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Scarlet Witches and Bleached Corpses

Posted on March 5th, 2021

Dave!What is grief, if not love persevering? — The Vision

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Disney+ started streaming the final episode of WandaVision right out of the gate at midnight. The previous two weeks it took me nearly ten minutes to get to the show as Disney+ servers broke with tons of people trying to access them.

All-in-all the series was... not great. Not terrible, but not what I wanting to see from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I understand there are people who are just loving to see Wanda get beat up on while she processes her grief, so more power to them, I guess...

Wanda floating in the air as The Scarlet Witch!

I wrote my thoughts on the final episode (and the series as a whole) immediately after the show, but likely won't post until I have time to read through all this on my lunch break tomorrow. I'm tired, and there's probably a million spelling mistakes.

But anyway... it's all in an extended entry if you care to read it...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 703

Posted on February 28th, 2021

Dave!I may be really, really tied of Winter right now, but I'm happy to hold out for Spring... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Boys! I'm just going to start this out with the best thing I've seen all week... and it's why I love TikTok reason #2371 — John Stamos showing Beach Boy Mike Love a young band playing a beautiful rendition of Wouldn’t It Be Nice, a song he co-wrote...

@johnstamos

@sittingonstacy I was showing Mike Love Tik Tok and you popped up. He loved you guys! Can’t ##hear us but he was really digging it. Congrats! Stamos

♬ original sound - johnstamos

How unbelievably awesome is this?

   
• Plus! In advance of "CBS All Access" transforming to " Paramount+" there's an awesome deal where you can get a year of commercial-free streaming for half-price (just select an annual plan and use PARAMOUNTPLUS in the coupon code box at check-out). 90% of network shows I watch are on CBS and I love avoiding commercials, so this was an offer I can't refuse. LOVING IT. I love, love, love Queen Latifah at The Equalizer, and revisiting Young Sheldon has been fun. Of course there's also Magnum P.I., one of the best shows on television. Some older shows are not streaming properly yet (I'm guessing that will be fixed after the transition come March 4th) but new shows are working fine. I wanted to try out Clarice but Siri keeps typing "Clarisse" so I had to hand-type it into AppleTV manually... WHY, LORD? WHY DOES LIFE HAVE TO BE THIS HARD? — On the other hand, I am liking Clarice very much. How does CBS do it? Other networks just don't have the track record for great television like this! If you love TV, then check out this amazing 50% off deal before it disappears on March 3rd!

   
• YAS QWEEN! I get irrationally invested in the lives of people on TikTok. This guy hasn’t updated in two days and I’m probably going to lose sleep wondering if he got the job...

@thatrylanguy

##help ##advice ##gay

♬ original sound - thatrylanguy

He has exactly two videos posted. This one was enough to get me totally invested. I guess that's what happens when the pandemic hasn't left you with much of a life of your own to live? Best of luck to you, sir, in finding a new job.

   
• Super New! Ta-Nehisi Coates writing a Superman movie? YES PLEASE! I mean, how many damn times are we going to have to sit through the same old Superman movie? Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, and Henry Cavill all did great jobs, but I'm ready for something truly different. Like maybe Calvin Ellis Superman?!?

Though I wouldn't be mad if Henry Cavill was given another go. He's actually a great Superman, and it's not his fault that he's had to work from shitty, SHITTY scripts. In any event, I am definitely excited at what might come of this.

   
• EcoBullshit! This video is absolutely fascinating. A lot to unpack when it comes to the "green" direction that the smartphone market is heading... fortunately Arun Maini has done the work for you, and it's well worth a watch...

The hypocrisy of it all is mind-boggling... but oh so expected.

   
• Retail Therapy! Well darn. Fry's Electronics had some of the coolest retail stores outside of Disney, and they just shuttered all their stores. They were destination-worthy places, and I traveled to several in California when they were at the height of their popularity. From the NASA-themed store in Anaheim and Egypt-themed store in Campbell... to Alice in Wonderland-themed in Woodland Hills and Old-Timey Sci-Fi-themed in Burbank, Fry's sure made shopping fun! Brick-and-mortar shops were having a tough time staying afloat before the pandemic... I have a feeling that because of COVID this is the fate for many of them.

   
• Without Telling Me... I don't know why I find this so incredibly sweet... but I really do...

@garrettbazany

My girlfriend thinks she’s funny ##foryoupage ##fyp ##wheelchair ##tellmeyourboyfriendwontcheatonyou ##prank ##couple

♬ original sound - Garrett Bazany

And for anybody thinking that she's being an asshole... it's a joke. And he was obviously in on it...

I'm glad most saw it as a joke. Those that didn't need to realize us wheelchair folks aren't so sensitive and have some dark humor.

   
And that's a wrap on bullets, Sparky... bring on Springtime weather.

   

Aliens, Mars, and Wanda

Posted on February 19th, 2021

Dave!And so we have another rover on Mars. But give me a minute. I'll get there.

James Cameron is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers. As both writer and director, he knows how to craft a story that is imaginative, exciting, and action-packed. If I were to rank his work, it would look something like this...

  • Aliens (A+) One of the tightest action/horror thrillers ever created.
  • Terminator (A+) Amazing high-concept sci-fi that elevated action sci-fi cinema.
  • True Lies (A) Impeccably well-thought-out spy/action film with terrific humor.
  • Terminator 2 (A) After Aliens, one of the best sequels of all time.
  • The Abyss (A) Grossly underrated action flick with a brilliant story premise.
  • Titanic (B+) Impossibly good film that made the sinking of the Titanic exciting.
  • Avatar (B) Groundbreaking effects-driven spectacle.

The movie Strange Days, which is also a favorite of mine, was written by Cameron, but directed by his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. I actually liked it better than Titanic and Avatar.

So, to sum up, my favorite James Cameron is Aliens.

And I think of this movie every single time that I see NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories where all the scientists and technicians are staring at computer monitors as they run the mission. Yesterday I was watching live as the Perseverance rover was landing on Mars, none of these NASA people were watching events unfold live. It takes 11 minutes for a signal to return to earth, so what they're seeing happened 11 minutes ago. Likewise, any commands they send take 11 minutes to be initiated.

So they're flying blind.

Just like the "artificial person" Bishop does when he makes his way to the settlement satelite uplink tower to call a replacement drop-ship down from the Sulaco. He's not getting any feedback, he's playing out what's happening in orbit in his head and issuing commands accordingly...

Synthetic human Bishop concentrating while looking at nothing.

Bishop's fingers flying across the keyboard.

Bishop punching the ENABLE key on the keyboard.

Actor Lance Henriksen, who plays Bishop, never looks at any display. He is either looking at nothing and staring into space while he concentrates, or looking at the keyboard...

Bishop tying on a terminal while staring at the keys.

A drop-ship onboard the Sulaco is prepping to depart.

Back when I first saw Aliens I thought this was incredibly cool... and totally baller. And it's a bit what I imagine it's like to work on a rover landing at JPL.

Anyway... back to Mars...

I watched NASA's "live" broadcast of the landing. It's nail-biting stuff. With that 11 minute delay and no way to send last minute course corrections or instructions, all they could do was cross their fingers that everything worked as it was designed to. As we saw with the probe Nozomi things can definitely go terribly wrong. NASA tried to make the wait interesting by having computer renderings of what's going on, which includes the rover targeting its landing zone after being released from the lander...

A computer rendering of the Mars rover desceding.

A computer rendering of  the Mars rover falling towards the red planet.

A computer rendering of the Mars rover landed on Mars.

Good job, buddy!

NASA engineers celebrating the successful landing.

Throughout the broadcast, there was a guy walking about stuff that was happening...

NASA engineer discussing the landing.

But I could barely concentrate on him... I was laser-focused on what looks like a Mars 2020 branded jar of peanuts sitting on the desk next to him...

Closeup of what looks like a jar of peanuts sitting next to the NASA engineer.

Maybe it's not nuts at all... I dunno. Could be it's some essential prop for discussing the Mars mission that I missed by coming late to the video stream. But it sure looks like nuts.

Of course, just because NASA received notice that the rover had landed successfully doesn't necessarily mean that everything is functioning correctly! We had to wait to get a low-res, black-and-white shot of The Red Planet via one of the Hazard Avoidance Cameras...

A low-res, black-and-white shot of The Red Planet.

Sweet! High res images and more Mars updates will be forthcoming from the NASA Perseverance team at their Mission Update Blog, which you can visit and bookmark here.

And, before I continue, can I just say how fantastic Paul Reiser's performance as the ultimate rat bastard was in Aliens? Easily his best work as an actor, because he really had to sell it...

Paul Reiser playing Burke, a real bastard.

And when he gets caught on his bullshit and has the most upper-lip-sweat of any human being in the history of the world? Oh yeah. That was a cinematic moment right there.

And then there's tonight's latest episode of WandaVision which will be discussed in a spoiler-filled extended entry below. And you're welcome!

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

The Heat is On

Posted on February 2nd, 2021

Dave!Yesterday afternoon while I was at the office I had to run out to my car to grab a file folder I forgot. It was cold out. It was rainy out. It was miserable out. Once I got back to my desk I did something I don't think I've ever done before... I logged into my home thermostat and turned the heat up so it would be toasty warm when I got home.

Something about the idea of arriving home to my chilly-ass home hit me wrong.

And, I gotta tell ya, it was really nice. Not something I can afford to do very often, but nice enough that I may do it more often. Because sometimes it's the little luxuries (like $2 in electricity) that make life a little more enjoyable.

My cats, of course, were totally digging it.

Today I decided to wear an extra sweater when I got home, but I warmed up mentally because it was time for my annual viewing of Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day...

Bill Marray in a truck with a groundhog that's hanging onto the wheel looking angry.

Don't drive angry, groundhog! Don't drive angry.

A massive explosion of the truck which drove over a cliff and crashed.

Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliot looking down the cliff at the explosion, which is reflecting on them with an orange glow.

   
The movie never gets old, and that scene is always hilarious. Chris Elliot really doesn't get enough credit for his part in this classic flick. His part was small, but his delivery of the lines for this scene is about the funniest thing you'll see... and was kinda duplicated hilariously in the movie Paul 18 years later.

I have to wonder how many times I've seen Groundhog Day. The movie was released 28 years ago... So I'm going to say it's likely been minimum 30 times. Once in theaters. Once when the VHS was available. Once when the DVD was available. Once when it was available Digitaly. And at least once a year for the past 28 years it's been released. And sometimes when I just feel like it. So... possibly 36 times? There's not many movies I've watched 36 times.

Now back to enjoying my toasty home.

   

You Do Not Fuck With Gort

Posted on February 1st, 2021

Dave!Last night I was reading an article from 2018 which said that artificial neurons compute faster than the human brain. This, coupled with the fact that we can already build robots which are capable of acting substantially faster than humans and, well, you can see where this could become a problem on down the road.

Skynet is gonna be real, y'all...

A murderous robot from the Terminator movies.

   
But the more I thought about it...

...the more I kinda embraced the idea of creating robots that are smarter and faster than humans. Think Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still...

The robot Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Gort is from a race of robots which were created to police the galaxy and halt any aggression they run across by immediately terminating the aggressors. To make sure they are able to do this effectively, they have been given absolute power over everything and everybody... possessing horrifying weapons to carry out their task. As if that weren't enough, they are also nigh invulnerable to all harm. Long story shot... you do not fuck around with them. Nor do you risk disrupting the peace because it would be your ass that gets vaporized.

Seriously, how handy would it be to have these robots patrolling the planet? Vaporizing assholes and idiots who make this planet such a miserable place to live.

And so I say "Bring it on."

Heaven only knows that robots wouldn't do a worse job of things than we have. And if we all end up extinguished because we can't curb our violent ways? Well, that's probably for the best.

   

Bullet Sunday 695

Posted on January 3rd, 2021

Dave!The New Year may feel like the Old Year, but there's still something new to be had... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• TikTok! The thing that I love so much about TikTok... besides the fact that the video size is limited which forces content creators to get to the damn point already... is that it's got people constantly playing off of each other. In weird, wonderful ways. Lots of times it's clapbacks and condemnation, sure, but every once in a while you get something absolutely magical like this...

What's cool is that the woman who was (accurately) sumarizing Country music so dead-on in her parody was actually made a collaborator, and is now promoting the song on her TikTok...

@rynnstar

#duet with @georgebirgeofficial

♬ original sound - George Birge

This is not something that happens on other social media platforms so easily and organically, which is why I am still addicted to TikTok. Plus... lots of adorable animal videos.

   
• TokTwo! Not to mention moments of absolute happy like this...

@dndhulett

Top moments of 2020 #fyp #trick #foryou #trickshot #foryoupage

♬ original sound - Daniel and David

Is is any wonder I can blow through an hour on this app and not even realize it?

   
• Her Name Was Bernice! Not that it's all fun and games...

@youknowthatonegirlrachel

Reply to @public_enema Her name was Bernice. #fyp #foryoupage #covid #Bye2020

♬ original sound - Rachel

This amazing woman is a graduate of Liberty College and has some fascinating takes on Christianity that comes from having lived through her past... and living her Faith in the present.

   
• What's Logic! I mean, damn...

@chris_wells_

♬ original sound - Chris Wells

This guy is phenomenally entertaining while addressing some very touchy subjects. I could just sit for an hour and blow through nothing else on TikTok but this guy.

   
• TokFour! Seriously. I need to come up with a Blogography page of all the TikToks I follow, because if you are looking for some incredible takes on everything from cooking to woodworking to current events to just plain fun... I'm following it all.

   
• Luke! And just because it's not all TikTok this Sunday... I remember very well standing in line on opening night for The Empire Strikes Back. By the time the movie was released I was already the biggest Star Wars fan on earth, and there was just no way I could wait to see it. I was dropped off with the older brother of a friend who didn't mind having me tag along. Back in 1980, there was no "internet" to speak of, and the movie magazines were always months behind what was being released in the theaters. So when it came to one of the most surprising and shocking moments in cinematic history, I was completely caught off guard. There was simply nothing that could have prepared me. Which is why I just love videos of young kids reacting to the scene when they also have no idea what's coming...

Now-a-days, of course, it would have been spoiled either weeks before... or immediately upon release. Because people are assholes and online publications are competing for pageviews. Fortunately, nobody cares as much "old" movies like this, so there are still surprises to be had. For some of us, anyways.

   
• Mary Ann! I would be remiss to not mention the passing of Dawn Wells from complications due to COVID this past week. I ALWAYS picked "Mary Ann" over "Ginger" as my Giligan's Island crush...

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann on Giligan's Island wearing shorts and a halter top and looking gorgeous.

Rest In Peace, Dawn Wells. You were a huge part of my childhood.

   
And that's it for the first bullets of 2021.

   

Video20

Posted on December 28th, 2020
Dave!And it's time once again for my annual wrap-up of movies that came out this year.

Or, more accurately, a "wrap-up of movies I saw that came out this year." As always, there's a bunch of movies I never saw that would have probably ended up on my list (we'll get to that later). And here we go...

THE TWELVE BEST...
These are my favorite movies from this year that I actually saw.

Favorite Movies 2020

#1 The Old Guard (Netflix)
In a year where Marvel Studios and Disney pushed their entire slate of features into 2021, the saving grace for movies this year was thanks to streaming services like Netflix. And it's there we got the best super-hero movie of the year by a massively huge margin. Adapted from a terrific comic book series, The Old Guard is about a group of immortal warriors who have to be increasingly careful in a world where surveillance and social media can expose them. And when that happens? Hoo boy. I was bummed that Charlize Theron hasn't filmed a sequel to Atomic Blonde yet, but if she keeps churning out brilliant alternatives like this epic movie, I guess I can be okay with it. But of course now I want a sequel to The Old Guard, so I have twice as many things to be disappointed about. Would this have been my #1 if Black Widow or Shang-Chi or The Eternals came out in 2020? I don't know. But I would have loved to have found out.

#2 The Gentlemen
Guy Ritchie has an impressive number of films I enjoy... but that's never guaranteed (I didn't care for his previous two efforts Aladdin and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword at all). This one had me worried because I could not figure Matthew McConaughey in a Guy Ritchie film. But then he's got Colin Farell, Hugh Grant, and Henry Golding in the mix and I'm like "Maybe?" Then Hugh Grant completely steals the movie, Charlie Hunnam pops up with the best performance of his entire career, and I was totally okay with it. American Michael Pearson is a massive marijuana dealer throughout London and becomes a very wealthy man. Tired of the game, he decides to sell his drug empire for $400 million and retire, which sets the wheels in motion for all kinds of new games. And watching it all unfold is a cinematic treat that is the best kind of Guy Ritchie film... possibly his best since Snatch. If you're a fan of his work, this is what you're likely a fan of.

#3 Uncle Frank (Amazon Prime)
I'm not exactly sure how I ever stumbled across this movie. I think that it was recommended while I was on Amazon Prime Video. In any event, it's about all you can ask for in a film. Paul Bettany unleashes an award-winning performance as a gay man in 1973 who travels back home with his niece to attend his abusive father's funeral. But when they are unexpectedly joined by his lover along the way, the past will catch up with him in a way he can't escape. This is a wholly wonderful film that's made even more wonderful when you understand how important it is. Showing acceptance 50 years ago just makes un-acceptance now seem all the more backwards and stupid. I ended up liking the movie so much that I wanted to know more about it and was shocked that it was written and directed by Alan Ball, which means I must have missed the credits. This made perfect sense, given his magical touch on so many amazing television shows (including Oh Grow Up! which I am still begging somebody to release on DVD or digital). Of all the movies on my list, this is probably the most important.

#4 Tenet
The first time I saw Tenet, I genuinely hated it right up until the end where a few things slammed home for me. Thinking a second viewing would have me appreciating it more, I jumped in again the next day. Feeling I had a better handle on it all, I went ahead and watched it a third time a few days later. Finally the more subtle elements started making sense to me and I felt that I was able to appreciate it in a way I missed completely the first two times. And that's the thing... sure there are special effects sequences in this time-bending rollercoaster ride which would be great to see in a movie theater... but I think experiencing it that way only sets you up for disappointment. With all due respect to Christopher Nolan, home video is what this film was made for. All the things that make it a good movie will completely blow by you until you have a chance to see it at least one more time.

#5 Sometimes Always Never
This is a beautiful character piece that entirely relies on the performances of Bill Nighy and Sam Riley to work, and they do not fail. I have yet to see Bill Nighy in a single role where I wasn't completely absorbed in his character, and this was one of his best yet. He plays a father who has been desperately searching for his missing son who walked out in the middle of a game of Scrabble... while ignoring the son who stayed. While playing online games of Scrabble, he becomes convinced that it's his missing son who's been playing games with him. He sets out with his son to find the truth. Heartbreaking but funny in all the right ways, this is a wonderful (albeit slow) film that I can't recommend highly enough.

#6 The Lovebirds (Netflix)
In all honesty, I did not give this movie a snowball's chance in hell of being as good as it ended up being. But I tuned in because I love both Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Ray, so a movie starring both of them immediately moved to my "Must Watch List." In The Lovebirds they are a married couple who have grown bored with each other and their marriage and have been going through the motions for a while. Then, just as they decide to divorce and go their separate ways, a chance accident happens which changes everything... and sends them on an adventure that's bigger than the film's concept might otherwise imply. I loved this film and have told Netflix to play it more times than I'll ever admit. Because in addition to the stellar performances from two fantastic actors, we get fantastic New Orleans locations, fantastic cinematography, a fantastic story, and some genuine humor that was... well... fantastic. I will be the first to admit that it takes a particular mindset to truly appreciate this gem for what it is. Lucky me, it's precisely the mindset I often find myself in.

Favorite Movies 2020

#7 Palm Springs (Hulu)
A new take on Groundhog Day is nothing very new at all, as they seem to pop up every couple of years. This version, however, it really well done and adds a few twists to the formula that make it worth visiting. While attending a wedding, the maid-of-honor gets trapped in a never-ending cycle of never-ending days along with a slacker living his best life over and over again (played by Andy Samberg). Things are complicated as new facts behind the wedding are revealed, the maid-of-honor wants out, and an enemy set on revenge gets trapped with them. The humor is ever-present, but doesn't overwhelm the story being told... getting the balance just right.

#8 The Invisible Man
This was a smart take on the classic tale, combining genuine thrills with horror beats that land surprisingly well. And then there's the special effects which elevate it all to new levels. This new version of the story has a woman trapped in a controlling relationship from which she succeeds in escaping. Then, much to her relief, her now-ex-boyfriend comits suicide and leaves her $5 million. Unable to enjoy her new-found wealth because she feels she is being haunted by her ex, she is forced to try and find answers. What she finds out is far scarier than a ghost, and the ensuing battle is an edge-of-your-seat affair that is exciting to the very end. Although it's not exactly the end because a sequel is in the works.

#9 Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
It's a Spike Lee Joint, so you know you're in for something interesting... if not outright genius. This time he's telling the story of four Black Vietnam vets who return to find the remains of their squad leader... and also recover some gold they buried. And while the cast is fantastic, I die inside a little when I heard that it was originally to star Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito, and John David Washington. What a movie that would have been (though, to be honest, the remarkable Delroy Lindo deserved this movie and has more than paid his dues to get it). Ultimately this is a darn good film that suffers from being wildly off-balanced, trying to be a commentary on the Vietnam War, a look at Vietnam from the perspective of Black soldiers, a commentary on contemporary America, a comedy, and an action movie... all at the same time. And while it mostly succeeds at most of that, it can also feel a bit disjointed and is long. Regardless, this is a smart, well-crafted, important film that only a director of Spike Lee's caliber could make. As if that wasn't enough, it's got Jean Reno and an appearance by Chadwick Boseman in it.

#10 WolfWalkers (Apple TV+)
Given that The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea are two of my favorite animated features, it's not shocking that Tomm Moore's third film, WolfWalkers made my list. Featuring his hallmark Celtic art style, this is a gorgeously animated film follows a young girl and her father as they travel to Ireland to eliminate a pack of wolves. As they begin the hunt they encounter magic, danger, and mystery in the forest which opens their eyes, alters their perspective, and changes their lives. This is a masterpiece of art and storytelling which has to be experienced to truly be believed.

#11 Bill & Ted Face the Music
While deep down I think that it would have been better to just let this franchise go, I was happy to dive in once again, hoping to get better closure than what came from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey 30 years ago. The result is indeed better than the sequel but, thanks to the absence of George Carlin, didn't feel like it was ever complete to me.

#12 Dashing in December (Paramount)
As diversity continues to creep into Christmas rom-com movie offerings, we're getting so much more than the same old rom-com stuff that keeps being remade over and over. This time, it's a gay couple at center stage, and it makes for a really good story because there are added layers to the standard girl meets boy plot we keep seeing. Repeat Hallmark player Peter Porte is a successful Manhattan financial advisor who heads home to his family ranch in Colorado to convince him mom to sell it. But when he arrives he finds that Juan Pablo Di Pace has been employed as a ranch hand and is definitely opposed to selling. After initially butting heads, their relationship becomes something more as they come to understand each other better. What makes this one work so well is the dialogue which feels honest and true in a way that's usually lacking. After talking about their past relationships and how things never seem to work out for either of them while gluing back some wicker reindeer decorations that fell apart, we're treated to this passage: "They still look broken.""Broken, but happy to have each other." which so beautifully summarizes what they've been through and where they're at now in this moment together. And it's that kind of clever dialogue that makes Dashing in December a cut above other rom-coms... gay or straight. Andie MacDowell is just the icing on the cake.

   
HONORABLE MENTION...

  • Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
    I'm not a big fan of how DC Comic movies are perverted from the source material, and this is more of the same. Though Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is as entertaining as ever... and this is certainly one of the better DC adaptations, that's not saying much. I did end up liking it, however. Just not as much as I felt I should have.
  • A California Christmas (Netflix)
    No, this Hallmark imitation film will never be mistaken for high art or even a great film, but I think it did give us a fresh perspective on the tired old stories we keep seeing over and over.
  • Enola Holmes (Netflix)
    Color me 20 shades of shocked. This new take on Sherlock Holmes shakes things up beautifully by focusing on his younger sister Enola, capably played by Millie Bobby Brown. The result is surprisingly good, wonderfully fresh, and made all the better by having Henry Cavill and Sam Claffin appear as her older siblings. I'm hopeful we get new adventures one day soon.
  • First Cow
    Any other year, drama might have played better for me, but in 2020? Not really what I was looking for, though this flick was darn good... and not what I was expecting (which is always a good thing).
  • Holidate (Netflix)
    This movie starts out terribly, trying to have a holiday rom-com sensibility which is mostly annoying and has terrible music choices. But then... things... change? And you get an entertaining flick that manages to break free of the cheese while not losing the cheesiness which makes it a fun movie to watch.
  • Mank (Netflix)
    Featuring some of the sharpest dialogue you're likely to hear all year, this clever, intelligent, and remarkably crafted look behind the scenes of Herman J. Mankiewicz's writing of Citizen Kane also has performances above and beyond.
  • Midnight at the Magnolia (Netflix)
    For the first time ever, I'm recognizing a "Hallmark-style" movie in my Best of 2020... thanks to a decent script and the performances and on-screen chemistry of Natalie Hall and Evan Williams.
  • My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)
    This was a bizarre yet beautiful look at a man's relationship with... an octopus? It's nothing like I expected, and the way it makes you feel about these surprisingly intelligent creatures will last long past the end credits.
  • On The Rocks (Apple TV+)
    As a massive Bill Murray fan, I was anticipating this being one of my favorite films... but it never quite got there because it tends to meander without "going" anywhere. Even so, it has enough entertaining moments to make it worth a watch.
  • Onward
    It's Pixar, so you know it isn't going to suck... but you're pretty much assured to be overwhelmed with sentiment and have an abundance of manipulative heartstring pulling that gets tiring. That this one delved into fantasy (a genre I'm not a fan of) didn't earn it any favors, but didn't sabotage it either.
  • Save Yourselves!
    a comedic take on alien invasion movies that is a great flick if you don't take it too seriously (which likely won't be a problem). What I don't get is the non-ending ending, which kinda sabotages everything that comes before. I'm not saying that a film has to wrap everything up in a big bow for me, but for a film like this? Yeah. Probably.
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (Disney+)
    You would think that after all the Shaun the Sheep movies, specials, shorts, and TV shows I'd be over it already... but this time Aardman Animations took things in a new direction entirely by giving us a clever alien invasion twist that made for one of the most entertaining entries yet. Beautiful to look at and fun from start to finish.
  • Soul (Disney+)
    There's no denying that this is a gorgeously animated feature. My problem is that they get bogged down in the bizarre minutiae of how "souls" and "sparks" work for the first thirty minutes and I had a tougher time getting into the movie than I felt I should have. Once they get down to earth is where the movie actually began for me.

   
DIDN'T SEE, MIGHT HAVE MADE MY LIST...

  • Babyteeth
  • Bad Boys for Life
  • Extra Ordinary
  • Freaky
  • Greenland
  • Howard
  • Kid Detective
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Sorry We Missed You
  • Synchronic
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

   
OVERRATED...

  • Greyhound (Apple TV+)
    A World War II submarine thriller starring Tom Hanks? Sign me up! Except... characters are one-dimensional and barely register against the action, which makes for a somewhat thrilling but also quite boring film. But where this one sucked hardest is with the music, which was horrifically bad. Gut-wrenchingly awful. A repugnant auditory assault you will beg to forget.

   
TOTALLY SHIT THE BED...

  • Happiest Season (Hulu)
    I had been looking forward to the first major lesbian-lead Christmas movie rom-com since I heard about it. Alas they filled it with the shittiest possible people and had some of the most brutally inane and idiotic dialogue I've ever suffered through. What the hell?
  • Mulan (Disney+)
    Take an amazing Disney animated classic, retool it for live action with astounding wardrobe, cinematography, and visuals... then dumb it down to a bucket of stupid with a story that sucks.
  • The New Mutants
    Where do I even start? This movie has languished for years. First because 20th Century Fox apparently didn't know what to do with it... then Disney/Marvel didn't know what to do with it after they bought out the studio. Eventually it was unceremoniously dumped in theaters during a pandemic just to get rid of it because it wasn't a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and would be forgotten anyway. Given that it was supposed to be a super-hero horror film but didn't have any horror... and any super-heroics were boring... I've forgotten it already.
  • Wonder Woman 1984
    Good Lord what a shitty fucking film.

   
Intresting to note just how many of the films on my list are from streaming services. Yes, some of them would have likely dropped out of my Top Twelve if there wasn't a pandemic and studios had released their 2020 slate... but the good movies would have definitely gotten a mention regardless. I think this is very telling about the future of our entertainment. Odds are that theaters will fully open up again in Summer or Fall of 2021 (assuming we achieve some semblance of heard immunity by then and assuming theaters manage to survive), but big-budget movies bankrolled by streamers are likely here to stay. At least if the rising cost of my Netflix sumbscription is any indication.

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Bullet Sunday 694

Posted on December 27th, 2020

Dave!Christmas may be over, but the greatest gift of all is right here... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Snow! This is such a wonderful, beautiful, heartwarming video and I suggest you drop everything and watch it immediately...

You're welcome.

   
• More Snowy! We were supposed to get snow for a white Christmas here and, sure enough, it happened. I can't help but wonder how many of those we have left. The snowfall in recent years pales in comparison to what we got when I was young. And that pales in comparison to when my mom was a kid and people jumped off roofs into the snowfall. Thanks, climate change!

   
• Wonder? As my post yesterday elaborated, I absolutely hated the new Wonder Woman 1984 movie. It was a huge disappointment after the first one, and I wish I had never seen it. Then I read today that Patty Jenkins is getting another chance to either redeem herself or ruin the franchise further with a third Wonder Woman film. I guess since Diana is all about hope that I will hope for the best. It would certainly take a lot of effort to do worse.

   
• Two! I swear, if Coming 2 America disappoints me like Wonder Woman 1984, I may have to swear off movie sequels altogether...

It certainly looks like they made all the right moves. Guess we have to wait a few months and see.

   
• SANTA! And now I'll leave you with one of my favorite Christmas movie moments in any movie ever. Stephen Huszar's reaction to seeing Santa is the absolute best (even though the movie it's from "Mistletoe Magic" was pretty awful)...

Obviously hasn't lost his childhood enthusiasm for the holidays.

   
• Lexus! Though... I think the mom's reaction in this SNL parody commercial comes in at a close second...

Classic.

   
• Robe! And yet... there's Kristen Wiig's reaction in this SNL parody commercial...

Okay. I can't decide on a favorite. But probably Stephen Huszar's reaction to seeing Santa.

   
And that's my last Bullet Sunday of 2020.

   

A 1984 Blunder Story

Posted on December 26th, 2020

Dave!A few quibbles aside, the first Wonder Woman movie was a triumph. Beautifully realized and brilliantly told, it was everything you want out of a super-hero comic book movie. And that scene where Princess Diana of Themyscira crawls out of the trenches and becomes Wonder Woman is one of the best scenes of any movie ever made. I enjoyed it a lot, and feel it sits with The Dark Knight and Superman: The Movie as the pinnacle of of what DC Comic movies could be but often are not.

So obviously I was eagerly anticipating the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984...

   
The short non-spoiler version... I absolutely HATED this film. Easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's garbage from start to finish and trying to find something good to say about it boils down to Gal Godot looking as amazing as ever as Wonder Woman. That's it. That's all I got.

My thoughts are in an extended entry, which will include spoilers...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 693

Posted on December 20th, 2020

Dave!Christmas is coming, but there's magic happening tonight... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Hallmarked! And... tonight was the last new Hallmark Christmas movie of 2020. I've watched and reviewed them all, as usual, of course. Now I just need to wade through a bunch of the other movies from Lifetime, Netflix, and such, and I'm done for another year. Surprisingly, I think this was the best year in a while. Even so, I'm done. I've been Hallmarked out. Until next year.

   
• RickVertising! If I was a company, I'd have Rick & Morty do all my advertisements...



Serious bang for your buck.

   
• Adopt! Speaking of ads... why is it that I can watch all the so-called "emotional" movies and not get emotional, but a commercial like this has me struggling to keep it together?

Just weird, I guess.

   
• Tater! Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has tried Martha Stewart's baked potatoes. Take LARGE YUKON GOLD potatoes... NOT russets... DO NOT poke holes in them. DO NOT oil or butter. Put a wire rack on the middle rack of your oven (so potatoes don't fall through) then bake at 325º for 90 MINUTES. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN TO CHECK. Just have faith. — After cooking, smash them on a counter, pry apart, then add your favorite topping (I went with salt, pepper, butter, sour cream, and chives). — Remarkable. So creamy it's more like dessert than a potato. And that paper-crispy skin is like candy. Truly the best baked potatoes I've ever had. I won't be making them any other way ever again.

   
• Jangle! I am not into musicals, or fantasy, or kid films... so I've been putting off Jingle Jangle on Netflix. That being said, the production values and costume design? Holy. Shit. This may very well be the most beautiful film I've ever seen. I will be very disappointed if no rewards are won. Even the smallest details are fully realized... and EVERYWHERE...

Jingle Jangle Poster

Worth watching (on Netflix) just for the visuals.

   
• Cop Doctors! One of the most demented (and hilarious) shows to ever air on television was Children's Hospital on Adult Swim (you can watch on Hulu, I believe). I just found out today that Netflix had a spin-off series with a lot of the same cast that aired back in January...

I binged the entire season and loved it. Boy I hope we get another season.

   
• Swap! I look forward to this every year. It never disappoints. I just wish they did even more of it...

Poor Colin. Though I won't feel too sad. He does get to go home to Scarlett Johansson.

   
And that's a wrap. See you after Christmas!

   

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