[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Sunday, 2019-07-28

“The Boys” (2019)

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 21:59

Just finished “The Boys” on Amazon Prime. Great cast, great production values, pretty good cinematography when they could hold the camera still (the sooner “drunken monkey cam” dies a horrible painful death, the better). If only they had used those resources to tell a story that wasn’t an awful piece of garbage. WOW. Eight hours of my life, wasted.

I kept watching because the cast was great and the production values were great. With those, you would have to actively try to make a horrible a piece of crap to keep from making at least a halfway decent show. Which is apparently what they did, because it was a horrible piece of crap right up to the very end. Just a beautifully made, well acted pile of garbage. I kept thinking, “It has to get better…” Nope.

This may well be the worst superhero show I have ever seen. Worse than the recent “Titans” TV show. Worse than “Mutant X”. Worse than “Street Hawk”. Worse than “Black Scorpion”.

If you want to see a show with the premise, “What if nearly everyone in the world were sociopaths?”, watch Fox News. Skip “The Boys”.

The Boys

Saturday, 2019-07-20

Comments on the gilded age

Filed under: Movies,Television — bblackmoor @ 08:49

People say we are in a gilded age of this or that. Fantasy TV. Superhero movies. Whatever.

I am not sure I agree.

How many Batmen have we seen? How many Spider-Men? How many Avengers movies? Can you recall what happened in which movie? In which one did Quicksilver die? In which one did Quicksilver rescue people from a house? The colors blur in my memory until it is a mottled brown expanse.

Take Spider-Man. Some people like Tom Holland n the role. Some don’t. I don’t think I have an opinion. It’s like trying to have an opinion about one squawk in a cacophony of geese. It’s all just noise to me now. A Spider-Gwen movie might rise above that noise like a black and pink bouy in a sea of diluted mud, but it might not.

Tuesday, 2019-06-04

“Song Of The South” (1946)

Filed under: Movies,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:09

“Song Of The South” was based on stories compiled by a white man, yes, but they were the stories of African-Americans, and Harris tried his best to tell them faithfully. Joel Chandler Harris was a journalist who actually cared about the people whose stories he was sharing. It’s easy to say, “Oh, those should have been shared by African-Americans,” but at the time, that wasn’t an option. If he hadn’t collected them, those stories might be lost now.

As for the movie, it is not the racist propaganda that people who have never seen it assume it to be. If anything, it’s the opposite. For example, it shows a world where black and white children play together — in a movie made at the height of the Jim Crow era. The songs won awards, and the wonderfully talented James Baskett won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Uncle Remus — the first African American to win one (he wasn’t allowed to accept it at the main ceremony, due to idiotic 20th century racism). The worst thing that can be said about the movie is that the live action parts are dull, aside from when James Baskett is singing.

I know it’s just a dumb Disney movie, but I wish people recognized that “Song Of The South” was a small step forward for our society, at a time we really needed it.

Saturday, 2019-05-04

“Avengers Endgame” (2019)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 20:09

I made some notes during “Avengers Endgame” (2019). Sadly, the condensation from my icewater rendered my nearly incomprehensible handwriting completely incomprehensible.

But I’ll try to decipher it. There are, as you might reasonably expect, “spoilers” below. (If you care about that. Personally, I think the movie is entirely predictable and that “spoilers” don’t apply. But you do you.)

  • 20 minutes – Get on with it
  • 40 minutes – Finally, some action… briefly
  • 75 minutes – Thor is … The Dude
  • 80 minutes – Is the movie going to start, finally?
  • 105 minutes – Nebula is hard core
  • 115 minutes – I know what this reminds me of: the extended edition of “Lord Of The Rings”, where they included all of the extra scenes which were interesting in a “DVD extras” kind of way, but which weren’t included in the theatrical release because they would have slowed it down and had people checking the time. All of these “Ant Man irons his pants” type scenes would be great in an extended director’s cut, to watch after one has seen the two-hour theatrical release. On the other hand, one of these scenes made me tear up a little bit. (I do not remember which one.)
  • 150 minutes – Blah blah blah. Thanos loves to hear himself talk. Why does every wanna-be mass-murdering fanatic want to bore people to death listening to his manifesto?
  • 170 – Can’t make it to the funeral on the day your dear friend is being interred? No problem! It’s a green screen funeral!

Final thoughts…

I thought it was an okay movie. It was entirely what I expected, which is what it is. It was a little more predictable than most of the movies that led up to it, but that’s a given, really. I mean, did anyone not say to themselves, “This is where Captain Marvel shows up,” about thirty seconds before everyone looks up and notices the big space ship isn’t shooting at them anymore? But you can’t really blame the movie for that. They set up the story arc and the characters in the previous few movies, and at this point it’s just dominos falling. But aside from all that, I enjoyed it, once it got going (which was a little over an hour after it started).

However, I do have some problems with the plot. As I have mentioned before, Thanos’ plan to cut the universe’s population would put us back to 1971 population levels. Not even 50 years. Whoop-de-doo (in the big scheme of things). On the other hand, what do you suppose would happen if the Earth’s population were to double suddenly? Like say, five years after everyone has adapted to those people being gone? All of the jobs have been filled or eliminated. Food supplies have been reduced to what’s needed. People who lost loved ones have mourned and moved on, and in many cases have remarried.

Imagine the chaos, the misery, the starvation and death that would follow when the population doubles in an instant. This is not a happy ending.

Sunday, 2019-04-14

Titans

Filed under: Comics,Television — bblackmoor @ 12:36

Just watched the first episode of Titans. It’s an interesting take on the characters. Sort of a dark, low-budget alternate universe interpretation. It’s better than any of the trailers and promo material made it look. Even their version of Starfire is actually pretty interesting, despite the liberties they took with the character.

On one level., I wander why they bothered calling this “Titans” when the characters are so different from their comicbook and carton counterparts. It’s the same thing I wonder about Star Trek Discovery. It’s not a bad show, but it’s so clearly not Star Trek — why bother trying to piggyback on the Star Trek name?

But i guess that answers my question. Even though they are pretty good, these shows wouldn’t have a fraction of the viewers if they didn’t have a recognized name plastered on them.

Update: Up to episode 7, the one where the bad guys are precognitive and the good guys are morons: two of my least favourite superhero tropes. The show is paused and I am debating whether to just stop here and add this to the growing list of genre TV shows I stopped watching midway through the first season.

Update: I gritted my teeth and got past the dumb part, and it got a bit better. This was the worst episode so far. Most of the show has actually been pretty good, so I’ll keep watching it.

In general, I think this is an interesting “alternate universe” take on the Teen Titans.

Incidentally, you know what this episode felt like? It felt like the suits didn’t like the way the show was going, and forced the writers to make a detour. The same shit happened to the 2007 “Bionic Woman” remake.

Suits, man. 🙁

Update: They’ve done a much better job with Hawk & Dove than they did with Cloak & Dagger. I bailed on Cloak & Dagger after six episodes, and I would not have gotten that far if I didn’t love the comic and kept hoping the show would get better.

Update: Episode 10. I’m just of kind of rolling my eyes at it now. It hasn’t gotten any better since things took a suckward turn at episode 7. I’ll let it play out while I am working, but I won’t be looking for a second season of this, if there is one.

Final update: And I’m done. That’s 11 hours I’d like to get back. Re-watching the Teen Titans cartoon would have been a better use of my time.

Saturday, 2019-04-06

“Toxic masculinity” isn’t new

Filed under: Movies,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:33

I had a conversation earlier today in SWTOR general chat. Some alt-right dipshit was complaining about “cucks” and how “toxic masculinity” was demonizing and/or feminizing all men, and other such hateful nonsense. I pointed out that “toxic masculinity” was just a new name for something very old: the loudmouths and bullies who were the villains in every Western made in the 1940s and 1950s. And that calls for men to be better than that were nothing more than a call to return to the values epitomized by John Wayne and Alan Ladd.

I then pointed out that the problem today is that too many people hear the song “Coward Of The County” and think that the Gatlin boys are the heroes of the story.

Personally, I think “The Quiet Man” (1952) and “Shane” (1953) should be required viewing for any boy who thinks being a bully is part of being a man.

P.S. My SWTOR referral link is
http://www.swtor.com/r/zCgQQY

Monday, 2019-03-11

Captain Marvel

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 08:31

We saw “Captain Marvel” last night. It was okay. It reminded me of “Doctor Strange” — lots of backstory and special effects, and then the main character can suddenly do anything and automatically wins.

I think I would have liked it better if they had cast a better actor as Captain Marvel. Brie Larson does “impassive” and “serious” well, but most of the time when her character laughed or smiled, it came across as forced and fake (John Agar had the same problem). I think her most believable scenes are opposite Akira Akbar as a very young Monica Rambeau — in those, she comes across as genuine. But personally, I think Samara Weaving would have been better in the part. Ah, well.

I really liked Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, and Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva. I thought they were more interesting than Carl Danvers and Nick Fury (although Sam Jackson is always interesting).

Saturday, 2019-03-02

The Umbrella Academy

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 17:55

“The Umbrella Academy”: well, that was a waste of time. It’s 50 minutes of interesting ideas spread over ten freaking hours. On the other hand, they did a good job of spreading those ideas out so that it just barely kept me watching all the way to the end. That’s more than I can say for “The Gifted”, or “Runaways”, or “Tomorrow People”, or “Agents Of Shield”, or “Legion”, or “Cloak And Dagger”, or …

“Cloak And Dagger” was the biggest disappointment. I loved that comic (for the first year or two, anyway… it went downhill later).

The only superhero TV show I am currently watching that I actually like is “Supergirl”, but that’s on some thin ice, too. The whole previous season was “blarg” with “our new best friend who appeared out of nowhere and who is not at all the same person as the new villain who appeared out of nowhere”. Basically, again, one episode worth of story spread over an entire season.

But I’m not sure I will make it all the way through this season of “Supergirl”. We just finished episode 3, and I have had more than enough angry, bigoted shitheads for a whole season. It’s bad enough half the country is infested with these malicious buffoons, we have to see them every week on “Supergirl” now, too?

Wednesday, 2019-02-06

Ethnographics of a fantasy world

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 23:21

So here’s something weird that I have never thought of before. I am planning to run a fantasy game in the next month or two, and have been contemplating various setting options. One that seemed to pique the players’ interest was what I described as an “Asian slurry” fantasy world (ASFW from here out) — a not-Earth mixture of various Asian myths and legends, with an overlay of the anime version of China and/or Japan and/or Korea.

The premise of the game is that the PCs are transported there from our world (something like the Thomas Covenant books or the Doomfarers Of Coramonde).

So I am thinking of this, and it occurs to me: there is a virtually zero chance that all of the PCs will have what we generally think of as Asian features. I don’t think I have ever run a modern day game with more than one PC with Asian ancestry. So these visitors from another world will look strange and different to the people of ASFW.

I’m not sure if this is a problem or not. At first I thought it would be, but now I am thinking I might be able to tie that into the background of the game. Maybe they aren’t the first round-eyed strangers from another world to have visited ASFW…

Now for the weird thing. This — the difference in appearance between the population of a fantasy world and the PCs-from-another-world who arrive there — has literally never crossed my mind before. None of the other fantasy settings I was thinking about sparked this thought. Mentally, I just populated them with the same melange of Europeans of varying swarthiness with a sprinkling of Arabs and Africans, such that any PCs from our world would blend in with the population with little effort (at least until they start talking).

I don’t have a conclusion to draw from this. I just thought it was weird.

Sunday, 2018-10-14

Doctor Who season 37

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 19:52

Tonight’s entertainment was the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who (which is either the 11th season or the 37th, depending on when you start counting… I’m going to call it the 37th season, but I may be the only one). We enjoyed it, and I like Jodie Whittaker. I really hate the new Doctor Who’s outfit, though. I loved the previous Doctor Who’s outfit, and I really liked Peter Capaldi, but I got bored with his run by his third or fourth episode and stopped watching them, so I guess an outfit isn’t everything.

I am little a puzzled by the … what’s the opposite of a cliffhanger? Leaving things out at the beginning. How did Peter Capaldi turn into Jodie Whittaker? What happened to the Tardis? I guess it doesn’t really matter.

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