TV Reviews: Black Mirror – San Junipero

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I had heard about Black Mirror, a show that is part twilight zone and part technological cautionary tale, from a couple friends who recommended some episodes for me to watch now that I’ve binged Stranger Things. It’s streaming on Netflix, so I figured there was nothing for me to lose.

I watched the first episode, and to be honest, I was a little turned off by the show. It felt more like satire with little technological caution, outside of the power of viral social media. Much of it could have been summarized in a 5 minute spoof with the same impact I think. What I did observe was the production quality of the show was actually surprisingly good.

So I gave it a chance.

I watched the next episode and it was a little bit technological, but more of a social satire to me. It was darker than the first episode in a couple ways, but overall, I was beginning to dig the “final reveal” groove that gave the show a comparison to the twilight zone.

I made up some nachos and pressed play on one of the episodes recommended to me, San Junipero. I was bored at first, then intrigued. Then all of a sudden, I was like holy damn shit did they really just do that? Not to spoil a damn thing here, but it was one of the most sci-fi stories told in the most un-sci-fi way. The acting was superb. The story was deep and had me thinking long afterward about the mind, body, and soul. Going in spoiler free was part of it, so I’ll leave you one of my rare spoiler free reviews.

Unlike many trash movies, this TV shows deserves to be watched spoiler free.

Movie Reviews: The Last Boy Scout

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The Last Boyscout directed by Tony Scott

This movie was a disappointment when it came out. People wanted Die Hard, but Shane Black’s script was more like Lethal Weapon. In a way, you would have almost thought Richard Donner directed the film the way it was shot and scored.

Even as a kid, I was disappointed with it. Bruce Willis played a stereotype of a detective. Boozy with personal problems of all orders. He basically acted like he just didn’t give a damn about anything. Life had already churned him inside and out.

Twenty years later, I understand. Some athletes sometimes have drug problems, even star quarterbacks. Cops have a shit ton of problems ranging the entire spectrum. Maybe people had it all wrong.

This was a case of art reflecting life.

Football is a business that doesn’t truly give a shit about the players. It takes a ton of legal action and scientific research to get the business to admit that it is a brutal sport that takes physical and long lasting tolls on human beings. It is big business not only because of fandom, tv marketing potential, but because of the gambling that goes alongside it. Just go to a sports book in Las Vegas and you can see why. Billions are wagered legally and illegally. And now, we even have the online “fantasy” versions with draft kings and yahoo getting in on the deal.

Twenty years ago, the sport seemed a little more pure. This was the era of Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, and Warren Moon. These were icons and role models unlike today, with Tom Brady and deflategate, Peyton Manning and steroid/stem cell accusations, and Big Ben and sexual assault allegations.

And then, Colin K and disgracing the national anthem and flag in a selfish act. Send me hate mail, I don’t care. Just because a few people agree with you doesn’t mean it is right. Instead of using a platform for good and work towards actually causing positive change in america, he speaks of obvious issues America has. Yes, there is freedom of speech, however, in the eyes of many he has zero class. Riddle me this, where was Colin K speaking of social injustice and donating money to charity when he had a platform as the Superbowl to talk? Why does he only have “courage” to speak when he is benched? Funny that a guy who’s trademark dance is kissing his bicep really stands for anything but himself.

Where are the boyscouts today? America sure needs them.

Back to the movie. It’s decent. Go check it out again.

Movie Reviews: Star Trek Beyond

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Star Trek Beyond directed by Justin Lin

I’m going to warn you here, this is a spoilerific rant of Star Trek Beyond. If you have not seen it after 7 weeks in the theater, well … it is your fault for reading this.

What would you get if you crossed Guardians of the Galaxy with Galaxy Quest? I argue that it churns out about 75% of what this film is. It is a gargantuan attempt at attempting to ratchet up the drama a little bit more all while missing the essence of Star Trek. Much like how Star Trek Into Darkness looks silly for the third act of Wrath of Khan switcheroo with Kirk going in the engine room instead of Spock (but leaving people in suspense for 3 seconds by bringing Kirk back immediately unlike the original cliffhanger), Star Trek Beyond takes this up a notch by copying Star Trek III’s pinnacle moment of blowing up and crashing the Enterprise, except, yes, they have to resurrect it at the very end.

So VFC.

Very.

Fucking.

Convient.

You know, don’t worry about this version of Star Trek. If someone dies, they will be brought back immediately. If the ship blows up, a new one will be built in the same movie. The original series is classic, especially II-IV because of the three movie story arc. Kirk commanded a damn bird of prey in Star Trek IV. There was no marketing department saying it would be better to land the Enterprise in San Francisco so lets give Kirk a new ship at the beginning.

Then, I don’t know about you, but in all my science fiction readings, never have I read some prophecy that the Beastie Boys would be the ones to save the galaxy. Are you kidding me? Did they really pull the plot of Ghostbusters 2 out of their ass?

Talk about batshit unbelievable, and not in a good way.

This is not the direction I thought the franchise would go after a successful reboot of the series that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was fresh and new despite being a bit tropey. We all figured a reboot using space time would work because that meant there would be a  real sense of danger since the future would be unknown.

Instead, the franchise is trying to compete with the demographics of Marvel’s audience and foreign box office receipts (and easy dubbing) instead of the traditional fan.

What is the result? Each movie is doing worse in the box office and we all know what happens when returns keep diminishing for a franchise.

Another reboot.

Paramount, if you need a writer, I’m your man.

 

Foodie Review: Nachos at the Bowling Alley


What do you do when you walk over at lunch for a quick bite at the bowling alley and they are so popular the wait is 25 mins for grill good?

You order some nachos. 

I was on the go, I didn’t have that kind of time to wait, so going to a tried and true staple takes me to my childhood.

I was a total weirdo as a kid. I would walk from my house at the age of 10 about a mile to the bowling alley after a quick stop in a store to buy a G.I. Joe. This is happiness at 10 back in 1989-1992.

I was a lone traveler even then. That was a different era when 10 year olds could roam around stores and go to bowling alleys by themselves and nobody gave a shit. Entertainment? Go play outside and come back when it gets dark, unless you are playing flashlight tag, in that case, it doesn’t matter.

In the summers, I would be all sweaty from walking, and would stroll in the bowling alley, walk up to the counter, and order nachos. I’m not sure what is about the culinary appeal of the bowling alley grill. Usually teenagers man the counter and the grill itself appears to be from the Great Depression; it doesn’t matter. Day after day people stick their fingers in loaner bowling balls and then eat bowling alley finger foods like this. They drink beer, tell stories, and have a good time. These are my kind of people. 

The bowling alley serves food for the common food palette. Ain’t no cheesecakes and lettuce wraps and prime rib being served here. Nope. 

So as an adult with a career, why the hell do I stop at the bowling alley? It’s simple; it is sure the hell cleaner than any fast food joint. If I want a quick burger, they actually put a patty on the grill and cook it in front of my eyes. Burger King coats their patties in some weird “flamebroil” sauce and sticks it in a warmer. And when I say patties, the bowling alley uses real stuff from sysco or something. I have no idea what Burger King uses. I’m convinced the secret “flamebroil” sauce is actually leftover jet fuel from NASAs space shuttle program. McDonald’s? Nobody knows what the hell is in that patty. Is it 50% grade Z meat mixed with sawdust? Who knows. What I do know it is essentially a microwaved turd. 

Yes, I know. I should go to Five Guys and pay $17 for a meal. I’m on a budget as a penniless writer. $5.50 is more my price point. 

I always feel sick 30 mins after eating McDonald’s. Always. Burger King I feel sick around 3 mins after realizing it was yet another fucking mistake to order a #1 meal. I tried their frap last week and felt sick after one sip of whatever the hell that was.

How many times have I felt sick eating at the bowling alley?

Zero.

Imagine that.