Posted on May 9th, 2021
We may not be at heard immunity yet (if ever), but life goes marching on... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Mom! Happiest of Mother's Days to all the moms out there. The more time goes on, the more grateful I am to have had the best mom ever looking after me...
We were best friends from the start and I love her around the world and back.
• Hoth! Anybody seen Star Wars: Biomes on Disney+ ?!? Gorgeous! Just a 12-minute screen saver of various planets from the Star Wars universe...
I am addicted and want more... more... MORE! There are other planets that would be so cool to see! If you have Disney+ tune in and be mesmerized! Then demand another episode! The two ship fly-through videos (for the Millennium Falcon and a Star Destroyer) are also wonderful to look at.
• Vaccinate! The New York Times has a fascinating article on how Pfizer is manufacturing their COVID vaccine, and I encourage everybody to give it a read.
Image from The New York Times
Incredible stuff. mRNA vaccines seem more like magic than science, and future prospects for the technology are bright indeed.
• Honnold! Every New Year's Day, I have a checklist of things I do. On that list is to check and see if Alex Honnold... a free-climbing genius... is still alive. I'm a huge fan, but not always able to keep up on what he's up to. As of a week ago, I know he was alive because he did a video for GQ Magazine where he looks at climbing scenes in movies. It's fantastic and well worth your time to watch...
"He doesn't get tired though because he's Tom Cruise!" And here's the original one I watched...
"Oh my goodness gracious... he just fell to his death!" Alex is entirely too nice for this cruel world!
• Trek! I am rewatching the first JJ Abrams Star Trek movie... you know, the one with ALL THE LENS FLARE ALL THE TIME... I just got to the point at the start where Lil' Spock is beating the ever-loving shit out of the Vulcan kid that called him mom a whore. All while his classmates look on in horror. And I realize something. JJ Abrams completely and totally defined Spock in three scenes... something it took a dozen episodes of the original television series to do...
And this follows on the heels of him doing the same for James T. Kirk. Say what you like about the reboot, but Abrams was absolutely brilliant in introducing the Star Trek Universe to people who may have been unfamiliar with it. If you didn't know Kirk, Spock, and McCoy at the beginning of the movie... you certainly did by the end. No easy feat.
• Clark! I was a huge Tom Clancy fan back in the day. Read all the early books he wrote. They were entertaining diversions with increasingly ridiculous stories... reaching peak absurdity when Jack Ryan became president. I stopped reading a couple books after Executive Orders and never got into the books that were added after Clancy died where other authors wrote them. I thought the three movie adaptations with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford were pretty good. The Ben Affleck and Chris Pine movies were forgettable. Though I have (mostly) enjoyed the John Krasinski Jack Ryan series on Amazon. And now we have Without Remorse with Michael B. Jordan as John Clark...
Despite the story starting off with a tiresome and antiquated "fridging" that could have easily been changed, it's a darn good movie. Jordan has the chops to sell the character both emotionally and as an action star, and his path of revenge is glorious. If you like this kind of thing, it's worth a look on Amazon Prime streaming!
• Borders! I absolutely love stories like this: Belgian Farmer Accidentally Moves French Border.
And that's a wrap on my Sunday Bullets. Hope your Mother's Day weekend was a good one!
Posted on April 12th, 2021
Well... this has been... a day. I guess. Stupid Monday.
If I had a better weekend, I would probably have been in better shape to deal with it all but, alas, here we are.
It's kinda sad that I haven't developed better adversity coping skills after all these years, but I guess it's just not where my skillset landed. Which reminded me of this TikTok, which is an excellent metaphor to be had...
##stitch with @mattshaw882♬ original sound - Z
The original video is equally dead-on hilarious...
I mean... holy crap!
This past Saturday as I was trying to distract myself from feeling sick all day, I watched a bunch of television, starting with the Doctor Strange movie. This took me through a Benedict Cumberbatch run that included some episodes of Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness...
When this movie first debuted I was... disappointed?... I guess is the word I'm searching for?
On one hand, the visuals and special effects were jaw-droppingly beautiful and the action intense. The cast, as with the first movie, was flawless. But the film was also a needless remake of the best Star Trek flick of all time: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It was like... why?!? There were hundreds of new directions the franchise could head, but they decided to put a new spin on already-great material just because they could. And then there was the worst-kept secret of 2013... Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan Noonien Singh, originally played brilliantly by Ricardo Montalbán.
But on a fresh viewing where I know what to expect and can separate the remake from the original, I was able to appreciate it better. Mostly because it's just so dang stunning to look at. Plus it had a cameo by Leonard Nimoy. Still hate the disaster porn ending... Lord is that a tired trope... but, overall, not the huge disappointment I remembered.
I wonder how many other films would change my mind if watched anew?
And now we return to my butt-puckering day, currently in progress.
Posted on April 7th, 2021
The new teaser trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife debuted today! And it's got a cameo from Baskin Robbins for Paul Rudd!
This is a movie I've very much been looking forward to. The 2016 reboot, while not terrible, was far from a great movie despite a hilarious performance by Chris Hemsworth. Which is why I have high hopes for this sequel to the original films.
Yeah. That probably ain't going to work out too well.
Apparently the movie is only in theaters on November 11. Whether the pandemic will have subsided enough that people will actually be going to theaters then is anybody's guess. I may be waiting for home video.
Isn't it weird thinking of possible post-COVID times?
Posted on April 6th, 2021
Well that was a day.
The plan was to work just a half-day since I worked on Good Friday, which was supposed to be a holiday. That way I could tear apart my living room to deep clean all the stuff that's been neglected during the pandemic. Now that I've been half-vaccinated I'm starting to think about the day that people will be able to visit me again, and that's inspired me to clean house. Finally. Which is very Mary Sunshine of me given that COVID infection rates are on the rise again. The vaccine rollout has lured everybody into a false sense of security, so people are doing some crazy-ass shit. Even those who haven't been vaccinated. Especially those who haven't been vaccinated (and are proud to announce it).
Yesterday the Texas Rangers hosted a baseball game with 38,238 in attendance. A lot of them unmasked, of course. Doesn't seem especially smart given that the UK variant is now the dominant strain in the USA. It spreads more easily and has a higher mortality rate than "original COVID." Even worse, now there's "Post COVID Syndrome" where healthy people who recover from COVID end up with serious long-term effects. And the statistics are staggering. 30% of people who had COVID continued to have symptoms up to 9 months later. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We don't have enough data to know what can happen after that 9 month period. Doctors worry about everything from immune system deficiency to long-term permanent brain damage.
As if COVID killing young healthy people wasn't bad enough?
But anyway... I ended up working a full day (and then some) after which I was too exhausted to clean. Instead I made tacos for Taco Tuesday then plopped on the couch and watched movies for the rest of the night... The Birdcage (81% on Rotten Tomatoes), Kingsman (74% on Rotten Tomatoes), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (51% on Rotten Tomatoes). AKA "Those movies I love and never get tired of watching even though I've seen them a million times." It's the last one that has always puzzled me when it comes to the reviews...
Despite not being the biggest Ben Stiller fan, I love this movie. Really love it. And for oh-so-many reasons right now, I find myself relating to it more than ever. Yet it got mediocre to negative reviews and I honestly don't get it. I found it to be refreshing escapist fun that shows what happens when you start living the life you've always dreamed about. Stiller is incredible in it, which is all the more remarkable when you consider that he directed the film as well. And just look at the supprting cast! Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, and Sean Penn... does it get much better than that?
Oh well. Everybody's entitled to their opinion. It's just a shame that the critical consensus likely kept people from seeing it. But I guess I've watched it enough times for ten people, so there's that.
Say... does anybody remember The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty?
What a great series! I think along with Top Cat this was one of my all-time favorite cartoons as a kid. They don't make 'em like that any more!
And since it's close to midnight now, I guess I'll clean house tomorrow. Maybe.
Posted on April 5th, 2021
Apparently it was New Trailer Day today!
This is both good news (yay! shows I like are coming back!) and bad news (holy crap! I have a list a mile long to watch already!). But I will always make room in my packed viewing schedule for new Marvel Studios!
First there was the trailer for Loki, which looks like a radical departure for the MCU... and that's a very good thing...
Fun! It just amazes me that Marvel Studios is intent on branching out in as many directions as possible to keep things interesting. Really looking forward to that.
They also released a new trailer for Black Widow a couple days ago...
Awesomeness ensues. I will, of course, be paying the $30 to watch it at home the minute it's available on July 9th. Then buying it on digital when it's released there. Because I'd much rather do that than go to a theater. Especially now. But ever again, really.
And then there's the teaser for the second season of Picard...
So it would seem that Q is back. Which could make for an interesting story given that Guinan is also due to return! The first season was fairly good television, even though it had too many moments that dragged and seemed like more of a distraction than something designed to move the plot forward.
We're also getting another season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, which was a really nice surprise last season...
More of the same clever, cool comedy, it would seem.
And, lastly, somehow Discovery is getting a fourth season. I loved the first, was bored by the second, and put into a coma by some crap episodes in the third... so I guess we'll see what the next season brings (besides new costumes)...
It certainly looks action-packed... but that's what I was lead to believe for last season.
No new trailers for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Prodigy, alas. But anyway... something to look forward to as we continue to make our way through the muck that 2020 gave us.
Posted on March 28th, 2021
Feeling a little less than heroic today? Then I've got you covered... because a Very Special All-Comic-Book Edition Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Comic-Con? Welp. Comic-Con International just announced that the new date for Comic-Con San Diego is... Thanksgiving Weekend?!? It seems weird to think that a day reserved for giving thanks with your family would be commandeered after a year of pandemic that's kept families apart, but okay. Maybe that's the point though? They new attendance would be down over a holiday, which is what they need to keep crowds low just as everybody is getting vaccinated? I dunno. Still seems a weird... and borderline heartless... thing to do. "Sorry, grandma, we've got Comic-Con that weekend! Hope you can make it until next year!"
• Invincible. Amazon Prime Streaming has just released the first three episodes of their occasionally-violent-and-gory adaptation of the Invincible comic book...
I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't drag everything out so they could have one of the most shocking twists in comic book history saved for the second season. Nope. They've got it right up front.
• The Suicide Squad. It's interesting to see how Zack Snyder was given millions upon millions of dollars to release his "director's cut" of Justice League, but the same courtesy is not being extended to David Ayer for his Suicide Squad film, which was apprently taken far away from his intended story by the studio. Truth to tell, I would rather Ayer have been given the cash, because the stuff he originally shot sounds far more interesting. I mean, sure, his version of the Joker was shit, but a lot of other things were pretty well done. The reason he's probably not being given the opportunity is that DC doesn't want to overshadow the upcoming The Suicide Squad movie by James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame). An R-rated trailer, of which, was just released...
Promising! SO many characters from the comics! The whole idea behind the Squad is that members die because the missions they take on are so dangerous. Apparently James Gunn is taking this to heart, because his entire motto for the film is "Don't Get Attached." How can you say no to that?
• New Cap. Steve Rogers, Captain America, has lost his shield! In a new series called The United States of Captain America, he embarks on a road trip across the country to find it... teaming up with other "Captain Americas" from over the years. Along the way he finds other people who have taken up his mantle, including a gay teenager named Aaron Fischer...
So naturally people are losing their fucking minds. Which is just the most bizarre phenomenon to me. It's comic book characters. The original Captain America is still here. Nothing is being taken away. But the idea that a gay American can't be Captain America when so many other Americans have been Captain America over the years is just bonkers. Gay people exist. Representation matters. Get the fuck over it.
• Old Cap. I had written up my thoughts on the second episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but then decided to hold onto them because I worry that anybody who hasn't read the comics driving this story will get the series spoiled for them. I will say that I am absolutely fascinated that they mined Truth: Red, White, and Black for this installment. The story of the actual first "Captain America" was pretty groundbreaking... even though it was published in 2003. It was here that we learned that 300 Black men were used as test subjects for the "Super Soldier Serum" before it was given to Steve Rogers. Of the 300, only Isaiah Bradley survived, and we got to meet him on Friday...
After serving his country with honor, he was imprisoned for his trouble. Now he's trying to live a quiet life of seclusion, as explained by his grandson, Eli Bradley. If you read the comics, Eli ends up being the hero Patriot...
Could it be that we're assembling the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Because the Young Avengers are almost all accounted for now! Eli Bradley as Patriot, Kate Bishop as Hawkeye (from the upcoming Hawkeye series), Billy and Tommy as Wiccan and Speed (from WandaVision), Cassie Lang as Stature (from the Ant-Man movies), and America Chavez as Miss America (from the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). And if they want to toss in Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel (from the upcoming Ms. Marvel series), and Riri Williams as Ironheart (from the upcoming Ironheart series)... PLUS debut Hulkling out of the upcoming Secret Invasion series... well... there you have it. It would seem that Marvel Studios is intent on keeping the current MCU moving forward as opposed to rebooting everything with new actors in the existing roles. Which is pretty smart. Because until the gravy train stops rolling, they might as well, right?
• The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. But back to the second episode... the Captain America comic books are at their best when they are saying something. When they tackle the big issues that face this country. And that's the niche that the source material takes quite often in modern times. It's only right that the Disney+ series spin-off follow suit. So when Sam Wilson was not able to get a bank loan last episode, on the surface it was because Thanos snapped him out of existence for 5 years. But you quickly got the idea that him being a Black man was definitely a factor. Didn't matter that he's one of the most famous people on the planet, no consideration was offered. And then in this episode, an argument with Bucky in public results in the police showing up to ask Bucky "if this man was bothering him"...
So kudos to Marvel Studios for making this series actually try to say something... in-between some great action sequences. It's exactly what Cap would want to see happen.
Stay frosty, True Believer!
Posted on March 21st, 2021
I think I may have gone into a coma from my allergies, but that doesn't mean you're being denied your Sunday roundup... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Help is Available. I am so sad to have to be posting this again:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.
Help is a phone call away if you need it. And if you need it, please make that call.
• Newton! Mathematics has always been something I'm fascinated with... but I have never been able to wrap my head around it once things go beyond basic geometry and algebra. I still dabble with the heavier stuff from time to time, but that's mostly via YouTube videos. Like this one, which is superficially about calculating the value of π... but is actually about so much more than that...
I could watch videos like this all day long. It's not like I'm ever going to do anything with the information, but it's cool to see the math behind our universe, isn't it?
• Venmo? I haven't carried cash in years. So I imagine this is how it's going to be from here on out...
Funny... but also... not funny? I guess?
• Noob! BWAH HA HA HAAAA! If you are a Marvel Studios movie fan... and you've seen Avengers: Endgame... you MUST watch this ad for Xbox Live until the very end. I mean the very, VERY end. If you don't recognize the guy that Sam Wilson (The Falcon) is talking to, it's the guy who worked at The Apple Store in Captain America: The Winter Solder. This is so cool...
Noobmaster69 has been revealed! I absolutely love how everything in the MCU is connected so beautifully.
• Men at Work! For any of y’all ladies interested in a peek into a the male mindset, here you go. This is painfully accurate, as any man will verify...
##stitch with @mackandronni I don’t make the rules I just enforce them.♬ original sound - colby guenther
THE TRAUMA IS REAL, PEOPLE!
• Essential Reading. The long history of anti-Asian hate in America, explained.
• Care? I love living in a country where your first thought is... "How do I make sure my insurance covers this and how much will I have to pay for it?" over "I need medical care." But, sure. We have the best healthcare in the entire world. But what good is it if most people can't afford it, don't have access to it, and even with insurance you can potentially go bankrupt? Facts in evidence? Take a look at how many GoFundMe accounts have been set up for medical expenses. Yet another case where Americans are being brainwashed into thinking that something really fucked up is actually a good thing. Thank the medical insurance lobby for buying off our politicians to convince you that we're the best, when we're actually ranked 37th! We pay more for health care, get less for our money, and insurance companies profit. But sure, we're the greatest. Whatever. The conditioning runs so deep that there are people willing to die before admitting that our health care system is extremely broken. And, sadly, they may just die believing it even as the system they believe in so strongly fails them.
And that's the end of that.
Posted on March 18th, 2021
There's two new things on my television today. One I've been dying to see ever since I first learned it was coming. The other one I know full well is going to be a steaming pile of shit and dread the idea of watching it, but am going to give it a look anyway because I kinda have to.
Nate Bargatze: Greatest Average American
is exactly what I need right now. Smart, brilliant, comedy which doesn't have to rely on punching down on people or swearing to be funny. I don't think it's funnier than his first special... The Tennessee Kid... but it's still darn entertaining and must-see television.
DAVE RATING: ☆★★★★★★★★★
Zack Snyder's Justice League
I've not been shy with my opinion on Zack Snyder's DC Universe films. Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman were absolute shit. Horrific perversions of the source material that were full of changes nobody asked for and nobody wanted to see. Justice League was supposed to change all that. But Warner Bros. hated the direction Snyder was going with it... his dark, dour, deadly-serious, joyless take on the material was in stark contrast to the Marvel Studios films which were joyful, hopeful, fun, and faithful to the comics. Also? Marvel was raking in billions of dollars with their superior methods. So when Zack Snyder tragically lost his daughter, Warner Bros. took the opportunity to squeeze him out and bring Joss Whedon onboard to "fix" the film and make it more like The Avengers. To that end, he re-shot a huge amount of the footage to make the movie more jokey and slapsticky. It was awful. Which lead to Snyder fans to relentlessly ask for "The Snyder Cut" to be released. And here we are with the four-hour version that Snyder intended. Except it's still shitty. It's just more consistently shitty than it used to be. My notes on this tragic affair are in an extended entry, if you care to read them.
DAVE RATING (Snyder version): ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆★★
DAVE RATING (Theatrical version): ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆★
Posted on March 9th, 2021
Last night I was in no mood for cooking dinner. So I had a pita bread pizza with a side salad and called it good.
The rest of the evening was spent trying to learn a new 3D rendering engine. All the while I had the television on with the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service... AKA that James Bond movie without Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, or or Daniel Craig (it was George Lazenby)... and with Diana Rigg.
It also had Telly Savalas as Blofeld.
The television was meant to be background noise so I could focus on my work, but I couldn't keep my mind on anything except how many actors played Ernst Stavro Blofeld over the years. I could think of four (I had forgotten Charles Gray in Diamonds Are Forever)...
There was, of course, another appearance by Blofeld in the opening pre-credit action sequence of For Your Eyes Only... where Roger Moore drops him down a smokestack in his wheelchair. That Blofeld was played anonymously by John Hollis... who is most famous for having previously played Lando's half-robot servant "Lobot"...
And Klytus's half-robot lacky in Flash Gordon...
The sequence with the missing Blofeld was played to comedic effect, which was an odd tonal shift from him having murdered James Bond's wife Tracy...
So... six Blofeld's total. Which is equal to the number of actors who have played James Bond (excluding David Niven in the original Casino Royale). That's quite a piece of Bond trivia right there.
Exactly the kind of trivia which keeps me up at night... and keeps my brain distracted from getting my work done.
If anybody's curious about which Blofeld is my favorite, it's Donald Pleasence as the first Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. He was deliciously weird, evil, dangerous, and menacing...
Not that Blofeld was the most interesting character in that movie. I was completely 100% in love with Bond Girl Kissy Suzuki...
I was one year old when You Only Live Twice was released. I didn't see the film until the 80's when I rented it on VHS tape. At the time I thought Mie Hama was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
And still is.
Posted on March 8th, 2021
Happy International Women's Day! Many of my most favorite people in my life have been women, and taking a minute to appreciate the way that women impact our world is important. History is replete with examples of women's contributions being overwritten, dismissed, and forgotten. That ain't right, and I keep hoping that each new day moves us in a better, more positive direction for equality and inclusivity.
I celebrated by watching the movie Hidden Figures, which is a fantastic story of what women have contributed to NASA's Space Program... despite the absurd intrusion of Kevin Costner's "White Male Savior" character into the mix. Did we really need that scene of him taking a crowbar to the "Colored Ladies Room" sign? Especially since IT NEVER HAPPENED?
That kind of crap is exactly why we need International Woman's Day... and Black History Month.
But before sitting down to watch Hidden Figures, I had to find my cats.
When I got home, neither of them came to greet me. This is unusual. Usually at least Jake is there to sniff around me and make sure I smell acceptable enough to enter their house.
They weren't downstairs, so I figured they might be asleep on my bed. Nope. They were on the second guest bed, huddled on a comforter...
Perhaps I was too quick to turn the heat off?
Not wanting to get murdered in my sleep, I turned the heat back on.