It’s been a minute since we put forth some of our Grade A, doctor-recommended, mother-approved opinions on pop culture and beyond. Instead of a focus on quality shows like The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy, we’re going to provide you with a less focused set of thoughts that don’t follow any established pattern or rules. Just soak in our brains on paper.
There sure was a lot of brouhaha over the Superbowl Halftime Show this year. What with Shakira and J-Lo and all of the sparkly outfits and whatnot. I really didn’t like the halftime show at all. Let me be clear that I was not offended by the costumes and the gyrating. I mean, we see that when we look at most NFL cheerleading squads and Olympic gymnasts, ice dancers, and swimmers. I also see that every time I stop in at a random Walmart. It wasn’t because there was a Puerto Rican flag. You know seeing as PR is, in fact, part of the United States and all. I mean the people who live there are U.S. Citizens. Some of them pay U.S. federal taxes, even though they don’t have representation in Congress or Senate. You know, come to think of it, it’s just like Washington, DC. And people wouldn’t have complained if they unfurled the flag of Washington, DC. It wasn’t the tongue-wagging, the crotch grabbing, or the S&M looking outfits. It wasn’t the shimmy near the end. Why didn’t I like it? Simply put – I don’t like their music. It’s not my style. And all of this talk about it being sexual and not for young kids, blah blah blah. Remember when the guy running for president said something about grabbing women by the pussy, and a lot of people still voted for him? He’s the president now, so people must not really care all that much. I guess people just need something to complain about to make themselves feel better about their crappy job, cheating wife, and juvenile delinquent children.
Now, let’s talk about The Outsider. No, not the wonderful 1983 coming-of-age-struggle-for-equality-where-everyone-was-white movie starring the likes of Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, just to name a few. I mean we don’t have the great characters such as Pony Boy, Soda Pop, or Dally. There’s no eye candy for straight women, although Cynthia Erivo as Holly Gibney is awfully cute. But what it lacks in eye candy, it makes up for with – well – a Stephen King story seemingly done properly. Now, I’m not a huge Stephen King fan. I was skeptical when my hubs said, “I think you’ll really like this”. If I’m being honest, there are a whole host of things he thought I’d like and was wrong about. And no, it’s not that I don’t like smoked meats; I just wouldn’t pick them over, say, grilled meats. However, I’d pick this one over The Walking Dead any day. The acting is really good, and I truly give a crap about every single one of the characters. This isn’t really “horror” in my opinion. Rather it is a version of “who dunnit?” where the real question becomes “how did they do it?” and the goal is to catch the boogie man. Sure, it sounds dumb when I say it that way, but I’m not Stephen King. I have one episode left to watch of this show and I simply cannot wait. It’s almost to the point where I wanted to capitalize that whole previous sentence and spell it “CAN NOT,” but grammar is cool.
Speaking of “Who dunnit?”, have you seen Knives Out? This was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in forever and a day, and I watched some of the Democratic debates. Not only was it funny, it was exceptionally smart and not something I was able to figure out completely in the first 20 minutes. Seeing Captain America as a spoiled, rich douche was amusing (and nice to look at). But Daniel Craig as the southern gumshoe detective investigating the wealthy family of one dead dude really stole the show. Jamie Lee Curtis is still as hot as they come, and pairing her up with Don Johnson as her husband was pretty fantastic. I laughed out loud several times and was still fairly surprised by the ending. I’m pretty giddy that there will be a Knives Out 2, as I couldn’t get enough of Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc.
On an unrelated note, I’m really enjoying Letterkenny. I’m only a couple of seasons through what seems to be eight total. In my defense, this show had four seasons in one year, so I’m not as far behind as one might think. This is simply a show about a rural town in Canada and the lives of its citizens. There is no way to not laugh at this show. If you can’t find the humor in the stories the townspeople have, the horrible hockey team, or the pantsless, closeted gay pastor, then you probably think that voting for Andrew Yang is still a viable option. With glorious lines like “I’d rather reach into a pirate hooker’s chamber pot” and “It’s a hard life picking stones and pullin’ teats, but as sure as God’s got sandals, it beats fighting dudes with treasure trails,” you really can’t go wrong. The episodes are all really short, but that just means you can cram more into an hour. Canada has a winner here. This show has a wonderful way of teaching you the inside jokes and bringing them up on a regular basis, often forcing you to go back and rewatch episodes because you missed the initial joke while you were taking your puppy out to take a crap in the -10 degree weather. The thing is, those jokes and signature phrases are well-known among fellow Letterkenny watchers and will generally make you a new friend or two to invite to your very soft birthday party. Allegedly. I’ve yet to go back and watch any of the YouTube videos that started this show off, but I fully intend to. Maybe you should too. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.
“Little Fear of Lightning” (Watchmen S.1, E.5). I’m working my way through this series from Fall 2019. I have been reluctant in many ways to commit to the show despite a general approval of the decisions that were made in how to present the universe of the comic book. They ran into the predictable problems of how to present a very complicated world with a pretty detailed backstory. It took until this fifth episode to really bring the story into focus and that’s a problem for many viewers. You are asking viewers to trust you for five hours until different threads start to form a consistent narrative.
The episode revolves around Detective Wade Tillman aka Looking Glass. His is a story of fear and paranoia. It is the man who reflects ourselves back at us that helps us see what is happening in the world. Starting back before the Squid, we see a young Wade project a brave exterior while being vulnerable and scared inside. It is only when he is stripped and naked that his fears are exposed completely. The rest of the episode we catch back up with the Looking Glass that we have seen previously and realize that the man who is most confident on the outside is the most paranoid on the inside. Wade is scared of everything, his foil-lined hat shows us the way he protects himself figuratively also. His worst fears about the levels of conspiracy in the country are fulfilled. The elements of Lost and Twin Peaks are found here but what I’m most reminded of thematically is what I loved about The Leftovers. How does society deal with events that happen instantly that completely change our reality? I’m officially in for the rest of the run of this show as of this episode.
Best of Brian De Palma. My top five Brian De Palma films
1. BODY DOUBLE (1984) – De Palma is accused of cribbing from Hitchcock all the time so why not just full on make a Hitchcock film. The thematic use of the power of gaze is taken to a new level that reflects the video era of the 1980s.
2. SCARFACE (1983) – Another point in time that De Palma captures perfectly. If you think it’s only about drugs then you need to watch it again with an adult eye.
3. CARRIE (1976) – I’ve recently had to downgrade it from what I considered one of the top King adaptations but it’s still a well-constructed horror film.
4. BLOW OUT (1981) – One of the truly underrated films of the ’80s. Our trust in what we hear and see shouldn’t be everything.
5. DRESSED TO KILL (1980) – Another nod to Hitchcock and this one is a not-so-subtle Psycho tribute that probably hasn’t aged that well.
“We Are The End of the World” (The Walking Dead S.10, E.2) Another show that I used to watch as it aired. I wandered into watching it a day or two later and eventually the week that it aired. Now I let the whole season gather on the DVR and didn’t even get around to finishing it before the next half of the season got underway. I don’t hate the start to this season. Are we going to bounce back and forth between the two groups this time? I like knowing the actual origins of The Whisperers and more about the evolution of Alpha and Beta. This bleak version of an alternate way to adapt is interesting. You have to create this as a valid choice if you want to make them worthy of our time. In their world, we don’t have names anymore, we are Alpha and Beta and there’s the symbol wearing of masks of the Dead. When do you choose to show what you are underneath your mask? I am interested but my patience is thin with this show.
A Jolt. I’ve managed to try all four of the new flavors of Coke Energy and my report is simple. These are for people who enjoy chemicals. I really wanted these to be a game changer in the Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar universe. They are not. The Cherry Energy might be the best of the bunch and even then, there’s an aftertaste like I just mowed the lawn and dropped some clippings in the can. They will keep going after this market and don’t doubt that there won’t be a “new and improved” or “all new” version of these coming down the pike in a year. For now, pass them by for your traditional choices.
You don’t like our opinions? You think you have something better to say? I think Madge said it best, “You’re soaking in it.”