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Eloise Has The Answers You’re Looking For

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

Dave!Yesterday was a really tough day.

My knee that I was complaining about froze up somehow, so I was downing Ibuprofen in the hopes that I could ignore the pain and concentrate on work. And of course we were coming back from a three day weekend which followed a week where most businesses were closed, so I was insanely busy. By the time I made it home, I was hurting, I was exhausted, and all I really wanted to do was go to bed.

But my cats would be wanting dinner in two hours, so going to bed wasn't an option.

And so I decided to see if there was a comedy playing on Amazon Freevee. It had to be a comedy because I just couldn't handle anything else.

For some reason, this movie caught my eye...

Half Brothers Movie Poster.

Two guys running with a goat. How serious could that be? Probably stupid, but I'll put it on while I catch up on the internet and such.

I was not even remotely prepared for this.

It's a comedy alright... but that's just a part of it.

The film also has some of the most gut-wrenching emotional beats I've ever seen. And they're brought to life by incredible performances. No kidding. I'd put Juan Pablo Espinosa's emotional arc up against anybody. And the half-brothers casting of Luis Gerardo Méndez, whose facial reactions carry the movie... and Connor del Rio, whose craziness would sink the film if he wasn't able to balance it with a deep hurting that's in contrast to how his character acts... it's just inspired stuff. Movies with budgets that are hundreds of times bigger would be lucky to have this kind of talent in front of the camera.

But that's not even the half of it. There's thoughtful commentary on immigration that hits hard, and it all comes from what you see... nobody is lecturing you about anything. There's stereotypes examined on both sides of the border that get dismantled in very good ways. There's themes of acceptance and kindness that feel like they should be grossly out of place, and yet they work.

After watching the ending... which is flawless... the first thing I did after I managed to put myself back together was to see what score it had over at Rotten Tomatoes...

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37% Critics and 81% Audience Score.

Critics had no love for the film. But that audience score is very respectable. Which means the people who watched it just to be entertained were moved by it.

I had never heard of this film when it was released in 2020. Of course this was prime pandemic season, so I guess that tracks. But I never heard of it when it was released to video either. I then tracked down the trailer on YouTube, which is great... if you've seen the film. But given the complex nature of how it's constructed, no trailer was ever going to do it justice. How could it? It was promoted as a kind of slapstick buddy comedy...

But anyway...

Yeah, this wasn't the movie I wanted, but it ended up being the movie I needed.

I got the comedy I was looking for, it just so happens that it's sandwiched in-between emotional punches to the gut. One minute you're dying because the bed-jumping scene through the window of the motel is so hilarious... then the movie pivots on a dime, and suddenly there's a note of tragedy that makes you forget you were laughing at the same character just seconds before.

So, yeah. Highest possible recommendation. And it's free to watch on Amazon Freevee.

I loved the movie so much that I ended up paying the $15 to buy it on Apple's iTunes store because there were deleted and extended scenes... and a director's commentary. At which point I watched the movie all over again so I could hear Luke Greenfield talk about how it all came together. Turns out a lot of thought went into every shot... including how colors were used to help tell the story. But the biggest takeaway was how difficult the movie was to make because they had no money. Everything was shot on a shoestring. The road scenes were all shot on the same stretch of roads because they couldn't afford to go anywhere else. Some scenes were directed over video calls because they couldn't afford the expense of having the director on-set. Different locations were the same locations shot from different directions. But despite it all, you'd never know it while watching the film.

It has me wondering how many other wonderful movies are out there that I don't know about.

Thousands, probably.

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Bullet Sunday 837

Posted on Sunday, January 7th, 2024

Dave!The sun is shining, there's no snow on the ground, and apparently Winter is over, but I'm trying not to think about a possible drought come Summer... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Portraiture! Auguste Toulmouche was a wonderful artist who is most well known for his portraits of fancy Parisian women. What made his paintings so notable was the expressions he painted on their faces. The most famous likely being La Fiancée hésitante (The Hesitant Bride)...

A steely woman who's had enough of your shit being tended to by two women.

A closeup of the above.

But my favorite of his is Vanity...

A woman kissing herself in the mirror.

A closeup of the above.

This past week I was going through my art books and noticed something I hadn't before. There is a portrait of Auguste by another artist of the day, Jean-Louis Hamon...

Auguste Toulmouche By Hamon

After Googling for other images of the guy and not finding any, I realized something... this is likely the only record of what Auguste looked like. All articles about the guy show this same image. It's a rough painting, and yet captures a feeling in a way that a photograph never could. One of the many reasons I love art so much. Here's a self-portrait of Hamon...

Jean-Louis Hamon By Hamon

Amazing artist. I would kill to be able to paint hair like that.

   
• Méndez! I wrote a whole post over my love of the movie Half Brothers (which you can read here). I'm such a fan that I've been tracking down other works by the people in it. #1 on my list is Luis Gerardo Méndez. The guy's ability to emote what his character is feeling is jaw-dropping. He makes you feel every emotional beat of his character, and is a big reason why I love the film...

BUT ANYWAY... I was thrilled to learn that his latest project is on Paramount+ and is called Los Enviados. Except when I went to Paramount+ I couldn't find it. After a couple weeks, i.e. TODAY, I found out that it's there... you just can't search for its Spanish title. You have to search for The Envoys instead?? Weird, considering it's a Spanish language show. But anyway...

So, yeah. Most definitely checking this series out. The second season just dropped, so I'm assuming the first season must have been pretty great.

   
• Cameron Classics, Now On Digital! I love James Cameron movies. And two of my favorites are True Lies and The Abyss...

I bought them on both LaserDisc and DVD. My digital version were ripped from DVDs and hi-res broadcast because they've never been available to purchase on Digital (or Blu-Ray). Until now! And iTunes has both of them on sale for $9.99 each! So now I'm digital legal. As I endeavor to always be. The only time I'm not IS WHEN THEY DON'T MAKE THEM AVAILABLE FOR SALE!!!

   
• Rojas! Every time I rewatch Ted Lasso I find something new that I didn't know. Apparently, Danny Rojas is based on Mexican football star Javier Hernández. While reading up on Hernández, I ran across Diego Maradona, an Argentinian footballer who is rumored to also contribute to Danny's character. And THEN I found this old video of Maradona where he was warming up before a match. The song playing on the field in the background is Live is Life WHICH THEY PLAY AT THE END OF THE SECOND SEASON'S FIRST EPISODE! MIND. BLOWN. The epiode where Danny recovers from accidentally killing the team mascot. The people working on this show really know their football...

And SPEAKING of Ted Lasso... in the second episode Roy is walking out on the field with a young girl, which is most certainly his niece Phoebe. Except the actor isn't credited on IMDB and she doesn't actually appear in the story until the next episode, where Roy tells Ted about her when they visit the school with Trent Crimm (of The Independent). But if she was walking out with the team, wouldn't Ted have already met her and known who she was?

Roy walking out with Phoebe???

I must have watched the series a dozen times by now. And the earlier episodes even more. It got me through the horrors of the past three years, and it's pretty daunting knowing that there's no more coming to help me through 2024.

   
• Tidy! A friend posted a story about a mouse that tidys up a man's workbench every night. If there wasn't video evidence, you wouldn't believe it...

I wish my cats were this motivated. The whole incredible story is right here.

   
• Expenses! This truly is incredible...

And he really does do that...

Don't forget to be awesome. The guy in the videos is John Green. He wrote The Fault In Our Stars, a book I never read... but did enjoy the movie adaptation. He's a really great guy who has some very interesting thoughts. I love his YouTube channel so much, and recommend checking it out if you want to fall down a rabbit hole of awesome.

   
• Sigma Octantis! Just when I think I've seen all the flat earth idiocy that exists... along comes another one. Note at the top where the North Star (Polaris) is riiiiight up top...

The absurdly fucking stupid flat earth model.
I'd credit the artist... but I have no clue who that is

Polaris. POLARIS?!? Funny... according to this flat earth model dumbfuckery, you should be able to see Polaris from anywhere on earth. But any time I've traveled south of the equator, it was no longer visible. South Africa, Zimbabwe, Antarctica, Argentina, Fiji, Australia, Bali... no Polaris in sight. I checked! But do you want to know what's funny? Sigma Octantis (AKA The South Star) which is not visible in the northern hemisphere, is the star around which the night sky rotates when you are in the southern hemisphere. Almost as if the earth was a globe! Remarkable that! These flerfers really need to like... travel... and stuff. THE CONSTELLATIONS AREN'T EVEN THE FUCKING SAME! JESUS!!!

   
Really hoping we get some late snows so we have water this Summer.

   

The Marvelousness of Film

Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2024
The Marvels (which finally arrived on home video) is fun. Sure there were massive plot holes and moments of sheer stupidity... but overall it was a lot of fun and highly entertaining. Remember fun comic book films? And the ending(s) were a treat for long-time Marvel Studios and Marvel Comics fans. I liked it a HECK of a lot more than Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. And I liked it better than Thor: Love & Thunder as well. And it wipes the floor with all the trash that DC has been unleashing on us, so there's that.

Worth a look if you're starved for something new to watch...

Several sections almost demand watching in slow motion because the swapping of powers and places creates some crazy-fast action.

   

Barbie, Ken, and a Song of Past Lives

Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2024

Dave!Everybody is mentioning Barbie when it comes to the Oscar nomination announcement and, yeah, that's pretty fucked up what happened. But to me the most gross oversight is that Celina Song didn't get nominated for Best Director when it came to her Oscar-Nominated Best Picture Past Lives.

It's my opinion that this achingly beautiful film required more deft directorial skills to realize than any of the directors that got nominated. I mean... nothing to take away from any of them, because they've all got films they should be proud of... but the story of Past Lives is like a fragile teacup which required careful thought be put into every scene to avoid breaking it. The core of the story is with the actors, yes, but the choices that Song made feel vastly more critical to making the movie what it is.

Eli Celina Song Photo.

A part of me thinks that there was only room for one woman in the nominees, and it wasn't her.

Oh well. I'd really like to see it win Best Picture.

In any event, I am very much looking forward to whatever she does next. Every frame of Past Lives is art, and this is only her first movie!

When it comes to Barbie, Greta Gerwig did get a nod for her (adapted??) screenplay, which seems a more fitting nomination than director, in my humble opinion. But wrapping my head around how Ryan Gosling got nominated but Margot Robbie did not is impossible. I get why people are baffled. I am too. I may not have been utterly entranced by the film as so many have, but I can say 100% that if Ken was deemed Oscar-worthy, then Barbie should be as well. Robbie's performance and commitment was not in any way short.

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Bullet Sunday 842

Posted on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Dave!I'm scrubbing up after seven months of having my shower doors collecting dust in my hallway, but now that they're moved, I can move on... and blog... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Make Mine Marvel! I fully expected to get a Deadpool 3 trailer at the Superb Owl. And though I'm not watching the game, I wasn't disappointed. Now titled Deadpool & Wolverine, it's absolutely everything I dreamed of...

This may very well be worth a trip to the theater.

   
• Yawn! I was wandering through the internet and saw a photo of some cats that immediately reminded me of the famous Pet Shop Boys album cover for actually...

Classic. The Instagram account didn't credit the creator of the photos, but a reverse image search pointed me to this Tumblr here. Hopefully that's the right place. Kinda frustrating when creators don't get credited for their work.

   
• DOON TOO! Um. Wow. Can't wait for the second half of Dune. The whole idea of riding a big worm through the desert is just so comical, but here Denis Villeneuve actually makes it look terrifying...

I've always been a fan of what David Lynch managed to do with his original film back in 1984, but this is phenomenal. If only Frank Herbert could see how his master work has been so beautifully adapted.

   
• Call Me... Charlie Baltimore! I love maps. This short video is on a subject I've read about many times... but this is a very clear way of illustrating The Baltimore Phenomenon...

Alice Springs was an interesting place to visit. I went so I could see Uluru (AKA "Ayer's Rock), and it feels very much like a place that's there just to service people doing exactly that.

   
• I'm Blue! Oh how I love science. The story of the development of the blue LED is fascinating...

The implications of sterilization LEDs is mind-boggling.

   
• Shorted! It's been a while since I've read Optic Nerve. But I was excited when I heard that Randall Park was adapting Shortcomings from the original comic. THEN I saw that it was to star Justin Min (he's Ben in The Umbrella Academy) and Ally Maki (who I fell in love with from Wrecked) and was all in...

It ended up being darn good. Kinda slice-of-life with some humor to it. And though I don't recall seeing Sherry Cola in anything, she is hilarious. All the actors are really good, but holy crap should Justin Min be tearing up Hollywood. Good looking with the bone structure of a god... and incredible talented to boot.

   
• Poppin'! TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLES ONLY APPLY TO WOMEN! MEN CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT! IT'S IN THE BIBLE, YOU CAN LOOK IT UP! Meanwhile... misogyny never looked so fabulous. That lip gloss and those frosted tips are poppin' on him! Way to find a look that's so glam on you, my brother in Christ! (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@speechprof

This has the same energy for me as Andre Tatertot saying that the tears running down his face when he feels sad isn’t crying.

♬ original sound - The Speech Prof

The lack of awareness is just next level here.

   
And now? Back to playing clean up.

   

Bullet Sunday 843

Posted on Sunday, February 18th, 2024

Dave!The snow has all melted, and ... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Mean It! It’s a beautiful song to begin with. But when LANY's lead singer comes in with that hook at 2:47... how do collaborations like this happen? It’s perfect...

Can't believe this track is off Lauv's debut album.

   
• Winner! (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@jamieandblake Keep them guessing 😅 #funny #viral #fyp ♬ original sound - Jamie and Blake

I hope he at least didn't have to pay.

   
• Patagonia! I don't have very many regrets in life. But the few I do usually revolve around missed opportunities when it comes to travel. Not having been to India yet is something that I very much regret, for example. But bigger regrets are having gone places but not having enough time to see and experience more of the area. My photo expedition to Antarctica was incredible. A true bucket-list-worthy item that I will remember forever. And yet... I sure wish I would have had more time so I could visit Patagonia. But I had new kittens back home that I worried about. A mom in a memory care facility that I worried about even more. And two weeks away was already more than I could take (or afford).

   
• Streaming Services Are Shit! Cutting cable/satellite was one of the happiest things I ever did. I fucking HATED having to buy bundles that included channels I would never watch and commercials I was forced to suffer through on top of the huge monthly bill. Streaming allowed me to pay for exactly what I wanted to watch and was ad-free. Then, fast-forward to today, and we're back to bundles and fucking ads (unless you pay an absurd amount of money to get rid of them. Not only that, but the amount of content you get is shit too. Which brings us to this...

God. It's so bad that I'm to the point where I subscribe to one service ad-free each month, cancel it, then move on to the next ad-free service. And I know I'm not alone. It used to be that I cared about supporting services that produced content I wanted to watch by subscribing every month. Now I don't give a shit. Fuck 'em. I will pay when there's something they have that I want to watch. For the rest, I pay for YouTube Premium, which is ad-free and has endless content. That's enough.

   
• Marvel! Today I watched Assembled: The Making of The Marvels and am sad all over again that the movie underperformed. I love Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. Her first movie was SO good. Her part in Avengers: Endgame was flawless. And while there were some serious problems with The Marvels, it was still very entertaining. I loved the power-switching concept that drove it. — I want to see Captain Marvel again. I need more Carol Danvers. I hope that Marvel Studios brings her back somehow. And Photon. Teyonah Parris is a frickin' gift. How awesome would it be to get a limited series which explores her light powers in a cool and interesting way. And of course Ms. Marvel. I didn't particularly care for her limited series, but she was absolute gold in The Marvels. That Iman Vellani could capture the wonder of what her character was experiencing so perfectly is the heart of the entire film...

But my favorite part of the documentary was Laura "LOOK AT ME, I'M WACKY" Karpman on sound design. Makes me want to re-watch the movie just to have a better appreciation for her work on it. And of course I thought the special effects were glorious. =sigh= I am so bummed that super-hero movies are imploding. I love love loved having so much content and watched it all. I would love to have a new Marvel movie every month. Like the comics. But now it's all being scaled back, and there's really nothing out there to replace it for me. I waited so long for something like the MCU to happen. I don't want it to end.

   
• Housed! It is so weird having spent a month watching every episode of House and now it’s over. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that there are no more episodes to watch. But anyway… the final season was a bit of a mess, but I loved the show. Ten thoughts… 1) I think it’s probably a good thing that the show didn’t have a ninth season. They did everything, and it was time. There’s only so many times you can say “sarcoidosis.” 2) That being said, I want a spin-off with Chi Park. I love her character and want more. Even though they didn’t know what to do with her, and came up with the idiotic Chase love scenario. 3) I missed Cameron after she left. But Cuddy was the one that I cannot believe wasn’t there for the last season… and the way they got rid of her was insulting and stupid. 4) Robert Sean Leonard better have gotten an award for playing Wilson, because damn. 5) I think that Omar Epps probably didn’t get enough credit for his role. He was memorable despite his character being buried most of the time. 6) While I loved Taub when he was in doctor mode, they spent WAY too much time on his stupid personal life. 7) Thirteen was my favorite character. Partly because they made her so interesting, but mostly because Olivia Wilde played her so beautifully. 8] The saddest moment to me was Kutner, not Wilson, because Kutner was all reactions by the characters, and we will never know what he was feeling. 9) I would have liked to get more of the detective guy, Lucas. He was just so… together… and I love that they didn’t feel the need to make him a mess like everybody else. 10) I really do think that the writers backed themselves into a corner with Greg House. It’s like they felt him being a mess was his only quality, and he never really gave him the opportunity to be anything else (even when he was with Cuddy). Fortunately, Hugh Laurie was just so GOOD in the role that it didn’t matter. He made the character fascinating to watch no matter how much the writers were intent on sabotaging him. — BUT ANYWAY... A really good show that I’m kinda sad I didn’t watch as it was airing, because that way it probably wouldn’t have seemed as repetitive with the medical diagnosis jargon. GRADE: A- (though the final season was probably more of a C+).

   
Until next Sunday then.

   

Bullet Sunday 845

Posted on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Dave!Wah! My weekend is already half over and I'm not ready for it to be Sunday! But Sunday it must be... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Goonies Never Die! I watched this video reflecting on the career of Josh Brolin solely in the hopes that he would talk about Men In Black 3. That movie is so incredibly underrated. It's an amazing film. And a large part of that is Josh Brolin doing a Tommy Lee Jones impression... perfectly... for most of the runtime. And obviously GQ knew that's the thing everybody wanted to hear, so they saved it for last...

I sure wish that we could have heard more about his experience working on that movie.

   
• Otin! Oh man. The new Disney+ series, Iwájú, is Afrofuturism done very well... but it's so much more than that because there's like a lot going on. And it's very much steeped in Nigerian culture, which is to say that it's something wonderfully different than the same old shit we usually get. Bravo to Disney for giving us something fresh and new for a change. And for using amazing voice actors who breath life into these characters...

The characters of Iwájú.

The frickin' FOOD in this show is unreal. They put a lot of focus on it as a part of entrenching you into Nigerian culture. And, I tell you what, the emotion they pack into these 20 minute episodes is substantial. Tola is the main character of the show... but it's her best friend Kole who will break your heart. Dang they put a lot of hardship on this poor kid. The villain in this series is a very, very bad man! AND GOOD LORD THIS SHOW IS BEAUTIFUL. They use color to illustrate the class divide in this future Nigeria, and it's very, very hard not to see it because it's the visual language they paint with. And, as if all that wasn't enough, the sound design is equally wonderful. Great surround effects to envelope you in the environment. If you have Disney+, it's very much worth checking out. The episodes are short, so it's a quick watch.

   
• Ramona! Ramona Fradon is a legendary artist whose gorgeous illustration style has been seen on a vast number of comic book characters. I think I first saw her work on Aquaman reprints or the Super Friends comic. But over the years the thing I most remember her for is the "special event" Wonder Woman stories they'd get her to draw. She had a more "cartoony old-style" that wasn't my favorite for the comics I was into, but that didn't mean I couldn't appreciate it from an artistic standpoint. Far from it, her minimalist style is beautiful because she could get some very expressive line-work that stood very well on its own. I remember reading about her retirement (which was January 5th) and she passed four weeks later on February 24th at the age of 97. Her final work was a trio of covers for Women's History Month...

Though one of her more brilliant works was a private commission piece that she did a few years ago...

Rest In Peace. You were a trailblazer and true artist from the start.

   
• Help Me, Todd! Okay... let's do the math. Paramount+ wants $60 a year to subscribe with ads. Without ads is $120 a year. BECAUSE IT COMES WITH SHOWTIME, WHICH I DO NOT WANT! No option to get CBS shows without ads and without Showtime. I would pay $90 to get a year of ad-free, but Paramount is a joke of a company who wants me to subsidize their Showtime programs which I have no interest in watching. And so... do I pay $60 so I can watch So Help Me Todd with ads... or do I just subscribe to the show on iTunes for $30 without ads and I can watch it as much as I want? Well, because I don't believe in paying for stuff I don't want AND I detest ads, I'll just buy the show on iTunes. It is, after all, my favorite network show on television...

I just purchased So Help Me Todd on iTunes!

It's not like CBS has any other shows I can't live without. I'll just watch episodes of NCIS Hawaii once Paramount runs out of money from trying to force crap on people they don't want and they're forced to sell episodes of the show to Netflix because the person in charge of the company is a fucking moron. Can't wait for the spin from the Paramount PR office when profits drop to record lows and they have to convince shareholders that the people running the company aren't fucking idiots who just lost $60 from me. Of course, this is the network who canceled Magnum P.I., so it's not like I expect rational thought to come out of their leadership. But hey, maybe they'll renew So Help Me Todd and get another $30 out of me next year? Stranger things have happened!

   
• Keep Your Fucking Bullshit Politics Out of People's Lives! The insane... FUCKING INSANE... crusade against IVF is usually seen as something that affects only women. That's not true. It affects women, men, and those identifying as neither... it affects families. And I am disgusted to my core that dumbfuck politicians who don't give a shit about facts... or ANYTHING or ANYONE except MONEY and POWER... put these dipshit laws on the books. Fuck them and all the people who vote them into office. A man wrote an article for GQ Magazine talking about what he and his family went through, and it's worth a read.

   
• NEWSFLASH: Republican senator blocks bill to protect IVF. Cindy Hyde-Smith is a literal ghoul. She's a shell of a woman who has been filled with a hatred for other women that's shockingly brutal and cruel. Nothing quite like watching a woman embrace the patriarchy to dismantle an option for women who want to be mothers. I get why regressive men vote for toxic, misogynistic pieces of shit to represent them in government. But I will never in a million years understand how women vote for... whatever the fuck this horrific excuse of a human being is... who works overtime to endanger their lives and strip away their rights...

If your God didn't want IVF for us, HE WOULD HAVE DESIGNED HUMAN EMBRYOS TO BE DESTROYED WHEN FROZEN! But of course their belief in an all-powerful deity doesn't allow logic to be applied to anything, so here we are. Fucking anti-science dumbshits making a decision for others in the "Land of the Free" over an issue they probably don't even fucking understand. Sadistic fucks.

   
• Spam! Just when I think I've hit all the keywords to stop spam texts from politicians reaching me, along comes one more to add. Eventually I'll get there! I regret more than just about anything I've ever done sending money to one candidate... ONE... via "ActBlue." And the spam texts and emails have never, ever stopped ever since. No matter how many emails or phone numbers I block. The fuckers just keep making up new ones...

Spam keywords to stop poliician spam.

I love how ActBlue, which is about as skeezy an operation as you'll find just says "It's not our fault you keep getting donation requests from us... we just just provide tools for candidates to fundraise! You can't blame us!" And yet... all the people "using their services" are constantly saying "It's not the criminals! It's the guns that are the problem!" So... which is it? If ActBlue acted responsibly and forbade people from using their donation processing system if they send spam texts, and accepted complaints from people getting spammed with ActBlue requests who never "opted in," then there wouldn't be a problem. But ActBlue doesn't give a fuck. The more people using their service, the more money they make. And so I will never, ever donate to any candidate using ActBlue. I wish others would do the same. Then candidates would have nobody to blame but themselves for getting into bed with these fucking assholes.

   
• Fishy! The first Aquaman was dopey fun. So long as you didn't think too hard, it wasn't horrifically bad. Kind of a fantastical globe-spanning adventure. But Aquaman 2? Yeah, it's horrifically bad. And though some of the visuals are really great... most of it is so bad that it practically looked animated like a cartoon. And not in a good way. As if all that wasn't enough, the film is obsessed with Aquaman having piss be squirted in his mouth. Baby piss. Octopus piss. I spent the movie pretty sure that his wife is going to be pissing in his mouth any minute now. Or just full-on brick in his mouth. Which is the natural escalation we need. Hilariously, they ended Aquaman 2 the same way that they ended Black Panther... and THEN they ended it AGAIN the same way they ended Iron Man! They copied TWO Marvel Studios movie endings in the same film! Holy shit am I glad that the Zack Snyder reign of terror over the DCU is now officially over.

   
I guess that's enough trash for one Sunday. See you next week.

   

Bullet Sunday 846

Posted on Sunday, March 10th, 2024

Dave!Another Spring. Another clock adjustment to screw up my day. But I am not deterred... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• What Was I Made For? I don't watch the Oscars. I do watch moments from the Oscars after I hear who won. The first thing I watched was Robert Downey Jr.'s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor (he killed it, as you knew he would). The second thing I watched was Billie Eilish perform her Oscar nominated song for the audience (she killed it, as you knew she would). But the best part was her reaction to receiving a much deserved standing ovation...

Billie Eilish looking shocked after getting a standing ovation.

I've linked to a brilliant video explaining how her brother Finneas created the music for the song, but here's him and Billie talking about it...

Good Lord they're a pair of talented siblings. Her explanation of the directions she could have gone, but chose not to, is why the song his so heartbreakingly beautiful. And why it deserved the Oscar win...

That video was shot in a single take. It's one take. One. Ironic after the amount of time spent on the song itself. If you've seen Billie's career over the years, you will recognize where those Barbie outfits came from.

   
• Guy! The Gentlemen was great. I loved it. But this is Netflix, so I'm not getting attached for a Season 2, even though I'd love to see it...

If I have a criticism, it's that Guy Ritchie has a consistent problem. He is always introducing stupid characters who only exist to fuck things up, and they continue to fuck things up the whole way because the other characters don't ever seem to do anything about them. Which is absurd, because especially in these types of worlds, nobody could afford to indulge stupid like this. Stupid characters would be eliminated... or, at the very least, be neutralized so they can't keep doing stupid shit and fucking things up. It's fun at first, but eventually it's just moronic and boring. But anyway... it's still a great series, mostly driven by the performances of the main two characters and an entertaining story. Still have no idea how this fits into the movie that it's named after.

   
• On The Daily! I've seen a lot of those "A Photo A Day" videos where somebody takes a picture of their face daily. This is the best one I've ever seen...

Amazing. He's done videos with more frames added, and apparently plans to keep making more, which I sure hope he does.

   
• Strangers! Turns out that sometimes the critical acclaim is justified. I was finally in a mental place where I could watch All of Us Strangers on Hulu. It debuted last month, but February is a really tough stretch for me every year, and watching a movie about the overwhelming power that grief has over our lives needed to wait. Until now...

It's an incredible film. Highly recommended if you want to be completely shattered for an hour and forty-five minutes. I cannot get over the performances. There are four principal actors, all of them deserving of all the awards, and what they accomplish here will haunt me for a very long time. One of the most important characters in the film is the music, and I think the key to understanding what's happening sits with the song selection. I, obviously, can't discuss that without spoiling the film, so I'll leave how that works up to you.

   
• Spirit! "It's a love story, you asshole."

The fact that Nick Offerman threw himself into the episode of The Last of Us so completely is what made it so gratifying.

   
And now I'll get through the last day of my weekend... WITH ONE LESS HOUR IN IT.

   

Bullet Sunday 847

Posted on Sunday, March 17th, 2024

Dave!Don't even worry about the fact that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Don't give it another thought. There's no need... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Biggie! This video shows the largest city on earth throughout history, and it's absolutely mind-blowing...

Fascinating how the USA doesn't even register until the end.

   
• Good on NASA! In a day and age when young Black men are getting told left and right that they have to cut off their locs or they can't be in school or can't be in sports... Tyrone Jacobs released his NASA headshot...

Tyrone Jacobs and his natural hair in front of an American flag for his NASA headshot.

If NASA doesn't have a problem with natural hair, why the fuck do schools think they have a right to say a damn thing? Newsflash: THEY DON'T. Same goes for tattoos. Same goes for any outward appearance which doesn't keep you from doing the job.

   
• Queer Comedy! Hannah Gadsby is headlining a gender-queer Netflix Special and I finally got around to watching it. I was expecting her to not touch on the controversy she had with Netflix because, well, how can you use your platform to criticize your platform? But she just went for it. Nothing held back. And Netflix is obviously airing it, so good on Hannah and good on Netflix, I guess...

It's not a home-run, but a lot of the jokes are very funny. I enjoyed it.

   
• More Clavell! The new Shōgun series is magical to me. I love that the Japanese is subtitled and not dubbed. The language is taking me back. And bless you, Hulu, for putting some money into this. It looks incredible. Sure they wander from the book a bit, but I think that their choices are interesting ones. And I love the cast...

If only we'd get a 12-part adaptation of Noble House next. Not a gutted version, but complete with the Cold War elements and fascinating look at Hong Kong through its people.

   
• Just Poor! Am I being punked? I do not in any way understand the acclaim for Poor Things. I fucking hated this movie despite loving the other films from most everybody in it. Yes, it’s gorgeous, the imaginative sets are genius, and the cinematography is incredible (the use of different lenses throughout is just =chef’s kiss=)... but the story is a big departure from the book. And absolutely not in a good way...

The cast of characters page from the Poor Things book.

The book is a wonderfully layered story of how men view women, and it uses the concept of “unreliable narrator” so that you truly don’t know who or what to believe. And there are multiple conflicting “truths” that are tainted by things like misogyny, perspectives, and even the wishful thinking of different characters. But the movie? Bella is a child’s brain in an adult body as a matter of fact, which makes the entire thing a fucking nightmare. It’s child porn with a loophole. And it lacks the subtlety and complexity that made the book so interesting. In my view, Bella loses a lot of her agency in the movie. Her experience and story is viewed entirely through the lens of men she encounters, even as she is rapidly maturing and coming to understand how the world works for a woman. Movie Bella really doesn’t face adversity to truly understand anything either. It’s all observational, and nothing feels earned as she wanders from place to place. And, good Lord, the music is a horrific assault that made me want to turn on subtitles and view it on mute. Who the fuck wants to listen to this? So many times I am able to dislike popular movies for myself, but appreciate that they exist for others. But this time? Hell no. I regret the precious time I wasted watching this mess. It gutted a wonderfully interesting book and turned it into soft core porn for the male gaze which is contrary to what I took away from the source material.

   
• Whistle Broken. John Barnett did not shoot himself? Or maybe he did. Regardless, I am putting the 100% entire complete blame on Boeing. The guy dedicated 32 years of his life to this company but had a conscience. So when management decided to ignore his concerns about declining quality and falsify data on serious issues with manufacturing, he reported the cover-up as a "whistleblower." And now he's dead. Right in the middle of the lawsuit against his former employer. Again, this guy devoted 32 YEARS of his life to this company. They then set out to absolutely destroy what life he had left because he wanted passengers to be safe. They finally succeeded. Regardless of whether he ended it himself or somebody did it to him.

   
• Cancel, Please! Why don't streaming services allow you to block shows and movies? Take HBO Max, for example. I never want to watch Bill Maher. Ever. Never ever. I don't care who he has on. I'd rather light my pubes on fire and jump into a barrel of gasoline than watch that moronic self-righteous piece of shit asshole for even two minutes. But every time I start HBO Max, there he is. There's no way to block the dipshit. No way to get him off my TV. And no amount of ignoring him will get HBO to get the fucking message. On Facebook I can block somebody I don't want any contact with. But with HBO, there's no options at all. Can't even give him a thumbs-down so the algorithm will stop inundating you with his bullshit. It's nearly enough for me to cancel HBO, because having to look at Maher's smug face is tantamount to torture.

   
Hope the rest of your Sunday is a good one.

   

Bullet Sunday 849

Posted on Sunday, March 31st, 2024

Dave!And so we've come to the end of a three-day weekend, and I'm really sad about that, but not so sad that I'm taking a day off from bullets... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Jolene! Okay... so Beyoncé didn't just cover Dolly Parton's Jolene she changed it in a significant way. Instead of begging Jolene not to steal her man, Beyoncé is warning Jolene to not try and steal her man...

A good cover song comes from making it your own. Beyoncé did that completely. AND SPEAKING OF DOLLY PARTON...

Tina Fey's talent literally knows no bounds. She claims to have gotten the part accidentally because it was shot during COVID and she was the only one around, but the fact that she nailed it anyway is incredibly cool. DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE CLAIMS SHE DOESN'T DO IMPERSONATIONS...

Yeah, Tina Fey is the gift that keeps on giving.

   
• Ultimate Evil. I don't think I was ever going to be in the mindset to watch the documentary The Truth vs. Alex Jones, but I felt it important to watch so I did. I expected that my takeaway would be sympathy and heartache. It wasn't. It's all-consuming rage. On way too many fronts. Parents who lost their kids at Sandy Hook were already going through hell before Alex Jones started unlashing his fucked up lies and bullshit that had them constantly under attack. He doesn't just deserve to lose all his money, he should be in prison for what he did. Over and over again we hear about how the "absence of trauma helicopters" and how "the parents were acting like actors" was proof-positive of Sandy Hook being fake. How the fuck does any rational human being hear that and say "Yeah, that sounds about right!" and feel justified in screaming at grieving parents? Holy fucking shit. Who needs Satan as a symbol of ultimate evil? We have Alex Jones.

   
• The Willow World! This new Hulu Shōgun adaptation is not the book, but something... else. I've read the novel multiple times and fully admit some of the changes bother me a bit, but most of them do not. The series is its own thing, and I'm appreciating it for what it is instead of what it's not. It's interesting to me how the latest episode is spending a relatively huge amount of screen time in a brothel. But not for the reason you'd think. They are making an effort to contrast what a "brothel" is in Japan vs. what it is in the Western world. But they're doing so in a way which explains things that are happening in the story, albeit in abstract. It's all so beautiful and brilliant...

A Japanese woman stands in a bleak forest with her red kimono jumping out of the shot.

What I love most is that the series isn't married to simply following Anjin around. I'd argue that he's not even the main character of this series. He really isn't the focus of this episode... he's an accessory. A minor distraction that pops up from time to time. And it's a bold... very bold... tact to take. Ladies of the Willow World is an episode that is very much the calm before the storm, and I'm thrilled that it exists. This is what happens when you take your time and give yourself ten episodes instead of six. Because it makes the big picture so much more rewarding. This is exceptional, not-to-be-missed television.

   
• SO WOKE! I'm going to put this riiiiiight here...

   
• Polska! You guys... YOU GUYS... Netflix has a Polish rom-com streaming! — I swear, in a lot of ways, Polish rom-coms can out-Hallmark Hallmark. This one is called Nic na sile (No Pressure) and it has one of the guys from Uwierz w Mikolaja (I Believe in Santa) in it...

I wish there was a Polish streaming service with American subtitles here. Because I would stream the heck out of that! Good news if you're not into subtitles... Netflix has dubbed it into English if you want.

   
• Harrassment! Can somebody please explain the point of texts like this? I am not a Democrat. I never have been. I always support the best candidate regardless of party...

But if I were a Democrat, I wouldn't be after this harassment. I have texted STOP to this same exact text a dozen times. And each time I block the number. But they just use a different number and text me again and again and again. I have very few regrets in this life. But donating to every Democrat I could find in the 2019 midterms via ActBlue is one of them. I have been relentlessly hounded ever since. There is no way... none... to escape it. They text you no matter how many times you tell them to STOP... they text you no matter how many times you block their numbers. I just looked on my phone. I have 78 blocked numbers. Seventy-eight. To be fair, not all of them are from Democrats. But I bet most of them are. I bet a huge majority are. Because they never, ever stop. So good luck getting another fucking cent out of me via ActBlue. Fuck you and your dataset.

   
• Visibility! Um... before anybody gets their fucking panties in a bunch and start screaming "PICK ANOTHER DAY FOR TRANS VISIBILITY DAY... EASTER IS TAKEN!" You should know that Easter is on a different day each year, but Trans Visibility Day has been on March 31st since it was created in 2009. I swear, nobody loves to be persecuted more than Christians. They are constantly finding ways for their faith to be assaulted... even if it's not even happening. But anyway, happy International Transgender Day of Visibility! Especially to my trans friends who deserve to be seen when society is working overtime to try to erase them just for existing and being themselves.

   
On with your Sunday then...

   

Bullet Sunday 852

Posted on Sunday, April 21st, 2024

Dave!I don't have time to be blogging because now that I'm past my (second) kidney stone recovery I should be cleaning the disaster area that's my house... but I just can't shake the bullets for some reason... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Not Todd! Kidney stones wasn't the only pain that I got hit with this week. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the idiotic fucks at CBS canceled one of the best shows on television, So Help Me Todd. The reason that this is not surprising is that CBS routinely preempts the show, dropping it from the schedule for weeks at a time. How the fuck can even a great show build momentum when it's not available? How can people run across it when it's not consistently occupying a time slot? CBS purposely sabotaged the show, then canceled it. Period. And it's a real shame, because it's on-track to be even better than the first season...

So Help Me Todd promo image.

It's like the network is being run by dipshit assholes using 1980's tactics instead of living in the 2020's where streaming exists. Networks who know what the fuck they're doing either dump all episodes at once for binging... or release them consistently because they know that people will expect a new episode every week (even if they are not tuning in on the actual premiere date). Did Apple preempt Ted Lasso? Fuck no. The people in charge of AppleTV+ actually understand how consistency and momentum are critical to a show's success. Fuck CBS. It pisses me off that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is on Paramount+ (CBS's overseers) so I have to give these stupid fucks money to watch it. Good thing that's about the only show on this fucking network that I find worth watching. Especially since Star Trek: Lower Decks has also been canceled.

   
• STORYTIME: The Cloud Under the Sea. It's a bit of a long read. But it's a really good one. It's about the people who repair the massive number of cables under our oceans and waters which make the internet happen. Seriously worth your time. Exceptional reporting by The Verge. It must be, because I don't recommend articles like this very often.

   
• Bunnies! Instagram has really sucked me in these past couple days. How, you might ask? Bunnies. In particular, bunnies eating stuff. Just look at this. LOOK AT THIS...

And, dude. Dude!

I can't. I CANNOT!

The algorithm is getting scary good at capturing people's attention. Yikes.

   
• FEMALES?! Marvel Studios announced that Julia Garner will be playing The Silver Surfer in the new Fantastic Four film. Of course there were people who lost their damn minds. BUT SHE'S A FEMALE!!! AND SILVER SURFER IS A MALE!!! And it's like... mostly, yeah. But it's not like there isn't a precedent for a Silver Surfer who's a woman. But the outrage farm over it is by people who likely don't follow the comics in the first place. They just hear "GENDER-SWAP!" being batted around, and that's all that matters...

The FEMALE Silver Surfer from the comic books. FEMALE!!!

The only thing I care about... ALL I care about... is that it's a good film. And honors the source material in a way that doesn't have to be literal, but should be respectful to what made the franchise such a success after 60+ years. Live-action is a completely different media than the printed page. There will have to be changes to make it work. The Silver Surfer not being a man isn't going to radically ruin anything. Maybe it made for a more compelling character with the story they want to tell? Or maybe Julia Garner was just the best actor for the role? I dunno. I won't know until the film is released. Nobody will.

   
• There You Go! It's like... I am already dying to see Deadpool & Wolverine so much that it seems impossible that I could be any more excited about it. But then...

Deadpool and Wolverine teaser poster.

Genius. It's like... whomever is in marketing at Marvel Studios managed to capture everything we've been waiting for. And it's so simple in execution.

   
• NEWSFLASH: Cable lobby vows “years of litigation” to avoid bans on blocking and throttling. My raw, seething loathing of former FCC chair Ajit Pai for his total fucking betrayal of The American People really knows no limits. This week the FCC is going to vote on whether to restore the vital net neutrality rules that Pai repealed (despite them having massive public support BECAUSE THEY'RE THE RIGHT THING TO DO!). And I'm here to tell you... they better fucking reinstate them. Because I am sick and tired of Big Telco and Big Cable and their fucking need to fuck over the internet with their fucking bullshit for a fucking buck. And I literally could not give less of a shit about their threats. Fuck them. Let them "vow" all they want. Here's a one-minute video from six years ago just to show that we are still fighting the same shit because corporations fucking own our fucking government...

Fuck Ajit fucking Pai forever. When I think of people who should be fucking shot for fucking treason, his name is near the fucking top of my fucking list. To this day I wonder what he got in exchange for selling us out.

   
And now back to everything in my house I've been needing to clean for the past two weeks.

   

Star Wars at 47

Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2024

Dave!My obsession with Star Wars is approaching 50 years (in 2027). The original film is a defining childhood experience for me, and I've been reading the books and comics, watching the movies and shows, and playing the games ever since.

Being a Star Wars fan can be a frustrating ordeal because there has been so much shit shoveled on top of the franchise over the years. But even so, my love of it all triumphs, and I can never get enough of the stuff. Tomorrow being "Star Wars Day" means that I will spend a good chunk of it revisiting things. This year I've decided it will be the five chronological films running from Solo through Return of the Jedi. I had already watched the sequel trilogy back in March. If there's time tomorrow, I will watch the good moments from the prequel trilogy as well (that'll take about 15 minutes).

I also decided to revisit my Star Wars movie ranking chart. But there really wasn't a need, because only one film really needs to be moved...

My Star Wars Scale which Ranks all the Movies

   
And here's a new run-down of my thoughts on all the movies above...

Solo: A Star Wars Story When I first saw the film, I thrilled to see Daniel Glover's exceptional take on Lando Calrissian... but not much else. The story was too convoluted and was, for the most part, unnecessary for Star Wars as a whole. Yeah, we get to see some of the throwaway stuff from the earlier films, but did we really need to see it? But over the years my opinion has changed. I was able to appreciate it as just a fun story that happened to be in the Star Wars universe as opposed to judging it solely as a Star Wars movie. There's some really cool action sequences and interesting ideas which make it a worthwhile addition to the franchise.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Given the mess that went on behind the scenes, it's a miracle that this movie worked as well as it did. Lucasfilm/Disney wasn't thrilled with what Gareth Edwards had done and brought in Tony Gilroy to rework it. Entire sequences were added, deleted, and changed. The result is not without problems, but it's a great film and incredible Star Wars. The Battle of Scarif... both on the ground and in the space above... is peak Star Wars for me. Every time I see the movie I go running to YouTube to find the fan edits which focus only on the space battle to disable the shield gate. Amazing, amazing stuff. As if that weren't all enough, you get to see the ultimate Darth Vader sequence and a poignant ending which was a huge punch to the gut that sent Star Wars in a direction that made it something... more.

Star Wars IV: A New Hope The movie that melted my brain as a kid doesn't really hold up in several areas, but is still a landmark movie that I love to an irrational degree. After rebelling against the Special Edition forever, I mostly watch that version now because cleaning up the special effects is just too important to ignore. I am still hoping that one day a version of the film which only cleans up the special effects of the original cut is released in 4K... jettisoning the stupid shit like Greedo firing first and Han meeting with Jabba. That's the dream. I don't for the life of me understand why Disney just doesn't fucking do it already. No need to respect George Lucas's wishes after he's talked shit about them... so just give everybody what they want.

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back The greatest Star Wars movie in existence by a wide margin, Empire was a serious take on sci-fi fantasy that Irvin Kershner managed to complete before George Lucas fucked up the franchise by making it about selling kiddie toys instead of being about Star Wars. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan took Lucas's story idea and made it a mature, smart, nuanced screenplay that worked so beautifully that you got a serious taste of exactly what Star Wars could and should be. Easily in my top five movies of all time, this is what I think about when I think about Star Wars.

Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi Here we go. The first step in George Lucas utterly shitting on everything Star Wars which came before. It's all about kiddie toys now, which is why we get nonsensical teddy bear Ewoks and other unnecessary character additions... plus a long slide into stupid shit like burp and fart jokes. I'm assuming all the coolest stuff... like the final battle between Luke and Anakin, and that epic space battle... were all thanks to Lawrence Kasdan's effort to make something Star Wars fans would actually want to watch, but who knows? While I still love this film simply because it's Star Wars and completes the trilogy, I also loathe it for how it took an unfuckable franchise and so thoroughly fucks it up. All because George Lucas had an agreement to keep all the money from the toy sales, and he wanted money instead of good movies. Which brings us to...

TIME PERMITTING, THESE PREQUEL SCENES...

Duel of the Fates from Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace Look, I'm just going to come out and say it... the prequel trilogy fucking sucks. Stupid, boring ideas revolving around political shenanigans. Groan-inducing, horrific dialogue. Pathological abuse of green-screen. Catastrophic avoidance of practical effects. These are bad fan films, not Star Wars. That being said, there are moments that you love to see. The battle between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul is fun to watch, so instead of torturing myself by watching the entire movie, I usually fast-forward through Anakin's insufferable journey (YIPEEEE!!) and, God help us, Jar Jar Binks, so I can just watch the moments that don't suck. Of which there are precious few.

Bounty Hunter Chase and Yoda vs. Dooku from Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones Everything that sucked about Phantom Menace is in full effect here. Plus... they sabotaged both Padmé and Obi-Wan by making them plain stupid. For the longest time I put a lot of my loathing for this film on Hayden Christensen's crappy, whiny Anakin Skywalker... but after seeing his subsequent appearances in the Obi-Wan and Ahsoka series, it's VERY clear that it wasn't his acting ability that was lacking... it was the shitty script he had to work with. That being said, that thrilling bounty hunter chase after the attempt on Padmé's life through the skies of Coruscant... and that amazing (and unexpected) fight between Yoda and Dooku... both were =chef's kiss=. This movie is filled with so much "if only" that it's almost criminal. The biggest being that we finally had an opportunity to see the Jedi at the height of their power and abilities in the Battle of Geonosis... only to get this massive wet fart of a "fight" which was just Jedi using "force push" a lot and waving their lightsabers in the most boring fucking way possible. I was expecting to see Jedi antics that made it vividly clear why they were so feared and respected. What I got was literally the opposite of that. Boring.

Palpatine Rescue from Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith Despite an abundance of stupid shit and bad ideas, I regularly rank Sith above Jedi because at least the burp and fart jokes were on the decline here. And that opening where Obi-Wan and Anakin rescue Palpatine in the middle of a massive space battle was almost too good to be true. Everything after that was a bit of a mess. Sure we got that infamous fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin, and there was also Yoda vs. Palpatine, but by that point it was really too late to save this movie, which ultimately added nothing we needed to see to the Star Wars story.

WATCHED ALREADY BACK IN MARCH...

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens The sequel trilogy actually got off to a fairly good start despite some major missteps and too many retread moments from the original trilogy. I liked Rey quite a bit. I loved BB-8. Starkiller Base was a nice escalation of the Death Star. The action sequences weren't spectacular, but were fun to watch. This wasn't a great movie, but it was a good one that I enjoyed. I just wish it were smarter, as too many things about it were weak.

Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi It's just... why? Rian Johnson is a very capable writer and director. He had a golden opportunity to do something interesting with Star Wars. But this is what we got? This? With the exception of that wonderful sequence where Holdo uses hyperspace as a weapon, the only things I remember from the film are all bad. Poe's child-like defiance. Kylo and Rey's horribly-choreographed battle in the throne room. Luke Skywalker being wasted then discarded for nothing. That stupid-ass casino heist nonsense on Canto Bight. Snoke being thrown out like garbage as if he wasn't originally orchestrated as this massive threat. And, worst of all, stupid fucking SPACE LEIA?!? And then... then... that final sequence with the little boy and the broom completely tossing everything we know about Jedi training in the trash. It's all just so awful.

Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker While this was an improvement over the previous flick, it still wasn't a very good movie. The whole MacGuffin chase for the Sith Wayfinder nonsense made for a mediocre plot. Palpatine's return and revelation that he's Rey's grandpa were plain stupid (assumably since Snoke got killed off last film, this was the best they could do for a villain?). The death and return of three separate characters (Chewbacca, C-3PO, and Rey... and an argument could be made to toss Palpatine, Leia, and Luke in that mix) made it look as if J.J. Abrams didn't have any ideas left. In the end too many moments were fan service instead of story service. Plus there's the relative simplicity that the whole evil plot is wrapped up (not to mention the stupid way it was accomplished), and this was a relatively anticlimactic end to an anticlimactic trilogy that didn't really give us much new to justify it happening in the first place.

   
And that's that for my big Star Wars plans. At some point I really want to re-read some of the best Star Wars books (starting with the Thrawn Trilogy). I definitely want to rewatch the incredible Andor first season before the second season arrives (seriously, if that show were a movie, it would rank right up there with Rogue One for how incredible it is. I think I'd also like to run through the LEGO Star Wars games.

In any event, May the 4th be with you.

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Bullet Sunday 854

Posted on Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Dave!I'm in full-on construction mode here in my home, but have no fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Shield Gate! Yesterday I mentioned that every time I watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story I go running to the internet to watch the super-cut of all the space battles because they're just so cool and amazing to look at. And here you go...

You're welcome! Dang pushing the Star Destroyer into the Shield Gate was brilliant fun.

   
• Acolyte! The big news out of yesterday was that Star Wars gave us a peek at new Star Wars on Star Wars Day...

Looks darn good! But I'm so used to being shown the best bits of the show in the trailer, then finding out that it's nothing like what they showed us. So I guess we'll see.

   
• Mazes Got Nuthin' on This! I fell down a rabbit hole of videos of crows being geniuses. Then octopi. And then... rats?!?

Rats driving a car. Who knew?

   
• Dementia Village! The dementia care home I found for my mom wasn't a sterile, boring, hospital-like place. It looked more like a home with different textures and colors and interesting things to look at... other patients to visit with. Her room was likewise nothing like a hospital room, and could be filled with all her stuff so it felt familiar. The hallways was in a big loop so she couldn't get lost. For what it was, I thought it was quite nice. The only thing missing was a way for her to wander outside and look around. And idea which was has been explored by this Dutch facility, which is incredible...

As happy as I was with the facility I found for my mom, I would have been thrilled if she could have stayed in a place like this. So much more friendly. I really hope these "dementia villages" catch on.

   
• Hulk Smash! The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Orlando is hands-down my favorite rollercoaster. I rode it the year it debuted, then rode it plenty more times over the years (one visit to the park I rode it five times!). This video talks about the coaster, and I've skipped past all the non-Hulk-Coaster crap at the beginning...

I did ride it after the refurbishment, and was impressed. They kept the classic coaster everybody loves... just made the experience better from start to finish. No other coaster I've ridden since has compared to it. Not bad for a coaster 25 years old!

   
• AI FAIL! I had the same thing to say about both the Humane AI Pin and the Rabbit R1: "Once Apple & Google unleash AI assistants on their phones, all these additional gadgets are toast." But this was before either of these devices were released to horrific reviews. They're useless. Snazzy Labs has a great overview of both devices at the same time so you only have to watch one video...

The Humane AI Pin was fucking useless on paper and is worse than useless in practice. I was a little more bullish about the Rabbit R1 because it at least had a screen to interact with stuff and sounded like it had a better service. But it turns out that it's worse than useless too. Which is to say that Apple & Google are winning before they've even released anything. How boring.

   
• Fuck This Fucking Fuck! I gotta say... watching puppy-killing piece of shit Kristi Noem getting dragged from one end of the internet to the other is the best thing ever. She murders animals not because she needs food or is in danger... but because she just fucking loves to kill (surrendering your "problem" puppy to an animal shelter means you can't kill it, so she must love it)...

I hope her political career is truly toast, because a sadistic fuck like this has no business holding any political office. If she thrills to kill a fucking puppy... can you imagine what she would do to make lives harder for people she doesn't like? And now she's blaming all her lies and bullshit on her ghost-writer. Which is hilarious given that SHE NARRATED HER OWN AUDIOBOOK AND KNEW FULL WELL WHAT IT CONTAINED! That happened after she fucking lied about staring down Kim Jong Un. Jesus what a dipshit asshole.

   
And now back to construction, already in progress.

   

It’s Looking Super

Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2024

Dave!Okay... okay...

James Gunn is out here teasing us with this epic shot promoting the upcoming Superman movie. It's just so... brilliant. Just another mundane day for Superman having to go save the world! I haven't been this excited about a DC movie in over a decade...

Seriously. The last DC movies that were worth a shit was Wonder Woman in 2017 and The Suicide Squad in 2021. I wasn't looking forward to Wonder Woman because I thought it was an extension of the shitty, dark, joyless shit that Zack Snyder had been crapping out of his ass. It took me completely by surprise when it actually ended up being a decent flick.

Here's hoping.

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Bullet Sunday 855

Posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2024

Dave!I'm building build building this weekend, but I haven't forgot about you, dear reader... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• DestructiPad! Apple introduced their amazing new iPads in the worst way possible. To illustrate how this miracle device is capable of a huge number of creative endeavors, from music to art to research, they released a commercial where a massive hydraulic press squishes musical instruments, art supplies, and other physical tools into nothingness. And they let you see the destruction in excruciating, closeup detail...

Apple Destroying Tradtional Tools

Now, I get what they were trying to do... but holy shit. Who thought this ad which celebrates the death of physical creativity would be a good idea? The first thing I thought was "Do they not speak with foreign culture consultants before releasing their ads?" Because the first thing I thought of was... there are cultures where creative tools are revered, and destroying them like this is an unforgivable act. And, sure enough, the outrage was immediate. Particularly from Japan, where something like this is unforgivable. But it should anger anybody who thinks this kind of waste is senseless. Apple ultimately apologized, but it is crazy to me that they were so stupid as to do this in the first place. They could have animated it... or used cardboard cut-out representations... or anything where the actual objects weren't destroyed.

   
• MaxiPad! Tone-deaf commercial aside, the new iPads are incredble. The display, the power, the larger size, the new stylus... it's a digital creator's dram come true. I don't use my iPad enough to justify buying a new one (I have a 2020 iPad Pro), but was curious to know how much my ideal iPad configuration with accessories would cost. It's $2000... not including AppleCare. But no worries... Apple will give me $65 to trade in my old iPad Pro! Yikes. I'll just wait for the MacBook Pro M4, thanks.

   
• Exit! Okay. Dang. Sometimes short films have more impact per second than a multi-million dollar flick...

This brilliantly illustrates how a film doesn't necessarily have to take its time and build up characters into fully-realized people in order to be entertaining. Sure traditional long-form movies are my preferred way to experience a story, but running into something like this shows that it's not the only way to tell a story. If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out my last short film pick, Two Strangers Meet Five Times.

   
• THERE IT IS! And... scene...

Here's the thing: I have never had a desire to wear nail polish. It's never been my thing, even when I was into cultures where it was a part. But seeing all these snowflakes getting so triggered by FUCKING NAIL POLISH makes me actually want to start wearing it. The idea that guys can't accessorize their appearance without being trashed by the toxic masculinity brigade is absurd. Why the fuck are people so invested in what other people are doing with their appearance? Let them do them and you do you. It's not that hard to ignore shit that makes others happy that you wouldn't do for yourself.

   
• EXIT SLOW! Ah yes. The Union Street exit in Seattle. I have taken it many times. And have seen people nearly lose control many times. Never seen a crash... but I believe they happen often because of how it's designed. Some guy set up a camera to catch accidents of cars taking the exit too fast, and they do indeed happen often...

You'd think that people driving in an area that they are unfmiliar with would be following all suggested speed signs rather than ignoring them. Odds are, there's a reason that they tell you to slow way down.

   
• More Runner! One of my most favorite films of all time is Blade Runner 2049. It shocks me to this day that it wasn't a massive blockbuster success. This is the film that genius-director Denis Villeneuve made before his celebrated Dune films, and it's equally phenomenal. This week it was annonced that Amazon Prime Video is making a sequel series... WITH MICHELLE FUCKING YEOH!!! I gotta tell you, I have no idea when Blade Runner 2099 is going to happen, but I am already looking forward to seeing it. If it's even half as good as 2049, it will be well worth the wait.

   
• NEWSFLASH: Ted Cruz Called Automatic Airline Refunds a ‘Dumb Idea.’ Senators Disagreed. Do you think that if Ted Cruz blows enough airline executives he can take his next Cancún vacation for free? The refund is not immediate-immediate. It's only if your flight has been significantly delayed and you don't rebook another flight to replace it. The only thing this changes is that you don't have to fill out a bunch of paperwork and let the airline string your along forever... or issue you some stupid credit that you'll never use before it expires. Where the fuck does this boot-licker asshole come up with this outrageous shit? Do people even believe his ridiculous crap anymore? Ted Cruz is a fucking embarrassment, and the fact that he still has a job shocks the shit out of me. Republicans don't think that they deserve to get their money back with a minimum of inconvenience when they get fucked over by over-bookings or maintenance failures or whatever? Get real.

   
And now back to hammering...

   

Web of Stupidity

Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2024

Dave!"Madame Web is spectacular. A triumph of the human spirit and a film which redeems super-hero movies for all eternity. No greater achievement in artistic expression will ever come to pass, and I’m rendered awestruck that such a cinematic masterpiece exists within my lifetime. Oscar glory awaits. Now streaming, only on Netflix!" —David Simmer II, Blogography

Look, I'm not here to pile on the absolute fucking disaster that is Madame Web because plenty of professional movie reviewers have taken care of that.

Except I am, because when you release utter shit in the comic book genre, then you oversaturate the market and fuck up people's confidence in comic book movies which might actually be worth a shit (see: every shitty Zack Snyder DC Comics movie ever).

But anyway... Madame Web...

From what I can tell, this is loosely based on the Spider-Man comic book saga The Grim Hunt where Kraven the Hunter's family starts hunting the various spider-characters of the Marvel Universe because their blood will resurrect Kraven (who had died earlier in the series. Or something like that. It's been over a decade since I read them.

Except instead of Kraven's family it's a different Marvel character, Ezekiel, who's hunting spider-people. And instead of wanting to resurrect Kraven, he wants to kill the spider-people because he's convinced they will kill him. The changes make sense because the Kraven movie hasn't come out yet and the film doesn't have Spider-Man in it. The comic book story is also where Madame Web dies (spoiler alert), but whatever.

But anyway... Madame Web...

In the comic books she's an old lady who's blind and paralyzed from a disease, but can see the future. She's kept alive by a network of tubes that resembles a spider's web...

Arguably one of the stupidest fucking heroes ever, she was shoe-horned into the Spider-Man Universe with a sledgehammer. Which is apt because Sony Pictures intended to shoe-horn this stupid fucking movie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for no other reason that they own the motion picture rights to the Spider-Man characters. And they want to cash in on the fact that their deal with Marvel to put Spider-Man in the MCU has been incredibly lucrative. How they thought they would make money with a character that absolutely nobody gives a shit about is beyond me. And this film comes after the hilarious flop that was Morbius, which makes Sony look even more idiotic. And just you wait... Kraven is coming on December 13th!

But anyway... Madame Web...

The film is about a woman named Cassie Webb whose mother was shot by the evil Ezekiel in Costa Rica as she looked for a magical spider. He wanted the magic spider she found, and killed her for it. In an attempt to save her life, a mysterious group of spider-people let one of these magical spiders bite her to give her super-powers. But it's too late. She dies, Cassie is born, and she grows up to find out the magical spider that bit her mom gives her the ability to see the future. Meanwhile, Ezekiel and his precognitive abilities foresees that three girls will eventually get spider-powers and be responsible for his death. So he sets out to kill them first. Cassie sets out to same them. Totally unoriginal and boring super-hero antics ensue.

This movie is horrendous. Nothing makes sense. Major plot points could have easily been circumnavigated with even ten seconds of thought. And you could tell that they were jerking the story around from start to finish because there's a lot of inserted dialogue which is painfully fucking obvious. Whether this is studio interference or incompetence is anybody's guess. All I do know is that, with the exception of a few action sequences that aren't half bad, the movie is an ungodly mess that should have never been made.

It's just more garbage being inserted into the comic book movie genre that nobody wants or asks for.

   

Looking Forward

Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Dave!The trailers for Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley and Beetlejuice Beetlejuice dropped today!

I tell you what, it's so nice to have something to look forward to. There has been a real dearth of good genre entertainment lately (Madame Web!), and I'm ready.

This movie looks exactly like what I'd want it to look like...

As does this one...

I have massive expectations for more Deadpool...

And then there's the new Cap movie coming...

And don't forget about Acolyte, which will be here in a few weeks...

Looks like the most Jedi thing to ever come out of Star Wars. FINALLY we might get to see the full potential of what a group of Jedi is capable of. Something I thought we'd get in Attack of the Clones when they teased The First Battle of Geonosis. But nope! Sure we got Mace Windu being all badass and cool with his Jedi acrobatics. But that's it. All the Jedi in the background are just indiscriminately waving their lightsabers around and using "Force Push" against a bunch of robots while firmly planted. It was fucking embarrassing. I've plaed LEGO Star Wars video games that were more exciting. Why not have all of the Jedi leaping around and being badass cool instead of this nonsense...

Jedi Kit Fisto doing a stupid-ass Jedi Force Push instead of actually doing anything cool in a fight.

Kit Fisto deserved better. And Star Wars fans definitely did.

But anyway... nice to have something to look forward to.

UPDATE: And now this...

Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery

I'm excited about this, even though it's delaying a new season of Poker Face. But that logo... ACK!! Not centered up correctly because they did it mathematically instead of visually. Hopefully the movie will be better than that!

   

A Night of YouTube and A Day of Corruption

Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2024

Dave!I had a really rough night and ended up watching a boatload of YouTube videos to take my mind off the stabbing pain that was shooting through me. Sure it meant I only got 3 hours and 42 minutes of sleep and was exhausted all day long, but it beats having to take painkillers that wreck havoc on my internals.

One of the standout videos I watched was Jenny Nicholson at her most hilarious. The longer this went on, the funnier it got. I think I have a hernia now...

   
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! There was more Jenny madness to be had: "I guess I don't know that guy's nationality just by looking at him... so... maybe in his case it is okay to be doing this." In this video she's taking a look at this Canadian church which has become famous for their Easter plays. I WAS NOT AT ALL PREPARED!! As she runs through them, things just keep getting more unreal as the years go on. I cannot fathom how much time is spent on these productions. But it's a lot. TIME THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT WORSHIPPING THE LORD! GAH!

   
Another great thing I saw was the trailer for Moana 2, which looks gorgeous and hilarious...

   
I finally joined Nebula to watch Thomas Flight's exclusive videos and discovered Mary Spender. What a phenomenal talent. She's on YouTube too and worth a listen. She's got her original music there, but she also comments on music in general. This video on the song Dreams by Fleetwood Mac is so good. What a wild story...

   
And now it's today! I've always loved Antonio Banderas. Even when the film isn't great, he puts his all into his role and is always worth watching. What's so great is that the guy never stops working. The first thing I saw him in was Philadelphia. But the movie I first really remember him from was "Desperado." Then there was Mask of Zorro and The 13th Warrior and Once Upon a Time in Mexico which cemented him as a favorite. Right now I am watching a 2017 film called Security on Netflix. I liked it. Banderas has lost absolutely nothing. And then... BEN KINGSLEY?!?? It's kinda Die Hard in a mall, but in a good way. Plenty of action, some dark turns, and Banderas killing it...

Enjoyed it quite a lot. In a day when fascist assholes are wanting to close libraries, ban books, and keep kids from reading, it's nice to remember more literate times.

In other news...

As usual, neither the Left nor the Right is happy with my reaction to the Trump verdict, but I'm getting used to it. Because what I have to say is this... "Great! Now let's go after the rest of these corrupt politicians and purge the government in BOTH parties."

Overwhelming evidence. Guilty on all 34 counts. That's what his party wants representing them in government? But then I look at Democrats and their love of Nancy Pelosi and her corrupt insider-trading ass, which they excuse away because her husband made the actual trades, and it's like... yeah. She couldn't have possibly told him to sell their Google stock right before Google would be sued over antitrust violations. That totally tracks.

Americans need to wake the fuck up. The only reason that 90% of these politicians are in government "service" is so they can exploit their office for money and power. Period. Ban politicians from trading stocks or accepting money from PACs and lobbyists, make the penalty for corruption be death by firing squad, and watch how fast most of them abandon a job that once meant guaranteed money and power.

Corruption is built into our political system, and the ones who can stop it are the ones running it.

Which is why I pledge fealty to no politician or political party. I am sick of all of it.

   

Taste the Rainbow 2024

Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2024

Dave!Tomorrow is the start of Pride Month.

It's a time of appreciation, love, and support for LGBTQ persons from their community and its allies. Given what they have to endure in our toxic society it's darn important (straight people can have the other 11 months of the year). It's especially important for queer youth, who need affirmation that they are not alone and there are people out there who love and accept them for exactly who they are... despite whatever bullying and hate that comes their way.

It's also a time where corporations capitalize on Pride by slapping a rainbow on everything in order to make money. Sometimes to show support. But most times to make money. Or possibly to show support and make money.

Marriage Equality for All

As usual I'll devote the month to LGBTQ movies old & new. This year is shaping up to go like this (December is usually all Hallmark Christmas movies, but I've lost access to Hallmark Channel, so I had to switch things up)....

  • ✓ JANUARY: Concert films.
  • ✓ FEBRUARY: Movies for Black History Month.
  • ✓ MARCH: Indie movies.
  • ✓ APRIL: Italian films.
  • ✓ MAY: Science fiction flicks.
  • JUNE: Movies for Pride Month.
  • JULY: Historical films (scheduled).
  • AUGUST: Disney movies (scheduled).
  • SEPTEMBER: 80's movies (scheduled).
  • OCTOBER: Horror flicks (scheduled).
  • NOVEMBER: Super-Hero movies (scheduled).
  • DECEMBER: Hallmark Rom-com movies (scheduled).

I always try to watch a movie a day, but sometimes I binge a series over a couple days if that fits my schedule better. And usually I try for a 50/50 split between favorite movies and movies I haven't seen before to be sure I don't get flooded with duds. That's essential with LGBTQ movies because way too often they're rooted in heartbreak or tragedy and there's only so much of that you can take night after night.

This year I'm starting with Date and Switch, so at least I won't have to worry about heartbreak or tragedy right off the bat. Happy Pride, everybody.

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Bullet Sunday 859

Posted on Sunday, June 9th, 2024

Dave!I may be in the middle of fighting the losing battle of keeping my home clean while having cats, but now there's a lull in the fight... because an all new All-YouTube Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Whither Adobe! As if there wasn't already enough reason to hate Adobe, their new draconian Terms of Service drives it all home...

Adobe has come forward to "clarify" that what they say is not what they mean... but why wasn't this clarication in the original Terms of Service? What a bunch of fucking piece of shit assholes. This was bad enough that I downloaded the latest versions of the Affinity graphic suite to take another look at switching to their apps whenever possible. I have to say... they just keep getting better. I could do most of my work in their ecosystem if I had the time to learn their tools. But I think I'm going to start looking into it more seriously. If you want to hop onboard, the already-affordable Affinity apps (which do not require a subscription!) are currently HALF OFF! It's a huge opportunity if you want a photo editor, drawing program, or layout app, head over and check them out!

   
• Nice Beaver! Holley Muraco has a magical YouTube Channel where she shows off the antics of her beaver rescues Tulip, Stormy, and Petunia. I swear, even the simplest things they do are wonderful. I am obsessed...




Beavers love bananas. Who knew?

   
• Dončić! I am not a big basketball fan (especially since the Seattle Sonics were lost to us) but I have fallen down a Luka Dončić (plays for the Mavs) rabbit hole and I can't escape. It all started when I saw a video of him on the bench when he sees himself on the Jumbotron and is happy and clapping. That's his whole attitude in a nutshell. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. He is an incredible trick-shot with a basketball! I've seen his shots pop up in sports news from time to time, but I had no idea...

So cool that somebody so talented loves the game this much.

   
• This Is a Hit? The new Netflix Glen Powell vehicle, Hit Man was sure to have an ending so obvious that I almost didn't watch. And indeed you do get that ending... at an hour in. Then the movie snowballs to the real ending which, I gotta say, was not what I expected. With a tighter script this could have been a great movie instead of a good movie. As it is, there are parts that drag so badly that you have to wonder how it got greenlit in this state. They really, really needed to take another pass on the story to make it more exciting in those dead zones which try to sabotage it.

But that's the problem with movies now. It's all about pumping them out and moving on to the next one instead of investing time into making a good one.

   
• Pliny! Adam Does Not Exist (whom I became a huge fan of after his pizza videos) has a fun video of trying to get Pliny the Younger, a very rare IPA where people from around the world fly to San Francisco (so they can go to whatever the region north of Marin is called) to visit the brewery to get it. — I've had it (and the more common Pliny the Elder). A friend had a dinner where everybody got a shot-glass-full. I absolutely hated it. It's just... bitter. There's nothing else to it (like most IPAs)...

While I'm not a fan of Pliny the Elder either, at least it had some other flavors to it (I think it was a pineapple-citrus flavor). But even so, this is a good video if you want to watch something fun (as are most of Adam's videos).

   
• Rox-ETTE! Unreal. Per Gessle is reforming Roxette after the tragic death of Marie Fredriksson? Good Lord, WHY? She simply cannot be replaced...


It won't be Roxette. Not even close.

   
• Generative Theft! I laugh at the idea that Generative AI is a victimless crime (much like I laugh at the idea that AI "art" is actually art). But that's not the most common line of thinking. That would be that AI "art" is not a crime at all. Despite the fact that it has been trained on material where the original creators were never compensated. Or likely never even told. Here's the entire nightmare in vivid relief...

Horrifying.

   
And now back to my regularly-scheduled Sunday cleaning.

   

Death and Movies

Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2024

Dave!There has been so much talk about movie theaters shutting down and "The Death of Movie Theaters" that I've pretty much accepted it as fact. With the exception of going to see Taylor Swift and her Eras Tour: The Movie (totally worth the risk of getting COVID), the last movie I saw in a theaters was Spider-Man: Far From Home in July of 2019. So... going on five years now.

It would be easy to blame this on COVID, but I had stopped regularly going to the theater years before. I'd just go to the Marvel Studios movies because the spectacle of it all was better on the big screen. Nothing to do with COVID... I just eventually grew to hate the fucking people you have to watch a movie with. Used to be that people respected the audience and any interruptions to your experience were rare. But then people started becoming bigger and bigger assholes, and you were guaranteed to have loud talking... people on mobile phones... kids running amok... and once I even witnessed a fight because somebody kept bumping the seat in front of them. It's madness. Who wants to pay money to put up with that shit?

For a while I circumnavigated the bulk of this mess by only going to "prestige" theaters or dinner theaters or what-have-you. When you have to pay a boatload of money to see a movie, you tend to get people who are there to be serious about watching the movie. But eventually even that was tainted. When I saw Avengers: Endgame There was a group of grown-ass adults loudly talking the entire time. It was at that point that I said "fuck it" and decided I was done with theaters. I ended up going to Spider-Man: Far From Home a few months later, which wasn't as bad an experience... but it was still bad. Because People. My love affair with theatrical releases was over.

That was pre-COVID.

Then COVID came along and I decided that I can just wait for streaming and view films from the comfort of my own home. It wasn't worth it before and now it really wasn't worth it (except for you, Taylor!).

Which is a darn shame because there was a time I loved the movie theater experience. In my high school and college years, I was going to a movie most weeks. Sometimes twice a week. Didn't even have to be a big-budget affair... I would go see anything in a theater. Aliens one week... Hoosiers another week... Manhunter the next (boy 1986 was a good year for movies — although the worst movie I've ever seen in theaters, Born American, also came out in '86 so there's that).

I don't know what it would take to get me back in a movie theater again. Odds are the answer is nothing. Or maybe Avengers: Secret Wars. I honestly don't know.

To me, movie theaters are already dead. and have been for quite a while.

   

Return of Feathers!

Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2024

Dave!One of the most compelling villains in movie history comes from a place that you likely wouldn't expect... a cartoon film.

Namely one of my favorite cartoon films, Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

And now, in news that both surprised and delighted me, Feathers is back in a new movie... Wallace & Gromit: Vengeance Most Fowl...

This pretty much made my entire day!

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A Few Good Actors

Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2024

Dave!Yesterday was a tough day. I received some terrible news very early and it kinda took the wind out of my sails. One sad fact about getting older is that bad news seems to accelerate, and once you get to the point of accepting what happened, you get hit with something else. I had planned on installing the final ceiling access panel I had built over the weekend, but couldn't pull it together.

Instead I fell down a rabbit hole over the movie A Few Good Men, because I watched it last night before bed.

This is a film that perplexes me. I always found the dialogue to be wordy and unnatural. Everything coming out of Tom Cruise's mouth feels like it's coming off a script because nobody talks that way.

But the performances!

The dialogue may be a bit weird and unnatural to me, but the way the actors deliver it is unnaturally incredible. The performances are wonderfully nuanced, and I honestly think that it's the best acting to come out of Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson throughout their entire careers... plus every other actor was top-tier amazing in every scene. It's a dream cast giving their absolute best, and you feel it while you're watching the movie.

The reason for this post is that I want to run through my favorite performance in A Few Good Men.

Yeah, yeah, that explosive Jack Nicholson monologue is a master-class of acting and takes your breath away with just how flawless he performed the scene... but it's Noah Wyle's Corporal Barnes that really stood out for me. And it's such a small role. He drives the legal team to the base when they arrive and has a funny line about putting on a jacket since you don't want to look like an officer because you might get shot at. But it's this scene in the courtroom that really made me take notice...

Just think for a minute about all the balls that Noah Wyle is having to juggle in his moment.

The entire movie hinges on a "Code Red" that results in tragedy. Wyle is the one actor who has to explain it, illustrate it, and tell the audience about how it is technically not a military authorized practice, but soldiers taking disciplinary actions into their own hands. This is not some bit part filmed for scenery or atmosphere, it is the crux of absolutely everything that follows. How Rob Reiner came to cast Noah Wyle for such a critical role is something I really wonder about.

Barnes has to come off as a country hick, but can't appear stupid. You feel that he's probably uneducated and not too bright... but he isn't ignorant either. That's a balancing act that takes some serious acting chops.

He has to be the most genuine person in the entire cast, which means Wyle's performance is far more nuanced than you'd assume at first glance. He has to emote while being a blank canvas, because his testimony can't have any hint of an alternative motive or secrecy. You have to 1000% buy that everything he says is an honest reflection of his experience so that you comprehend the events of the movie in a way that doesn't leave room for doubt.

In lesser hands, Barnes could have been played as a jarhead robot forcefully expressing his lines. But Wyle's performance plays it deferential, likable, and wholesome. He's almost gentle. This was likely because Rob Reiner wanted a stark contrast between him and the other Marines so you have more of a sense that Barnes is being personal and honest while delivering the most important information in the entire film... not just dumping Marine rhetoric on you. It's a fascinating choice, and a very, very smart one. Noah Wyle has spoken about his role, but I'd love to hear him explain his choices and what direction he received to get there.

I looked Wyle up on Wikipedia to find out if he was originally from the South. His slight Southern accent is not overwhelming and feels more authentic than the twang we usually has to suffer through. The guy was born and raised in California. Which meant he must have researched and practiced for his role.

And nailed it.

It's all too easy to get caught up in the performances by the big-name actors in a film or series while ignoring the minor roles as background noise. But there are times that this is impossible. And Noah Wyle's performance in A Few Good Men is one of them. At least for me.

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Bullet Sunday 861

Posted on Sunday, June 23rd, 2024

Dave!The temperature has been getting steadily hotter, but I'm not entirely melted just yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Hunt and Peck! This behind-the-scenes showing Post Malone using a typewriter for the first time makes me feel very old, but it's also pretty funny...

I used to have a manual typewriter that was lost when I moved stuff out of storage years ago. I also had a cheap electric which was never returned after somebody borrowed it. I really wish that I had either of them, because it seems a retro-cool way to communicate.

   
• Drained! Ha! XKCD reeeeeally has a thing for Dutch colonization and the Netherlands taking over the world!

We dump so much shit in the oceans that the junk would probably just plug the hole, if we're being honest.

   
• Health "Care." It blows my fucking mind how the IRS can put limits on individual contributions to your Health Savings Account. I should be able to contribute however much I need to in order to cover my legitimate medical expenses so I can get a tax break on those expenses. But no. I have to pay taxes on money going towards health expenses because I had big expenses this year. That is truly fucked. We should have our health care covered by our taxes instead of it being pissed away to insurance companies who leach money from the system for profit... but if we can't have that, then why the fuck can't we at least contribute whatever the hell we want whenever the hell we want to our HSA? More bullshit by our elected officials who are fucking OWNED by the insurance lobbyists...

I'm wondering for the hundredth time why American citizens haven't taken a fucking flamethrower to this country given how badly we get fucked over by our government. Absolutely everything is designed to screw over citizens while handing money and power over to greedy fucking assholes.

   
• McGamer! I love things like this! What a wild journey!

   
• Unexplainably Juicy! The new Sparkling Ice Starburst flavors are amazing. Seriously the best flavors they've ever made. Especially Orange and Strawberry...

New Starburst-Flavored Sparkling Ice!

Can't believe they're Zero Sugar, Zero Carbs, and only 5 Calories!

   
• Anakin! It really bothers me when I think back to how much I loathed Hayden Christensen for "ruining Star Wars" when it was never him. It was the shitty script and dialogue he was given. I am so happy that he's been given a chance at redemption and is nailing it...

It will be interesting to see if he gets any more Star Wars work, seeing as how they are running out of ways to shoe-horn him in the places he's popping up already.

   
And now back to our regularly-scheduled hotness.

   

Bullet Sunday 864

Posted on Sunday, July 7th, 2024

Dave!Summer is in full-swing but 100º heat won't deter me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• mini! When Sony unleashed the MiniDisc format, I was all in. I bought the home stereo deck. I bought the car player. I bought the portable. It was such a fantastic format (for the day) and the ability to have advance recording abilities made it a great way to curate your favorite music...

Of course then digital audio arrived and physical media was, understandably, dead. And don't get me wrong, there's no going back after you've had digital (except maybe vinyl, because the sound is so beautiful) but there are days I think back to the magic of MiniDisc and I really do miss it.

   
• Hero! Francisco Oliveira is a wig specialist outside of São Paulo, Brazil in the city of São José dos Campos who changes lives with his unique skills. What's remarkable about his videos is that when he's working with a child he'll put them at ease by showing that he wears a wig too...

His entire feed is filled with feel-good videos, if you need a brak from the horrors of the world.

   
• Gone Ballistic! I have never understood just why Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever was so horrendously reviewed. No, the movie's story wasn't all that good... it had a lot of inexplicable shit hanging off of it... but the stunts were fantastic and I thought Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu did a pretty good job with the material they had to work with. Now, finally, I have found this video where somebody takes a deep dive into the movie. And oh boy... strap in...

Add me to the list of people who would love to see a director's cut of Ecks vs. Sever where Kaos gets to make the movie he always intended.

   
• Movie Sunday! Beverly Hills Cop IV: Axel F was fun. A total 80's throwback that was a predictable but an entertaining watch. The Beekeeper, however, was delicious to watch. This is the best I've seen come out of Jason Statham in a minute. If you love a good revenge flick, this one ticks all the boxes...

So many movies have been so disappointing lately that I can't tell you how happy it makes me to finally have something worthwhile to watch.

   
• Christianity? While browsing through Facebook I was surprised to see a number of posts being shared which say something like "If you can afford tattoos, you can afford to buy your own food. PERIOD!" And the comments are all "AMEN!" and I'm sitting there thinking... okay then. If somebody has tattoos, they should just fuck off and starve if they suddenly have a financial crisis or lose their job or get sick? Totally tracks for today's modern "Christians." What fucking Bible are you reading where passages like this DON'T EVEN EXIST: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." These faux "Christians" are rewriting the Bible in realtime, and I am at a total loss. I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, WHATEVER YOU DID FOR ONE OF THE LEAST OF US YOU DID FOR ME.

   
• More Kaulitz! I love the German band Tokio Hotel. I really love Heidi Klum. So Kaulitz and Kaulitz on Netflix is a perfect fit for me. It feels a lot less fake than I was expecting, and is a fun watch. It's all in German (with English subtitles available), which just ramps it up to the next level...

I'm not much of a reality TV fan, but this was interesting from the standpoint that it was just so crazy. But in a good way.

   
• Quality! It took over a half hour, but I finally managed to reconnect my Sonos SUB to my speakers again! It just randomly got lost for no reason and I had to power cycle my entire system four times and cycle my router twice to make it happen. I would have called Sonos for support, but they would have just blamed it on my router, like the always do when there's a problem. It's always your "router" and your "network." My router can easily handle streaming 4K video... but, according to Sonos, it can't handle a fucking low bit-rate audio stream EVEN WHEN NO OTHER MAJOR TRAFFIC IS ON MY NETWORK? And I'm still waiting for them to fix the skipping that happens when streaming from Apple Music. YouTube Music works fine. Apple Music does not, even though they claim to support it. Of course Apple Music streams flawlessly to every other audio device I own... it's just Sonos... but I'm sure they'll blame it on Apple, my router, my network, sunspots, Obama, and oxygen molecules in the air... absolutely ANYTHING except their equipment or software! When I think back to the years of saving pennies it took in order to put together my Sonos gear, only to have it be a steaming pile of shit... things get real depressing real fast.

   
And now? Back to weeding my yard and hoping I don't get heatstroke.

   

The Shows and Movies We Love, Part One

Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2024

Dave!I own a bajillion DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs. I love movies and television. I love owning my favorite shows so I can re-watch whenever I want. When digital streaming came along, I made the switch happily because I simply didn't have the space to store all that physical media. But then we all found out a sad truth... shows and movies you bought and paid for can be taken from you with absolutely no recourse. You pay for the right to stream something, and that right can be stripped from you at any time when a studio removes it from Google Play or iTunes or wherever.

So back to buying physical media, right? The studios can't break into your house and take those back!

Except they don't have to. Because physical media isn't made to last, and some studios know that... but don't give a shit. They got your money, and that's all they care about. Something this video talks about in depth, mostly focusing on the abomination that is Warner Bros., who is a fucking shitty company for many reasons, and this is a big one...

It's absolutely bonkers that those of us who do the right thing and pay for the stuff we want to own get punished for it. And yet here we are.

Buy physical media? It rots and no longer works.

Buy digital copies? Studios can strip them from you at any time.

Subscribe to a studio's streaming service directly? Studios can remove those shows even more easily.

The only option left is to buy physical media, then "back it up" by ripping it to your computer. Legally, you do have a right to have a backup so long as you continue to own the original media. Which is to say that you can't buy a DVD, rip it, then sell the DVD. Except... it's illegal to circumnavigate copy protection to actually make the backup. And of course DVDs and Blu-Rays have copy protection.

It's a total load of shit. Personally I am of the belief that once you buy a DVD or Blu-Ray or digital copy of something, you should maintain the right to view it regardless of what happens. If a DVD rots, you should have the right to purchase replacement media at cost or get a digital copy for free. And once something is sold digitally, studios don't get to take it back from you. They must provide a way for you to get what you paid for. Or else they shouldn't be allowed to sell it in the first place.

But powerful studios own our politicians, so that's expecting too much.

THEY doing illegal shit to strip you of what you bought is forgivable. YOU doing illegal shit to have access to what you paid for is not.

Typical.

   

The Shows and Movies We Love, Part Two

Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2024

Dave!Yesterday I blathered on about asshole movie studios depriving customers of what they paid for... access to movies and shows that were sold to them. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Something I cannot fathom is how studios will sit on shows they own and not release them for people to enjoy. This was something that hit me pretty hard after Stephen Dunham died in 2012. He was the star of Oh Grow Up! (from 1999), a series I loved that can't be watched anywhere. It was never released on DVD, was never offered digitally and, from what I can tell, has never been shown on any network after its original run. I have it recorded on 8mm tape somewhere, but don't know that I have a player capable of playing them even if I could find the tapes. You can tapes to be converted to digital, but companies won't do it because they're copyrighted material.

What a waste. Dunham was a good actor and his work deserves to be seen. The pilot episode is on YouTube, but not much else...

Sometimes you can get lucky. There was a show called The Palace Guard (from 1991) which I loved that was eventually released as a part of a Stephen J. Cannell DVD collection set (and I've seen it on some free-view services from time to time... it's currently playing for free on Plex). It was a fun show about a cat burglar that becomes a security expert for an international chain of hotels. But I don't know how much longer those DVDs will even work, if they haven't crapped out already (see yesterday's post)...

Other times you can get... kinda lucky. A Connie Sellecca and Greg Evigan vehicle I liked called P.S.I. Luv U (also from 1991) was never released for home video in any format... but some kind soul uploaded all episodes to YouTube nine years ago, albeit in atrocious quality, and I have watched through them all a couple times...

No idea how legal it is, but if the studio who owns it isn't going to do anything with the show, somebody has to. It's one of six series I would very much be thrilled to purchase (and there's plenty of others)...

  • P.S.I. Luv U (1991)
  • Strange Luck (1995)
  • Cupid (1998)
  • Oh Grow Up! (1999)
  • Now and Again (1999)
  • The American Embassy (2002)

The frustrating thing about all this is that it costs practically nothing to convert a show to digital format. It's all automated. You put the tapes in the machine and push a button. The software which encodes it and cleans it up doesn't require any technical expertise. Just a person to load/unload.

You'd think with streaming networks desperate to have content for their services which are exceedingly cheap, this would be a no-brainer. But it's not like you could accuse studio executives of having a brain.

   

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