You wanna know something funny I found out over my hiatus? I often tag my posts with "Spongebob Erotica" as a running joke (to date I have not penned any sponge smut...yet) and in checking my site stats, I found out that somebody found my site by specifically searching for those two words.
The first thought that hit me was the sad realization that that was the only search term that brought people here. The second thought was how disappointed they must have been when they got here. I know that Rule 34 of the internet (if it exists, there is porn of it) says that I couldn't be the only person putting those two concepts together, but it's gotta be a pretty rare itch to scratch. I just imagine the poor guy or girl (who are we kidding...probably guy) getting here and the dejected Charlie Brown walk of shame as he realizes he has been tricked. Well to you, dear pervert, I humbly apologize.
Anyway, I thought I should probably catch all ten of you up on the last four months. Took a new job at work, hurt my back, started exercising too soon after hurting my back, hurt my back again, set up a Facebook page for the site, learned to wash my hands thoroughly after applying Icey Hot gel to sore back, washed my eyes out after mistakenly rubbing eyes after applying Icey Hot gel, and I wrote a thing about the spineless suits at Reddit providing a subsidized platform for hate groups earlier today. I guess that brings us up to speed.
Oh and I saw some movies. I should talk about those.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
I think for better and for worse, Age of Ultron shows the by products of building a connected universe. For the most part, I really liked AOU but it also suffered from serving too many masters, rather than telling a contained story. I'll avoid my whole "Avengers: Infinity War will be the beginning of the end for shared universes" theory for now, since it really deserves it's own post. For now, I'll just stick to this movie. While it was fun, it was ultimately transitional. Part of this is due to the fact that we already know that this movie was just a stop over on the way to a much bigger movie several years from now.
While some were down on the pairing of Black Widow (her characterization left a lot to be desired in general) and Bruce Banner, I felt that Johannson and Ruffalo had enough chemistry to pull it off.
The movie went a long way to setting up Captain America: Civil War (which looks to be shaping up to be another hero packed team up movie) and the two leads of that movie are so dialed into Iron Man and Cap that it'll be fun to see them pitted against each other.
Overall, I really liked AOU. It introduced some new characters to mixed results. Paul Bettany is great in his limited screentime and Elizabeth Olsen is one of my favourite current actresses, despite a spotty accent. Aaron Taylor Johnson doesn't add much but they can't all be home runs.
Mad Max Fury Road
What more can be said about this movie? Hands down the best movie of this summer. It could possibly be my favourite of the year. If you had told me six months ago that my favourite movie of the summer would be a Mad Max movie, I'd have clubbed you over the head with Immortan Joe's big fake muscled chestplate. Then I'd wonder "What the hell is this thing?" because I wouldn't have seen the movie yet.
What's fun about this movie is how sparse it is in terms of exposition. We get dropped right into this world with little set up. Admittedly, for someone like me with minimal knowledge of the Mad Max series, it can be a little jarring. The nice thing is that the movie's simplicity doesn't require much setup. Once the movie puts a foot on the gas pedal it doesn't let up.
A lot has been said about this film's feminist leanings and it's true, the movie focuses most of the attention on Charleze Theron's impossibly cool named Imperator Furiosa. Her story is the one we are ultimately following and Max plays the reluctant hero, who gets drawn into a conflict he has no real interest in. What's interesting is that while this film is considered remarkably progressive, it never comes across as preachy. George Miller just presents it as, this is the way it is.
In that way, while Fury Road deals with some dark subject matter, it is ultimately an optimistic film. Even in the direst circumstances, the movie never gives in to the cynicism, or misery tourism that permeates many post apocalyptic stories. Fury Road is fun. Insane, off the wall, bonkers, bug nuts, wackadoodle, pure brain candy.
This movie features a guy playing a giant flaming double guitar while tethered to the top of a moving "war rig" (which features a series of other War Boys drumming on empty oil drums in the back). That is the essence of my review.
I'm a huge Breaking Bad fan. I want to get my biases out of the way right up front.
I put it up at the top of the television mountain with "The Wire" as the two dramas that didn't overstay their welcome, didn't compromise their storytelling and embraced change as an integral part of their storytelling process. They treated their audiences like adults and rewarded us for paying attention. They elevated tv drama to art.
Not bad, when you consider I first had written off Breaking Bad as a farcical novelty show (the early ads presented it as a comedy with Bryan Cranston running around in his skivvies and the wacky premise of the high school chem teacher turned meth cook). It wasn't until I heard friends and co-workers talking about it that I gave the show a second look.
All of this is a lead up to say I was apprehensive about the prospect of a Breaking Bad spin off. Especially one centered around the goofy comic relief lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) who was effective as a supporting character, but could he carry a show himself? Would a more comedic show still work in this universe?
Oh me of little faith. The premier episode of BCS put to rest any apprehensions I had going in. Better Call Saul not only pays reverence to Breaking Bad, more importantly, the first episode immediately sets up the show as it's own entity. It has a tone all it's own and a much sharper comic tongue (not surprising considering Bob Odenkirk co created the criminally underrated HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show which you should totally go and watch right now) than it's fore-series. It makes a lot of sense considering that the biggest mistake this show could have made would have been to turn Saul Goodman (or Jimmy McGill, which I'll get too) into a Walter White clone.
The biggest surprise in Better Call Saul is the lack of a Saul. The character of Saul Goodman we met previously doesn't exist yet in this series. And indeed, the word "character" is entirely appropriate as Odenkirk gives a lot of interesting depth to conman/schyster Jimmy McGill by adding a layer of theatricality to Jimmy's personality that feels so right based on what we know about Saul Goodman. We are first introduced to Jimmy as he is going over his closing argument in a mensroom, rehearsing what he is going to say. The Jimmy we get to know in this first episode is a very different creature than Saul Goodman. He's a mutt trying to run with bigger dogs, and that has always been his appeal. Jimmy/Saul is always in over his head and while Walter White was at his best being two steps, I can see Jimmy always being two steps behind and running to catch up.
This does bring up one problem the show is going to have to overcome. Indeed the problem is that we know that ultimately Jimmy will survive to become Saul Goodman. Whether or not he survives the series in the time frame post-Bad is still up for grabs though. Without having the omnipresent threat of death that hung over Walter White's head, Saul will have to find other ways of creating tension. Let's just say, I wouldn't get too attached to the supporting cast.
Speaking of which, Michael Frickin' McKean is in this show and he is amazing. He plays Jimmy's brother Chuck, who is on an extended sabbatical from his law firm due to an unspecified medical issue. He is eccentric and suffers I can easily see Chuck becoming a central point of tension in the show. McKean is going to be the big revelation on this show. Chuck McGill is eccentric, good hearted, brilliant and has an aversion to electricity. He is also mentally ill, and harbours delusions that he will be able to return to work. This will be a career revitalizing role for McKean and watching he an Odenkirk together is a pleasure.
The most exciting part of discovering Breaking Bad was the revelation that the guy who played the doofus dad on Malcolm in the Middle capable of playing such a dark and complex character as Walter White. There's something truly amazing about watching an actor completely defy expectations. Seeing two comedic actors like Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean blow us away will be the real treat of BCS.
I'm specifically being vague with my descriptions of the episode to avoid spoilers. That said, I'll simply wrap up with some other stray observations.
-Much of the style of Breaking Bad remains intact. I always love the little incidental moments such as the court prosecutor slowly wheeling a tv stand into place, Jimmy's car antenna flopping around when he pulls his briefcase down from the roof and Jimmy nearly getting wiped out by skateboarders while telling the "Ginger Twins" about his shady past.
-There are wannabe con artist Ginger Twins and they are excellent. I'm really hoping they stick around because they are very entertaining.
-One of the parts of Breaking Bad I loved was the long scenes showing the processes of things. Of course, those processes were usually involving cooking meth and other criminal activities, but it's still interesting. This time we get a nice long scene of showing how cinnamon buns are made. At least's it's not meth.
-Without giving too much away, the two cameos run from "Hey! It's that guy!" to "Holy sh*t!"
-Jimmy's combative relationship with the tollbooth attendant (Breaking Bad return #1) promises to be fun going forward
"Now I'm on your speed dial. Right next to your weed dealer."
"You've gotta stop putting bacon on your list. It's like a trichinosis stew in there."
"The only way this car is worth $500 is if there's a $300 hooker sitting in it!"
"Chuck helped build one third of this place. There are are what...twelve chairs in here? Four of them are Chucks."
Hi, my name is Mitch and I write things sometimes.