The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Django Unchained


Let's get this out of the way. I love Quentin Tarantino movies. I loved "Reservoir Dogs." I loved "Pulp Fiction." I loved "Kill Bill." I loved "Inglourious Basterds." Even though he didn't direct it, I loved "True Romance." Okay, I didn't much like "Death Proof" or "Jackie Brown" but even Hitchcock and Kubrick had their failings. I am always prepared to not love one of Quentin Tarantino's movies. I didn't have to brace myself, because I loved this one. Tarantino brought his A-game with his ability to make you laugh and horrify you within seconds without it feeling like mood whiplash.

The cast was great. Jamie Foxx really sold the character of Django Freeman, and while he may be freed when the movie opens, the title of the movie smacks you in the face as the film progresses. Christoph Waltz is terrific as always in the role of Dr. King Schultz, a German dentist turned bounty hunter. And as for Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candi, the sadistic slave master of the largest plantation in the country? Everyone... stop hitting DiCaprio with "Titanic" he is a great actor, one of the best actors... if you watch this movie and still can't see that, there is something wrong with you. Period. Samuel L. Jackson is in this movie too, but I would rather not spoil his character much, you need to see it for yourself.

As with every Tarantino movie, you can feel his love of the medium in every frame. This movie was shot on film, not on digital, and I am grateful for that. Film will always look better. I cannot wait to own this on Blu-ray. The dialogue is as witty as any Tarantino movie, and as always feels like more than your standard action movie.

When I saw this movie my first thought is how pissed off this will make so many in the south. Slavery is a very touchy issue for large portions of the former Confederacy. I was amazed how unapologetic this movie was and it raises points that have been largely absent from mainstream cinema. The "lost cause" ideology has been dominant in most movies, I knew this movie was going to challenge that idea, but I was not prepared for how it subverted that ideology altogether. This was a very refreshing movie for me, because the south can throw up whatever excuses and revisionist myths they want, they built their economy and culture on the backs of slavery and human trafficking... they were only slightly better than Nazi Germany. It took seventy-three years for the myths of "Gone With the Wind" to finally be challenged, and it is much appreciated.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's the end of the year. What do I own?

An update to what I own on DVD and Blu-ray. There are a few new additions, some things I cashed in at FYE, and others I upgraded from DVD to Blu-ray.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Surprise, Motherfucker!


If I didn't do it now, it would never have gotten done. I've got four episodes of "Dexter" to talk about, four episodes that really develop the character and push him and the people around him forward. First of all, I thought this season, oddly structured as it was, was great. Easily the best since the fourth season. Throughout seasons five and six, I felt like Dexter was in kind of a holding pattern, he didn't seem to grow or develop all that much even if some of the people around him, especially his sister, Debra, did.

I thought Ray Stevenson's Isaak Sirko was great. I was surprised and saddened to see him go relatively early in the season... Stevenson had a commitment to "Thor 2" so they had to wrap up his character a little earlier than intended. But, despite his being a killer and a Ukrainian mobster, he was as close as any antagonist of Dexter came to being a man of honor. I thought his ending where he joined his beloved Viktor was perfect.

But while I missed Sirko, the rest of the season had more than enough to offer. Dexter's romance with Hannah McKay was a plot thread that, I'll confess, I wanted to hate. And yet, I didn't and couldn't. I think I felt as conflicted about it at times as Dexter himself. When her degenerate father came onto the scene (played by Bobby from "Supernatural"), even though he did not fit Dexter's code at all, I was happy to see Dexter murder him and throw him off a boat.

But where is Dexter now? He has acknowledged that there is no such thing as a Dark Passenger. There is nothing inside him that makes him do what he does. He kills because he wants to. It's a deep and a strong want, but he can't blame it on "an imaginary friend." And, while Dexter has killed innocent people before, two instances by accident and once while in shock and grief over the murder of his wife, Rita, this season marks the first time we've seen him plan and carry out the deaths of people who don't fit the code.

Combine the previous paragraph with the question of where is Debra now. The very instant she found out what Dexter was, she has been on a slippery slope too. First she tried to cure him, then she acknowledged she couldn't but let him roam free, then she asked him to kill Hannah McKay (which he refused to do), and then.... well, we always knew that eventually she would have to choose between her brother and the law she had sworn to uphold as a police officer... a choice that Dexter and Maria LaGuerta both forced in a very emotional scene in the season finale.

Season eight is the final season. But I will leave you all with this: Dexter's never been a hero. He may have killed some bad people, may have saved some innocent lives, but not because he was a hero; those outcomes just coincide with his actions. Dexter's sole purpose as a character is to advance the plot and make the audience identify with him. If you thought he was a hero and now you're disappointed that he's not, then the story was effective. Over the course of the series, the story has managed to make a hero out of someone who kills people, chops them up into pieces, and disposes of them in the ocean. Your "hero" wasn't even perfect; he killed some innocent people in the process too. Don't hate Dexter because he's not living up to what you hoped he would. He was never a hero, and I'm sure Dexter would agree with that.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

An Unexpected Journey


Over the last two weeks, I flew down to West Palm Beach to drive my grandparents back up to their old apartment in Brooklyn so they could back up and move whatever was left there that they wanted and then drove them back down and flew back up. The reward I gave myself for all of this was almost quite literally going to see the first installment of "The Hobbit" almost directly after stepping off the plane. I had been waiting for this movie to come out for a very long time. I cannot quite say how long... since they green lit it? Since "The Return of the King" came out? Since I was a kid and read the book? Since I was an even younger kid and saw the Rankin Bass cartoon? Yeah, I've waited a long time for this. So what did I think? I haven't spent as much time smiling through a movie as I have this one since... well, since "The Return of the King," actually.

It's hard to give this movie a proper review at this point because, well, it's not finished. As much as I loved it, the most honest grade I can give is "Incomplete." But I like how the pieces are moving into place, the characters have all been introduced and the best is yet to come.

As with "Lord of the Rings," the casting was inspired. Martin Freeman is Bilbo Baggins as much as Ian Holm was (and still is). Likewise, Richard Armitage embodied Thorin Oakenshield better than I ever imagined. The rest of the dwarves were great, and I don't need to rave about the returning cast.

The entire sequence between Bilbo Baggins and Gollum was exactly what I wanted it to be. I've read that chapter in the book so many times that I found myself asking the and answering the riddles with the characters. And the scene where Bilbo showed Gollum pity and spared his life. Yes! Exactly! The moment that saves Middle Earth was done justice.

I have seen some negativity surrounding this movie, and I think that comes from people who were expecting another "Lord of the Rings." The Hobbit is certainly lighter in tone, but that's not a bad thing. The movie actually matched the book's tone pretty well, in my opinion. If people go in expecting the same darkness that comes from an apocalyptic war, then it's their own fault for not doing the research. But I do suspect more darkness to come, especially as the story arc about the Necromancer plays out, as it should if you know who he actually is.

Count me in as another one who thought Radagast the Brown was over-the-top. But I didn't dislike him, actually I enjoyed him, I just wish Jackson had toned him down a little. But he is hardly Jar Jar Binks and this movie is not "The Phantom Menace." For starters this movie is really, really, really good. Did I have my fears? Honestly, no. I had faith in this production and so far, that faith has been rewarded. Prequels aren't bad, the "Star Wars" prequels just sucked... of course the originals were mediocre at their best as well; while here we have a very good prequel to great originals. But, when all is said and done, I suspect I'll be watching "The Hobbit" Extended Editions before my "Lord of the Rings" Extended Editions when I re-visit the series on Blu-ray as I know I will.

The pale orc, Azog's survival after the battle of Moria might have been an invention of Peter Jackson's, but I liked him and I already foresee how he will be used as the story progresses. In the book, the orcs arrived at the Battle of Five Armies pretty much out of no where. I suspect Azog's grudge against Thorin will be the reason why the orcs will head to Erebor. Between Smaug, the Necromancer, and Azog, we're going to have a lot of fun villains. And speaking of villains, I loved seeing the Witch-King of Angmar and Saruman again.

It was exactly what I wanted. More light-hearted and whimsical while at the same time building towards the tone and threat that Sauron will pose in the not-too-distant future. I loved it. I will see it again. This may be my favorite movie experience of the year, and in a year that had "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises," "Lincoln," and will have a Quentin Tarantino movie, that's high praise.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Argentina


"I mean it's one thing to be in love with your brother, but its a whole other level to be in love with your brother who's a god damn serial killer. You're a serial killer and I'm more fucked up than you are."

I really have to admire the writers of this season for their balls. The development last season that Debra was in love with Dexter was pretty universally reviled, and I was and still in that camp. After the season started, that thread seemed to have vanished, and was never mentioned again. Tonight, it came roaring back in what I have to admit was a terrific, well-written, beautifully-acted and very well executed scene. Does that mean I am going to do a one-eighty and like this plot thread now? No. But, I am now willing to give it a chance, and see where they go with it, if they pull the trigger on it. They still haven't, and while I hope they don't, I'm willing to withhold judgement if they do end up pulling the trigger on it.

The return of Astor and Cody was a welcome and I hope they're around for the long haul. I think the series lost something by removing them. They, more so than Harrison, are a reminder of Rita, and they tie Dexter to a family life. Harrison still can't talk, and doesn't understand what's going on around him. He's a blank slate. Astor is a bright but troubled teenage girl, and Cody looks up to Dexter. I think the series benefits more from having them around than not.

Isaak Circo is a character I've been enjoying from the start, and while I wasn't surprised at his motivation and why he wanted to avenge Victor so badly, I was surprised when he and Dexter sat down for a heart-to-heart. It was another scene I enjoyed. Yes, Dexter has been "learning" from his enemies for a long time on this show, this is old news, but that doesn't make it any less compelling and fun to watch these two characters and these two actors connect.

For me, the jury is still out on Hannah McKay. I'm with Debra on this, I really think Dexter should kill her. She's a danger to him and his family. At the same time, I hope they don't have her go Lila on them, but I have enough trust in this team to assume they won't do that. Dexter has feelings for her, and we all know that this will turn out to be too good to be true and when push comes to shove, I believe he will always choose his sister.

One thing I have noticed when I peruse the forums, a lot of people are only interested in Dexter the killer. Watching him stalk, hunt, and kill. Like a cold-blooded machine. They don't like the "human" moments. I think those people are missing the point, this show has always been about Dexter struggling with who he is and what he feels he should be. I think the elements are mixing well this season, and I look forward to next week's episode.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Want to Hear About My Evening?


It’s cold out. Very cold. A movie I’ve been looking forward to all year had premiered. We head out on a long drive, our gas is low, we have enough to make it to the theater. We arrive at the theater to long lines to grab tickets, we have ten minutes to spare. Either way, we know we might miss some, or get terrible seats. We get on line.

After a long wait on line, we find out that “Lincoln” is sold out. It is playing on one screen. Only one screen. There won’t be another showing for the rest of the evening. I am disappointed, but it is only a movie. Then I find myself getting angry on principle. What happened? Why was “Lincoln” playing on only one screen with three showings a day? Because “Fucking Twilight” is playing on three with over sixteen showings a day.

The great American President that freed the slaves, preserved the union, and died for this, the Great Emancipator, the one whom many consider to be the greatest President, one of history’s most important figures… tossed aside for “Fucking Twilight.” I’m not angry because I didn’t get to see a movie I wanted to see, I am angry because “Fucking Twilight” is getting this sort of demand from the mindless consumers. From our dear retarded culture.

If you went to see “Fucking Twilight” this weekend, I pretty much hate you. Do the world a favor and go crucify yourself.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let's Talk Dexter...


.... and by Dexter, I mean let's talk Debra. Sorry I've neglected this lately, life (and a hurricane) have kept me distracted. I know I haven't reviewed one since the second episode of the season, but I have been watching.

I've found Debra's character arc this season to be my favorite aspect. We've seen her go from rejecting her brother to understanding him, to asking more questions and being angry at hiding evidence from the police and we have finally arrived at a moment I should have expected, but didn't... at least not at this stage. Debra has authorized, or ordered depending on your point of view, Dexter to kill someone. Neat. We're more than half-way through the season and with LaGuerta confiding in Deb about her suspicions about the Bay Harbor Butcher, I do wonder where Deb's character arc in all this will end. From shock, to understanding, to ordering.... is Debra going to become a killer too? Will she violate the code and kill LaGuerta to protect Dexter? Will she kill a criminal? She's ordering the death of one already, hmmm....

Dexter, on the other hand, has more than his hands full. He's fucking, and maybe falling in love with, Hannah McKay... a serial murderer who has poisoned at least three people by this point, and Debra wants him to kill her. Personally, I think he should listen to his sister, but I enjoy Dex's human moments. We'll see how this ends, but I doubt it will be well. And Isaak Sirko is gunning for Dex... I think this is the first time where we've had a villain who's known who Dex was from the get-go and wanted him dead, we'll see where this goes.

Not my deepest analysis, but I just wanted to do a bit of catch-up now so I can resume my regular reviews next week.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Greg's Thirty Reasons Why the GOP Lost



1. You can't make a big deal about ObamaCare when RomneyCare is its rich uncle.

2. You lost tons of votes to Gary Johnson because your party has become snotty, fundie, and nasty without any sort of adherence to stated principles.

3. Your nominee was the Monopoly Guy. I was half-expecting to see him bust out a monocle.

4. Akin and Mourdock. facepalm

5. You bitched and moaned about Obama waging class warfare, and then turned around and divided up 
Americans into the "takers vs makers" and relegated the poor into a "mooching class."

6. Neoconservatism is dead. It's also not really conservatism.

7. Borrow and Spend is not a viable alternative to Tax and Spend.

8. You got sucked into stupid wedge issues like Sandra Fluke's lady bits.

9. Your party has become very derisive and mean.

10. Crybaby conservatism is not appealing. The entire media is not out to get you. Polls were not skewed. Nate Silver is not an ideologue.

11. The Echo Chamber blocks any points of view not in lock-step with the party line.

12. Being a slave to ideological purism is not appealing.

13. Tax cuts don't solve every single fiscal problem no matter what the situation.

14. 47%

15. You co-opted the Tea Party early on and balled it into a Michelle Bachmann/Sarah Palin/Allen West amorphous beast. What once started out as a principled opposition to Wall Street and Bank Bailouts was sheisted onto the fundie train.

16. Sarah Palin. Did I mention her?

17. Banishing small-l libertarians. And banishing Big-L Libertarians too, for that matter.

18. The Breitbartization of the way you get information.

19. Birthers and other specialty derps.

20. Donald Trump.

21. The way you handled Ron Paul.

22. If every Republican is a RINO, then what is a RINO, really?

23. The hypermasturbatory usage of the term "Job Creators."

24. Get over the whole gay marriage thing. That battle is lost.

25. People that live in cities are not all yuppie liberal douches. Stop referring to the quintessential "Real American" hardworking families that somehow all live in Whitetown, Kansas all the fucking time.

26. Get over the whole abortion thing. That battle is lost.

27. Your foreign policy is EXACTLY THE SAME as the Democrats' - how you cannot see this is inexplicably frustrating.

28. You framed most of the platform in a negative way, and the stuff you were positive about, you were vague as hell. Very suspicious.

29. It was pretty obvious that Romney's core values were non-existent. Other than wanting to be President, does anyone really know what the guy stood for? At least George W. Bush had the balls to stand for something.

30. The party has shifted. I wouldn't say it's shifted to be more "right-wing" or "conservative." I think it's shifted "internal." Everything the party does is reinforced by the acceptable so-called conservative media (FNC, Breitbart, Drudge, etc.). The GOP has surrounded itself with Yes-Men, and anyone within the ranks who disagrees is belittled, thrown out, or exits on their own. There is no real debate other than how much more "pure" it should be. Refusing to see any validity from anyone with a D after their name, crushing all so-called "moderates," padding their cells with their own pollsters and bloggers, the Republican Party has become a self-perpetuating talking points machine of angry pricks.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Today is the day


Well, it’s after midnight. Today is the day…. go vote. Just do it. You know how I like to be a snarky, sarcastic bastard about politics and government? Try to make that a more difficult task for me. Please. If you don’t like either of them, at least vote against the one you hate more. Or just vote against Jill Stein, she’s a bitch….. see what I mean? Make this harder for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Disney Acquires Lucasfilm

Okay, I know I'm late to the party, but I only now got power, cable, and internet back. Hurricane Sandy kept me out of the loop since Monday.

I could write a big, long post here, but I won't. There is only one thing worth saying about this. Could Disney really do any worse with "Star Wars" than George Lucas did? Could they? The best "Star Wars" film of them all was the one Lucas was the least involved with. Lucas destroyed the original trilogy with his special editions, and the prequels were terrible on a Michael Bay level of bad. This can only be a good thing.

Expect a great Blu-ray set of the Original Trilogy in less than a year.

George Lucas.... good riddance.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

The Frankenstorm is coming. I'm currently residing in New York, near Manhattan, and I'm expecting to be... inconvenienced for a few days. But when this clears up, I will do a big "Dexter" review. With "Young Justice" on hiatus, I'll look for another series to review alongside "Dexter." We'll see.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Retro Review: A Decepticon Raider In King Arthur's Court


Hear ye, hear ye. Forsooth we shall observe as yon Autobots Hoist, and Warpath and yon Decepticons Starscream, Ramjet, Rumble and Ravage depart through the mists of time and come on to the year of our lord 543. Whereupon the Decepticons allyeth themselves with Sir Wigend du Blackthorne to commit foul villainy upon the countryside of thy noble Sir Aetheling the Red and his comely daughter, thy fair Princess Nimue.

As thou Starsceam is a frothy, onion-eyed, nuthook, Starscream is fast to rejoice his good fortune as he doth  calculates that he doth has 1451 years before thy vain scut, Megatron shall awaken. Thou Starscream's math is as tushery as the pronunciation of thy name of Nimue and thy use of Ye Olde English.

Fair maiden Nimue doth selects thy mammering Spike Witwicky to champion her in a joust, leading to his lumpish performance. Starscream chooseth to silence thy mewling quim and abducts her, aseth he seizes the castle of Sir Blackthourne and crushes thy grandmother's jewels to maketh a wire and offend thy sensibilities.



Warpath, Hoist, Spike and Aetheling march upon Castle Starscream and lay siege after Rumble fetches a basket of bird shite as picturedeth aboveth. As Starscream stands triumphant upon thy castle parapets, the droning wizard, Beorht appears on thy hill and summons lightning upon thy Autobots who proceedeth to defeat thy Decepticons. Spike sooneth is cockblocketh by Sir Blackthourne who has repented his treacherous ways when he and Nimue agree to wed.

On the morrow, thy Autobots and Decepticons approach thine Stonehenge where upon a dragon sets eyes and attacketh them. As thy dragon escapes, thy robots enter thy Stonehenge and returneth to 1985 where upon Starscream glompeth Megatron in a lustful display of faggotry that thy Bible has forbidden in the chapters of Leviticus.

Thy episode sucketh with a most amusing stupidity. But I questioneth one thing? Where upon the countryside was King Arthur?

Think about your answer

Of these four characters, which would you most like to hear tell you sincerely that they are proud of you?


Definitely not Superman, he would tell that to literally anyone, even just a kid who got an A on his spelling test. Superman will say that about anyone that isn’t a cackling psychopath. It has no meaning coming from him.

Cap is tempting… that, and unlike Supes, he fought Hitler.

I pick Doom. If you impress Doom, you’ve probably redefined the limits of what is possible. Supes and Cap would be proud of you if you helped a little old lady across the street. Luthor would be proud for something just minorly evil. If you impressed Doom, you’re a fucking giant. ”I’m proud of you” from Doom would be like “You’re the greatest person I’ve ever met” from Superman.

Why Apocalypse Sucks


So… let me get this straight… you’ve been alive for thousands of years… you’ve got power on a cosmic level… weapons and abilities you tripped over from the far flung future, and handed to you by Celestial beings… and you’ve never actually accomplished anything. Apocalypse’ mutant power is increasing his failure rate.

And 90’s fans think he is better than Magneto because……….?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy 18th!


Eighteen years ago today, the greatest animated series of all time premiered. Never surpassed, hell never even equaled. Happy Birthday, "Gargoyles"!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Before The Dawn


Why am I so late on this review? Because Comic Con is exhausting.

With this episode, we go on hiatus again. But, since it was legally available for a bit, I don't mind reviewing it now. Obviously, this is a significant episode, hell there was an outside chance this could have been the series finale. But, with this episode, we're ten episodes away from the end of "Invasion" and, quite possibly, the end of the series.

A lot of significant events happened. We now know the identity of the Light's new partner. An alien species called the Reach, who are the creators of Blue Beetle's armor. We also meet Black Beetle, who right away proves himself as a force to be reckoned with. The Team was clearly no match for him until Blue Beetle allowed the scarab to take control. Black Beetle is obviously a team buster, and he will be a real challenge for the Team to later overcome.

Miss Martian ran into Kaldur again and did what we all suspected would happen and mind-raped him, and in the process learned the truth. We've seen the beginning of how this affects her, and I doubt she will be doing this again. But how will this affect Kaldur? We know from Psimon that one can recover from this, but will Kaldur return as a genuine son for Black Manta and true servant of the Light? And now Artemis is in even deeper than she already was. Instead of backing up Kaldur, she is now the undercover agent close to the Light and the Reach. Wally was right, it's gotten more dangerous.

The Reach have openly revealed themselves to humanity and come as friends, a wise move on their part... do that before the Justice League can reveal the truth. And with G. Gordon Godfrey as a willing mouthpiece for them, they will have public relations on their side. We also know that thanks to Impulse, the Reach destroy our civilization in the future. Is this what the Light had in mind? I'd tend to doubt it, but we also don't know much about the future Impulse came from, or what the Light's status in that period is. I don't doubt that the Light would get hoisted by their own petard, but we know the Reach isn't their only extraterrestrial ally.

Which leads me to wonder... where is Darkseid and Apokolips? They had a presence in the first season, but haven't been mentioned or alluded to much this season. I do not believe for a moment the production team has forgotten them, but I do wonder if ten more episodes for the season would be enough to contain them on top of dealing with the Reach. But maybe a confrontation with Darkseid is being left for a possible third season. Well, time will tell.

At this point, no third season has been announced. Whether or not we'll get one is impossible to know, but we've got ten more episodes to go, and if this is all we're going to get, I will safely assume we'll be in for quite a ride. See you in January... I hope.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Because Our Country Is At Stake



Do we need any further proof that the Commission on Presidential Debates is a criminal organization? Actually, the more that I do research, the more that I think this organization can be investigated and prosecuted under the RICO Act.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Before anyone asks

Yes, I heard about DC Nation.

No, I will not write a rant about it.

I heard the news on a day that was already crappy for personal reasons.

But if you want my comment: This blows.

Afraid that's all you're getting. Yes, it does indeed blow.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunshine and Frosty Swirl


This season is really on a roll. I love it when I can get angry at the main characters in a production when it's not because the production is terrible. As with last episode, this one was heart-wrenching. I think the best reason to the argument that Dexter is not as bad as the people he kills would come from one of the season two episodes. Dexter is looking around at all the bodies that were dragged up from the ocean floor and he simply says “How many more bodies would there be if I hadn’t killed these people.” That’s my stance on this issue and it always has been.

All that being said, and this is what made me angry at Dexter, it's not just about him anymore. Truth be told, it wasn't about him the moment he committed to Rita way back in the show's inaugural season. But this is different, Debra is his adopted sister, who he grew up with, is in on the secret. She is trying to help him, she helped him cover up a murder, and she is sticking her neck out for him. If Dexter gets caught, Deb is an accomplice and her career is the least she will have to worry about. Seeing Dexter just manipulate her like that, and give her a moment of hope for him just to get her off his back briefly made me angry at him. I know it's an addiction, I get that... but he could at least try to help her help him.

Is Debra being naive thinking she can be Dexter's rehab? Sadly, the answer is yes. But I won't begrudge her for it. Be is family, friend, or lover, I know what it's like to love someone that much... would I turn in my favorite human being on the planet if I discovered a secret this dark? I don't know... maybe I'm stupid myself, but right now I'd say no. Granted I haven't been confronted with the situation and I hope I never am, but I empathize with Deb here even as much as I think she is kidding herself. I really have to hand it to Jennifer Carpenter for the performance she is turning in. When she punched him in the face before storming out of his apartment, you could feel the mix of emotions.

I hope Louise Green goes away and soon. Do I believe his story that this is about Dexter trashing his game? I'm not sure. I have met some geeks who are that OCD and insane about their obsessions and fixations. But, at this point, I think Dexter is handling this all wrong. Louise had Dexter's credit card numbers! He was hacking his accounts. Tell Debra, let her handle it! Yeah, Dexter would have to explain breaking into his apartment... but she already knows that he's the Bay Harbor Butcher. I think she'd just be relieved he didn't kill anybody at this point. There is already enough to send Louise to prison. And if he does know about Dexter's secret too...

... well, that could actually be a problem. LaGuerta is going to be trouble this season. Well, she's always trouble, but now she knows for sure that Doakes wasn't the Bay Harbor Butcher. Considering that relationship, she is going to do everything in her power to find the real Bay Harbor Butcher. Will she be dead by the end of the season? I suspect one long time character will be. My money is on either LaGuerta or Deb.

The subplot about the Ukrainian mob boss hasn't grabbed me yet, but it's still early, we'll see where this goes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Darkest


"I always wanted, expected to-to grow up and become him. And the hero bit, I'm still all in. But that thing inside of him, that thing that drives him to sacrifice everything for the sake of his mission, that's not me. I don't want to be the Batman anymore."
- Richard Grayson, "Disordered"

I suppose the question is, have Dick Grayson, Kaldur, and Artemis Crock become what they fight against? Does doing what is necessary supersede doing what is right? I am reminded of Michael Corleone's quote: "it's dangerous to be an honest man."

The series has really grown up in its sophomore season. Things have gotten darker and a lot more serious, and it makes sense since our main cast have grown up. The world is no longer black and white, not that it was before, but "Darkness" really hammers that in. I don't know what was colder, Kaldur threatening to blow up Mount Justice, or him ordering Artemis to do it... and Artemis actually doing it. I know why they did it, and while some might say "it's just a mountain" it's still a cold act while fighting a war. Beast Boy was watching "Hello Megan" before Kaldur and his team invaded and those tapes have been incinerated. They were probably all Gar had left of his mom. But "Hello Megan" tapes aren't going to defeat the Light and stop the invasion now, are they?

As we go forward, not only is Nightwing becoming more like Batman than he wanted to, it seems like he and his "conspiracy" are becoming more like the Light than they would ever want to be. Four people, with a vision for victory, conspiring together, using everyone around them like pawns to achieve the greater good. They have become much like the Light. The key differences there are that Nightwing's team, let's call them "The Dark" for now wish to save the world from people who are clearly villains and an invasion. Of course, Vandal Savage seeks to save mankind from the League's coddling and speed up our evolution to become a galactic superpower. So both groups have their reasons and their excuses, and while we know how far Savage is willing to go to achieve his vision, what happens when "The Dark" need to make an even larger sacrifice in order to stop the invasion? I guess we'll soon see. My favorite scene had to be when Wally confronted Dick at the Hall of Justice and just about lost it with him. Is Wally right? Absolutely. What's right and what's necessary are clashing and I can't get enough of it.

The episode was excellent, as "Invasion" has consistently been. I've mentioned it before, but so far I've enjoyed the second season more than the first. I really like where this is going, and the season has managed to repeatedly surprise me. I realize this is darker than most animated superhero fare, but I enjoy this sort of thing. "Secrets and Lies" hasn't gone away, and more so than in season one, this really feels like black-ops.  Thank you for not playing it safe, I can't wait for next week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum are the two worst people in the country. They can get up, in front of audiences and spew bigotry towards gay people, and people applaud. Adolf Hitler used to do the same thing in beer halls, and instead of applauding, if the people in those halls got up and beat the shit out of him, we would never have had World War II. Bachmann and Santorum get applause... there should be shoes being thrown, there should be rocks being thrown. These people should be publicly shamed and run out of the country to live in a place that is more in line with their bigoted beliefs.

TV's Best Protagonists!






Let's here it for cable television's sociopathic leads! Thank you, cable, for giving us protagonists that are way too hot for network and yet, somehow, still less evil than Jay Leno.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Are You...?"


The events of this episode were a long time coming. Lieutenant Debra Morgan of Miami Metro Homicide knows the truth about her brother. This is a moment the show has been building up to for years now, it was teased for a long time, so when this finally came, it had to be done just right. One misstep and it would have been a betrayal to both the fans and, let's be frank, basic common sense. The bar was set really high, and I for one was not let down.

As the episode opens, we pick-up where season six left off, Dexter had Travis Marshall laid out on the alter at the church, he plunges the knife into his chest and Debra had just walked in. As well done as this scene was, my own fears about the execution began to pick at me, because I thought she accepted his explanation too easily, and helped him cover up the murder to readily. But, as the episode progresses, her detective's instincts just won't let this go, and she keeps asking questions. Dexter is smart enough to answer these questions well (dodgy, but well), and as much as Debra wants to believe him, she can't ignore her instincts. As the episode ends, Dexter returns home late from murdering the latest scumbag of the week to find Debra in his apartment all his blood slides on the table, his murder kit on the table, and everything is now out in the open. "Are you..." the answer is "yes."

This was easily the best episode since the end of season four. I didn't much like season five, and as flawed as it was, I did enjoy season six. This episode was better than every episode of the previous two seasons combined. While I never felt the series jumped the shark, this episode was a reminder of why I fell in love with this show in the first place. It's the show that makes you question right and wrong, good and evil, and your own ethics. Dexter is the audience's alter-ego in a way, we see everything unfold through his eyes and we're always in his head. But has Debra become the stand-in for us as well? She's asking these same questions now. We root for Dexter and love him, but should we? The show has truly confronted this dichotomy and I am anxious to see where it goes from here. At this time last year, I was already thinking that Gellar lived only in Travis Marshall's head, but now... I have no idea where the show is going, and I'm more than happy to enjoy the ride.

One thing that I am certain of is that Harry Morgan was a monster, this episode finally cemented it for me. The way he talked to Dexter in the flashbacks: "no one can ever love you if they knew who you really were." Who says that to a seven-year-old child? Maybe if he had just gotten Dexter some help, instead of training that child how to kill and who to kill, he would have had a normal life. Not to mention that Debra was ignored and discarded by Harry so he could teach this sick child how to efficiently kill and not get caught. We've seen Dexter surprise himself over the course of the show as he's realized that he CAN care for people and love people. Young Dexter was not beyond help and Harry turned him into a weapon. Harry was a sociopath.

Sunday night cannot come soon enough. This season has already gotten me hooked.

Chuck Norris Facts


Chuck Norris hates gays SO MUCH that he is against public schools celebrating the Day of Silence, an event held annually in support of LGBT students and LGBT rights.

Chuck Norris hates gays SO MUCH that he became one of the first members of show business to express support for the California Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage,

Chuck Norris hates gays SO MUCH that he supports the Boy Scouts’ policy of excluding gay participants. He even accuses Obama of trying to create a pro-gay Boy Scouts.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hollywood Happy Endings

I just finished watching "Face/Off" on Netflix. It's a movie definitely from its era, but it's fun. I enjoy it. But what I think would have made the movie much better would be if John Travolta's character, Sean Archer, was forced to live the rest of his life with Castor Troy's (Nicolas Cage) face. They even had the perfect set up for it at the climax of the movie when Troy just starts knifing up his own face before being impaled on the end of the harpoon.

This comes from my personal belief that nothing comes without a price. Nothing gets resolved easily in real life without cost, why should it happen in the movies? Okay, for light-hearted fare, it's fine. But this is a movie that opens with the murder of a five-year-old boy. People die in all manner of gruesome ways, and Castor Troy rapes Archer's wife (sex under false pretenses like that is still rape). This is not a light-hearted movie. It's a big, over-the-top action movie, but it's not light-hearted. At all.

Sean Archer wins in the end. He kills his nemesis, he avenges his son, he has his family back, he adopts Castor's son. But the price should have been his face. In fact, the ending is so neatly tied-up that if I was told that John Woo wanted to end it this way, but the Hollywood suits wanted the happier ending, I'd believe it.

Is it a bittersweet ending? Yes. But it tilts a lot more heavily towards the sweet... in the grand scheme of things, his face is a small price to pay. In the grand scheme of things. But it's more real, it's a hell of a lot more dramatic. And it's a lot more honest. Everything has a price. Even in fantasy land.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Satisfaction


"Young Justice" returns, and on a pretty good episode. The fallout from Artemis' "death" is still being felt, and Roy Harper finally wakes up. Lex Luthor finally returns for the first time this season too, or the second time if you count his cameo during Black Manta's induction.

Roy, the original Roy (I refuse to say real since both are very real people by this point) wakes up and reacts about as well as one could expect. While his anger at Green Arrow was understandable, I felt his lack of anger at his clone was refreshing. How often do we see characters who get cloned hating their clone for reasons based less on logic and more on emotion? Nice to see that cliche sidestepped. Even nicer was that once he calmed down a little, his disdain for his mentor died down, at least a little. We'll see where they all go from here.

I am still enjoying this version of Lex Luthor, and after many years of disliking the character that is weird of me to say. Some might accuse me of feeling this way because he is written like David Xanatos from "Gargoyles," and after Lex's "vengeance is a sucker's game" quote, they might not be wrong. But I don't think that is the case. Sure, that line is there. And while they both share some traits, I do not see them as being all that similar. Xanatos is amoral, and I see Lex as much more immoral, for starters. I think all they have in common is that they see vengeance as petty and beneath them, and they both keep cool under pressure.... and high caliber gun fire. And both are extremely smart and manipulative. But smart and manipulative villains are a dime a dozen, and both are their own characters.

Original Roy is now Arsenal and has a new arm. Superboy needs to talk to this boy about accepting gifts from Lex Luthor. It doesn't turn out well.

The B-plot was the mourning of Artemis, and it looks like Superboy has found himself a new girlfriend. We'll see where this goes. But I really hope that Superboy and Miss Martian don't get back together. Something about that relationship never sat right with me, and while I tried to ease up on it when season one ended, learning the truth behind why he dumped her just cemented my earlier gut feeling. M'Gann is amoral. Period.

Poor Captain Cold, I knew he was going to have a bad time the moment I saw him, that was a fast surrender. And very nice to see Zatanna again.

Also very nice to get confirmation that Jason Todd existed in this universe. I figured that's what Dick's "don't die" line at the start of the season was referring to.

Finally, Jade wants to take out Aqualad and Sportsmaster, the principle thug and enforcer for the Light, wants to take out Black Manta. One of his bosses. This is it folks, mark it. Right here is where the thread that unravels the whole thing is about to be pulled. Sportsmaster might not be one of the Light, but he knows where many of the bodies are buried. All it takes is a spark, and I think this is the beginning of the end for the Light.

Good episode, looking forward to next week's.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Filler

Here's Spoony and Brad Jones talking about how horrible the Transformers movies are.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Who's a Diva?


So I've been lucking around and some of the comments I've seen directed at Marina Sirtis for how she behaves at conventions are... preposterous. Let me preface this this with a little disclaimer. I don't know Marina Sirtis personally. I have spent maybe four hours of my life in her company, total. I'll relay the total of my experience with her in a bit. For now, I want to talk about some of the reactions I've seen to her at conventions and on the internet, and why it's a terrible idea to expect actors, when you meet them, to be their characters.

Let's face it, for as much as I love and adore the character of Demona, the vast majority of the people who go to see Marina Sirtis at a convention are going there to see the actor who played Deanna Troi. As we all know, Troi was, for all intents and purposes, written as the nicest character in the universe. She was the ship's councelor, the one people went to with their problems, the empath, the one with a bottomless well of compassion and understanding. I tend to suspect that some fans expect Marina Sirtis to be this person, but no real life human being is that person.

Let's take a look at the video that inspired some of these comments:



As you can see, in real life, Marina Sirtis is very outspoken and opinionated, very fiery. There are a lot of words you can use to describe her now iconic character, but "fiery" is not one of them. But, being a very outspoken and opinionated guy myself, I find her attitude at conventions to be refreshing, charming and a hell of a lot of fun. She speaks her mind and she doesn't take crap. I admire that in a woman. Hell, I admire that in anyone. And really, what has she said or done that is wrong? I can think of only one answer: she did not act like Troi. But that makes me happy, I've found the real Marina to be far more interesting than the iconic character she played. But, I like spitfires.

I've met her twice, and... if you go in expecting her to be Deanna Troi, you're going to be in for disappointment, or a shock, or both. She has a quick wit, and a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor. She is also very opinionated and outspoken. I have heard her admit that she has much more in common with Demona, the villain she voiced on "Gargoyles" than she does with Troi (but notice that I never assumed she was a genocidal lunatic who spreads her massive amounts of guilt to everybody else in the world). That being said, being someone with a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor myself... we both got along quite well and chatted for a good five minutes while the line kept forming behind me. Eventually, I was the one who said "good-bye" ... mostly because I didn't want to get lynched by the people behind me. But we got along very well. That was the first time I met her.

The second time I met her was at the final Gathering of the Gargoyles. Without getting into specifics, we were a small convention. Much smaller than the ones she usually goes to, as such our war chest was less opulent. But, she was still nice enough to make the trip out to spend her day with us. She didn't have to do that, and we had a great time at our little soiree and had what I've heard was one of her few convention experiences where she could walk the floor into the art gallery without being mobbed by fans who don't understand the definition of boundaries. Another con-staffer and I volunteered to be her security while she was at the con, and we both got to chat with her. I even had the chance to eat lunch with her that day, and yeah... sarcastic, sharp, opinionated. But always with the purpose of being funny and entertaining. Not for ruining anyone's day. And never, not once, did she ever give a look or impression that she did not want to be there. In fact, when she left, her only regret was that she didn't come to our convention sooner. I thought she was a lovely woman. A lot of fun to spend time with, and never boring. She's someone I could easily see myself being close friends with if given the chance.

So, when you meet an actor. When you have a chance to see an actor live, keep this in mind... they are not their character. They will never be their character. You are getting a glimpse at who they really are. Don't act shocked when they are different. If they have a sense of humor that you don't share, do not assume they are being mean. Yes, like every other human being on the planet, they can have their bad days... but I doubt they go to these things to ruin anyone's day. If they hated interacting with fans, they flat out wouldn't go... plenty of people don't go and won't go. But if your problem is that she is an outspoken an opinionated woman then you are the one with terrible issues, not her.

Marina, if by any chance you ever stumble across this. You're a class act. Keep being yourself, because you're a fun, lively and lovely individual.