Reviewing television and movies?

Okay,  I’d like to say I get some wacky ideas in my head sometimes and I go off and get all Bukowski-like when I’m writing. I’m referring to the past two entries from last year that got a little weird and free-versey. Hey, that’s fine. These things happen.

In any case, I’ll attempt to rein it in, in the future. (Yes, rein it in.)

What to do with all the TV watching?

One of the reasons I entered into that free-verse “lowercase reviews” as I was calling them is because I was trying to find a new form of movie and TV review. I love thinking and talking and writing about TV and movies, but it’s something that gets done everywhere. And the more I write about all of that stuff, the more I realize that I’m just sort of mediocre at it. I really enjoy recording podcasts about entertainment, but that’s me talking to another person and hashing things out. Usually I listen to those types of podcasts when I’m bored as hell and have 3 hours on the road or more ahead of me.

But still, can we do anything with all that TV watching that a lot of us do? I would like for that time spent, where I am ingesting the latest Netflix whatever it is, to profit me in some way. But I think the writing of reviews is sort of dull and adds up to not much of a hill of beans.

A new way of TV watching? 

I watched the beginning mini series of Battlestar Galactica again, while I played this really simple and really addicting tower defense game on the iPhone – Kingdom Rush. Well, it gave me the suggestion of watching some terrible Kevin Sorbo show called Andromeda right after.

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Kevin Sorbo shakes hand with a blonde lady. Hologram Jen, Pink Raver Girl, Bill S. Preston, Rat Face, and Capoeira watch with serious faces. 

I’m trying to be a bit more intentional with what I’m doing lately. I bemoan the fact that my apartment isn’t clean even though I haven’t cleaned it. I say I want to write and read more, and yet I don’t spend time doing that stuff. So anyway, here we are and I’m about to watch this Andromeda show. I decide I can split the difference between my desire to glance up and watch some stuff happening on the TV, and reading a chapter in this book – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – by just having the TV on, but with no sound, and listening to Charles Mingus instead. – All of that said, Andromeda looks terrible.

I don’t have an answer to how or what to do about the watching of series and TV. It seems like our cultural language  (and in some ways, how smart you are, and  success, maybe?) trades in what shows you watch. “Oh my god, you haven’t seen ALL of Black Mirror? What’s WRONG with you?”

There are some great narratives on TV out there, but there are not enough hours in the day to watch all of the things and still get stuff done.

So, I’ll just end with a question: How do you feel about all the TV watching you do? How do you feel about all the reviewing of TV?

 

 

 

 

lowercase tv journal: star trek discovery (2017)

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tv journal: writing + journal + review

star trek discovery (2017) – cbs

i can’t say i was waiting anxiously for this but there was a buzz amongst my friends.

i’m a guy who loves primarily the next generation-

if i have insomnia, i put tng on my phone,

i set the phone upside down on the bed frame,

i listen to the opening scene of whatever episode

and it leads in to patrick stewart monolog,

and the familiar chimes and theme,

and by the time the theme is done, i’m usually passed out.

i have a fondness for this show that lulls me into sleep.

 

comfort watching.

 

so i put my credit card in for cbs all access so i could watch

discovery.

the lighting and sets,

special effects all look great.

 

the klingons- i’m sorry, i can’t help thinking that the klingons

are just a metaphor for black people, and that bothers me.

the white albino klingon doing… something? lighting the beacon.

 

they put a twist on the usual do-gooder mentality of star trek and the

federation by focusing

on sonequa martin-green’s character- the half-vulcan half-human (i think?)

who ultimately (spoiler spoiler) winds up betraying the asian

captain.

 

i had no idea where this series was going to go until the

trailers for next time

popped up.

 

michael (sonequa’s character) winds up heading to prison,

and then it looks like jason isaac’s character recruits her

to be on the discovery.

 

okay so some weirdness and dislikes i had: 

-the musical theme wasn’t strong. just kind of a bland strumming of strings with a couple of musical familiar elements thrown in.

-the opening credits of blue printy type
michaelangelo drawings was just okay.

-i already talked about how i think the
klingons are a not good race substitute.

-just go to war and shoot first:
are they trying to grab the republican audience?

-doug jones’s science officer character is
basically an alien c3po but that’s great.

-i’d like a little more “star-trekky” moral
conundrums and sci-fi stuff.

-the gender-mixing of captain and first
officer was good – even down to the stereotypically
male first name given to a female character

ultimately: i liked it.
it was less action-y than i thought it was going to be,
in a good way.
i don’t like the star-wars-ification of the trek franchise.

big question is: should I keep forking over 6$ a month to watch it? mayyyybe.

 

lowercase movie journal – american graffiti (1973)

(journal meets writing meets movie review)

 

9/22

 

american graffiti – 1973 – george lucas

 

lots of painful scenes

girls rejecting the guys, the guys pressing on regardless

 

were the 60s like that, george?

 

it’s in the 90s, temperature-wise here.

i feel cooped up in my small apartment.

 

i get it. the fondness of reminiscing on adolescence

and figuring women out.

 

but it’s a sinking gross kind of feeling, too.

 

you stare at your own picture enough

and you become a monster.

 

/

 

the ending with the epitaphs was weird.

women treated as objects throughout the whole thing

side characters who don’t warrant any sort of mention along

with the dudes.

 

lots of uncomfortable cat calling scenes

i disliked this movie much more this time around.

Movie Review: Doll Squad (1973)

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Review: Probably not worth your time. The music was okay though, and they did a valiant effort at making things violent.

Another bad movie I was requested to watch for Austin’s podcast.

A team of women is assembled to fight some kind of bad guy force who is blowing up rockets that are launched. A senator calls them in.

I’m really bad at watching bad movies. I was playing iPhone games and doing everything else while watching this. It barely held my attention.

I kept getting distracted by the bad special effects when someone died, and the really low ceilings they had in the bad guy mastermind dude’s house.

So: Probably don’t watch this movie. Oh, my dad heard me talk about this on my podcast and said that Francine York was from Minnesota, and apparently my grandfather knew her.

The jumpsuits and the movie poster are actually kind of cool.

Bojack Horseman Season 1, Episodes 1&2

Review: Worth your time if you like cartoons, Will Arnett, Paul F. Tompkins, and Alison Brie.

My friend and fellow roller derby skater, Live Bait (not his actual name), raves about Bojack Horseman all of the time.

Bojack Horseman is the horse version of a Full House actor – washed up and was on a shitty sitcom back in the 90s. It takes place in a universe where animal / human hybrids are the norm. Bojack, in these first two episodes, is something I’ve seen before- a drinking, copulating, cursing cartoon character that pushes the boundaries of decency. Alison Brie plays his ghost writer helping him write his biography that his agent / girlfriend who he treats pretty awfully set him up with. Mr. Peanutbutter, a labrador/ man, played by Paul F. Tompkins, is his rival who was also in a crappy sitcom in the 90s, but seems happy while Bojack is miserable. Bojack makes the observation that Mr. Peanutbutter doesn’t even know enough to know that he should be miserable. I have a feeling that as the series goes on, Bojack will make more and more of these pronouncements. I’m told the series starts off as Family Guy and turns into more existential type of comedy.

Tangent: I find myself listening to these recap podcasts. Game of Thrones. The Americans. I tried listening to a Twin Peaks version of it, but I found the personalities on the show to be grating. There’s something about the enjoyment of a thing and talking about it with other people. Hearing people talk about the thing you just watched.

Pop Culture Happy Hour does that with movies, but I haven’t been out to the movies in a while. I’d rather be at home with my dog, and my back gets irritated at me if I sit for too long.

So- perhaps Live Bait and I will talk about Bojack Horseman at some point. So far, the first two episodes don’t give me too much to chomp into.

I totally agree with Bojack, in the second episode – some of the troops are heroes. Some are just regular people. Some are super shitty individuals who have fucked up motivations. Just like any job. Choosing a profession doesn’t automatically turn you into a saint or a hero. But it’s the agreement that keeps society functioning- one of the enticing things about being a cop or in the army or a firefighter is that you get the societal accolades of doing something altruistic. They’re kind of shitty jobs so you have to have uniforms and status.

Aaron Paul is an executive producer on the show and I believe plays a voice on it. He’s surprisingly good. Alison Brie is great in everything. I’m a fan of some of what Will Arnett does, but not everything. Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tompkins are two of my favorite comedians, so I’m happy to listen to them do pretty much anything.

Review: Worth your time. Especially if this is just setting the scene in a larger context for more meaty existential jokes to come.

Bad Man’s River (1973)

Review: Not worth yours, or anyone’s time. Not even a little bit.

A terrible misogynistic movie made in 1973 starring Lee Van Cleef. Why it’s bad:

  • Plot that makes no sense.
  • Over-dubbed dialog and sound effects, even though it was already shot in English.
  • Jaunty (terrible) music.
  • Bad acting.
  • Bad set design.

This seems like it was basically Lee trying to cash in on his popularity with other westerns. The movie seemed like it was cobbled together B-roll.

It’s on youtube if you want to watch it. But trust me. It’s not worth even a little of your time.

Preacher – S2 Ep 13 (Finale) The End of The Road

Review: Mostly worth your time.

The series really felt like it was trying to push the narrative along, but got stalled out in Louisiana. Jesse teams up with Starr. Eugene teams up with Hitler and inadvertently sets him loose upon the world. Cassidy and Tulip begin the process of leaving New Orleans. Denis’s evil ways get to Cassidy. Denis doesn’t eat or kill the dog, but he makes creepy intimations to Cassidy about doing something with Tulip. Maybe the best scene of the episode came when Cassidy pushes Denis out the window only to burn to death. That was Cassidy’s attempt at not becoming an evil vampire as opposed to the good vampire he is right now.

Tulip gets shot as she’s saying goodbye to the Grail lady whose name I never bothered to remember because her character is pretty bland. Jesse rushes back after we see him unable to use the Word on a bunch of fake terrorists. Cassidy offers to save Tulip by turning her into a vampire, and Jesse says they should just let her die.

The final scene shows them headed to the ranch / plantation that Jesse lived in with his grandmother (probably?), with a dead Tulip in tow. They’re referencing the first scene of the episode where his grandmother apparently revived a chicken after Jesse killed it in a fit of Rage.

This episode, like others, is doing a lot of setting up to get from one point to another. Again, I keep thinking about that first Preacher episode from season 1. The violence was stylized and brutal. The characters were sympathetic and complex. This season just doesn’t seem the same. The fight scenes are kind of what you’d expect, and we don’t really have any sympathetic “regular mortal” characters this season at all.

I hope next season gets off to a better start.