Tales from the Loop

I was excited to see this show, I think Amazon Prime has done a good job generally, with bringing thinks to TV that a traditional network would not.

I made it through three episodes before giving up, maybe I should have been more patient, I can’t say.

The series is set in a fictional town that is built above some sort of underground machine that a large portion of the town works for. The scientists use the machine for what, I am not really sure. In order to not give away things, I will leave it at that.

The series seems to be set in the 80’s, but they are still using rotary phones, so it makes it hard to put an exact time on things. There are robots that wonder around, so it is obvious that there is some tech that is futuristic and not of the 80’s.

Of the 3 episodes I watched, the main thing that bothered me was that there were no real surprises. The worst being the second episode, you just knew where that one was going from the moment that the “event” happened. Surely we learned something from Turnabout Intruder?

On the third episode, as soon as she turned on the thermos (that is what it looked like to me), the first thing I thought was; what is the battery life of that thing?

So what are the problems I have with the show? The show us glacially paced. I am not sure if they were going for atmosphere and a moody look or a retro-futuristic looks, I am not sure. I just know that the pace is very slow. It is kind of like they were going for a Twilight Zone style show with zingers at the end, but the pacing is so slow that it gives you time to analyze and know what will happen before it does.

Also, everything has this somber tone to it, honestly, it was depressing to watch.

Maybe I am being harsh on the show, maybe it is really good. The reviews I read indicated it was good, but it just didn’t work for me. Maybe, at some point I will watch more of it again and I will like it more.

For now, I would say pass on it and watch something else.

Wonder Wheel

Not much to say about this movie, it is just very depressing. Yeah, that sums it up very well. Depressing.

It is set around the Coney Island Boardwalk in the 1950’s. It has a good cast, and it is directed by Woody Allen.

The acting is OK, the story is OK, but, it is just depressing.

Maybe having to stay home for months on end, but it is just not a movie that is enjoyable to watch.

I could write more, but why?

Avoid it.

Free to Play

Free to Play
Ok, this is a total niche movie on the surface, but it really is not.

The whole plot of the movie could be applied to any number movies that deal with a group of people trying to make it to the top of their chosen sport.

In a nutshell you follow three team of people that play DOTA on a competitive level. They are from Singapore, the Ukraine and a group of European players that also have an American on the team.

What is DOTA you might ask, well it is short for Defense of the Ancients. I personally have never played it, but I know a lot of people that have and like it a lot. I prefer StarCraft II and those types of games more. League of Legends is pretty much a copy of DOTA, just a whole lot more popular than DOTA ever was.

The movie centers around these teams competing in a Tournament in which the winners get a $1,000,000 prize. At the time of this movie, that was the largest ever. One million is a huge Grand Prize and it really did help to make e-sports worth playing.

The movie does a decent job of focusing on the people and their trials and tribulations that they are having, not on the e-sports level, but more so on a personal level. Most of the player’s families do not really understand why they would risk so much for a game. Their families not only do not understand they are quite vocal about what a waste of time they feel playing DOTA is.

The mark of a movie that is so alien to so many is can it connect with non-gamers. My wife watched it with me and she seemed to enjoy the movie a lot, the fact that the movie did not spend any time explaining how to play DOTA and what the game was about was a good decision.

It is a pity that most people will pass over it due to the gaming nature of the movie when in reality it deals with the human nature of these young adults.

Well worth the time to see it!

HDNET and Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles, Beast Master to HDNET

This past Saturday night while flipping around I came across Blazing Saddles on HDNET.

I am not here to review it right now, however let it be said I have always found it funny. However HDNET plays it was to much, so much in fact that I realized this one simple thing.


Blazing Saddles is to HDNET Movies what Beast Master was to TBS in the 80's.

Every decision I have ever made is wrong

Seinfeld is NOT a show that I would ever in a million years look to for inspiration.

I loved the show, but the characters were shallow, selfish and not really people I would want to hang out with, well, Krammer maybe I would like to hang with.

That said, I have always thought that George Costanza was onto something when he realized that his life was not what he had envisioned. He came to the conclusion that everything he had ever done had been wrong and that all his decisions were wrong. So he started doing the opposite of everything that made sense to him.

I really think that if you do that in moderation in regards to certain decisions in life that good things can come of it. I know personally some of my decisions have been terrible, I should have gone against the grain and done the opposite.


Nice Codpiece

You know someday you see things and you really just have no way to really express yourself in a way that would bring anything more to the table.

Today is one of those days, I like Sean Connery a lot, a lot of his movies are great, but there was a certain time in the 70’s when he made some less than desirable choices.

At what point did it seem like a good idea to be in a movie that required him to suit up in a bright red costume with a somewhat dubiously large codpiece?Zardoz

Goodbye to Childhood

Every year when Labor Day rolls around the local Public Broadcasting Station switches around their lineup. Most of the time it is minor, the newer shows are added but they come on early, before I get home from work so I never cared.

The one constant show that WEDU has shown has been Arthur. Once they moved the time back to 4:30 pm, other times they moved the time to 5:30 pm, most of the time Arthur got a 5 o’clock start.

I have to say it, I really liked watching Arthur. Some of the PBS shows I really never liked, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, pure torture! Others like Barney I do not care for, Goodbye Arthur and Busterbut I could tolerate in small doses. Arthur was different, the episodes were well written and there were enough adult themes and jokes that I did not get bored. Not to mention some of the episodes were very original. 

For example, the episode where Buster came back from traveling with his dad and the talking Moose (Art Garfunkel) sang about everything that was going on during the episode was really clever.  Not to mention the theme song is sung by Ziggy Marley, it is very catchy!

Anyway, so we have been watching Arthur for about 9 years nonstop. For me it was perfect how it worked out, the kids would watch it and I would take a catnap on the couch, 20 minutes or so, just wonderful sleep.

Well this year the pinheads at WEDU changed the schedule and now Arthur comes on at 7 am. WHY?

What bothers me the most is not that I doubt I will get my naps like I did before, more than likely I will just sleep thru Curious George. The nap is not really the point.

No, the thing that bothers me the most is that it is really making me realize that my kids are getting older, and as all parents know, the older kids get the "wiser" they get. Anyway, I am finding all this super depressing. Sigh.

Return of the King

I did not see Return of the King in the theater, I did see Fellowship of the Ring the first day however. I HATED it, I was so disappointed, I loved the actors that portrayed the characters, they looked pretty much how I always imagined them. I adored the Shire and the way it looked, all of the stills looked so good, until I saw the movie.

I loved the books so obviously I would be hard to please if anything was changed, kind of. I understand that it is not really possible to do everything to make everyone happy and I was fine with changing things around a little. Where I draw the line is when things are taken out and things are added that are pointless to the main story.

So it has to be obvious that I will not like Return of the King, guess what, you are correct. The last 2 movies I just watched on DVD, of the three, oddly I liked The Two Towers the best, weird.

Last Sunday night I was flipping around looking for anything to watch and TNT was doing their Tolkien marathon or something like that. I guess they lost the exclusive rights to Beastmaster.

It was very late in the movie, or else I would have kept flipping. Frodo had just lost the ring and Sam was talking him out of taking a magma swim.

As I was trying to like what I was seeing I just kept thinking how incredibly fake it all looked. The whole lava and Mount Doom thing was pathetic looking, I giggled when the eagles came down and got Frodo.

Case and point of adding and subtracting, in the book it was a great moment when Sauron realized he was in trouble and turned all his will to Mount Doom and his armies faltered, then Gandalf announced that everything was hanging by a thread. Great moment in the book, does the movie do that, nooooo, instead you just see silly cut scenes of the fellowship jumping around, lame.

It seemed the last 20 minutes of the movie was just one long lame voice over by Frodo. Who sounded like Linda Hunt as Billy in Year of Living Dangerously and everyone standing around smiling and laughing, well I certainly was not laughing or even slightly smiling.

Also you would think with all the money they spent they could have had better lighting during the coronation it looked like a prom photo booth, absurd!

Same for when Bilbo shows up, his aged makeup looked so outrageous I could see why they lit the scene like that. It hides the Big Lots latex kit someone used on Ian Holmes.

They could have done so much more with the ending, as a rule I hate movies that end with everyone standing around smiling at each other. Then, just to kick you when you are already down, Cate Blanchett says some line (forget what it was) when they are leaving on the ship that is so wooden, so silly, so self-important that I was astounded. Ever see Wilt Chamberlan in the Conan movie when he says "Thieves should be hanged", well this was even more woodenly said than that. I gave Wilt a freepass, he was a basketball player, not an actor. Cate, what is your excuse?

Anyway, I really hated this movie, seeing the last bit just made me remember how much.

Note to Peter Jackson and Benicio Del Torro in regard to the Hobbit, please don’t screw it up. It is a great story, no need to add any romance, fake tension or anything else like that. There is a reason no one has made an Oreo Cookie "New & Improved" they are pretty much perfect they way they are. Do you remember a thing called "New Coke", try pretty please not to make "The Hobbit" with new and improved characters.

The Omega Man

The Omega Man, Charlon HestonPeople like to make fun of Charlton Heston, not just because of his personal views, but also because of his acting. Honestly he was not the greatest actor in the world, but you know what, I still liked his movies a lot.

I watched The Omega Man the other night and it made me realize something, Charlton Heston in a period of just a few years made some pretty edgy movies. Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and The Omega Man. All three are actually decent movies, if you do not mind the campy nature of them.

So, did I like The Omega Man?

I thought it was a pretty good movie, it reminded me a lot of when I read Stephen King’s The Stand. In the 60’s and 70’s biological warfare was something that was on a lot of peoples minds, not that it isn’t now, but more so then. I thought The Omega Man and The Stand really captured the feelings of paranoia well.

For a quick synopsis of The Omega Man, there was a war and a virus wiped out pretty much all of the human race, those that did survive are so light sensitive that they only come out at night. The survivors in LA are lead by a man named Mathias that wants to burn all of the old technology that brought the plague on the world. Charlton Heston’s character was an Army doctor who caught the plague and injected himself with a vaccine in a last ditch effort to survive. So, by day he hunts the Family, and by night the Family tried to kill him in his bunker like apartment.

It turns out there are other survivors that have not been infected with the virus, yet. They know eventually they will also become infected. So Charloton Heston works and creates a vaccine to stop the disease and reverse it in some cases. Once he gets the vaccine made he and the other survivors plan to head for the hills and escape from the Family. This is a 70’s movie, that is all I will say about the ending.

Oddly enough this movie game me the heebee-jeebees, not sure why but it did. I enjoyed it and it made me think about things. If you see it somewhere by all means rent it as it is worth the rental. There is a new version of this coming out this Christmas Season*, I Am Legend staring Will Smith. Hopefully it will be a good movie, but who knows. Maybe it will be truer to the book by the same title. I have not read the book, but it is supposed to be very good.

*I wrote this before I Am Legend came out, yeah, I liked it also.