new and amazing for the next one.
And then get incredible actors for every single part. Alfre frickin' Woodard just randomly shows up in a tiny nothing of a bit part in Civil War. But it was a critical part that put the entire movie into motion, so they HAD to get Alfre Woodard. And her few minutes of screen time works. So well. In lesser, cheaper hands, it might not have.
The wild success of Marvel movies is not a fluke or a mistake. They are designed to be successful. I remember reading somewhere that Chadwick Boseman always thought that his appearance in Civil War would be a one-off cameo before signing his deal. Given how other studios would probably do exactly that, it's no wonder that he thought this. Obviously Marvel had other plans. They're more than that.
I live in constant fear of Kevin Feige retiring as the mastermind behind these movies. The guy gets it. His successor might not. And these movies have been too good in his hands.
Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023
Fantastic Voyage was released just six months after I was born in 1966. I didn't see the film until years later thanks to cable television. It's the work that I most attach to Raquel Welch, who sadly passed away today at 82 years old.
But this was not the first time that I saw Raquel Welch in anything. I'm pretty sure that it was Mork & Mindy. I didn't know who she was, but my mom was quick to identify her when I asked WHO IS THAT?!?
Not from when she first walked on the screen like this...
But later on when she walked on looking like this...
Something that made a very big impression on my 13-year-old brain.
From there I made a point of watching anything with Raquel Welch, wherever she appeared. Up to and including Legally Blonde and Eugenio Derbez's How to Be a Latin Lover (her final film project). But it's Fantastic Voyage that I most associate with her (though the original Bedazzled and One Million Years B.C. are in the running)...
Fantastic Voyage was similar to the Disneyland ride Adventure Through Inner Space (which followed the movie the following year), which is why I probably crush on it so hard (as if Raquel in her skin-tight scientist suit wasn't enough)...
Alas, no appearance by Raquel Welch in the ride.
Rest in Peace to an iconic Hollywood bombshell.
Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023
Oh yay. I am spending more money I don't have!
Today only, the original Complete Series Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. was on sale for $35 at the iTunes Store. All eight seasons. All 162 episodes. I went ahead and snagged it, because that was too good of a price to pass up. Especially since the return of the excellent reboot (now on NBC/Peacock) has me feeling all nostalgic...
Ultimately, the show doesn't really hold up by modern standards. And yet... still incredibly entertaining. Tom Selleck had a flawless take on the character, and it made the show a lot of fun. Still prefer the reboot (Juliette Higgins is one of my favorite television characters of all time), but the original sure takes me back.
And it looks like I may be buying more shows and movies outright like this now that I am completely disenchanted with most all of the streaming services.
Netflix and HBO are cancelling everything. Paramount+ has one of the shittiest fucking apps ever created (that barely works even when it's working). And absolutely everybody is raising their prices. Essentially giving you less for more money.
Well good luck with that.
It just boggles my mind that streaming service CEOs are still in charge when their decisions drive customers away in droves. Disney just released a bundled deal to get Disney+ and Hulu bundled together... but it's the version with ads. In order to get them bundled for ad-free, you ALSO have to pay for ESPN+. What kind of stupid shit is this? I will never watch ESPN. I couldn't give two shits about ESPN. Not even one shit. Not a single shit given over ESPN. So no savings for me. I have to continue to pay for a non-bundle with zero savings.
Given that Paramount+ and HBO Max are making equally stupid-ass mistakes, I think I'm just going to cancel everything.
Cancel everything then rotate between all of them. Netflix one month. Hulu another month. Disney+ another month. HBO Max the next month. Congratulations on getting 1/6th the money off of me. Y'all deserve it.
The only one I'm going to keep year 'round is Philo. Thanks to their T-Mobile discount and sensible pricing, they're worth it.
I swear, I never thought that streaming would get this stupid this fast compared to cable and satellite, which was stupid from the jump. Now I'm to the point where I really just want to give up on television altogether.
Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2023
Thursdays are quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. It means that there's only one more work day until the weekend... and it also means that new episodes of Poker Face and So Help Me Todd are airing. Well... not so much So Help Me Todd, because CBS keeps fucking around with their air dates (no new episodes until March 2nd and the previous episode was all the way back on February 2nd).But a really good new episode of Poker Face was to be had.
And, like every episode, I'm like HOW? How did they get such stellar guest-stars for each episode? This time we got Nick Nolte, Tim Russ, Luis Guzmán, and CHERRY JONES?!? And holy shit does Cherry deliver! The entire episode hinges on her performance, and she doesn't falter...
This show is glorious. IT'S GLORIOUS!!! Very much Columbo for a new generation.
After the episode was over, I put on Babylon because the cast was excellent. Except it's easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It's like they were all... let's just film extravagant shit and force feed it to people OVER THREE HOURS. Awful. It looks pretty and is shot beautifully, but that's it. What a waste of money and talent...
So I guess not everything on Thursday is bullet-proof after all. I should have just re-watched Poker Face.
Posted on Sunday, March 19th, 2023
A bit of a Summer setback for me today as the weather turned cold as balls, but never fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Zipline! Whenever I run across something incredibly cool that has been around a while... but I never heard of... that's gold right there. Take this drone delivery system that's been running for SIX YEARS. And I had no clue. This will be one of the coolest things you see in a bit...
Fantastic. Ingenuity like this gives me hope for the future.
• 1D! I keep running into songs by One Direction that kinda blow my mind. Like this song, which I had never heard before. I was scrambling to Shazam it thinking it was brand new. Nope...
It actually feels like a classic soft rock hit or something.
• Topol! The Flash Gordon movie from 1980 was absolute genius... even if most people didn't see it that way. I've seen it a dozen times or more, and will likely watching it many times more. A big part of what makes the movie work is the over-the-top performances, among them being Chaim Topol's performance of Dr. Hans Markov...
But that's not my favorite role of his. This honor goes to Columbo on the James Bond flick For Your Eyes Only, where he chewed up the scenery unapologetically...
Sadly, Topol passed away a couple weeks ago... but his legacy will live on with his works.
• Hyper-Real! I will never complain about any of my tax dollars going to NASA to explore our solar system and our universe. On the contrary, I wish more of my tax dollars went to NASA. Especially when I see images like this...
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, JPL, SSI, Cassini Imaging Team
You can get a much better view and more information on Saturn's moon Hyperion by going to NASA's website.
• TO INFINITY...! The stuff that you can do with LEGO truly knows no bounds. Take this infinite domino track...
Pretty nifty, isn't it?
• Cunk! Finally got around to watching Cunk on Earth (Netflix)... and it's madness. Absolute madness. Mostly because she sounds like a lot of real-life people...
It's relentless. She doesn't stop unleashing stupid. Ever. It just keeps going. And I am deceased.
• WORF! The first season of Star Trek: Picard was just okay, though the ending was messy. I didn't like the second season because it was a scattered crapfest and tried to shoehorn in characters that should have never been there in the first place. But this THIRD season? Holy crap. Quite probably the best Next Generation show I have ever seen. Cinematic and exciting. It will be very interesting to see if they can wrap it all up in a satisfying manner given that this is the last season we're getting. And ZOMG... WORF! His character has made a radical shift that's absolute genius, and Michael Dorn is playing him with such deft ease...
It makes me wish that this is what we were given from the start. Paramount+... please give Worf his own series ASAP, dammit!
• Flerfer! The thing I will never, ever understand is how there are people thinking that the earth is flat. It makes absolutely zero sense from every possible observable fact. We new about the earth being a sphere thousands of years ago. And yet... ignorance is still here. Which is why I love videos like this....
Of course it makes no difference how many facts you throw at Flerfers. Logic, reason, and common sense has already been thrown right out the window.
And away with you! Begone!
Posted on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023
When it comes to a list of movies I love and have watched a multitude of times, Amélie would most certainly be on that list. Not only was it beautiful to look at, had an exceedingly smart and clever story, and made me fall in love with Audrey Tautou... but it was just fun. It had a whimsy and joyfulness that most movies... don't.
Plus it has a wonderful life lesson that is a genuine teaching moment to all humanity.
If you haven't seen it, I offer my highest possible recommendation...
And now genius director of the film, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, has released a shocking expose on the character 22 years after the film was released!
Well, it's a joke, but it's actually a darn impressive retrofit of the characters true nature. If you haven't seen the original film, this won't mean anything, so go watch Amélie first...
It all makes perfect sense!
Nice to know that Jeunet has a sense of humor about his work. Probably why he's such a freakin' genius.
Posted on Tuesday, March 28th, 2023
Pixar has been really hit or miss with me lately.
Onward and Soul were disappointing. Luca was glorious. Turning Red and Lightyear were okay, but far from the greatness I expect out of the studio.
Then today we get the first full trailer for their upcoming June release, Elemental...
Other than Catherine O'Hara, I'm not familiar with the rest of the cast, which is a bit odd. When it comes to the movie itself, it looks like a mash-up of Inside Out and Soul, but not in a bad way? I guess? I mean, I'll definitely watch it when it hits Disney+, but it's not having me excited enough to run to the theater.
That's reserved for Adrian Molina's follow-up to Coco which is called Elio. It's coming out a year from now.
Posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2023
I have a love/hate relationship with Sonos Home Audio.
On one hand, they are very good speakers. The sound I get from a single Sonos One (the cheapest, smallest speaker in their lineup) is better than I get from the speakers on my pricey Sony television. Sonos speakers are very well balanced to handle just about everything. Music sounds just as good as audiobooks which sounds as good as TV shows and movies.
But on the other hand, Sonos can be incredibly frustrating. When I replaced my Sonos PlayBar with a Sonos Arc, I spent a full hour talking with their support to get everything working. It was supposed to be an easy, no-brainer task, but it sure didn't end up that way for me. And then there's weird networking drop-outs that happen at random and can be a real bitch to resolve considering the only thing I ever get told is "IT'S BECAUSE YOUR WI-FI NETWORK SUCKS!!!" (as if I have some kind of cheap-ass Wi-Fi router buried in the basement instead of dual AmpliFi Alien routers in a mesh network that blankets my home with perfect Wi-Fi).
In the end I am happy enough with Sonos to ignore its shortcomings (no line-in is fucking stupid on a level of fucking stupid that has me reconsidering what I consider to be fucking stupid given how expensive their speakers are... and don't get me started on not being able to use dedicated left and right channels for surround sound). I have quite a few of their products collected from Black Friday sales over the years, and most rooms in my house are covered with Sonos sound. Heck, I even have Sonos in the bathrooms so I don't have to miss what's happening on my television shows when I have to get up and go pee.
And then Sonos decided to get cute and offer a new line of "Era" speakers. The Era 100, which takes the place of their entry-level Sonos One speaker... and the Era 300, which takes the place of their long-abandoned Play 3 speaker.
At first I was going to safely ignore their new offerings because I have neither the money nor the desire to expand upon my speaker collection.
But then I learned that the Era 300 is designed from the bottom up to support Dolby Atmos and I was intrigued. Dolby Atmos allows precise sound placement within a room. This is usually reserved for theaters which can install speakers all the way around the seating area... along with the ceiling... so that the action can move around the room to match what you are seeing. It's a pretty nifty trick. The technology is something that is supposed to be supported by my Sonos Arc soundbar, but the effect is minimal to the point that it might as well not even exist at all.
The Sonos Era 300 has an up-firing speaker that looked substantial enough to actually maybe kinda support actual Atmos sound bouncing down on your from above...
So I used my final two Sonos upgrade credits and all the Black Friday money I had left after buying Neon Bad Monkey and pre-ordered a pair of them.
And now they're here.
And I'm just going to cut to the chase here. They are... pretty good.
Because whether or not you have great Atmos sound largely depends on the audio mix that movie and television studios add to their products. I've tested these speakers for hours with all kinds of movies available in Dolby Atmos, and it's very rare that I find myself going "Whoa!" because some sound playing above me was distinct enough to catch me by surprise. No, for the most part, you're largely just getting a better, fuller surround sound experience. Back-To-Front and Front-To-Back audio is far more distinct with those up-firing speakers because you can feel the "movement" better. Far better than I did with my Sonos Ones as rear speakers. For that reason alone I am quite happy with my purchase. And who knows? Maybe as more and more people have Dolby Atmos available at home, studios will start doing better mixing so that my speakers can take advantage of it.
Now lets get to the Dolby Atmos experience that's truly worth it... Atmos Music!
I tell you what... I had read that Apple was partnering with Sonos so that their spatial audio tracks would play on Sonos hardware... but I wasn't thinking of that when I fired up some music to see if it sounded good from the 300s. A couple tracks played and I was suitably impressed.
Then the song If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know) by The 1975 dropped and I thought I was hallucinating. Lead singer Matt Healy's vocals were IN FRONT OF the music. And acoustical queues were all over the room. If I closed my eyes, it was as if The 1975 were set up in my living room. Then I remembered about the Apple Music Atmos thing and, sure enough...
For many Dolby Atmos music tracks, what you hear is flat-out mind-blowing. The 1975 remixed all their stuff, and (for the most part) it's incredible. Some songs are more experimental than others. Some songs push it too far to the point of distraction. But most of the songs are perfectly rendered in a way that makes the whole experience... maybe not better... but perhaps nicely different.
All of a sudden I was scouring all my favorite tracks to see if they had Atmos mixes available.
And it was like discovering music all over again.
Yes, there are instances where the Atmos is a gimmick that doesn't work. But for others? It runs the gamut. The biggest surprise was Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour. Whomever came up with her mixes just knocked it out of the park (with a couple notable exceptions which are gimmicky as hell). It. Is. Sublime. In Oh, What a World when that banjo hits, I had chills running up my spine. It's a fantastic experience. My favorite Post Malone tracks were wonderfully mixed for spatial audio. The newest Taylor Swift album is beautiful. And some bands you just know were hopping on the bandwagon early with Atmos remixes... like ODESZA. The track they did with Namoi Wild, Higher Ground, feels like her vocals are ON TOP OF the music. Or something. I can't even begin to explain it. But it's fantastic. Of course, it was a great track even before spatial audio...
The highest praise I can offer for spatial audio and Dolby Atmos music is that, when mixed right, the vocals never get lost in the music. They are always distinct and rendered front-and-center. One of the best songs to hear this is with Miley Cyrus's Flowers. There's places that she harmonizes with herself. But when listening to it without Atmos, the voices blend together. With Atmos, however, the harmonizing backing vocals are... like... elsewhere. They don't merge or compete... they're just another part of the music. I don't know quite how to explain it. But once I hear the difference... then go back to regular stereo... I can no longer un-hear it because the Atmos version feels like it's the way you're supposed to be hearing it.
So... probably not returning my pair of 300s... even though there's some bullshit right out of the gate.
First of all, Sonos finally... FINALLY... added bluetooth and line-in to their speakers. But when you configure them to be part of a Dolby Atmos setup... YOU NO LONGER CAN USE THEM FOR EITHER! WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK, SONOS??
When that message popped up, it was all I could do to keep from throwing my phone against the wall. I was more than a little upset... I was fucking pissed.
I'm sure that Sonos will come up with some kind of bullshit excuse to explain it away, but the simple fact is that you could easily... easily... just have the speaker ignore all other input once the line-in is receiving input. This is not fucking rocket science. The fact that I can't just plug into one of my pricey new speakers with a frickin' line-in is so far beyond rage-inducing that I honestly don't know what to do with my anger from it.
But at least there's the option for a line-in... AT ALL.
If I were flush with cash I'd likely buy a single Sonos Era 300 for my bedroom and run a line from my television. That way I could have darn good TV sound along with a kick-ass speaker for music (the stereo separation from a single 300 is surprisingly good).
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Assuming I win the lottery tomorrow, it's not enough to just buy a $450 Sonos Era 300 speaker for my television. YOU ALSO HAVE TO BUY A FUCKING $20 MINI-PLUG DONGLE! It's like... holy shit. There's fleecing your customers, and then there's Sonos fucking gouging their customers. This is pretty disgraceful.
So... to summarize in bullet points...
And there you have it.
If you've got a showroom somewhere near you with Sonos gear, it might be worth a look if you're thinking about investing in new speakers.
Posted on Sunday, April 2nd, 2023
Spring has been one cold day after another for me on this 800th run at the bullets, but I am undeterred... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Invasion! When Secret Invasion was unleashed in the comic book world, it made for a wacky, weird, and wonderful story. Shape-changing Skrulls had been impersonating some pretty major players, and as everything unfolded you really didn't know who was going to be next. It's highly doubtful that the MCU will be able to go in this direction... it would be a massively expensive series if they did... but I'm still anticipating a few surprises along the way...
This has very much the feel of a Cold War thriller... except the deep-cover spies are Skrulls. And just look at the cast they got! Very excited to see where this leads... and what comes of it. If there are long-term consquences, it could make for some sweet stories later on.
• Singer! John Singer Sargent is one of my favorite painters... bridging the gap from the impressionists I love and the realists I admire. This short video gave me a new appreciation for his work, and is worth your valuable time to watch...
I love videos like this.
• Fun with Flags! And speaking of videos I love, CGP Grey makes some of my favorites...
I have no idea how he comes up with his ideas, but he has never released a video that wasn't fascinating. Even when they're as short as this one.
• Behind the Scenes! If you love the movie Arrival as I do, this is a real gem. But... spoilers... if you haven't seen it. Definitely watch the movie first...
The process that happens from story to screen is sometimes as fascinating as the film itself. Arrival is all kinds of interesting even without this. But with it?
• ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! New Wes Anderson! This looks fantastic...
All of his films have a similar look and similar quirks to their characters. What makes them well worth watching is that all the stories are so different.
• Scotty! They are making a Scott Pilgrim animated series for Netflix... and all the actors from the movie are returning to voice their characters! I love it when massive stars like Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman, and Aubrey Plaza signs on to do little projects like this. Obviously not a cash-grab for them... they just wants be a part of it. Very much looking forward to this, even though I thought Michel Cera was miscast in the original film.
Interesting to note that Young Neil is not so young any more! None of them are! The movie was THIRTEEN YEARS AGO!
Back under the blankets I go.
Posted on Monday, April 3rd, 2023
The point of this post is in the title... AppleTV is shit. But it's the best shit you can buy for streaming.
I'm not going to run through my many complaints. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you've probably already heard it all. If you haven't heard it? The GUI (graphic user interface) is fucking horrendous. If you own more than twenty movies or television shows, scrolling through all of them is a nightmare. Apple provides no alphabetical index on the side so you can at least jump to the first letter of the title you're looking for. It's fucking stupid.
Since the quality of the picture is so radically better when viewed through the AppleTV device instead of the GoogleTV app for AppleTV, I decided to ditch my AppleTV 4K (2017 Revision 1) for the newer AppleTV 4K (2022 Revision 3). And because I want to be sure that I get the smoothest possible playback, I purchased the "better" version which has Ethernet and 128GB.
The difference between Rev. 1 and Rev. 3 are slight at the start. Both support 4K DolbyVision HDR10 UHD playback. Both support Dolby Atmos. You have to pay extra for Ethernet now, but my Rev. 1 had Ethernet as standard. But then there's the improvements which really count... my old AppleTV was a slow mess with its A10X chip. It's radically snappier with the new A15 Bionic chip. I'm also working with the 128GB vs. the 32GB I used to have. And then there's the fact that Apple finally future-proofed their tech by using the HDMI 2.1 standard instead of the old 2.0. I am using Ethernet instead of WiFi, but if I were to use wireless, the new model comes with WiFi 6. The new one is also smaller and feels lighter than the old one too. As if all that wasn't enough, it contains a Thread mesh networking radio to become a border router for your HomeKit shenanigans and Matter Smart Home devices.
But the most welcome change? The controller...
Apple ditched their shitty fucking touchpad controller for a new controller that has a good heft and actual directional buttons. Which means that navigation doesn't randomly jump all over the place like it used to. I have no idea why it took them this long to replace that technology FAIL. But look how long it took them to replace their heinously shitty "butterfly keyboard" on their laptops. And... oh yeah... you can charge with USB-C instead of the ten-year-old Lightning connector that nobody else in the industry is using. Yay. Alas no charging indicator... you have to look up the battery level on your AppleTV.
The navigation buttons surround a select button to form a "clickpad" that's also touch-enabled, which is very cool for whizzing through video. You also have a dedicated power button(!) and a mute button(!). It almost as if Apple is listening to what their customers want! Color me shocked. Regardless of why they did it, Apple has gone from my most hated remote ever to my favorite remote ever.
I dare say that the remote upgrade is reason enough to upgrade. Mostly because I am actually using it instead of avoiding it and using a 3rd party remote.
When compared to Amazon FireTV, Google Chromecast, and Roku, AppleTV is way ahead (except for the navigation GUI, which is still the absolute worst). The only competitor they have in this space is probably the NVIDIA Shield, which offers more flexibility and connectivity, but looks like absolute ass. I borrowed one from a friend who tested it and ended up preferring it to my old AppleTV, but not the new AppleTV Rev. 3.
So... yeah... my home theater setup is now complete.
Over the next couple of days I'll be talking about the DolbyVision and Dolby Atmos that I'm getting through my AppleTV box. If that's not for you... then I guess I'll see you on Thursday!
Posted on Tuesday, April 4th, 2023
In the right hands, I'm convinced that anything can become good entertainment.
But Barbie? As a feature film?!?
Well... yeah, apparently. It looks as if Greta Gerwig and an endless cast of stars may actually have managed to find a way to make it work. The new trailer looks visually exciting, and they have really leaned into what makes Barbie be Barbie. I mean... have you seen this?
Interesting how they are leaning hard into Magic Earring Ken, the gayest of all Ken dolls...
I tell you what... my respect for Ryan Gosling just keeps growing. The guy is fearless.
I'm not saying that I'll be running to the theater to see Barbie... but I will absolutely give it a rent on home video.
How could I not?
Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023
Building a truly great home theater is expensive. Over the years I have tried to create the best that I can afford. Which decidedly does not involve building a custom theater room. I just do the best I can with my living room. That, paired with the fact that electronics tend to get cheaper over time, has helped.
My sound recently got a major upgrade with a pair of Sonos Era 300's. Their ability to render a pretty good height channel for Dolby Atmos out of my Sonos Arc may not be as incredible as actual dedicated height speakers, but it's cheaper than ripping apart my walls to wire them in.
I wanted a cool $3,000 OLED TV when my old TV died, but that's way, way out of my budget. Instead I bought a mid-range Sony 65" KD65X80J for $780 on sale. It's far from perfect, but it has decent brightness, HDR color fidelity to display DolbyVision, and can pass-through Dolby Atmos sound. Which makes it worth paying $300 more than a cheaper model (until I check my wallet... then I'm all "What was I thinking?").
Which left me to my media source.
Early streaming efforts were pretty crappy. Color fidelity was awful. Motion artifacts were terrible. And resolution was abysmal. So I invested in a Samsung Blu-Ray 4K UHD player. The picture quality was outstanding. So sharp and saturated. But I could never get the advanced audio to work. Sonos couldn't handle DTS, it can only process Dolby Atmos. But some discs only came with DTS, which meant that I had to rely on conversion by other components, which usually didn't work and got me Dolby 5.1 instead. Rather than wasting money on Blu-ray Discs that may or may not give me the audio I was paying for, I abandoned it. And was thrilled about it, since most discs had a STOP PIRACY warning which you were forced to look at and couldn't fast-forward past (which is fucking stupid... I bought your fucking disc, didn't I?).
Then Apple came out with AppleTV 4K. It could stream much, much better quality 4K video in full HDR10 DolbyVision color, complete with Dolby Atmos. Which is to say that every movie I purchase from the iTunes Store which supported spatial audio would be in Dolby Atmos format for my Sonos system. Yay. When comparing the two visually and audibly, it's darn close to Blu-Ray UHD video quality. The only time I could tell was if I paused the video and compared it frame-by-frame. And so I started buying all my movies digitally, which is cheaper and easier than Blu-Ray anyway. Even if it does mean that I'm always under threat of the stuff I buy getting jerked from the iTunes Store and having nothing to show for it (which should be illegal... at the very least I should get my money back). It's a pity that the user interface for AppleTV continues to be incomprehensibly shitty, but I guess nothing is perfect.
So now I only use my Blu-Ray player for old movies that I am not able to re-purchase as digital, and it's not worth the hard drive space to rip them.
As for DolbyVision? Here are some of my favorites which are taking advantage of the HDR color gamut and video quality...
Posted on Thursday, April 6th, 2023
UPDATE: Ironic to note that after I wrote this entry, I was watching a movie when all of a sudden my Sonos Arc soundbar made a loud POP then the sound cut out. It was seriously loud. I thought that the dresser fell over in the guest room or something. I thought it had blew out, which seemed impossible given that I didn't even have the sound up that loud, but after unplugging and plugging back in, it was find. Until it happened again! After some Googling, I found that this is a KNOWN ISSUE and Sonos hasn't done shit about it. Apparently it has to do with several audio sources, including Xbox and newer-generation AppleTV 4K. Like the one I just bought. So, yeah, not sure where I go from here. I guess I call Sonos and complain (as everybody else has done) and hope they get off their fucking asses and fix the problem. Though this has been an issue for over a year and nothing's been done, so who knows. In the meanwhile, I've gone back to my original AppleTV 4K in the hopes that the Sonos problem will abate until it's resolved. If it gets resolved.
UPDATE-UPDATE: Two days running off the old AppleTV 4K, and no pops. I switch back to the Rev. 3 AppleTV 4K and they start up again. WTF?!? I am assuming that Apple is using HDMI and Atmos standards to make their little box... so what's the deal with Sonos? Frustrating. Am I never going to be able to update my media sources now?
When it comes to the Dolby Atmos spatial audio on my Sonos Arc soundbar, I was less than impressed. Despite buying a Sonos mount, positioning the soundbar 4-inches below my television as instructed, and cranking the height channel to maximum, I just wasn't feeling it. I'd watch scene after scene of the best Atmos mixes available, confirm that Sonos was receiving Atmos sound, and never heard anything of any substance. It was a heck of a punch to the gut after paying the money it cost me.
Then Sonos released the Era 300 (which I reviewed here) and all of that was supposed to change.
And so I bought into their game, fully expecting to return the speakers when they let me down as the Sonos Arc had done.
But then they actually ended up worth being the price of admission. Once I adjusted the rear speakers to point slightly inward... increased the height volume to maximum... increased the treble by a lot... increased the bass by a bit to compensate... and increased the surround audio a touch... it all kinda came together. The only thing I could do to improve it further would be to add a wall in my open living space so that the left channel could reflect instead of drift towards my kitchen. Something that's not in the cards, alas.
But still... darn good. Mostly for spatial audio music, because the Atmos mixes we get for home video is lacking. Though the situation is improving, some movies are more impressive than others. Below is a list of my favorites. My top two are films by Denis Villeneuve, who seems to take spatial audio very seriously.
What surprised me most was the Atmos mixes I liked the least. I read over and over and over that my favorite movie of 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road had some of the best Atmos work to date. And yet... I was seriously underwhelmed by the overhead effects, which were so random as to be distracting (unlike John Wick 2 where you can forget about it). The height channel would pop up when it wasn't needed... then be missing when you'd expect them to be there. It's bizarre. But still an incredible movie. I just think it sounds better with a 5.1 mix.
Which is rare.
Most times, the Dolby Atmos mix is incredible... even when it's not consistent. And finally... finally... I can hear it in my home theater thanks to the Sonos Era 300's.
Posted on Friday, April 7th, 2023
I save a lot of stuff throughout the week, then choose the top six or seven items for that week's Bullet Sunday post. But with this one I just can't wait.
I saw this video which shows how the book Dune compares to the movie Dune: Part One and was so frickin' impressed that I re-watched it on my television. I've read the book at least a dozen times... watched the movie a half-dozen... and this video flawlessly shows how smart choices have to be made when filming an "unfilmable" novel.
Dune: Part One leaves a lot of stuff out, because you pretty much have to, but the stuff they jettisoned built a movie that honored the spirit of the original in a way that you could only dream of...
So many movies fail... badly... by either keeping too much or keeping the wrong stuff... or making changes that ruin the story. Dune: Part One is an example of how you do it right, even though the video points out that some things get lost that changes how you perceive the story.
But hopefully if people enjoyed the movie they'll read the book to get all that stuff back. The movie adaptation really doesn't change anything in a way that no longer makes sense when you experience the source material, which is exactly how you should do it.
Posted on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023
We have to wait until NOVEMBER to get to see The Marvels, which is many months too long.
Especially when you look at this incredible new trailer that just dropped...
They came up with a great way to make this crossover happen, and Kamala Khan is adorable.
But it's seven+ months away.
An even bigger bummer is that Disney is dictating that Marvel slow down its output. "Quality over Quantity." And yet... in my mind it's not the movies that are suffering. Granted, I haven't seen Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania yet, but there hasn't been many missteps (only Eternals comes to mind, because it was a bit of a mess... but it's also a fun watch). No, for me it's the television shows that aren't up to the quality they should be.
But I haven't hated any of them.
I thought WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier were okay. Loki was good. Hawkeye was fantastic. Moon Knight was a disappointment. Ms. Marvel didn't live up to its potential. And I thought She-Hulk was good, but the ending leaned too hard into the whole fourth-wall-breaking stuff and short-changed the emotional stakes of the show.
Of the upcoming shows... Secret Invasion looks fantastic. Loki will likely be good. Ironheart could be great... if the story is worth watching. Echo I don't care about... unless it is guest-star heavy. Agatha: Coven of Chaos will likely not be my cup of tea (although I will absolutely watch it). And then there's Daredevil: Born Again... holy crap am I excited for this series. Charlie Cox's Netflix show was amazing, and his guest spot in She-Hulk was as good as it gets. I love the idea that he might be a little more upbeat and fun rather than the never-ending gloom of the Netflix show. She-Hulk shows that he can be serious... but also fun and exciting to watch. I hope they give him an overwhelming villain to really show off his abilities.
Marvel has done a great job bringing their comic book characters to live action. I seriously hope that their "stepping back" doesn't kill the momentum they've been building. Because we've got Secret Wars coming up, and that has such exciting possibilities that the potential for success is extremely high (assuming they really take advantage of what Secret Wars was and could be).
Posted on Thursday, April 13th, 2023
I like to keep on top of cinema. I belong to a number of forums devoted to film... both foreign and domestic. I follow a bunch of movie news sites on social media. I pore through streaming sites to see what's been released that looks interesting to me for one reason or another.
But every once in a while something comes along which takes me completely by surprise. It's a movie or TV show that I most definitely should have heard of, but didn't for some reason.
And that pretty much sums up Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel...
It's science fiction. It's British. It stars Chris O'Dowd and Anna Faris. It has an indy vibe. ANY of these factors mean that it should have crossed my radar, because all of these factors are things that I enjoy. And yet... here it was... just popping up on HBO like it's been there all along. AND IT'S FROM 2009?!?
It has very mixed reviews. And I get it. This is not a big-budget time travel flick with a massive budget and simple story. It's more intimate and complex than that. But I loved it. Very smart and clever with good ideas and a phenomenal cast. And it's funny. Very happy to have happened across it when I brought up HBO Max tonight.
After watching Frequent Questions About Time Travel, HBO recommended a film by Martin Scorsese that I have never heard of before... The Big Shave. And I thought "Well that's an odd title for a movie, I had better watch it!"
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST DISTURBING THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN AND IT IS ONLY SIX MINUTES LONG! WTF?!? It's from 1967... and I am now traumatized. Apparently it is a commentary on the Vietnam War. And because trauma loves company, I found it on YouTube to share with y'all (they don't allow embedding, so you have to click this link).
At first I was all "THIS is how Scorsese started filmmaking?!?" But then the more I thought about it, the more it makes perfect sense.
And then I fell through a rabbit hole on this film, Googling everything I could find out about it.
Life is weird, in general. The internet is weird, specifically.
Posted on Monday, April 17th, 2023
It's no secret that Batman is my favorite comic book super-hero. Mainly because he's not "super" at all, but is instead a mere mortal with an amazing skill set that is able to hold his own with god-like beings. A good writer can make that interesting. A great writer can make that phenomenally entertaining.
At his core, Batman is a detective. The best Batman stories utilize this in one way or another. When I first started reading comic books, there were two titles devoted to him... Batman and Detective Comics, the latter being more detective-oriented than just a guy dressed as a bat pummeling bad guys.
Bringing the character to film has been a mixed bag over the years. Some efforts are good. Some efforts are very good. And a few are extraordinary.
And here's how I rank them out...
Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023
As a huge, huge, massively huge fan of all the Marvel Studios films, I was understandably looking forward to Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. The first two Ant-Man films were a blast, Scott Lang was fantastic in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, and Paul Rudd can literally do no wrong in my eyes.
It was finally released on home video, so I paid my $20 and tonight was the night...
The movie was good. I was entertained. But it was a huge step down from the previous two movies in every way but one.
First of all... the fun was gone. There were humorous bits, but everything was far more serious than what I was expecting, and not in a good way. I think that Marvel put the setup for their upcoming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty movie ahead of letting Ant-Man be Ant-Man. And I don't understand why. The only thing I can guess is that this was the only way Marvel would agree to make the movie, and they ultimately didn't care about making sure the tone of the film was Ant-Man driven. And that's a shame, because yeah... the movies aren't making a billion dollars at the box-office... but they do make money, so why not let them be who they are?
Second of all, the Quantum Realm is 97% of the film, and Ant-Man (as created for the Marvel Cinematic Universe) works better in the Real World. The wacky, weird, bizarre, large stakes stuff can work when the character is surrounded by heroes able to make it work, but alone? Not so much.
I love Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer but they kinda took over the movie. I like the idea of Stature (Cassie Lang) joining the MCU, but she kinda took over the movie too. There just wasn't enough Ant-Man and The Wasp Ant-Man and The Wasp, and that was a bummer for me.
And now to that one thing that was better than the previous two... the villain.
Jonathan Majors is so incredibly talented. Easily the best thing to come out of the film. His every scene is tangibly menacing... while still still being fairly subdued. That's not easy to achieve. This has me really, really excited for the direction that Phase 5 is taking since he's the new Thanos...
BUT THEN Major's domestic abuse charges happened. The woman who filed them has recanted... and his lawyer says there is video evidence to clear him... but his talent agency dropped him and he's been evicted from upcoming movies, which leads me to believe that there's something to the charges after all. I guess we'll find out after his trial. Depending on what happens there, Disney may drop him from all the upcoming movies he was set to appear in, at which point I guess he would be recast. Which would be a darn shame for Kang... but it's not like you can't not cancel the actor if there's evidence he's an abuser.
Ultimately, I'm not sure what this movie was supposed to achieve. I guess it was to introduce Kang, but Loki already did that. And the Kang that was introduced here didn't really tell you anything about Kang except he's a power-mad villain whose a very serious threat. And there are a lot of him coming down the pipe. But that could have been done in ten minutes in a more appropriate film. Devoting an entire Ant-Man movie to it was just way off base and a major misstep.
So... it is what it is.
But it could have been so much more.
Posted on Sunday, April 23rd, 2023
The weather can't make up its mind lately, but I'm not letting grey skies ruin my weekend... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ghosty Mc Ghost Ghost! I was SO looking forward to Ghosted on Netflix. The film didn't disappoint. Ana de Armas is frickin amazing... and the fact that Chris Evans could play absolutely ANYTHING he wants, but chooses to play the damsel in distress in this movie just makes me love him all the more (he had already completely changed my mind about his career trajectory with Gifted, which I also loved)...
This is a great action flick, and the performances are everything you'd hope they'd be given how outrageous the story is. There's also some notable cameos to watch out for, if you're interested in giving it a shot.
• Mrs. Davis Loves You! There's a new show on Peacock called Mrs. Davis. I'm loving it, but am having a hardtime putting into words why I'm loving it. Maybe the trailer will help?
Jake McDorman (from Limitless) is in it, which doesn't hurt. Also in the series? A very cool edition of Bristish Knights shoes...
Alas, you can't actually buy these, which seems like a hugely missed opportunity.
• Edna! Comedian Barry Humphries died this past week. He is most known for playing a character which I obsessed over for the longest time...
In one of those sublime ironies, Humphries grew famous for a drag performance, but was a noted transphobe. I always looked at him differently after that. Fortunately most of the time I knew of Dame Edna was well before he outed himself as a bigot. But still...
• S'more! I won't go so far as to say that I hated The Menu... but I came very close. It was a film based on manipulation and shock value which had no value. At least not to me. It also dragged on to the point of tedium once the plot had been revealed. This was a painful conclusion for me to draw, because I loved the cast and the performances were amazing. THAT BEING SAID... the end game was brilliant. From Anya Taylor-Joy's little monologue to Ralph Fiennes's response to Anya's last request to the final shot of the film. It's flawless and haunting. I have fast-forwarded the movie to the end to watch it at least six times. Including just now today...
It makes me want to re-cut the movie down to a 15-20 minute short which is nothing but that which could have been a great flick.
• Pricey Taco! I swear before the pandemic that I was able to walk into Taco Bell and get my usual Two Chalupa Supremes (substitute rice for beef), a side of Fiesta Potatoes, and a bottle of water for under $10. But now? SEVENTEEN FIFTY-SEVEN?!??
WTF?!? And what's worse? NOBODY TAKES YOUR ORDER! YOU HAVE TO INPUT IT YOURSELF ON A BACTERIA-RIDDLED TOUCH-SCREEN! Good thing I travel with hand sanitizer!
• Hey Siri! The fact that Siri has become so fucking useless for home automation shouldn't really surprise me, but it totally does. Lately when I ask Siri to play a song, all I get is "There's a problem with Apple Music." Ask to unlock the door... The front door is not responding (though I can unlock through the app just fine). Even turning on a frickin' light is hit-or-miss. And when you call Apple they don't know shit. About a music service I PAY them for. And HomeKit has always been useless, so I don't even bother to try and get support for that. And so... no idea what I'm going to do. Amazon and Google are pulling resources from their digital assistants, so I don't know if they'll even be around to switch to. Thank heavens I made sure that all my new devices are Matter compatible. Maybe some enterprising company (or individual) will come up with a localized voice assistant for Matter that I can buy to run locally. Then I get a small computer and some kind of Matter-compatible microphones and call it a day. Why is it that companies have failed so miserably with a technology that's supposed to be our future? It started out so promising... now this.
• Taters! I bought a bag of luxury potatoes because I wanted to make potato salad this weekend. But when it came time to do it tonight... I looked at the bag... and thought "ZOMG! I WANT CRISPY-FRIED SPICY POTATOES FOR DINNERRRRR!!" I love them, but they take SO long to make properly. You have to cook them on low under a cover to get them softened. Then you have to add oil and fry at a higher temperature. Then you have to keep micro-dosing oil on them and turning not too early and not too long so they brown up nicely. Then you have to taste continuously so you can add just the right amount of freshly-ground black pepper, salt, harissa spice, cayenne, and Central Street blend. BUT OH SO WORTH IT! So crispy! So spicy! So hot!
Most restaurants won't put in the time and effort. But I'm patient and have very good flipping skills with a skillet.
Now it's time to eat those beautiful taters.
Posted on Sunday, April 30th, 2023
Spring has sprung and the local orchards are killing me with allergies, but I am not dead yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Williams! John Williams is one of the... if not the... greatest movie composers of all time. A lot of people may debate this, but anybody who can take a pile of shit like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and make it even a little tolerable has earned the honorific. Duel of the Fates is an incredible piece of music. CinemaStix does a shallow dive into "The Best Decision George Lucas Ever Made, and here it is...
Williams was due to retire. But then we found out he was composing for the final Indiana Jones movie... Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny... and now it sounds like he has something cooking with Steven Spielberg too. Lucky us!
• Wes! And speaking of Star Wars... these Wes Anderson parodies just keep getting better and better. My previous favorite was the parody of what an Anderson X-Men film would be like. But this is my new favorite...
Wow. I would pay serious money to watch this film.
• ROBOTS! There are movies that I am completely hooked on before the trailer even reaches the halfway mark. This is 1000% one of them. It looks hilarious...
Since it's by HBO films, I'm guessing it will end up on "Max" eventually. We'll see if I can wait that long... or whether I'll be paying the on-demand price to see it before that.
• Hate System! Former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has long been speaking out against bigotry, and on Friday this CNN interview was posted...
Say what you want about the guy but, in the grand scheme of things, he is a force for good in this world. We need more people like him.
• Beautification! This video is not for everyone. But if you're an architecture nerd like me, it's a wonderful, wonderful deep dive into reversing a horrible trend of turning cities into prisons. It's long, but I watched it twice because it was so interesting to me...
We need more of this happening in our cities. We need it.
• Puppers! This past week I saw a flood of "reaction" videos from people talking about the latest video from Lewis Capaldi. People bawling their heads off. People breaking down completely. And I was like "Whatever!" because I'm not a very emotional person, and just dismissed the "overreaction" outright. But then I watched it...
Then I was like "Yeah, I get it now." Humans and their antics may not often put a lump in my throat... but animals can do it quite easily. Couple the song with the video, and you can't be human and not react in some way to it.
• Undiplomatic! The Diplomat (Netflix) was very good television. It's dense and smart without being boring. It spins its wheels a bit, but ultimately moves ahead at a good clip. It also has fantastic performances that make it all the better. BUT THEN THEY END IT ON A MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER. Not about some small aspect of the story... BUT THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE STORY. It's like the story was cut in two and you only get the first half. Which is just fine if you've already been renewed for a second season. But, so far as we know, no second season has been ordered. Which means that the writers of the show are hacks of the fucking worst kind. They're too lazy to complete a story and then come up with a big idea to open the second season... instead they drop a bombshell so that they can just continue with what they've already done. No need to figure out a way to forge forward in a new, exciting direction... just roll onward from where you've already been. And if you get canceled? You don't care! Fuck your audience!...
I am so sick of this shit. IF YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOUR SHOW WILL CONTINUE, WRAP IT THE FUCK UP! STOP WITH THE UNWARRANTED CLIFFHANGERS YOU ABSOLUTE PIECE OF SHIT HACKS. This crap is fucking embarrassing, and I'm tired of it. — UPDATE! The show has been renewed for a second season. Which does nothing to stop my raging, because they could just keep doing this same shit each season until they're canceled and we're left hanging.
If I'm still alive from allergies next Sunday, you know where to find me.
Posted on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023
Given how spectacular the Dune adaptation is... I was fully expecting that they would kill the followup film. Then, miracle of miracles, Warner Bros. gave Denis Villeneuve the green light for Part Two. I was elated. At the very least we'd be getting a full adaptation of the first book. And hopefully get some followups, because the story is just getting started.
And today the trailer dropped.
It's everything you'd hope it would be...
And speaking of Dune...
Yes, I'm going to buy this book.
I will say it for the hundredth time... David Lynch's Dune was a great movie. Yes, I questioned some of the choices made. Yes, the special effects were limited by the technology of the day. But the fact he was forced to shove the entire book in one movie and have it turn out as amazing as it did is worthy of praise. Do I prefer the Villeneuve 2021/2023 adaptation? Yes. Does this diminish my appreciation for what Lynch was able to accomplish? It does not. I've watched it dozens of times and still love it.
Posted on Sunday, May 28th, 2023
Another week another Sunday ... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Cool! Michael Rosenbaum (who has one of my favorite podcasts) posted THIS to Facebook...
So of course I had respond...
Because The Thompson Twins are totally cool!
• Modern Meta! I've read a lot about film. I love movies and am fascinated by how people deconstruct and analyze them to add depth to our understanding and appreciation of this artform. Thomas Flight is my hands-down favorite...
He's so amazing at this kind of thing. If you love film, you need to check out his Youtube Channel.
• Natively! I've read a lot of documentation about how people have been systematically excommunicated from society by having their cultures, practices, and languages outlawed. The USA has many such travesties. Like native Hawaiians having their hula outlawed... only to have it later coopted and turned into a tourist attraction. Fortunately there are Hawaiians who are attempting to respect and honor the hula so that it returns to its original purpose, but still what a legacy of destruction we have. Needless to say, Native Americans have been horribly treated by the country... despite giving and contributing so much. And American Sign Language? Oh yeah... another contribution. This is fascinating...
It's important we know where we came from. And who came before us.
• Life's a Drag! Remember when I wore this Halloween costume I made… in Florida?? Probably be arrested for it now....
Florida is quickly becoming a fascist hellscape... and the rest of the country seems to be in danger of the same drama.
• Avenger! These Wes Anderson parodies are getting out of hand...
Just kidding. They're so good.
• Barbie! The marketing for this movie is genius. "If you love Barbie, this movie is for you." — "If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you."
Apparently the movie is for everybody!
• MOM?!? The other day I fell down a Jimmy Fowlie rabbit hole, which lead me back to the first video I ever saw of his...
LOL. Just as funny now as it always was.
Well, good luck with all that.
Posted on Sunday, June 18th, 2023
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there (including mine). It's a good day to celebrate it... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Extracting! The first Extraction movie was pretty good. I enjoyed it quite a lot. But the second one? Extraction 2? Holy cats! They like took everything from the first movie... which was already intense... and just ramped it right up past eleven. So good! In other news... I'm in love with Golshifteh Farahani now. I mean, I already fell for her by the end of the first movie... but now I'm like "I want to have your baby" level of in love. If Chris Hemsworth does, in fact, retire from acting... there is no reason what-so-ever that the franchise couldn't continue with Nik in the lead. Zero. She would be incredible...
I'd watch a Nik-centric movie as a spin-off for dang sure. Please, Netflix, get on that ASAP. Just back up a big dump truck full of cash to Golshifteh Farahani's house and make it happen! A prequel with Ovi would be ever so good!
• Misogyny Nation! Why does this country hate women? I mean it... they hate them. The USA despises women, considers them nothing more than breeding stock, and considers them an expendable resource when it comes to making more Americans...
With each passing day I grow more and more disgusted in what we're becoming.
• Blork! I love Mexican Street Corn. I order it any time it's on the menu. I'm addicted to Mexican Street Corn dip. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see that Cheetos Mexican Street Corn dip flavor. But, alas...
When I can't even bring myself to eat them at work... a place that I will eat anything just because it's there... you know they're bad. What a shame.
• Fast Car! This is a surprisingly good cover. It takes a lot of balls to take on the original Tracy Chapman classic... but he nails it...
And that's not something I say about a lot of covers out there.
• Studio Idiocy! HEADLINE: Avatar 3 Pushed a Year to 2025, Two Star Wars Movies Head for 2026 and Avengers Films Delayed. Lord. If this keeps up, I'll be dead before half of them Marvel stuff I want to see are even released. This is truly making me not give a shit any more. Disney has stalled all momentum in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They no longer build towards anything... they just putter around at random, and will then complain when all of us who have no more fucks to give don't turn up for the movies.
• Good Beatings! I am not a violent person. I abhor violence. It's everything that's wrong in our world. That being said, it's a good thing that I'm not in charge of security at this museum...
Even though the painting wasn't damaged, there's the possibility that it could have been. And for that alone these assholes deserve to have the ever-loving shit beat out of them. Who the fuck makes their point by being such fucking shit-heads? Makes me want to go out and do whatever I can to cause more climate change just to spite them.
• Mateoooo! And now, because I really like you, I found out that Mateo Lane's new special if available on YouTube. But who knows for how long?
Mateo is darn funny. And he's got a lot of good stuff on his YouTube Channel.
Enjoy what remains of your Sunday, party people.
Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2023
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is unraveling, and it started with their Phase Four slate.
I liked Black Widow quite a bit. It wasn't a perfect film, but it was good entertainment. I loved Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It added a new layer to super-heroics and made things feel fresh. Eternals was a big convoluted mess of a film, but I grew to appreciate it after a couple more viewings. Had they just focused on a smaller set of the more interesting characters (and killed off Sprite in the opening five minutes) it could have been a really good flick. Spider-Man: No Way Home was fan service from start to finish, but it was darn good fan service and a step up from the previous Spider film. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was just okay. It did Wanda dirty and kinda spun its wheels in ways that were tedious, but Doctor Strange is one of my favorite Marvel characters, so I made allowances. Thor: Love and Thunder got panned, but I actually liked it well enough. Yes, it went off-the-rails silly and Taika should have been reigned in, but it was still fun to watch. Then we get to the only movie in Phase Four that completely knocked it out of the park: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. As impossible as it was to imagine a Black Panther movie without Black Panther, Ryan Coogler just completely nailed why we are invested in Wakanda and the characters who inhabit it.
And then we got to Phase Five.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania was a barely good movie that squandered the characters in a way that I don't understand at all. What made the first two so great is the fact that Ant-Man is a tiny hero in a big world is exploited for fantastic action, cool scenarios, and genuine laughs. By shoving him to "The Quantum Realm," every bit of that is lost. There's no scale for anything. Laughs are driven by just being weird instead of being funny. The action went wider in scope, which actually felt more confined. It was C+ entertainment that had me mad at the missed opportunity of a much, much better film.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 was a complete 180° (mostly in a good way, though it definitely had some major problems) and, when paired with Shang-Chi and Wakanda Forever, was what Phase Four should have been. Films which were orchestrated with, intent, purpose, and quality that made Phases One through Three the benchmark for comic book movies. But instead Marvel did was Marvel used to never do... make films which are only good because of their context within a bigger universe. They don't really stand on their own and aren't really all that entertaining on their own. Quantumania was a vehicle to introduce Kang, and they didn't care how they had to force the movie to go to do that.
And don't get me started on the Marvel Shows for Disney+. With the sole exception of Hawkeye, which was better than many Marvel movies as of late, everything had its problems and is pretty forgettable to me. Secret Invasion starts Wednesday and looks promising. After that it's Loki 2 and, heaven help us, Echo. From there it's more static until Daredevil: Born Again arrives next year.
I understand what Marvel/Disney was trying to do with their Disney+ shows... extend the franchise with stories which need more room than a movie or wouldn't work as a movie... provide content for the streaming service... and give people something Marvel to watch in-between the films. But most importantly, it introduced us to characters like Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and (soon to be) Wonder Man who can pop up in the next Big Thing: Secret Wars (now delayed until... 2026?!?).
Industry pundits are saying that the decline in attention to Marvel's films is due to "super-hero fatigue." And while that's certainly a part of it... the simple fact is that Marvel isn't churning out as good as content as they used to. Which is a shame, because these are among my favorite films of all time.
Fortunately I can always go back and revisit those incredible early flicks any time I want.
Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2023
The trailer for Dune: Part Two dropped today.
This may very well be the movie that I finally go crawling back to the theater to see. It would be the first in four and a half years.
Because... holy cats...
Today after work I put my living room back together. With all the mass-loaded vinyl, sound-dampening insulation, and vibration pipe clips in there, the sound of my HVAC return line is not nearly as annoying. When I have television or music on it's barely noticeable.
This past weekend I cleaned out my refrigerator because I had another Coke can rupture. Not explode... just a slow leak kinda thing. No idea why this keeps happening. I guess that cans are so thin now that they just don't have any structural integrity?
While I was at it, I consolidated my two cheese drawers into one big drawer...
That freed up a drawer that I can put all my nuts and dried fruits in...
Surprisingly, all my jams and sour creams were still within their expiration date...
All my condiments too...
And even all my salad dressings...
As if that wasn't awesome enough... my breads, pickles, eggs, and sodas were still good to boot...
All clean! Until next month when I have to start all over again.
Or earlier than a month if another Coke leaks all over.
Posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2023
Yesterday I was busy getting burnt so your bullets are a day late... because an all new Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...
• Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow! My favorite Star Trek has always been the original. None of the shows that followed come close. Until now. The third episode of Strange New Worlds is just one more brilliant feather in the show's cap...
Even if you're not a Star Trek nerd... you'll want to tune in if you love good television.
• Driven! I WAS NOT PREPARED!!
• Pebbles! Holy crap...
I'd like... preserve those in acrylic... or something.
• New Pixar! Despite my having zero interest in Elemental, I am incredibly anxious to see the other upcoming Pizar flick...
• Matlock! WHERE HAVE I BEEN? DID Y'ALL KNOW ABOUT THIS?!???
Kathy Bates in a lawyer show? I will watch the hell out of this!
• NEWSFLASH: Titan Sub Search Could Cost Taxpayers Millions. The gubermint should sell insurance to rich people looking for dangerous thrills to cover the cost of rescue/recovery missions. It should be required. I had to buy a huge policy when I went to Antarctica in case I had to be air-lifted back to South America... why do rich people have to pay nothing? If you can afford a quarter million to go see Titanic, you can afford another quarter million in insurance.
• Dreams in Pink! Architectural Digest getting a tour of Barbie's Dream Home is what I need right now...
How somebody at AD thought to do this is pretty great.
Have a nice day at work tomorrow, England!
Posted on Sunday, July 9th, 2023
The holiday week is over, but don't think it's over yet... because an all new Very Special YouTube Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Diner! I am addicted to the Architectural Digest YouTube channel. There's a great assortment of videos, and if you're an archtecture nerd, it's terrific time sink. An interesting one is about diner archtecture and how it has influenced other structures... like the Space Needle...
And that's Americana for you.
• Space! Seattle is home to quite a few famous places, but the most iconic is the Space Needle. As a kid, I was kind of abssessed with it. Built for the 1962 world's Fair, it instantly became the symbol of the city. It had a massive renovation in 2017 that essentially gutted it and added glass floors and panels so that it fit into modern tourist attraction trends. This video is an excellent overview over how it all works...
A few notes...
• Talent! Now this is somebody with skills..
It's amazing how people can do this kind of impossible stuff.
• LEGO! The best thing about The LEGO Movie is that it looked like LEGO. It was frickin' brilliant eye candy. And this is how they got there...
I've watched and re-watched The LEGO Movie just because I love how it moved. I skip the end, which is phenomenally stupid, but everything up to then is amazing. Fortunately The LEGO Batman Movie is brilliant from start to finish, so I watch every frame.
• Make Mine Marvel? Alrighty then. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has a lot of things to like, but it's also one of the most sadistic fucking movies I've ever seen. The amount of torture and death is just inexcusable for an escapist super-hero fun comic book movie...
I don't understand the heavy amount of praise this movie has been getting given how utterly horrific it is. WTF?
• JUSTIIIIIICE! JUSTICE! JUSTICE FOR BUZZY! — This is wild. I remember a story at the time about a guy stealing stuff from Walt Disney World, but don't recall ever hearing what happened. The story is nuts...
• Thrown! A video pops up and now I'm mad all over again at the shitty fucking ending of Game of Thrones. Two arrogant assholes took the paycheck to rush the show to a truly awful conclusion instead of handing it off to somebody who gives a shit. All so they could move on to projects which never happened thanks to their horrific mishandling of the show that made them famous...
And then there's the fact that one of them is a shitty fucking writer and the other one has no experience. The only thing they're moderately good at is adapting other people's writing (and we know what happened when they ran out of books for Game of Thrones)...
I am MORTIFIED that they will be show runners and writers for 3 Body Problem over at Netflix. I have no fucking clue how they were ever hired by anybody ever again after the way they completely trashed Thrones.
Now back to my overcast Sunday.
Posted on Thursday, July 13th, 2023
SO MANY TRAILERS ARE BEING UNLEASHED!
As somebody who loves movies, I'm pretty thrilled... although more and more I'm happy to wait for them to stream somewhere than to go see them in a theater with =shudder= people. I'm more excited about the trailers for television shows.
So let's take a look, shall we?
First up? Blue Beetle! GRADE: D
Are you frickin' kidding me? This looks like complete shit! So many of these movies are serving up boring-ass crap like "MY POWER COMES FROM THE LOVE OF MY FAMILY!" and other bullshit that doesn't make for a good movie when it's used as a substitute for something... ANYTHING... that's actually interesting.
Is DC telling James Gunn to say great things about movies like The Flash and declare Blue Beetle "The First Hero of the New DCU (even though he's not in the DCU)"... whatever the hell that means... in order to bump ticket sales for their failed universe? All it actually does is blow his credibility. Just let the guy focus on what he does best. Like add Metamorpho to his Superman movie? That's the James Gunniest thing that could have happened! Although I'm pretty sure that super-hero movies will be officially dead any minute now. Between the utter shit that came out of DC and mediocre crap out of Marvel, nobody wants this.
Next up? Ahsoka! GRADE: A
Genius. The third season of The Mandalorian faltered a bit, but was still good television. Boba Fett was deeply flawed because all the good moments were in service of The Mandalorian but, again, good television. Obi-Wan had several major plot holes and some inexplicably stupid choices but, once again, I was entertained. Star Wars on Disney+ has been killing it. Which is why I am very excited for Ahsoka. It looks amazing.
And then? Wonka! GRADE: B
Now, see, this is where a trailer can work for a film. Because when I heard they were making a Willy Wonka prequel starring Timothée Chalamet, I had less than zero plans on watching it. But now? I will definitely tune in when it his whatever streaming service gets it. Especially with Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa! Looks like it will have some entertainment value going on, which is about all you can ask for now-a-days.
And then? Twisted Metal! GRADE: B+
I played a lot of Twisted Metal back in the day. It was a depraved video game that didn't quite cross into gross absurdity. The trailer implies that they just went for balls-out fun from start to finish, and it totally works for me. Ah nostalgia. Definitely tuning into Peacock for this one.
And then? Rebel Moon! GRADE: D-
Despite the fact that Zack Snyder creates awful movies that I absolutely loathe, I keep giving him a chance to do something I'll like because I still think that he did a good job on 300 and did a half-way decent job on Watchmen (until he fucked up the ending). I don't quite know what to do about Rebel Moon. The concept sounds good. But this trailer is dog shit. A bunch of cut-to-black moments and obscured action that tells you nothing about the movie. Who the fuck thought this was a good intro to the film? Probably Zack Snyder.
And then? Napoleon! GRADE: B
Look, I'm going to watch whatever Ridley Scott gives us. Period. No, it doesn't always pay off but, if nothing else, it's guaranteed to be pretty to look at. And if he finds the right story? Sky's the limit. This movie looks well-cast, and I'm genuinely interested in seeing what Ridley manages to do with the material. Because, once again, just look at how gorgeous it is! Nobody does visuals like Ridley Scott.
And then? The Retirement Plan! GRADE: A
It's Nicholas Cage. What else do you want? Looks fantastic. And hilarious.
And then? Corner Office! GRADE: B
Say what you want about Jon Hamm's choice of roles, which is not always that great... but he always delivers. This movie looks surreal and intriguing. Which is the perfect genre for Hamm to inhabit. Though I really, really, hope we get another Fletch out of him sometimes soon.
Until more trailers start triggering, I guess that's all I got.
Posted on Friday, July 14th, 2023
And now SAG-AFTRA (actor's union) has joined the WGA (writer's union) and gone on strike.
Contract negotiations have always seemed like a big puzzle to me. But not a difficult one. Actors and writers are saying that they're being exploited (which they are, especially as AI tech advances) while studios are saying that the new streaming business model has drastically cut into the money they're raking in (which is likely true).
Studios put up the money to get stuff made. Sometimes it's successful (read: profitable) and sometimes it's not (read: loses them money). The success of some shows and movies offsets the losses from other shows and movies. Studio executives try and balance this out favorably so they can return a profit. If they don't turn a profit, then they don't have the money to take a chance on new shows and movies.
So, realistically, writers and actors want the studios to make money. That's how they will continue to find work. Not that there aren't writers or actors who would gladly screw over other writers and actors or the studios so they get more money... of course there are... I'm just saying that, in general, it is in their best interest to want the studios to turn a profit.
But they don't want to be exploited while doing it.
And studios, honestly, shouldn't want that either. No sane person wants to make money via exploitation. Anybody who does is evil and has no business being in control of a company.
And therein lies the problem. There are people in these studios who are, to put it mildly, evil. They don't give a shit how they make a buck, and if it takes fucking over the people who create the product they put out, they're going to do that. Scripts written via AI so you don't have to pay creators and writers? Do it! Actors forced to sign over their likeness so you can fire them and continue to have them in your product? Do it! If they can fuck over creative people for a buck, they will 1000% do that and think nothing of it so long as they keep making money.
Which is why this isn't really about the studios or the talent behind the studios.
It's about us consumers.
Will we support studios who think nothing about their writers and actors and have zero problem exploiting their talent for a buck while not giving a fuck who they're screwing over? I sure as hell hope not. I, for one, would never support a show where the writers and actors aren't fairly compensated for their work and have no security from the work and services they provide. Fuck that. I can very easily cancel all my streaming services with zero regrets. And that's exactly what I'll do if it comes down to it.
This is a strike with two sides that's going to take understanding from everybody involved. And it's largely going to fall on the studios to do the right thing. Because so many of the rank-and-file writers and actors want nothing more than to be able to make a living doing the work they love. But when writers have to live in fear of being cut loose after creating something so their ideas and hard work can be turned over to a computer... or actors have to worry they will be cut loose so computer-generated actors can exploit their likeness... well... that doesn't seem very fair, does it? Just listen to this horrendous crap that was revealed at the press conference...
"They proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their company should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity, in any project they want with no consent and with no compensation."
There's a lot of room to create a system where studios can make a profit while treating the talented people that work for them fairly. But it will involve transparency. It will involve not being evil.
And, as much as I would miss the television and movies I love so much, I am more than willing to give it all up to make sure that the system which provides it is a fair one.
Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2023
The official trailer just dropped for The Marvels at Comic Con... which looks much like the initial "teaser trailer" we've already seen.
But before we get to that...
The rumors circulating around this movie are pretty crazy. It had already had a round of reshoots before the first test screening, which is normal. But apparently the test audience reaction was so horrifically bad that they decided to do more reshoots because people felt the tone of the film was way too over-the-top goofy. And, if that's the case, then thank heavens. I can't stand it when bad writing ends up being "goofy" because the writers don't understand "humor." Suffering through films that are so groan-inducing awful like that is what hell must be like (see: both cuts of Justice League).
But anyway, here's the trailer...
Now, to me, that just looks like a fun super-hero action flick. And while there are goofy moments (LOVE YOU, GOOSE!) it's not over-the-top. Hopefully this is what the tone of the final movie will be, because I think I'll really like it.
When I wade into the toxic cesspool that is the internet, there's a lot of hot takes on the film.
Mostly centered around people's "hatred" of Brie Larson.
Which takes me back to the first Captain Marvel film, where fanboys were unloading on Brie and review-bombing the film... apparently because they hate the idea of a female-led Marvel movie. In the comics the first Captain Marvel was a Kree male named Mar-Vell. Eventually his mantel was passed to Carol Danvers, which makes the MCU version comic-book faithful in every way except her origin (which I thought was better in the movie than the comics). The fact that Mar-Vell ended up being a Kree scientist played by Annette Benning (a character I loved) along with Brie Larson hate made it seem like the movie would be a financial disaster.
Captain Marvel went on to make 1.3 billion dollars despite it all.
Anyway. I don't really follow Hollywood, but apparently Brie Larson has said a lot of controversial shit. Like advocating for a more diverse population of film critics because there's an awful lot of 40-year-old white men trashing films that were not made for them. Now, personally I think this is bullshit. A professional critic is able to keep in mind the audience while reviewing a film... that's the job. But realistically? Yeah, Brie Larson is 100% on-point. There will alway be material in a film that a 40-year-old white man can't relate to and this will taint their feelings on the film. In that respect, I would absolutely love to see more diversity in the film critic profession. I love looking at the world (and movies!) from other perspectives. Makes me appreciate people more because diversity is good. So, sure, points to Brie. But come on. She could have phrased that without attacking people. A simple "I would sure like to see more diversity in movie critics so that more viewpoints are out there" would have been a far better way to make your point.
And it goes on and on. The most common critique is that "Brie Larson is unlikeable." And that's fine. If the things she says bothers you so much that you find her unlikeable... you be you and own your feelings. But I have to wonder how much of her "unlikeability" comes from being an outspoken woman. Personally, I think she's perfectly nice in all the interviews I've seen. Abrasive at times, sure, but that's a huge part of my personality, so who am I to judge? Who is anybody? A lot of the drama around Brie seems to be taking small moments (like Don Cheadle grimacing when Brie Larson gave him a friendly ribbing) and exploding them. And even when people shoot that down (Don Cheadle tweeted they were all good), the drama lives on.
Plus... she's friends with Samuel L. Jackson and has the guy on speed-dial, which carries a lot of weight on my opinion because I don't think that Samuel L. Jackson is the type of man who would put up with bullshit from assholes.
Anyway, I guess this is just my long, drawn-out way of saying "I like the MCU Captain Marvel, love Brie Larson's take on her, loved her first movie, LOVE LOVE LOVED her in Avengers: Endgame, like the look of the new trailer, and am looking forward to The Marvels." I hope it doesn't disappoint. The first one sure didn't.
And yes, I fully believe that The Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel are the two most powerful characters in the MCU, so I guess our toxic, misogynistic society can spend their time hating me as well.
Posted on Sunday, July 23rd, 2023
It's another scorcher out there today, but never you fear about my melting... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Strange Decks! There is now no question what-so-ever that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is my favorite Trek. It has eclipsed The Original Series, as I knew it would. And this latest episode (dropping early in honor of ComicCon!)... which is a mind-blowing crossover with the comedic ANIMATED show, Star Trek: Lower Decks... is beyond genius. They brought voice actors Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid into Real Life and the transition is seamless. They are very much the same characters, just no longer animated...
Now, they could have easily did this as a throw-away episode. Or dismissed it as a dream. Or any number of things which would have kneecapped it into irrelevance. But it was well-thought-out and completely serious while honoring the tone and characters of their respective shows. It's borderline thrilling how Strange New Worlds keeps one-upping themselves episode after episode. AND THAT ENDING! Brilliant Trek. Brilliant television.
• American Heartland! In a shocking announcement, a new $2 BILLION theme park is being built in Tulsa. Called "American Heartland" this seems like a carbon copy of "Disney's America," a theme park outside of Washington, D.C. that was never built which is based around Americana...
Now, I think this is a cool idea. Definitely. But Oklahoma?!? And not Southern Oklahoma which is close to Texas and might have a longer operating season... Northeast Oklahoma, which likely has fairly mild winters, but not California/Florida mild. And it seems primed for failure given that the biggest city (Oklahoma City, 2-1/2 hours away) has under 700,000 people. The nearest actual major city is Dallas or St. Louis, but they're a five hour drive. Which begs the question... why not just put it near Dallas or St. Louis? They at least have a big population and a major airport there! But still... they are promoting a laundry list of experienced Disney/Universal attraction designers, so there's that. I'd like to see it, of course. But it seems as though this is going to go the way of "Disney's America" and won't be built.
• Seek Discomfort! one of my long-time favorite YouTube channels is Yes Theory which is a group of people doing extraordinary things via travel and adventure by stepping out of their comfort zone. It's a channel I binge for a while, then leave for a while, because while it's beautiful to behold... it's also emotionally overwhelming. We're so inundated with reasons to feel cynical that watching the opposite of that for too long can be tough. And a couple of their latest videos are pretty darn special...
If you're a longtime fan of the channel, that surprise guest in France was almost too much to take.
How amazing is that?
• 'MURICA AI! This Buzzfeed article is nuts: I Asked AI What Europeans Think Americans From Every Single State Look Like, And The Results Are Just Plain Mean. Mean? Maybe. But some of them are scary accurate. Go ahead and click through. I dare you.
• Rescued! Miracles happen. What an incredible story...
Is it wrong that the entire time watching the video I'm screaming "BUT HOW IS THE DOG DOING?!?
• Ketchup> Hallmark Channel's "June Weddings" event is over... but I went back to watch the first half hour of The Wedding Contract because I wasn't paying much attention until the end when I watched it last month. What's REALLY NICE is that Hallmark is putting a little diversity over the same old story... they had an Indian wedding, and this is a Jewish wedding (seriously... she's baking a challah for Shabbat dinner!). But the best part is how it takes place in Chicago... but not really. It's shot in Vancouver. BUT IT'S TOTALLY CHICAGO BECAUSE SHE'S SITTING ON A PARK BENCH WITH A SLICE OF DEEP DISH PIZZA NEXT TO HER! BWAH HA HA HAAA! But wait, there's more! They get a coffee at cart called Chicago's Finest Hot Dogs and... what's that on the cart there?
THERE'S A BOTTLE OF KETCHUP ON THE CART! BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAAAA! HA HA HAAAAAA!!! Clearly the set decorator has never been to Chicago. That ketchup would be hidden and provided (RELUCTANTLY) by request only. Ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago... BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA =gasp= HA HAAAA!!! People have died for less!
• POD PEOPLE! I really, really want to see this...
Looks interesting. Looks different. Has great lead actors. Why not?
Hope you're having a cooler Sunday than I am!
Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2023
Paul Reubens has died.
I am a massive, massive fan. I was in college when Pee-Wee's Playhouse debuted, and somebody had recorded a bunch of episodes and played them on the big screen in the lounge. It was incredible. Despite being a show for kids, there was a lot of material for adults to latch onto as well. Pee-Wee's show was fun, smart, imaginative, diverse, brilliant television. Exactly the kind of thing kids should be watching.
But Paul Reubens was more than Pee-Wee. He has the absolute best death scene in the history of cinema from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (here's a link in case YouTube is being a dick)...
But it was Pee-Wee that made him (rightfully) famous, and I've had him make an appearance on Blogography more than once. Like this one from 2011, long before "President Trump" was unleashed on the world...
Needless to say, this DaveToon is more relevant today than it ever was.
As is Pee-Wee Herman...
Godspeed, Paul Reubens. You will be very much missed.
Posted on Sunday, August 6th, 2023
Don't worry about there being only one month of Summer left because there's bullets 52 times a year and... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Opponent! The only way this could more accurately describe American politics would be if they asked "WHAT DO YOU HATE?" and the politician answered "MY OPPONENT!" or even "WHATEVER YOU WANT ME TO TELL YOU TO HATE!"...
Oh how I love Berkeley Mews. Though not all of the posts there are negative. Take this one, for example...
For more wackiness, see Ben's Berkeley Mews site.
• Stargirl! It took a total pass on Stargirl because the whole "Arrowverse" of DC Comics shows turned into a suckfest of boredom. Earlier this week I had the first episode pop up and watched it because there was nothing more interesting going on. Turns out it is fantastic. This isn't just "Stargirl"... it's the entire Justice Society of America being reborn from the ashes of the old one...
I am only half-way through the first season, but watching everything come together is one of the better super-hero comic book shows I've seen. A pity that the rest of the awful Arrowverse shows were tied to Stargirl like a boat anchor and sunk the show.
• Cat Walk! I've watched this entirely too many times and cannot fathom how this is not CGI (here's a link in case Instagram is being a dick)...
The fact that the first two fell off when the third one jumped on is some kind of talent.
• Just Ken! To think there was a time that I actively avoided Ryan Gosling projects. I remember him mainly being in sports movies and such before he appeared in his breakout role in The Notebook (a movie I still haven't seen). Then in 2016 I saw his incredible performance in The Nice Guys and was an immediate fan. I went back through his movies and found out just how talented he is. Then he was in Blade Runner 2049 and I was a fan for life. Now he's Ken in the Barbie movie, which seems an odd choice, but seeing videos like this makes me think that he probably killed it...
Gosling's next film is The Fall Guy with Emily Blunt. Cannot wait to see what that's about.
• Sharing is Caring! They've come a long time since Love is sharing a password...
Netflix: DON'T SHARE YOUR PASSWORD! EVERYBODY HAS TO PAY FOR A SEPARATE ACCOUNT! LOVE ISN'T SHARING A PASSWORD, IT'S YOU GIVING US MORE MONEY!
Also Netflix: We are going to force you to select a user profile every FUCKING time you use our service... even if you only have one profile!
God. Just fuck off and make up your damn minds. Or at least stop forcing me to choose my only profile every time I start up your shitty streaming service. I regret never sharing my password.
• SHAT! William Shatner is NINETY-TWO YEARS OLD! And don't mistake the satellite delay of him hearing the question as him not understanding the question in this video. The guy is sharp as a tack!
The only comment I have is that maybe the visiting aliens have a "Prime Directive" which, like in Star Trek, means that they can't interfere with the natural development of earthlings. And that's why they are hiding?
• Invasion Secret! I had such high hopes for Marvel Studio's Secret Invasion, but it ended up being a total dud. Whereas the original comic book story was an epic event where a ridiculous number of heroes had been replaced by Skrulls... the Disney+ adaptation had... one? And it was kinda a nerfed one, because they never had the hero even use their super-powers at all. Add to that some totally unnecessary and non-eventful deaths of beloved characters... and a resolution so sloppy that had me wondering why they even bothered with this waste of Samuel L. Jackson's talents... and I wondered what in hell Kevin Feige was smoking to greenlit it. Maybe it's for the best that Disney+ is reducing their output of Marvel stuff. Because with the exception of Hawkeye, which I loved, none of it has been worthy.
And now I'm off to comfort my cats, who are cowering under .
Posted on Wednesday, August 16th, 2023
NEWSFLASH @ Ars Technica: Sonos has been unable to fix Arc soundbars’ “pop of death” for over 2 years.
Ever since the technology became available for home theaters, I've wanted Dolby Atmos, the specialized sound system which adds a "height" channel to your surround sound setup. So that when you are watching John Wick and it's raining overhead... or a bullet goes flying above you... you hear it happening. It's a very cool effect (when done properly) that adds to the experience of watching movies and television... or listening to Atmos music.
I have been investing in a Sonos speak setup, which has been a pretty good solution for home audio. It's wireless so you don't have to run speaker cables, and you can group some (or all) of your speakers so that your audio is playing everywhere you have a Sonos speaker.
At first I had a Sonos PlayBar. It was an amazing soundbar for under your television. Sure, the separation between Left/Center/Right channels wasn't the best, but it was a darn good effort that I enjoyed for years.
Then Sonos released their Arc soundbar which added the afore-mentioned Dolby Atmos.
I waited for the reviews, heard good things, and bought one.
It was okay. The Dolby Atmos height channel was incredibly weak (even when set at full volume) and I don't think the quality was quite up to the standards of the PlayBar, but I was pretty happy with it overall.
Then Sonos released the Era 300, which also had the Dolby Atmos height channel for your rear speakers. This was a far, far better implementation of the Atmos effect, and I was very happy to have purchased them.
Until I wasn't.
One day while watching a movie I heard a massive POP sound and my Arc soundbar went dead. I thought it had died a horrible death... but unplugging it and plugging it back in did the trick. Until I experienced the POP again. And again. And again. And again! Apparently once it happens, it will continue to happen forever.
Sonos's solution is to turn off CRC (which turns on your television when your AppleTV turns on), which didn't work for me. Their next "solution?" Turn off Dolby Atmos. Yes, you read that right, turn off Dolby Atmos.
Now, If Sonos gave any shits at all, they would simply have one of their many users who are experiencing this POP OF DEATH problem send in their AppleTV 4K Gen 3 and Xbox, their television, their cables, and their Arc soundbar (after sending them replacement shit). Then they would have a complete system where they could CONSISTENTLY REPRODUCE THIS PROBLEM. But nope. They'd rather say "Oooh... we can't reproduce the problem!" and do NOTHING. — Every fucking time I've contacted Sonos support, they just tell me to turn off Dolby Atmos, WHICH IS THE ENTIRE FUCKING REASON I BOUGHT THE ARC IN THE FIRST PLACE! More and more I regret getting in bed with a company that doesn't give a shit about shipping a faulty product, and has been promising a fix for OVER TWO YEARS that never comes. Get a system that doesn't work.
I don't care if Sonos comes up with a special cable that filters out the problem... or sends out a firmware update... or offers to replace whatever component they can't work out with something that does... or whatever... so long as they actually come up with a fucking solution that doesn't involve turning off Atmos!
This is not fucking rocket science.
NASA could build a rocket in this amount of time.
Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2023
Wes Anderson's Asteroid City started streaming on Peacock, and it went beyond my lofty expectations.
Right now it's my favorite film of his after The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. In time, once the newness wears off, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenenbaums might eclipse it because they're just such incredible films, but for now... I'm thrilled with this gorgeous spectacle...
And so here's my ranking of all eleven Wes Anderson films...
Posted on Sunday, August 20th, 2023
It's the day before I get so buried in work that I won't have time to blog, but you're in good hands today... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Omens! I finally got around to watching Good Omens 2 and liked it well enough... though it's a bit of a letdown after the incredible first season. It could very well be that the first season was so amazing that there was nowhere to go but down. But still... it didn't seem to hang together as beautifully as the original story. If you want to save yourself some time, here's a wrap-up of every episode of the series...
I may have laughed a little too hard at that.
• Asteroid Flight! I am convinced that one of the most important voices in film is Thomas Flight. I've brought up his YouTube Channel before, but with each new video I appreciate his takes on movies even more. On Friday I finally got around to watching Wes Anderson's Asteroid City. I didn't want spoilers, so I've been sitting on Flight's deep-dive into the film until I watched it. And last night was the night. It's as good as I knew it would be...
Having somebody explain why you loved a film as much as you did is a bizarre experience. I loved Asteroid City. I thought I knew what it was trying to say as a film. But it turned out I was only scratching the surface. Flight's attempt to put into words what he thinks Anderson was saying and what the film meant to him just makes me want to watch Asteroid City all over again.
• Pinball Wizard! I gotta say... I passed on this movie because it didn't look that interesting to me. But then I heard enough people saying that it was good that I ended up tuning it to Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game...
And it is, in fact, pretty darn good. In surprising and unexpected ways. Streaming on Hulu.
• Make Mine Duncan! Fine people of the world, may I present Hajime Miura doing incredible things with a yoyo...
It's almost like he's defying physics or something.
• Mac Tonight! Big Tugg took an interesting look at McDonalds that was entertaining and informative...
I was surprised that Tucker didn't mention Mac Tonight, a moon-headed mascot from the 80's that I remembered being freaky and perplexing. I also remember a lawsuit. So I did a YouTube search to see what's going on there...
You can't make this stuff up. White supremacy? Animatronics? DOUG frickin' JONES?!? Real Life is SO weird.
• Heartless! Good Lord. They hired a great cast. Had an interesting concept. Staged some terrific action sequences. Went to some fantastic locations. THEN MIRED EVERYTHING IN THE MOST BY-THE-NUMBERS SPY STORY IMAGINABLE. Who in the hell is calling the shots at Netflix that Heart of Stone ever got made?
Is it too much to ask to get something that's not an inferior wannabe expensive Mission Impossible clone? And the absurdly silly AI computer's constant recalculation of the mission's chance of success is just fucking stupid and unneeded. Does the AI computer have God-vision to be able to calculate infinite variables of unfolding events like this? Why does every movie have to drop in some kind of AI computerized crutch to up the tension instead of just WRITING SOMETHING WITH ACTUAL TENSION? Having C-3PO, oops... I mean "The Heart"... saying "YOUR MISSION ONLY HAS A 35% CHANCE OF SUCCESS" means NOTHING and does nothing... especially if Gal Gadot is going to ignore it. "DON'T TELL ME THE ODDS, 3PO!" Everybody involved in this film deserves better than this stupid shit. Thank you Netflix for spending a ton of money on this crap while increasing our rates. Jesus.
• Irony Can Be So Ironic Sometimes! THIS JUST IN FROM THE "IRONY IS NOT DEAD" DEPARTMENT... Zachary Levi Criticizes Hollywood for Making Too Much “Garbage”.
And, on that happy note, I'm off next week for Hell Week. See you on the 28th!
Posted on Wednesday, August 30th, 2023
As I've written many times, I'm really into film analysis. I'm often linking to videos of my favorite content creators (like Thomas Flight) adding depth and understanding to the movies I like.
Sometimes I run across a deep-dive into a film where moments are mirroring my reaction. Most people would write this off as a coincidence. I prefer to see it as validation.
Like this amazing look at the translation of Scott Pilgrim from comic book to screen. It's long, but it's really good. Especially if you're a fan of the comics...
In my review of the film from 2010 I said this...
Where the movie fails... and fails massively... is the casting of Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. It was an awful, awful choice that dogged the movie from start to finish. Michael Cera was NOT Scott Pilgrim. He was Michael Cera. He's Michael Cera in everything he's ever in. Don't get me wrong... I liked his nervous geeky schtick the first time I saw it in Arrested Development. I even liked his nervous geeky schtick in Superbad... and Juno... and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist... but I'm done with it now. I wanted to see Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim, and it never happened. You can surround Michael Cera with all the incredibly cool special effects and kick-ass fight scenes you want, and it doesn't change the fact that it's Michael Cera up on the screen... he never lets you forget it.
I was really looking forward to the movie and was primed to love it. But due to one major casting fault, it completely failed for me. And in the above video, James Woodall devotes his entire chapter five to this very subject.
Watching the video made me want to watch the movie again. Something I haven't done in probably a decade.
I was hoping that time will have softened my opinion on the whole Michael Cera thing.
But NOPE! If anything, now I'm doubling down when I say that this potential masterpiece of a movie was utterly and totally sabotaged by the casting of Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. Every other actor in the cast? Brilliant. And for many of them this was a stepping stone to even more brilliant things*. But... well... this movie has a major problem which it can never overcome. Except for the fantastic Universal Studios opening which has zero-percent Michael Cera...
I still have the Scott Pilgrim comics. Those aren't going away.
*Seriously... just look at who's in this movie...
Posted on Sunday, September 3rd, 2023
Dreaming of a Cheeseburger in Paradise while blogging for my own amusement... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Bunny Boo Berry! You're welcome (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@xiaoyciz7o4 Little rabbit eats blueberries#rabbit #pet #cute #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound - Cute little pet
Baby animals... amirite?
• Medal Medal Chicken Dinner! This Sunday's burn provided by Andy Murray from a 2016 interview that's making its rounds around the interwebs again...
• Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! People are aghast when I tell them that I got my hair cut at Disney World. "YOU WASTED TIME AT A BARBER SHOP INSTEAD OF RIDING THE ATTRACTIONS?!?" And it's like... I ended up at Disney World 3-4 times a year every year for over a decade with my work. I've done all the rides many, many times. And I was always booked in one of the Disney hotels, so if I was too busy to get a haircut back home, where else was I going to go? Take a pricey taxi into Orlando? Of course not. I'd just go to where I was at (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@pincessshannon Nick FINALLY got a haircut because i convinced him to get one in Magic Kingdom!!! 😆🤩 YAY! Can you believe you can get a haircut in Disney World? So cute with all the toddlers getting first haircuts too #disneyworld #magickingdom #disneyhaircut #harmonybarbershop #disneyworldtipsandtricks ♬ original sound - Pincessshannon
And, yes, my friends convinced me to get the glitter once. It didn't look biodegradable, so I took a pass every other time... even though it made me look fabulous.
• Margaritaville! Jimmy Buffet passed. He was one of those rare figures who are so ingrained into American culture that you know him even if you don't realize it. His music is pervasive, yes, but it's his lyrics that hold a wisdom everybody can relate to. "I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead" and "We are the people our parents warned us about" and "Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been" can be found on the walls of his Margaritaville restaurants, but aren't exclusive to parrotheads (Buffet fans). I've actually been to many Margaritavilles, because Jimmy always had some good vegetarian options on the menu. I know I just posted this video by Eddy Burback a month ago, but it's a pretty cool look at the restaurants.
Jimmy had a crazy amount of songs I liked, but whenever I'm trying to zero in on a favorite, my mind keeps going back to One Particular Harbor...
Yeah, that's a classic right there. Rest in Peace, Jimmy.
• Harley Forever! Arleen Sorkin died! My mom was a big Days of Our Lives fan and she played Calliope... but it was her work as the voice of the original Harley Quinn that I knew her best...
Paul Dini (who created the character) was a college friend, and based the character on her. That's an incredible legacy. Rest In Peace.
• He'll Bore Every One of Us! So... The Flash is free to watch on HBO and I've had it on while I was working...
I can't believe that people liked this movie. IT'S COMPLETE SHIT! Alternate Barry is fucking annoying. Unwatchable. The special effects are horrible. The character isn't even consistent with the shitty JLA stuff that Zack Snyder crapped out of his ass. How this got 64% on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond my ability to fathom. I sure hope that this box office failure means we'll never see Ezra-Flash again. And the box office failure of Shazam means we'll never see Zachary-Shazam either. Just flush the Snyderverse down the toilet and have Gunn ignore all of it. This movie cost TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS! The first Avengers movie cost $220 Million, and most of THAT went to the cast. So what the hell? Where is the money on this one? There were exactly two things worth watching. Michael Keaton Batman and Sasha Calle Supergirl. But neither made this worth my valuable time.
• Marcie! the new Marcie Peanuts special on Apple TV is fantastic... and looks visually stunning. So much better than the gawdawful Snoopy in Space or whatever that was...
I hope we get more like this..
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. Until next Sunday.
Posted on Sunday, September 10th, 2023
I don't know who needs to hear this, but life is indeed good... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Not Nice! It has been a tough time for Hard Rock properties around the globe. A number of them have closed this year, and last night it was announced that the cafe in Nice will be closed by the end of the week. The cafe itself was kinda boring on the inside, but it was still a nice place with beautiful views...
I visited in 2014. This was the infamous trip where I was hit by the shuttle that took me to the airport. In the end, it's just a restaurant... but I do feel bad for the people who worked there and built a family around it.
• Scuttlebutt! Look, there is no denying Halle Bailey's talent. There was a reason she was cast as Ariel in the live-action The Little Mermaid remake, and it had absolutely nothing to do with Disney being fucking "woke" or whatever racist bullshit people are claiming. Because holy crap is she fantastic...
That being said... this was a wholly unneeded remake of a classic film because they didn't try to do anything new or revolutionary with it except add a couple songs (including the gut-wrenchingly awful Scuttlebutt). The sea creatures were scary as fuck because they looked so weird. The guy playing Prince Eric was okay, but has less charisma than his animated counterpart. While I like Awkwafina, she was horrifically miscast as Scuttle (Buddy Hackett made him absent-minded and charming, Awkwafina just made the character stupid?). Melissa McCarthy was good casting, but as much as she relished in the role, she paled in comparison to the late great Pat Carroll as Ursula. Also I agree with the criticism of the makeup...
On the plus side, the special effects were actually pretty great. But that's hardly enough to make it a good use of your time.
• Oxygen! Wow. The more you know (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@joespinstheglobe if you smell something burning *after* the masks come down, it's probably this thing. If beforehand... 😬 #science #travel #medicine ♬ original sound - JoeSpinsTheGlobe
Science is darn cool.
• Nice Dress! It's so simple. Just be kind... and correct where needed to continue to be kind...
Why are there people who would rather be a fucking asshole about it in these situations where it costs $0 to just be kind? I saw this pop up somewhere in social media, and thought how nice it was that this guy's day was made just because somebody wasn't an asshole. Couldn't we all use a little of that?
• MangaManga! I gotta say... so far as manga adaptations go, One Piece feels pretty spectacularly faithful. The casting is flawless. And, let's face it, that's where the series was going to live or die. How they found their Monkey D. Luffy is close to a miracle, as Iñaki Godoy is Luffy come to life. And Nami, Shanks, and Zoro are straight out of the books too!
On one of my trips to Japan, the manga was all the rage, so I looked up the English translation when I got back to the US (thanks, Viz!). I've been addicted ever since. The Netflix show makes me want to re-read it from the start.
• Circle, Send! If you have ever watched the absurd Reality TV game show on Netflix called The Circle, you know how batshit insane it is. Leave it to Jake Cornell to completely summarize the insanity in a TikTok. This is painfully accurate (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@jakewcornell It’s always like this. #TheCircle #thecirclenetflix #comedy ♬ original sound - Jake Cornell
I swear, some comedians are more brilliantly able to explain things than an entire textbook.
• MAX... Prices! Warner Bros. Discovery Says Ongoing Strikes Will Mean $300M-$500M Hit to 2023 Earnings. Guess it's going to be time to raise the subscription price to HBO Max. Again. They don't give a fuck about the people making their content... they sure don't give a fuck about their customers (except how much money they can wring out of us). It's absolute madness how they were bragging about how much money they were going to SAVE because of the strike... and now they're watching people unsubscribe in droves because they raised prices and customers mad about paying more for the new content won't get... so now they're going to LOSE money. Good. Couldn't happen to a nicer conglomerate. Fuck Warner Brothers-HBO-Discovery and and their idiotic fucking leadership who have brought this entirely on themselves. If they sink under their stupidity, that's one less service I'll have to rotate through. Which is fine by me.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Posted on Sunday, October 8th, 2023
The world is falling apart, again, but there's calm amongst the storm... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Woooooo... ZOMBIES! Any COVID vaccinated people had the FEMA test tone activate the 5G to turn you into an undead zombie yet? Because I got all six COVID vaccinations and still nothing. I wish it would hurry up and unalive me so I can be a real zombie right now instead of a work zombie who only wishes he were dead.
• Fly Spirit Airlines! Honesty. How refreshing!
What the heck is this? LOL. Still glad I'm not traveling non-stop.
• Satisfying Sound! There's a silly little app called Klack that makes old-style keyboard sounds when you type on a Mac. Right down to the "clunk" sound that the spacebar makes! (and the heavier "click" you get when pressing the backspace key). It's just $4 and I cannot express how much I love it. Makes typing more fun than it has a right to be. If you have a Mac and you're curious to know what it's about, here you go.
• Calling All Speakers. There's so much that could be said about the idiocy surrounding Kevin McCarthy getting ousted as Speaker of the House. The dumbass brought it all on himself thinking he could both suck up to the MAGA contingent and go around them, so there's no real sympathy to be had. But anyway... here's one tweet and two videos comment that says it better than I could...
And now this...
And of course Jeff Jackson has the scoop (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@jeffjacksonnc Rep. Jeff Jackson (NC): The Speaker has been fired. #fyp #politics #nc #charlotte #raleigh #greensboro ♬ original sound - Jeff Jackson
Now I guess we sit back and see what nightmare comes next.
• GHOSTS! Hallmark Channel has a movie with ghosts?!?
It was actually pretty good. If you're looking for a totally not spooky movie to watch to psych you up for Halloween, give this one a shot.
• Your Government in Inaction! Government exists to sit on progress. It's coming up on a YEAR since Digital Driver's Licenses were proposed for Washington State. Still hasn't made it to fucking committee. Honest to God... I have no fucking clue what these assholes do all fucking day that shit never gets done. We should have the damn things by now for people who want to opt-in to using them. A year, AND NOTHING... and lots more steps to go before it gets to sit on Jay Inslee's desk for another fucking year...
At this rate TELEPORTERS will be invented before backwards Washington State has digital driver's licenses. What the fuck is it going to take to get representatives in government who actully want to get shit done?
• NEWSFLASH: California governor vetoes bill to make free condoms available for high school students, citing cost! — THIS SHOULD BE THE DECISION OF THE PARENTS! — And I agree. Except there are dipshits who are all "MY CHILD WON'T HAVE PREMARITAL SEX BECAUSE WE ARE A CHRISTIAN FAMILY!" who are essentially endangering their children's lives and inviting unwanted pregnancies because their kids are sexually active despite their ignorance (see: Sarah Palin, and shitloads of other "Good Christian Families" who end up with grandchildren because of premarital sex). So the truth is that abstinence-only education doesn't work. Kids are becoming sexually active whether their parents want it or not. And a decision has to be made as to whether we, as a society, protect these kids from their parent's bullshit. Unfortunately, Gavin Newsom made a bad call. I don't give a single fuck WHAT parents think. IF YOU WANT TO CURB ABORTION NUMBERS... GIVE CONDOMS TO EVERYBODY AND MAKE SURE THEY KNOW HOW TO USE THEM! As for cost... can you really put a price on essential shit like this?
Best of luck. To all of us.
Posted on Sunday, October 15th, 2023
Fall has come and the weather is dreary and cold, but it's warm in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• The Price of Cinema is Too Damn High! I loved Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One. It is smart, exciting, and I can't wait for Part Two. What gets me is that the movie cost $291 MILLION to make. And while I'm not staying that it wasn't money well-spent (this movie is insane)... I am saying that it's $567 million box office means that the movie barely made any money after promotion. If it made any money at all...
They seriously need to stop making movies that cost these utterly bonkers amount of money. It is totally fucking up the industry, and failures like this (and so many other... The Flash, Fast X, Indiana Jones, to name some) are going to make it so that studio movies die a horrible death. That's no fun for any of us. Surely they can be more clever with less money? Because this just isn't sustainable any more.
• Fantasy Football! I remember when The League first debuted. It was amazing to me that it managed to make it on the air given how raunchy it was. But it endured for seven seasons, and I was a huge fan for the first four seasons. A fan for the fifth and sixth season. And was still watching for the final season, although it most definitely did not go out on a high note...
As I mentioned on Wednesday, I've been rewatching all the episodes on Hulu. Now that I have some distance from the end of the series, I cannot help but wonder if they came back for an 8th season what that would be like. I honestly don't know... but it seems like it would be a worthwhile thing to take a look at.
• On the Other Hand... The new Frasier is kinda... not great. It's nowhere near the level of Cheers and Frasier and I'm wondering why this was the direction they took. I mean, it's not as tragic as some of the reviews made it out to be. They tried to get some heart into it and there are funny moments despite itself. But all I feel while watching it is wanting to go re-watch the original Frasier and also rewatch Deception to see Jack Cutmore-Scott in something that was actually good and Sirens so I could see Kevin Daniels in something good. At least that way I won't have to see "David" be a horrific substitute for "Niles"... it's like he's there JUST to be unfunny and cringe.
Will & Grace managed to come back as good as it ever was... but too many of these revivals just aren't working. But because I loved the original Frasier I'm going to keep watching in the hopes that the show finds its footing. Because I'm watching the very first episode of the first Frasier and it was absolute gold from the jump.
• Hot Sauce! I love hot sauce. I started with the mild green sauce that my mom loved (something I still eat on tacos when I make them at home, because it's the flavor I'm used to. Later I moved on to Tabasco, which has more heat and a vinegar tang that makes it a delicious addition to everything from sauces to potato salad. Now I split my time between Tabasco, Cholula, and Sriracha. They are similar enough that I can use them interchangeably, but different enough that I prefer them for specific foods (occasionally I pick up a bottle of Frank's RedHot, which is not so hot, and Tapatío as well). Last year I was trying to save money, so I started keeping track of which brand I use most. I thought it would be Tabasco, but it ended up being Cholula because it has a bit more heat. So now I buy just that one sauce to save money so I'm not buying three and four. AND THEN... I decided to try something hotter. So now I'm addicted to El Yucateco Red...
It's more than just "hot" because it still adds nice flavor (unlike the hotter sauces I've tried where I can't even taste anything but fire). And now I'm wondering if I've reached my hot sauce limit? Or eventually will this not be hot enough either? Because it's only 5,790 on the Scoville scale, and that's barely hitting the second of ten sauces if I ever end up on an episode of Hot Ones (which tops out at 2,000,000 on the Scoville scale). Which is a great excuse to post the SNL parody, which is one of my favorites...
That never gets old.
• Shoresy Deux! One of the biggest surprises last year was the Letterkenny spin-off, Shoresy. It was rediculously entertaining, and ended up being my fifth favorite show of 2022. And now it's coming back...
Reeeeally looking forward to it.
• J-Boy! So there I was watching the movie Robots
The best part of the movie for me was the end-credits song called J-Boy by the band Phoenix. From six years ago...
I liked the song enough that I decided to add it to my Sonos music queue.
• Whither Sonos! Except I couldn't add the song to my fucking Sonos music queue because on top of having shitty fucking products that they don't want to fix... their apps are fucking shitty too. First of all my MacOS app decided it wouldn't do shit until my Apple Music account was reauthorized...
EXCEPT I COULDN'T BECAUSE ALL OF A SUDDEN THE APP CAN'T SEE MY FUCKING SPEAKERS...
But of course the "Let's fix it" link was full of shit. After trying that three times, Sonos finally wanted me to turn EVERY FUCKING SPEAKER OFF AND BACK ON...
That didn't work, so I ended up being told that I had to turn the router off and back on...
That didn't fucking work either, so I was told to turn all my shit off and on again. I ignored that and decided to uninstall Sonos and reinstall it again. That finally worked. EXCEPT... then I got an ad for Sonos's "Live Gift Guide Event" that I could not dismiss. There's no cancel button. There's no close button. You can't tap around it to get out of it. I couldn't even reboot the app and get rid of it. I was forced to "add it to my calendar" (which I didn't actually do)...
Fuck Sonos. Fuck them up their piece of shit useless asses. I regret EVER getting involved with them and their shitty products. Maybe I'd feel different if they'd AT THE VERY LEAST make it so that I could use the fucking Dolby Atmos that I paid to get without having my Arc soundbar fail. But nope. It's been a problem for two years and Sonos is still "working on it." Except they're fucking not because I've heard of nobody being asked to send in their system parts so Sonos could watch it fucking happen. Jesus what an asshole company.
And on that happy note... I'm back to dreary weather for a dreary Sunday.
Posted on Friday, November 3rd, 2023
I never thought much about Taylor Swift. But, as I said about the "Gold Digging Marxist" in a previous entry, I became a fan after her album 1989, and have enjoyed her music.
Now, there's no way I can afford to see her in concert (tickets are going for thousands if you're not one of the lucky ones who can manage to get a ticket when they go on sale), but I have watched the video releases of her tours for 1989 and Reputation that were enjoyable. So when my sister asked if I wanted to drive over and watch her Eras tour at a movie theater, I was all-in...
A couple things...
First of all, I thought that it was "Eras" as in the name of a Greek god or something. Maybe I was thinking of "Eos" who is "goddess of the dawn." But it's "Eras" as in plural of "era"... because the tour celebrates the many eras of Taylor Swift's music.
Second of all, it's absolutely bizarre to me how this tour movie was released while the tour is still going on. She's still got dates for Brazil, Asia, Europe left. Even a few US and Canada dates at the end of 2024. I think she did it because many (most?) of her fans were not able to get tickets, releasing the movie will in no way affect attendance, and she gets more money if she strikes while the iron is hot. So why not?
Taylor plays songs from all of her commercial albums, albeit out of order: Lover, Fearless, Evermore, Reputation, Speak Now, Red, Folklore, 1989, and Midnights. She also has a couple acoustic "surprise songs" that changes at each venue. The movie is a combination of the six shows filmed at the L.A. stop, which means you get Our Song and You're on Your Own, Kid. This was a huge, huge bummer to me... because the L.A. stop had both Dress and New Romantics as "surprise songs," and I really wish they had used those. Mostly because New Romantics is my favorite Taylor Swift song. Oh well. If she was smart, she'd release a video film of just the "surprise songs" from the tour. She'd made a million off something like that too.
As I expected after watching her previous concert movies, The Eras Tour is excellent. She is a brilliant performer, the stage show looks incredible, and the footage was very well shot. It's incredible to watch her playing to 70,000 people and holding the entirety of that vast audience in the palm of her hand the entire time. I seriously don't understand how she does it. I would walk out on stage... shit my pants immediately... then run away crying. But she puts 1000% into the entire performance, which much be exhaustive...
The amazing thing about Taylor is that she's always putting a shit-load of money into her stage show. for the 1989 tour, her massive stage runway would elevate and rotate out above the audience. For the Reputation stadium tour she had three separate stages that she rotates through. For the Eras tour she has this cool extended state which has a section that seamlessly elevates to different heights in different configuations. I think the the most fantastic live performer is Pink, but Taylor Swift is darn close. You cannot go to her show and not be entertained.
So, yeah, if you're a Taylor Swift fan, I don't need to tell you to go see the movie. You've probably already been.
Posted on Sunday, November 12th, 2023
Officially entering the holiday season, not that it'll keep me away... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• This is EARTH! sigh. I love love love the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt. They tackle fascination topics in a highly educational and entertaining way. And now there's this absolutely brilliant new video. They have condensed the 4.5 billion year history of planet earth in exactly one hour. And guess when humans appear in that hour? Helpful hint... don't blink...
It's had it running last night on the television while I was working. I found myself looking up to watch more often than I expected.
• POIROT! Here's the thing. I thought the Albert Finney original Murder on the Orient Express was better than the Kenneth Branagh remake. I thought the Peter Ustinov original Death on the Nile was VASTLY superior to the Kenneth Branagh remake (indeed, it's one of my favorite films). But I still enjoyed Branagh's take on Poirot, so I just watched A Haunting in Venice. This one I liked a lot...
My mom read all the Agatha Christie books, so I ended up reading all of them as well. I don't remember the book Hallowe'en Party much... but I do remember not thinking much of the BBC adaptation, feeling they were scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one. The Branagh version wisely makes a very loose adaptation with A Haunting in Venice and the movie is far better because of it. I really hope we get a fourth film where they try something unique... and adapt it to be as interesting as this one.
• Reacher Deux! The second season of Reacher cannot get here fast enough. The first season was one of the best things to happen to my television last year...
I haven't read all the Jack Reacher novels, but I've read enough that it's shocking how much more faithful the Amazon Prime series is to the Tom Cruise movies (though, I liked those also, if I'm being honest).
• Falling! I watched the occasional episode of The Fall Guy but was never so much into the show that I gave a thought to a movie adaptation. Until I saw it was starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt!
This movie looks entertaining as hell.
• DAFUQ? I had absolutely no idea (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@howardsternshow Barbra Streisand on Being the Inspiration for Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” #howardstern #SternShow #thehowardsternshow #howardsternshow #fyp #BarbraStreisand #JamesBrolin #Aerosmith @AerosmithOfficial @Howard Stern ♬ original sound - The Howard Stern Show
I wonder if James Brolin gets any bank off that song?
• DAK! All throughout high school I was addicted to the DAK catalog which had really good deals on electronics, computers, and media. It was kinda a weird concept... the owner (Drew Alan Kaplan) hunted down products which were made wrong or had some cosmetic detail that was off or whatever, bought the entire lot, then offered them at a consumer-direct discount price. I couldn't afford to buy lots of stuff... I was in high school... but I obsessed over every new catalog that arrived. And now those catalogs have been scanned and archived by Cabel Sasser on his site...
This one is my favorite... turn your tiny blurry television into a bigger blurry television with this fresnel lens!
• Pander! I finally remembered to watch the new South Park special on Paramount+... Into the Panderverse... and it's pretty epic. I am 1000% onbord for inclusivity and diversity in entertainment. It keeps things fresh and interesting, because how many times do we want to see the same old shit with straight white people? But the problem is that remaking the same old shit and substituting non-straight-white-people for straight white people is a stupid, lazy way of creating inclusivity and diversity. It completely ignores the lived experience of non-straight-white-people by copy-pasting them into a straight-white experience, and the movie/television studios need to do better than that. Because it's getting boring as hell.
Plus it's got Kathleen Kennedy and her massive ego in it! Though it's fake Kathleen Kennedy, so any hopes of her taking time out from completely fucking up LucasFilm/Disney were shortlived. Unfortunately, there it a downside to this episode. Gino Carano is using it to extend her 15 minutes.
Enjoy whatever remains of your Sunday, everybody.
Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2023
And it so happened that the sequel to Captain Marvel, titled The Marvels, is not doing well at the box office. It likely cost $250 million to make. Another $200 million to market. And is slowly approaching $120 million at the box office after five days in theaters. That's a lot of money, but when compared to previous Marvel Studios movies... it's a massive disappointment. It might very well break even after streaming/video revenue arrives... but there's likely not a third Captain Marvel movie happening because movies have to earn a billion at the box office to make studios happy. Which is a shame, because actual people who have seen the movie say it's a fun ride and terrific entertainment...
The fanboys are cackling over it all, of course, saying that "This is what happens when you're a woke company making woke films with an all-female cast!" Which is 100% bullshit, of course. But facts don't matter any more, so this is what we have to keep listening to.
What's happening here is not a big mystery. This is a trend that has nothing to do with Disney being "woke" or that the film features a "female cast" (remember that the original Captain Marvel made over a billion dollars). There's a lot of factors at play...
And there you have it. I don't think that anything I've said is going to be news to anybody paying attention. But since Marvel doesn't seem to be paying attention, I guess it needed to be said.
Here's hoping that the streaming release for The Marvels won't keep me waiting too long.
Posted on Sunday, November 19th, 2023
Snow is inching closer, but I'm not pulling the shovel out just yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Holiday Trooper! I've been sending care packages to the troops through AnySoldier.com for years. This is another program that's very cool because it doesn't cost you a dime! Just choose the four treats you want to send overseas, write a message of support, and Crown Royal will send it!
I wish more organizations would do something like this.
• Catventure! Mr. Kitters has many adventures (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@mr.kitters.the.cat Places to go and people to meet. 🐈 #fyp #cat #meow ♬ original sound - Mr. Kitters the Cat
Surprisinly, I haven't seen Mr. Kitters ripping apart some poor bird. Thank heavens.
• Murder! There I was, just starting A Murder at the End of the World on Hulu. The main character is driving in a car with her boyfriend and they are singing along to No More I Love You's by Annie Lennox... and I know this will be a show that's something truly special. Honestly, they could have just released this scene as a commercial for the series and I would be all in. But there's so much more to it, and I can't wait for the remaining five episodes to drop...
The cast is amazing on top of it all. I just hope they stick the landing.
• Killer! Every time I see yet another brilliant film by David Fincher, I am mad all over again that he never got to make the sequels to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which remains one of my favorite films of all time. Though, while we're on the subject, a sequel to The Killer on Netflix would be fantastic, because this was a darn enjoyable flick...
ALTHOUGH... a better use of the money would be for Netflix (who has an existing relationship with Fincher AND Daniel Craig) to get the rights to The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. Just sayin'.
• What Was I Made For? People saying that Billy Eilish is untalented makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. She's not entirely my thing... but I love this song... and listening to her brother explain how they created it should put the nail in the coffin of the idea that anybody could crap out the music they make. A song so multifaceted and lovely doesn't happen by accident. This is art...
• Unmortricken! Rick and Morty has always been borderline genius with momentary lapses into episodes I'm completely indifferent about. But this latest episode? Unmortricken? I honestly don't know where the show goes from here. It's like every episode up until this point has been building to this point... and now it's over. Or mostly over. Which means that they either
No, I didn't like Unmortricken better than ten other episodes (including The Rickshank Rickdemption which is one of the best episodes of television ever made), but it just goes to show that Rick and Morty is far from over if they can keep defying expectations like this.
• Blarf! I was excited that a Jaime Reyes "Blue Beetle" movie was in development. He's a fun character in the comics, and the fact that we'd finally get a Latino-centric super-hero movie meant it might be *different* from the same old thing. — Until I saw the trailers. They made it very clear that this was a "power of family" movie instead of a Blue Beetle movie. And who gives a shit about that? — Turns out the movie (now on HBO Max) is even worse than that. It is boring as fuck. It takes a half-hour... A HALF-HOUR... before you even see the Blue Beetle, for crying out loud...
This is the most boring, uneventful, slog of an origin story that's ultimately just a frickin' Iron Man/Spider-Man hybrid clone, and not in a good way. I hope to God that James Gunn gets the DCU turned around so we avoid more of this idiotic crap. HA HA HA! GRANDMA WITH A GATLING GUN! HILARIOUS! and, even worse, HA HA HA! HOW FUNNY! HE CAN'T CONTROL THE SUIT AND HE'S RUNNING INTO EVERYTHING FOR TEN MINUTES! Jesus. I know Greatest American Hero was a while ago, but this has been done to death. From there on it's just talk talk talk talk talk with action beats that are equally boring. What a frickin' waste.
Hope your Turkey Day is a good one.
Posted on Sunday, December 3rd, 2023
SNOWWWWW! But don't let my misfortune get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• You've Been Sached! The AppleCard credit card has features I absolutely love. But it's not the best bargain (the cash-back is crap, and you don't even get 5% on Apple purchases!). But the worst part is that the card is issued by Goldman Sachs, which is a reprehensible company, and I make damn sure that I never carry a balance so that I never pay any interest to them. But then it was revealed that Goldman Sachs has lost $3 billion on the card since it began. Don't ask me how, unless everybody else is also refusing to carry a balance and not paying them any interest. Regardless, they want out of the AppleCard business, so now Apple is (reportedly) looking for a new partner. I'm relieved... but also dubious because there are a lot of shitty financial institutions out there.
• Stamped! If I didn't follow Ibram X. Kendi on Facebook, I wouldn't have known that a movie based on his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America had been released on Netflix. The reason being that it wasn't being promoted on my Netflix homepage. I had to search for it. Most definitely worth your valuable time to watch. I had already read the book, but the way they visually represented the material and had speakers relate ideas with passion and feeling elevated it to essential viewing...
I can only hope that Kendi's follow-up, How to Be an Antiracist gets a movie too. It's an important work that, like Stamped, should have the widest audience pssible.
• Indy 5! I loved Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, liked Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, loved Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade... and absolutely HATED Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was SO bad, and I was of the opinion that it was best if the Indiana Jones franchise died right there since they had clearly ran out of ideas. But along comes Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and I'm very glad that this is the movie that Indy gets to go out on, because I liked it quite a lot...
Yes, much of the movie was fan service. Yes, it desperately needed to be edited for length. Yes, they pushed into some truly bizarre areas. But ultimately there was a ton of action and was a lot of fun to watch. You can tell that they used the original film as inspiration for this one. And while it can never compete with Raiders, I do think it's a worthy (and final?) addition to the franchise (unlike Crystal Skull, which I try my best to forget.
• Just Sew! My grandmother taught me to sew from a young age because she wanted me to be able to mend and make clothes. It's a skill that I've used quite a lot over the years in both my personal and work lives, so I'm grateful. But I never really thought about how a sewing machine actually works. And now this...
And now I know. Though it still seems like magic is involved.
• Not Sad You're Dead! I sincerely hope that Henry Kissinger rots in hell for all eternity. Because I’ve been to Cambodia AND Laos (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@idea.soup and this was just ONE of many awful things he did (PS: the country’s name can also be pronounced ‘Lao’ but I chose to go with English pronunciation for this video) #history #henrykissinger #historylesson #historytime #laos ♬ original sound - Michael McBride
And that's just scratching the surface. There's no end to the trauma he's responsible for. The sadistic fuck. The world is far better off without him in it. And you can miss me with the whole don't-speak-ill-of-the-dead-have-some-respect-think-of-his-family bullshit. He gave less than zero fucks for all the death and destruction he caused... and even less for the families left behind... so I have less than zero fucks about him.
And just in case you'd like an extra dose of Michael McBride, and why wouldn't you, here you go. This is wild (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@idea.soup #stitch with @Wake Moody I’m actually a huge Pusha T fan #interestingfacts #funfact #hiphop #hiphopfacts #musicfacts ♬ original sound - Michael McBride
He's not wrong. If you are even remotely familia with Pusha T's music, this is absolutely bonkers. Clearly he's just that damn talented.
• Lyme-Flavored! And just because I can't help myself... here's the first video I ever saw by Michael McBride which still enrages me...
Anti-vax dumbfucks. The gift that keeps on giving.
• MOOOOOON! And just in case your quota of wackyness is lacking this week, here's a total goofball video that's big fun to watch...
Truth is often stranger than fiction. And here it is.
And now back to my snow day, currently in progress.