Monday, September 30, 2019

Baskets: Season 4

It really deserves one more season.

Don't get me wrong, this was not a bad season. This was a good season and even ended not half badly but because I'm such a fan I desperately want a final 5th season. So we pick up 2 months from last time, and Ken and Christine are gearing up for their wedding while Chip is trying to become more independent while searching for his clown outlet. Basic in plot but when you've known these characters and their personality quirks it becomes something more, something important. I won't spoil the ending but we'll touch on it near the end. I very much enjoyed this season, and unlike Gotham, there wasn't a single episode that struck me into a bad mood, you really need to watch every episode and since each season totals to just shy of 4 hours you can enjoy the series in the span of a week. Everything from Renoir to Moving On is done very well, and this season got a lot of laughs out of me before the end while still having it's moments. There were two scenes in particular that hit me to my core even though in the larger scale they were bit scenes, Christine talks to one of Dale's daughters and has a very poignant and kinda depressing scene where she talks about not losing family photos and to always have something to remember your family by, and it got me! It was such a small bit but it spoke volumes to me. The second was in the very last episode where it's just Chip and Christine having a heart to heart talk with Chip starting to become more independent and ready to lead his life outside of his mother's view. Baskets, especially in the character of Chip, has never been more relatable to me than any other character, he's ready to start a new chapter of his life and yet has problems coping with it, has a dream he wishes to pursue but can only do it in the meantime, it's difficult to fully explain but I see much of myself in Chip which made me enjoy the show even more and made me want to see him succeed. Now I'm not saying my love for Christine and Martha has diminished, Christine's wedding genuinely got me all misty eyed and her relationship with Ken is precious. Plus Martha gets some more screentime and I have to put it on record I would be fine if Martha and Chip became a couple and I'd be fine if they didn't, they have such a strange dynamic but you can see it work with the right kind of eyes and yes I was practically howling with laughter when Martha gets this confidence boost or maybe it was confidence booze but she was a riot this season! It's such a shame this show got cancelled because now we gotta talk about the ending and I'm very mixed on it. It doesn't feel like a series finale, and I'm not entirely sure how events took place whether they were filming and they learned it would be the last season so they had to tie up loose ends where they could, or if this was their last hurrah and they knew it before production started. I'd say the first option because it does feel like just another season finale, that they would keep going after this and maybe wrap the story up next season. Yet at the same time I can see it as a finale, it's a very open ended finale but it still works. The fan in me is screaming for a true final season and simultaneously I'm fine seeing it end here. I see it more as the ending of a chapter and you want to turn the page and keep reading on but you sadly have to stop for now. I sincerely hope Baskets can come back in some way and it's really affected me. It's been a few weeks since all this started but, I was in a really bad very dark place before I watched Baskets and it's been one of the worst places I've been in my life. Like, negative thoughts, wanting to self-harm kind of places. And I just watched this show on an absolute whim, I have no real idea what made me start the show, but it helped tremendously. It lifted my spirits and gave me something to look forward to, and that's why I was so bummed out that it was only four seasons, cause the show has meant a lot to me and it really sucks to see it end now, I'm not going to get all schmultzy and say this show saved my life or anything like that but it helped me get past that time, to get out of that dark place and want to see what comes next. No show or even film has been able to really do such a thing, so it makes it that more special and I wanted to spread the word about it so other people could watch it and be entertained by it. I absolutely hate going out this month on such a bittersweet note before the festivities begin next month but there was something there in this show that was worth watching, worth talking about, and most important worth sharing. I definitely have to recommend Baskets, and give it a 9/10. It only gets a nine because my heart wants that 5th season.

I'll see you next month.

Friday, September 27, 2019

BONUS: Baskets: Season 3

I don't want another show of mine to end!

It's like every time I watch a show that I really enjoy and become a fan of it gets axed by it's 4th or 5th season, now I know not every show can run for 7+ seasons but damn it I hate when certain shows are over. The third season of Baskets and something I've discovered is, not each consecutive season is better or worse, with a show like Baskets every season has been just as good as the last, the only difference is each season focuses more on comedy or drama. So really, some people would place certain seasons over others depending on which you like more. The first was a mix of both, season 2 was more on the drama, and this season has more comedy while of course still retaining the drama. So Christine has bought a rodeo for the Baskets family, and a good portion of the season is focused on them running a family buisness together, getting the rodeo prepared and starting to get it off the ground. But of course it isn't easy and there's turmoil in the family, Chip can't get a supporting cast of clowns and he actually has to come up with a new clown character for himself, Dale has his hands full dealing with the rodeo financial managing and continues to grow more distant with his wife and kids, and Christine though having a supremely nice relationship with Ken keeps having to deal with a bunch of nonsense. Thankfully we get some more screen time with Martha and I like the evolution her character has had, going from the straight man to Chip's comedy to her having problems of her own and is given more depth into her emotional state and life situation. She's still really funny but she feels more real this time around and I'm gonna be honest, I love her more and more each time I see her, she might be my favorite character. I also like the fact that the show can have fun one off episodes, like Christine and Martha go to Vegas and it gets very funny as you think it would, and we even get a birthday episode for Martha and it could be the best episode of the season. I greatly appreciate that there always is an ongoing story in this show, because it just isn't a common thing for comedy shows, it's either wacky hijinks every episode ie. the sitcom format, or much of the same shenanigans with some minor overarching story that might last 3 episodes before it returns to normal, but this show with every incident that happens in each episode is carried over throughout the season. Dale's divorce comes up and he gets a new wife, Chip meets up with his friends from France and they tell him to create a new clown character, and of course Christine and Ken's relationship continues to grow and they take the next big step. It really is a show you have to watch from beginning to end, because these season finales man....they make you want to come back! And it absolutely kills me I only get one more season with these characters, and I only hope that it can wrap up the story nicely. You know, give it a proper ending. It deserves that much, so you know what I'm going to review the last season before the month is out. I just have to know how it ends.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Mad Monster Party

Yeah, bet you didn't know Rankin & Bass made a Halloween special.

This is a strange one to talk about, it's the first and only Halloween special from Rankin & Bass, it's not even a special cause its over an hour and a half long, and it was made 3 years after Rudolph so the animation style was still working out the kinks. Everyone talks about the Christmas specials every year so I figured it was time to shine some light on their Halloween work. Our story begins with Baron Frankenstein voiced by the man himself Boris Karloff, who has just created the means of total and absolute destruction, no not atomic weaponry but a serum that can dematerialize anything in the world. After which he sends out letters to all the classic monsters to convene at his castle to announce his retirement and his heir, which leads to much scheming and in fighting between the monsters as to who shall truly be his succesor before their attention is drawn to Frankenstein's meek nephew Felix. So it's a fight for survival between the humans and the monsters with whoever wins gets the destructor serum. A decent plot that fully uses the feature length runtime, yet sadly it's not a very good movie, it's very middle of the road and the highest it reaches is cult classic at best but there are good things to talk about. I was happy to see the Universal Monsters roster in this movie yet even more bizarre things surround that, the company didn't have the rights to the actual names of the monsters so Frankenstein is now called Fang, it's not the Wolf Man but just the Werewolf, Gillman is just called Creature, and King Kong himself is simply named IT. Yes, IT. Strangely enough I saw many more references to monster designs both old and new, Baron Frankenstein has a pet that is literally the Blob, and I swear to God Miyazaki stole the designs from his little soot spider creatures from Spirited Away from this movie. It's a curious little movie with some genuinely fascinating animation, because they have the Invisible Man in this movie but I haven't the faintest clue how they animated him, it's just clothes moving, there's no semblance of a stopmotion figure on camera yet the clothes aren't hanging on wires or anything. I was thoroughly impressed with that but the other animation is your standard Rankin & Bass quality which I do like, and the monster designs are done quite well too. There are songs here and there but none of them are even close to being as catchy or memorable as other productions of theirs, but the musical score is very upbeat and downright groovy seeing as how this was the late 60s when it was released. Our main characters are alright, I mean Boris Karloff doesn't exactly send in a bad performance, Felix is kind of a funny and endearing klutz, and this is such a product of the times but the female assistant to the Baron Francesca.....yeeeaaahh. I mean she's a very goal orientated independent woman but my God does everyone including the kitchen sink hit on her, I mean I'm a sucker for redheads like no one's buisness yet even I was like can you reel it back a bit. And there's one scene. Holy jumpin' Jesus on a fracking pogo stick, okay so through the whole damn movie Francesca is being pursued by almost every monster and she honestly can't stand it but is saved from death by Felix later on in the movie, and she kinda breaks and has a good cry but, oh God. I cannot stress to you enough that this is what actually happens. So Felix, our kind and klutzy hero claims the crying woman is hysterical and slaps her, five fingers across the face, not once but twice....and she immediately falls in love with him. Excuse me one moment I need to just think for a minute.

What the f*** 1960s??! Oh yeah, that's a great lesson for the kids, just smack a woman right across the eyes and she'll love you forever! What in the actual french toast is going on around here! I just...I can't. What were they thinking!?

Okay, I gotta wrap this up before I bust out the bottle of hooch and grab a handful of pills. It's an average special that should only be checked out by the very curious, but maybe someone will get a kick out of it more than me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Halloween Tree

That's a bit more like it.

I must fully admit I read the book before I watched this short, and honestly the book made me fall in love with Halloween somehow even more than I already was, it is a spectacular book and should be read in the coming weeks by all. So how did this adaptation hold up? Quite well really, though it is a very brief adaptation barely passing the one hour mark I enjoyed it for what it was, an adventure with some wonderfully spooky visuals that actually teaches you a bit about other culture's customs on Halloween. So our story begins with four friends getting ready for tricks and treats but are sad to hear of their 5th friend having to go to the hospital, yet strangely they see him running towards an old dark house inhabited by the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud who chastises the children for not truly knowing the reasons why you do the things you do on All Hallow's Eve and so whisks them away on a fantastic journey through time to experience and learn how certain customs came to be. They travel to ancient Egypt, Britain during the Dark Ages, Paris where Notre Dame is being built, and Mexico during the Day Of The Dead festivities. I do enjoy the special, and especially love how not only did Ray Bradbury himself narrate the story but also Leonard Nimoy voices Mr. Moundshroud, that is the awesome. You can tell Leonard Nimoy is having a lot of fun in this role and it was a real treat seeing him in a role I've never truly seen. True I saw clips and trailers for The Halloween Tree many times on my old Cartoon Network tapes but I've never seen it until now, and I know for a fact I would have enjoyed and been creeped out by this when I was younger. There are some great visuals in this with that wonderful autumn atmosphere combined with some truly creepy scenery, it really is a perfect movie to watch with younger viewers. I'll be honest and I hate to be that person but, the book is of course superior and does everything downright perfectly, so I would reccommend the animated short for younger viewers from say 5 to 8 and the book for kids 9 to their teenage years. The book deals with a lot of extra stuff briefly touched on in the special and tells a more intricate and deeper story, it's one of the best books I've read in a good long while. But I still enjoy and appreciate the special and would gladly put it on for some of the younger members of my extended family, and I hope you enjoy it too and by all means check out the book whether you want to read it alone or tell the story to others.

Next time, a Halloween special from a most unlikely source.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Halloween Is Grinch Night

Well at least I'm happy I saw it.

I mean a concept like this is brilliant, take one of the most well known characters in children's media and swap out the background of Christmas for Halloween, and just tell a fun little story. Made an entire 11 years after the beloved Christmas classic, Grinch Night centers around a dark and blustery night in the town of Whoville which signals the eternal grump on Mt. Crumpit to descend to the town and bring a wagon filled of creepy and surreal monsters to celebrate the night. But a young Who by the name of Eucharia is intent on halting the Grinch from his macabre dance, and I actually really wish he wasn't in the movie. I mean think about it, we could have another Night On Bald Mountain with Dr. Seuss visuals and crazy music, that would be an incredible thing! I kinda have a love/hate relationship with this short, it has wonderful visuals perfectly encapsulating a dark autumn night where the moon is shining bright, with crisp colored leaves and orange filled lands. But I wish it did focus more on Halloween like the other one focused on Christmas, throw some costumes or bobbing for apples in and not some severely lacking Halloween iconography which to be frank is a sin! They never even bring up Halloween, it's only Grinch Night, so they have Christmas but not Halloween. I've never been more horrified in all of my years. But it almost is made up entirely because of the Grinch's paraphernalia wagon which is easily the best part of the short, with some comparing it to the Pink Elephants from Dumbo but I see more of Heffalumps And Woozles from Winnie The Pooh in terms of music and tone. It is a trippy, surreal, and even a bit creepy freakout, almost something Dr. Jonathan Crane would create with such interesting designs and wild music. This is the reason you should watch this special! And it actually won an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program, plus was favored above all other adaptations by Dr. Seuss himself. I really did like it but I wanted so much more of that Halloween goodness, but I'm sure kids and adults can enjoy it just the same. It may be for more little kids, but they deserve something fun and spooky to watch next month. But now I desperately want some animation with love and attention to Halloween and all it time.

Friday, September 20, 2019

BONUS: Baskets: Season 2

And we're back in Bakersfield!

After the surprising end for the first season I genuinely had no clue where the story was going to go next, but I think the second season is just as good if not better than the first. Chip has checked out of his own life and has been train hopping for some time before meeting a group of travelling performers that he grows connected with, but as time goes by the bond they share is broken both metaphorically and physically leading Chip to return home and continue his aspirations to perform. Sadly Martha isn't that major a player this time around but the time she has is great, and she even helps Chip get some clown gigs in the meantime which is nice. But the big shining star of the series is actually Mrs. Baskets, who meets a man named Ken and they kick off together and I'm just gonna say it, I love their relationship. It's a slow growing relationship but when it hits that point it is so precious and sweet I can barely contain my melting heart, they have such a real and charming chemistry and I genuinely do want to see them together, they're an absolute treasure. This season serves as a major uplift to the more emotionally depressed and rough life situation of season 1, sure Chip faces death not once but twice, and has to come to terms with it, yet it's all very much an improving set of events for our characters and you're really happy for them. There's more emphasis on family and the importance of not breaking apart from them which is handled very well. The show is still very funny but I was engaged way more with the story and characters to the point where I was having a ball by the episode before the finale! And yeah the finale gives us a sliver of hope for the future. I enjoy these characters so much and it breaks my heart I only have two more seasons with them. But nevertheless I greatly enjoyed this season, I especially love how nothing is just for a throwaway gag, everything that happens is treated seriously and is brought up again in the story. You just don't see that in comedy shows often. The acting is great, the comedy though downplayed still had no trouble getting a big laugh from me, the story is getting better, and I can't wait to see what happens next for the Baskets family.

Oh we're so close, we're so close to sweet victory. May summer die a horrible death, and long life be given to the night.

Thursday, September 19, 2019


Pretty much what I expected.

I'd be seriously surprised if DC has not had an evil Superman Elseworlds story, and I actually haven't read Red Son but I'm sure it's not an evil Superman story. This isn't entirely either, which I actually like that they build their own mythos and do their own thing. So our story takes place in what I am almost certain is Kansas where a couple who have been wanting a baby get delivered one from the stars themselves, 10 years pass by and the boy named Brandon (I'm not sure whether to be honored or not about that) is a very smart and kind boy. But his 12th birthday arrives and things start to go amiss, he's drawn to an ominous glow in their barn, starts acting narcissistic, and begins to learn about his powers from then on. Which is something I really like, how his powers suddenly hit when he's 12 years old instead of the Smallville route where they develop and grow over time. Another aspect I enjoyed and actually really wanted more of is his backstory, cause the way he turns evil seems more like a possesion thing with strange voices and him being drawn to the craft that crashed on Earth. More so it takes on a nature vs. nurture stance where he's not an evil kid who wants to do evil things but is more something part of his genetics like a blood rage where he lusts for death and destruction. It gets pretty screwed up, but I just wanted to know more about where he came from. Jackson Dunn does a good job and so does his mom played by Elizabeth Banks, I mean she acts her heart out and he can be both sweet and intimidating. The dad on the other hand kinda sucks both in performance and story, not Tommy Wiseau levels but he just doesn't seem very interested in the story and it suffers because of that. It's a family drama with horror elements in it, and the drama is handled adequately however the horror is lackluster. This is a scary story before he starts raising hell, you can build such an incredible atmosphere of mood and dread because you know this is gonna go south and they could have built suspense as to where you think he'll finally snap. But no. Have a movie full of jumpscares and a few somewhat effectively creepy shots. Christ, I wasn't expecting nail biting fear or moments I would be quaking in my chair but give me something! You have a creative and possibly truly unnerving movie ut then you just throw cheap shock scares that do precisely dick for the overall quality of the movie. It's shot quite well with some Man Of Steel style shots thrown in, and there is one shot that made me just go, "Ooooh shi-" but it's not scary. Granted I kinda love the design of his costume, with this weird Cthulu-esque stitching around the mouth and nose of the hood, the tattered red cape, the glowing red eyes, even though honestly and I'm such a nerd for saying this, but it just reminded me of Hooded Justice from Watchmen. That's not a bad thing, it's just what I see. So did I like the movie? Sure, it has an interesting premise and I could see people enjoying it but at the same time I just wanted more in certain aspects. 2.5 stars, 6/10, rent it if you're curious and want to see a severely dark superhero or villain movie.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

In Retrospect: Godzilla King Of The Monsters

Breaking news, I'm late on this one. It's been on video for what, 3 weeks and I'm just now getting to it? Yeah...sorry.

Spoilers people, I still love this movie just as much as I did in theaters! I seriously have no idea what in the hell people were expecting from this movie but I got what I wanted. I mean, in a Godzilla movie there's a lot of monsters fighting?? I never would have guessed! I could go on all day about the people who complained that this movie is just action and has "too much fighting in it", so I'll just say this and move on, they're idiots. Okay let's move on class! Now of course I took ever so slight issue with this movie because no film is perfect, except for that one movie I never shut the hell up about, but the good stuff outweighed the bad to where I could deal with it. I wasn't a fan of our new main characters, Mark was one note and I didn't understand why he was even in the movie, Emma was batshit crazy and more importantly an absolute moron who's motivations could not have been more poor if she tried, I liked Maddie though I got some Gamera vibes from her, plus the family dynamic didn't hold much water for me. It's kinda hard for me to feel bad about a family when almost every member infuriates me, and they have no real gripping connection. I could go on about more details with Emma but again I'll summarize, so if these kaiju or these titans as they movie loves to call them have world healing powers AND you literally have a machine that could make them roll over and play dead if you wish then might I ask what the big issue is beyond the fact that you are made of stupid "Dr." Emma Russell? Ugh, Vera I adore you so and I know for a fact you have worked in better roles than this but my God I can't stand this character. But it's a story/script problem, every person acts very well in this movie and I have more performances I must talk about. I'm actually really happy Charles Dance lives to die another day, cause I know he can give an even more badass potrayal in future films (Did you know he was the Phantom Of The Opera back in 1990? Weird.). What I hate more than the main characters is the mostly unceremonious deaths of our one link to the first movie! Now I could argue as to why Mark instead of Dr. Serizawa should have sacrificed himself but it doesn't hurt the story that he did. I just hate seeing him go, how's he supposed to watch the rematch of the century? I hate it. Oh and kill my favorite girl why don't you? I can understand if Sally Hawkins could not have been in the next movie or two, I have no issue with that but why kill her off? Just write her out in the next movie, oh she's working on some important research for a new species so she can't come and watch Godzilla wreck Kong. Pisses me off! Urgh, moving on. At least I fully love the monsters, I'm so happy they kept Ghidorah as a space dragon because it improved the movie, Mothra is a friggin' Queen and no one disrespects the Queen and lives, unlike Rodan who's a little bitch and will kneel before anyone, and I really dig the new monsters we mainly see at the end. But good lord I love the big King G, I dig the new updated design, I love how he goes all critical meltdown at the end without dying though technically I guess Mothra transferring her power was another nod to Godzilla Vs. DESTOROYAH, he just was the best. I mean obviously, but you know. PS. I do see the fanart of Mothra and Godzilla, and it is absurdly adorable and I love everything about it. But what will come next after Godzilla Vs. Kong? This was a pretty epic movie with a good story, both bad and really damn good character writing, beautiful cinematography and color, and of course incredibly well done monster scenes. So can the title brawl for the world heavyweight king of monsters surpass this? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Man I wish I saw this in theaters!

This was a great fun movie, I pretty much loved it from beginning to end. So this is Olivia Wilde's directorial debut centered around two teenage girls, Amy and Molly who decide to let loose the night before graduation and move onto college, and I have to say I flippin' love these girls. They're funny, they're intelligent, but they're not sticks in the mud or uptight, they act like teenagers, they can be weird and silly but still have real conversations with their friends. I thought the writing for the characters was incredibly well done, and the jokes and humor made me laugh so hard I sounded like a combination of a bull frog and Muttley from Wacky Races. That hard. No movie has made me laugh that hard ever, but not only did I laugh I got emotionally involved quick. Beanie Feldstein who I already loved in Lady Bird had so much time to shine in this movie, and I enjoyed Kaitlyn Dever from shows like Justified and Last Man Standing so I knew she was going to be a lot of fun in this. They have superb chemistry together and their friendship is one that I've experienced before so I grew attached to them and really enjoyed the ride with them. They mainly are trying to get to one big party but of course it quickly gets derailed and they encounter all sorts of weird people and situations, including one person who might be the best part of the entire movie, I'm not exactly sure who she is but she's played by Billie Lourd and is actually the best running gag I've seen in awhile. She just ends up at all these places way before Amy and Molly do, and she is completely off her rocker and I love everything about it. I will say however I had some massive issues with the movie. Now I'll be perfectly clear, I actually liked the fact that Amy was a lesbian, they don't overplay it and it's just a part of her character and I like that. However! The relationship the movie tries to project is just...wrong. So let me lay this situation out, Amy meets up with that bitchy character in every high school and then they argue about not really knowing each other before Amy kisses her on the lips. Hwhat? Granted she was in a bad place at the time emotionally so I can forgive a stupid decision but then they are about to have sex, and then my contempt grows. The situation ends badly and yet they both kinda want to be in a relationship together and I'm just wondering who thought that was needed in the script. Okay fine, it's a relatively new move I've never seen in a teen movie before, hell the closest we got to innovation was the weird quiet girl hook up with the jock in The Breakfast Club, but it just screams wrong to me. You don't try to screw some **** that you hate in high school, it's a stupid decision and I'd give them about 3 months before they break up. Second and most importantly, the ending. The bombshell drops that Amy will be leaving for Botswana for an entire year before she starts attending college and Molly has to say goodbye to her friend. I was having an emotional meltdown suffering friggin' PTSD from Lost In Translation and Her, to the point where I got so angry it almost ruined the movie for me. I mean, they totally don't just go their seperate ways and never see each other again for a whole year, but it dragged it out long enough to the point where I was legitimately concerned they were gonna pull that emotional card on me. That's how much I loved seeing this friendship between these two girls, I was gonna just flip out over a depressing ending to a fun movie, but the other side to that coin was well they just toyed with my emotions and now they can go to hell. I was seriously that upset, very few movies can make me that emotional but this one did. But I stepped away for a few days and gathered my thoughts, and yes you should see this movie. It is great fun, hilarious, and endearing despite the issues I took with it. Yes the ending made me have a breakdown and the relationship angle was just...are you serious, but it's a good movie perfect for a night in with friends. 3 stars, 7.5/10, go rent it and enjoy yourself.

Monday, September 16, 2019

In Retrospect: The Dead Don't Die

I still love it.

You know, I think this movie is getting a bad reputation. Cause the brain dead zombie lovers will swallow anything with the Z word in it, but they want the same old shit and this movie is so not your regular zombie movie. Oh it sure has some beats and references to other zombie movies but the tone and story are so different from really any movie. I'll fully admit this is my first and so far only Jim Jarmusch movie I've seen, and yet I knew I was going to get something different yet unique when I walked into this movie and I really would love to get my hands on more of his work one day. See I'm not a zombie fan, I have respect for Night Of The Living Dead and enjoyed it, Shaun Of The Dead was a great comedy, and Zombieland was sorta blah for me but I know it has it's fans, so I walked into this movie with zero expectations and just wanted to see what it was about. What I got was a very funny, very entertaining, and just a neat movie that did it's own thing. I mean I will not lie to you, I saw the movie because of Bill Murray and Adam Driver, they are two of my favorite actors and I loved them just as much in this movie. The meta aspects of it were subdued but executed well and always made me laugh, unlike some other movies (cough Deadpool cough) and besides I can't exactly hate Star Wars references. It's just a fun little movie to watch and if I had to really pick my favorite zombie movie I'm hardpressed to find one I like more than this, though of course I know of no doubt superior films like Day Of The Dead and so forth. I actually did notice more on my second viewing that the film kinda has this low budget B-movie feel to it, very small set location, basic camera set up, off key acting though it doesn't detract from the movie, and the fact they give this science-y reason for the dead rising. I don't know, it just seemed in the spirit of many movies you would see on Mystery Science Theater, but that's not to say the movie is poorly made or bad. It has a good look to it, the zombie makeup isn't too much and it works, I really like the characters, the music is damn good and speaking of which I know some asshat is gonna be like well this movie was just a feature length sponsor for the song by Sturgill Simpson but let me tell you a little secret....if that's the case the finished product could have been way way worse. I mean how many friggin' movies have tried to sell you something throughout the whole movie, and how many were good? I actually don't mind The Wizard that much but yes, it's to sell you Nintendo stuff. Now let me be clear, a lot of movies have product placement but I'm more focused on where a movie is trying to shove something down your throat all the damn time and wants you to buy it and that's the purpose of the film. Hell that's the write off excuse for any movie made from an 80s cartoon and it is correct sometime. But not in this movie, the song is played for comedic effect cause it's all that's on the radio, and it's funny! And yes, I do like the song. That's a good song. It's a shame this movie made only about $13 million, because it's the director's most widely released film and people just wanted more standard zombie fare, so if you see the movie just take everything you know about zombie movies and throw it out the window. Just roll with it, you'll have fun I promise. I know it's pretty much hit cult film status, but give it a shot even if you aren't that big a horror fan. I greatly enjoyed it, and still would give it a solid 3 stars, 7/10, a sure fire rent or buy!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Baskets: Season 1

We are sending in the clowns this year on the show.

I watched Baskets merely on a whim and I am so so happy I did. I recently heard the show was sadly cancelled after 4 seasons which is a shame cause I really like this show! It's really damn good, plus it did wonders for my emotional state, so if a show can not only entertain but make me feel better, I mean that's just never happened to me before. People always say they have a favorite movie or show to watch when they feel less than great, but I never really experienced it until this show. Which is funny because while the show has great humor it focuses on a kinda sad life. Zach Galifianakis plays a very down on his luck guy named Chip who aspires to be a clown, he goes to clown college in France but he doesn't speak the language, he meets a beautiful woman and asks her to marry him which she agrees to...just to have a green card for the States, he gets a job as a clown but at a rodeo. It's that sort of cruel life situation and we follow Chip through ups, downs, and inside outs. Yet it makes you laugh, it made me laugh loud and hard, I get the comedy style they have, and sure it has the pratfalls and overblown reactions but much of the humor comes down to the delivery. Chip meets a young woman Martha who is his insurance worker and strangely decides to drive him around anywhere and everywhere, that alone is a funny scenario but this actress...Martha Kelly is the funniest person I've seen in awhile. Her delivery is always deadpan, she's always blunt and straight to the point, and she just cracks me up! I've met some monotone people in my life, they're not very funny. Her though, she is friggin' hilarious! And yeah, Louie Anderson is wonderful as Chip's mom and his performance feels real, in fact everyone feels real. This is a show that has that drama element down but is primarily a comedy series, but there's no over the top tongue in cheek performances even with Chip's twin brother Dale (so double shoutout for Zach's acting talents) who is all sorts of out there, even he feels real. You've met people like him, and chances are you weren't exactly a fan of them. But they treat the characters seriously and that's something to appreciate. I was surprised how moody and atmospheric the show can be at times, the music is strangely for lack of a better word gunslinger but it works and I've always been a sucker for more quiet atmospheric music, and the show looks great when it wants to be. This series director knows what to do and how to do it, able to accentuate each scene and it's emotions. I can't fully explain it but the show handles the drama and emotions whether for comedic effect or not expertly, with Chip trying to reconnect with his wife or him having to face the fact he may just have to get a regular job, and it just feels relatable. It's a persevering story to be sure, don't let dreams die, fight for the things you want, it's something everyone can grasp and fully understand. It's only 10 episodes each season running at your standard 22 minutes, but it doesn't waste a second and the finale is something I could never have guessed. I mean it's not this big oh snap what's gonna happen next finale, there's no cliffhanger or dilemma to fix next season. It just kinda ends. I was surprised when it was over but I was infinitely interested to see what would happen next. It's a very entertaining, very well made show that honestly deserves more fans. I've never met or even heard anyone that watches Baskets so for all I know it's this underground series that gathered some acclaim and it deserves more love. Definitely check it out, I loved it for it's unusual style and the story, and was gripped almost immediately by it's humor and characters and I'm game to see it until the very end. 3.5 stars, 8/10, absolutely worth seeing!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Scooby-Doo Return To Zombie Island

What....was that?

I mean wow, that was a special kind of bad. I've never seen a truly bad animated Scooby-Doo movie until now. I mean you had the potential to make a funny, creepy, and welcome return to one of the most beloved and influential Scooby-Doo movies ever, and this is what you do with it?? A subpar, tongue in cheek, and completely unoriginal movie? I mean, God guys! There was still stuff I enjoyed but it doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this whacked out movie. The voice cast is just as good as always with the first instance of Kate Micucci voicing Velma for me and I really liked her! The animation is still done very well, in fact every aspect except for story was done well and competently. I'll admit I wasn't getting good vibes from this movie from the start, okay so the gang has shut down Mystery Inc. for what the sixth time, and they're not sure what to do now. Okay strike one immediately, because the gang in this say they never do anything normal and it's always solving mysteries to the point they never talk or know each other all too well, but that's just not true. Sure character interaction hasn't been a major part of the series, but they know who everyone is because their personalities as individuals is clearly spoken through their actions and words, and them not knowing how to do normal stuff is the one that kills me. Because I know for a fact that they never really have searched for mysteries often, very rarely have they went case hunting because the mystery always finds them and they always do normal things before getting whisked away into a new mystery. What do they do you might ask? Well they go to the beach, they go to a dance at a barn, they go to the malt shop and spend time together, and for some new instances, they go to music festivals, they they take cruises, they go to fraking Hawaii! What is this, "We do not know this normal you speak of, we only know the mysterious mysteries to solve" bullcrap?? Strike two hits pretty close after that when the bombshell drops that Fred actually sold the Mystery Machine. For what reason you might ask? Never explained! I thought he still had friggin' PTSD from seeing it blow up in Frankencreepy but I guess in a previous adventure he sold the damn thing so goodbye beloved and classic vehicle! And strike three, you dragged poor Cassandra Peterson to do her Elvira thing cause apparently Vincent Van Ghoul was unavailable, and she has nothing to do. I mean it's kinda hard to bring the appeal and funny personality of Elvira in a kid's movie, when well Elvira isn't exactly family friendly, she can't exactly make dick jokes and have that sultry yet valley girl persona. Now I love Cassandra, she is a funny, talented, and genuinely entertaining lady and when I heard she was going to be in this I was really excited even if it was just a bit part and she's wasted! Christ on the bleedin' cross it's been awhile since I have been this angry. And this all happens in the first...10, maybe 15 minutes of this hour and twenty minute film. Oh it keeps getting dumber! Now I will admit I like that Shag and Scoob made the gang solemnly promise to not solve mysteries at all and go on a vacation, which does lead to some funny stuff with Velma practically having a breakdown since she can't use her intelligence to solve things, but it just further made me feel detached from the story cause the gang doesn't act like their usual selves. But not in a clever way where we learn about their passions and lives much like in the outstanding Mystery Incorporated show, they just don't have anything to do or say and are beyond dull until about the halfway point. Oh my God and the mystery itself, ooh boy here we go. Okay so Mystery Inc. head to totally not Moonscar Island and already suspicious events are taking place, natives telling them to get away, side characters that look almost exactly like the villains from the first movie, and zombies are up and about. Man you're going to think I am bullshitting you straight to your face but here it comes, so the twist's all a movie. The hotel manager is actually a director putting together a film. Does this lead to any cute or funny fourth wall breaks or have a meta sense of humor? Of course not, what were you expecting?!! Oh and the director's name is Alan Smithee. Ha....Ha. The movie still goes on by the way after this, they solve the "mystery" and the movie still has like half an hour left. Now throughout the vacation we actually see a legit cat person stalking our heroes and this made me think oh well they'll actually for really realsies this time actually touch base on the original film and build on the lore previously established. You poor bastard, you had hope for this movie back then. Yeah, they don't do anything with it. They don't explain who it is, how he came to be a cat person like Lena and Simone in the first movie, they pull the trope! They pull the motherf***ing s*** sucking trope of "Oooohhhh he's still out there, another mystery to never solve guys, oooohhhh!!", agggghhhh!!!

Ohh what I'm going to do to the person who wrote this movie.....I'm so angry!! First I'm going to rip their lips out, yeah, that's what I'm gonna do. Then, I'm gonna gouge their eyes out! Yeah....that's what I'm gonna do. And then I'm gonna tear their arms outta the socket! And you wanna know what else? I'm gonna hit em' and they're gonna faaaaallll. And I'm going to look down and I'm gonna laugh...

Whoa. That got heavy.

They didn't even bring back Terror Time Again, you know the one thing everyone remembers from the first movie. They slapped Return To Zombie Island on another Scooby movie, this is not the sequel to Zombie Island. No, no, no, this is another movie that was about halfway made and then the producer kicks the door down and goes, "Alright people change of plans we're making a Zombie Island sequel! Oh you already made half of an original movie already? Well we can squeeze the script in, anyway have fun writing the rest of the movie!", and you know why? So that they could get old school fans like me to watch their horrible movie, to have fans of this franchise who grew up with movies like Zombie Island, and Witch's Ghost to slap down money for their poorly written, Highlander 2 style sequel. But I have fantastic news everybody, the movie doesn't start selling until October 1st at all stores, so spread the word. This movie won't make a dime if it's the last thing I do. You do not screw with my Scooby-Doo movies. You do not slap on a title that has next to nothing to do with the movie you are making, and thusly spit in the face of every fan of the original movie by bait and switching them just so that this horrible excuse for entertainment can make more money. Go to hell.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Batman: Hush

Oh my God. I have never had so much conflicted thoughts on a single movie.

This is the hardest review I have ever had to write. Because I simultaneously love and yet take serious issue with this movie. Now let me be more clear, the comic book Hush is great, you always hear how Batman is the World's Greatest Detective but you never see him do much detective work outside of the weekly comic book issues and The Animated Series, and yet Hush is so much the detective story with a very involved and crafted mystery that still holds up as a stand alone story, very much like The Killing Joke or The Dark Knight Returns. Now I knew with a story like Hush the adaptation was going to streamline a lot, because the book handles more characters and previous plot lines in the comics while still trying to tell a unique story, but the movie didn't do such a good job with it. As an adaptation of the book, it's subpar at best. The focus is hardly on the mystery, the assortment of characters are diminished to bit parts when it should be this huge almost chess game between Batman and a new unknown foe, kinda like a Sherlock and Moriarty story, they cut out stuff that didn't really need to be cut out and then subsequently put a lot of stuff that wasn't in the book at all into the front and center. So we go from a story where Batman has been running into his various rogues gallery but they seem to be going for things that are outside their MO, and several attempts on Batman's life has led him to piece together that a new villain has been closely working and even improving his villain's in terms of tactics and crimes, while a budding romance with Selina Kyle has been occuring, so Bruce has to unmask this mystery villain before great harm comes to Selina or any of his a story about Bruce and Selina forming a strong relationship. That's it. That is literally the focus of the entire movie, the whole mystery aspect which was, you know, the main and major focal point of the entire book has been pushed into the background with hardly any time spent on it. Why?? You called it Batman Hush.....and yet you failed to bring in the villain Hush. Do you see my problem here? It fails almost spectacularly at adapting one of the best modern Batman stories because it practically feels like it's refusing to tell the story. And yet I honestly really enjoy and kinda loved the movie. Now you may be asking, "Why you being all schizo Dude? Did you lose your coin and the two personalities in your head are clashing?" Nooo, because if I lost my coin people would be dying. But my point is, this movie has so much good stuff in it. The animation is really, really good! The characters involved are done perfectly, besides Hush obviously, the writing is so spot on for these characters it's like a dream, I'm serious. This is some of the best character writing for these Batman characters I have ever seen, they can be funny and serious, they can throw snarky comments at each other, they feel like their comic book characters because their personalities are so fun and wonderful. The voice acting is top notch, but it does break my heart that Kevin Conroy couldn't do this story because he always said he wanted to do Hush and I know he would give some of his best acting in that story but alas our dear Dark Knight was not chosen. And by the by, I hated that this was not a standalone movie, it's actually a part of the animated DC universe with movies like Throne Of Atlantis, Justice League Dark, etc. so that's why we have Jason O' Mara and this uniform art direction style seen in all those other movies, instead of Kevin Conroy and a more unique art style fitted to each adaptation. But I can almost entirely forgive that because of Jennifer Morrison who plays Catwoman. Oh sweet mother of joy, she is phenomenal! I know this is blasphemy but she is better than Grey Griffin (AKA the artist formely known as Grey DeLisle), I mean she is pitch perfect giving a lot of sass but also a lot of heart. And to be perfectly honest, I absolutely adore the romance between Bruce and Selina, I mean it is done so damn well and I love every last second of it. The writers fully understood this cast of characters and did great work with this romance, they are seriously the cutest couple ever. But why this story? If you made an animated movie called Batman: The Cat And The Bat and literally put all the romance stuff into that movie, I would give it a glowing review, in fact if they did that movie and at the end they just busted a big crime operation and they did that scene where they have a nice quiet moment on the rooftops and you see someone spying on them, and it turned out to be Hush then slammed right to a cut to black and rolled credits, people would have flipped! They would know Hush was going to be the next movie and the hype levels would be high as hell! Then you make an hour and forty-five minute faithful adaptation, and you can, Dark Knight Returns was split into two parts and was 2 and a half hours combined so don't even try arguing that. But it's in Hush, now don't get me wrong the romance was in the book and was a good portion of it with Bruce actually wanting to make a commitment and coming to terms with his feelings for Selina and them building a nice relationship, but it's just...not...the focus! DC has had a very split record with the Batman movies, Gotham By Gaslight was superior to the book in my opinion, Batman Year One was faithful and done well, and The Dark Knight Returns was excellent and still had it's own identity though it followed the story perfectly, buuut The Killing Joke was an absolute dumpster fire until it actually told The Killing Joke, and now Batman Hush barely tells the story that it's based on. If you're not going to do Hush, then why did you call it Hush?? I'm honestly worried that if they ever do The Long Halloween it could be another situation like this, and I don't like feeling that way damn it! So what the hell do I rate this movie? Do I even recommend it? I'm so split down the middle on this, on one hand it fails at adapting the story the frick fraking movie takes it's title from, but on the other hand the stuff that it actually does do with the characters is positively amazing. God dang it. I don't know, I don't have a clue. So this review is more a warning, if you want to go for it go have a blast. But if you actually wanted to see a faithful adaptation told with impressive visuals and class voice acting, skip it. So I can't fully recommend it, but I leave it entirely in your hands.

Next time, the first real sequel to an animated Scooby-Doo movie.

Friday, September 6, 2019

IT: Chapter Two

Okay, they did pretty good.

I still feel the best adaptation of IT was the first half of this story, the 90s mini-series is decent but the first chapter I guess we call it was the best. Now that's not to say this second chapter is bad, I really enjoyed the cast and did feel like those would be the grown ups of our young actors, they did good! I infinitely enjoyed and appreciated the way they handled the second half and more importantly the ending than the mini-series, but more on that later. So our story is much of the same, kids keep disappearing in the town hardly anyone leaves Derry which leads Mike to phone up the Loser's Club to come back and tie up some loose ends, as our cast reconnects and in a clever but underplayed way have to reach back into the past and uncover more than they remember. I absolutely love how they handled the flashbacks though brief they are, they show additional scenes with the young actors after important events have happened in the previous movie and thus you see more of their character and dilemmas as an audience along with the characters. Plus it all ties in the end, where our heroes face Pennywise more on almost metaphysical plane with some straight up Doctor Strange camera movements, editing, and action, it gets a little trippy but it's wonderfully put together! Obviously they have to attack Pennywise but I love the fact they have to gather actual physical pieces of their past in order to defeat him, I know everybody is going to throw McGuffin at this but I see a bit deeper into it. They reach back into their memories of the past, creating feelings of nostalgia but because the last movie was so much more the nostalgia dripped throwback film with references everywhere it's more underplayed and it's there for story purposes than, ooohhhh 80s stuff!!! That's something I appreciate. But something I appreciate more is Mr. Skarsgard himself, we see Pennywise a lot more in this movie, more scenes, more dialogue, a lot of him in broad daylight to show he's more confident than ever to claim victims, and of course he is a joy to watch. However! He was so damn enjoyable he kinda hurt the film for me, we all know he can shapeshift and change into various things, but I just didn't care that much for the various scary imagery in this movie. Do you know why? It's a super secret secret but I'll tell you anyway. Are you listening? Are you listening? Listen good. Because the majority of scares are godforsaken jumpscares!! Jesus fish, there is so many jumpscares that if I had a dollar for everyone I would have enough money to see every last new movie coming out this year. It gets old and it gets old quick. The only effective scares I got where with the flip flappin' dancing clown! Probably because Bill is an awesome actor and can make you feel uneasy and genuinely creeped out. I don't care about the stripping granny, I don't care about the leper, I do not care about the giant lumberjack statue. Send in the clowns! When I can make a joke about the reason this movie is 3 hours long is because you pad it with so many jumpscares, maybe you put too many in. It's the sad state of affairs for horror movies in this day and age, why do you think I praised It Follows so much? Because while the movie does have jumpscares it rarely used them, it didn't need to use them because the concept itself is actually scary and there was a constand mood of dread and helplessness. That just isn't here with the horror. And I regret to report that much like the first movie it has a hard time juggling comedy and horror, and it's actually funny! The writing is good! But right after suffering another jumpscare you throw a joke out there, it doesn't help relieve the burst of tension it just sort of falls flat. That was the one bad thing about the first movie, it couldn't juggle horror and comedy well together, now on seperate scenes with just the main characters the comedy shines, and when it's one on one with the kids the horror also works. It is so difficult to mix two such elements, many people can't get it so I won't ever hold it against the filmmaker. I genuinely liked the final confrontation, it was something different than the first movie and the finale of the mini-series, they really played their cards right and the conclusion actually made total sense. Yes even with the weird spider thing it worked like a charm! If you genuinely hated the finale of the original you have got to check out this movie, I really think you will appreciate and enjoy it. The movie was good do not get me wrong, I just had issues of my own but I know other people can look past it and enjoy this movie as much as the first. I mean for God's sake you kinda already have to see the damn movie if you sat through the first, so I know I'm preaching to the choir here but this is for mainly sharing opinions on the film than a question of rather you should see it or not. You shouldn't watch The Room or Troll 2 but sweet Christmas is it a blast to talk about with friends. So yes, you are no doubt going to see it if you haven't already but for those who might need some reassurance, definitely check it out. 3 stars, 7/10, thumbs up from me! But now the question is who will be the clown of the year? Well check back with me in about a month and we shall find out.

Next week....who knows? I'm still planning it. Bye!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IT (1990): Part 2

Cheating? Yes. But it was split with one part on the 18th of November, and the second part on the 20th so my timing works! (Except for the month obviously.)

I know a lot of people say the second half is the weaker part of the mini-series, but honestly I enjoyed it a lot more and felt it told a better story. So finally we get all our grown up kids to Derry, and though they don't really plan on facing Pennywise from the start I don't mind. This half had a lot to enjoy and I noticed something that I hope the new movie captures, a lot of it is focused on the grown ups spending a lot of time with each other, reminiscing, and just enjoying each other's company, it really does seem like these actors have known each other for years and they just got the band back together. I like that nostalgia angle they play, and I'm sure Stephen King wrote those interactions wonderfully in the book. I can fully accept that these characters are what the kids would grow up to be, they play their parts very well! We get a tiny touch more of Pennywise and he is way more funny in this one. I love the way Tim plays It, but he made me more laugh than freak out whereas Bill Skarsgard can make me laugh but also creep me right the hell out sometimes accomplishing both att the same time. However, I love the evocative Lovecraftian vibes it gives with this entity, this creature being the eater of worlds and of children, this whole cosmic horror thing is played well...until the end. The problem with cosmic horror is these entities cannot be comprehended by human minds, so what do they look like? Pennywise says that their tiny minds can't fully see him and are only seeing what they can, so how does the giant spider thing work? It can't be it's true form cause that goes against the Outer God view that they have of It, and you can't deceat such a creature even if you do cowtip the thing and rip it's heart out. I simultaneously love that idea but also hate it, I love it cause I dig that Cthulu standpoint on the character but I hate it because it just doesn't add up to how it appears and is defeated. Even lesser beings in the echelon of Outer Gods can't really die by mortal hands, but Stephen King has made his own intricately woven web of lore so it is entirely possible that this is the end for Pennywise. So yeah, this is a definite improvement on the first part for me and I'm infinitely intrigued by how the new movie will handle this. It's funny, for the mini-series the first part was eh but the second part was pretty good, but with the movie the first part was excellent so how will the second part hold up? Well if it has that good character interaction, the proper buildup for the fight, and ties the loose ends up in a satisfying and well executed way, not to mention just tell the story in an intriguing and entertaining way like this part of the mini-series, then we'll have a great horror duology. But that comes for a later time. If you actually enjoyed the first part then no doubt you'll want to see how it ends, so all I can do is give a thumbs up to this second half of a pretty out there but fun story.

And so we wait for the new movie. Don't you want it?

Monday, September 2, 2019

IT (1990): Part 1

Well how else are we supposed to start September?

Now I will freely admit I've never seen this mini-series before, so I have no nostalgia or childhood fears from it, so how does the beginning chapter of this story hold up? It's okay, it's not amazing nor is it horrible, I mean it's a difficult task to adapt any body of fiction but Christ I would hate to be the director to bring a 1,000 page book to life. And I think because of that and plus the barely hour and a half runtime makes the story a little choppy and rushed throughout. Flashback is our main way of story telling cause we begin in Derry when all our protagonists are grown up and a slew of child murders has been going on leading Mike, the newest kid to the town start ringing up his old friends to tell them that a figure they've met before has returned. And I can safely I like all the performances from our adult and child actors, though I did notice the adult versions act more like kids than the actual kids, with Ben and Bill still being my favorite characters. True the flashbacks gets old but I understand the reason why they had to do it, and it gives the adult actors some real moments to shine as these memories they would sooner forget start creeping back into their minds. It's mostly just getting to know these characters in their daily lives dealing with this horrific stuff, and I can appreciate that character development but what you see is really what you get. But let's face it and just be real for a second, you watch this movie for Tim Curry. Don't lie to yourself, unless you are a hardcore Stephen King fan you pretty much come to see Tim Curry. And I hate to say it but he's not in it very much, to the point where I completely forgot there was a child eating clown in this movie which you would think would be highly difficult to forget, but it's true! He's barely in the first half, but I relished the time he had on screen. I know this is pretty much the single handed reason why people don't like clowns today, and I kinda hate this movie for that reason. I quite like clowns! They are entertainers and good company to be around, stop it. I'm sure Tim Curry would have scared me off my rocker when I was younger, but really anything could have scared me back then that was even just a tiny bit intimidating, so he doesn't freak me out. I found him funny in places but I can still see him as a threat, you can see the dread these kids feel at times and the scene where they resolve to deal with this entity is easily the best scene in I'm almost willing to say the whole mini-series. I think it's just the lack of music, the emotion Bill has which then gets supported by his friends is really damn good! I almost say watch it just for that scene. The music is nice, the direction has some nice shots here and there, the editing is a bit hokey but you can roll with it. I just kinda give it an average 6/10 for the first part, maybe the second will bring me more enjoyment since it'll be more payoff than build up so we shall see. I didn't go out to hate on the movie so don't wring my neck if you don't like the rating, I know this mini-series holds good ground with other people but it was just adequate to me and I say you should see it (ha ha ha....) at least once. Oh God please don't let the second part suck.....