Friday, November 29, 2013

#TheDayOfTheDoctor #DoctorWho50thAnniversary #SpoilersSweetie

Since the first time I cracked open my first book, watched my first video, or visited the theatre for the first time I have had no problem rereading or rewatching my favorite things. I've read the #Hobbit about fifteen times, watched #ThePrincessBride in the range of two-hundred times, and it's not unusual for me to buy multiple tickets in advance, to see the same movie in the theatre up to five times. So it should be no surprise that I waited to blog about #TheDayOfTheDoctor until I'd seen it at least three times. The first time, I was just in awe the entire time. The second time, I started catching details I had missed. And the third time, I was finally able to assemble the entire experience in my puny brain. I regret not seeing it in the theatre, but that's my only complaint. Mostly.

I'm not gonna give you a full recap. Honestly, that'd be a waste of my time. I'd rather rewatch it (again) than write a scene by scene breakdown. What I will do is mention some highlights, critique the episode as a whole, and share some of my favorite quotations. There are also some questions I'd like to discuss, and some complaints I'd like to address. A warning for the uninitiated. #Spoilers, spoilers and more spoilers. Also, I have three separate sets of notes for this, so at times I may jump around.

Right off the bat, I was hooked. Because I've watched so much of the newer #DoctorWho my brain couldn't help create dialogue I would have liked to have seen during this celebration episode. (All of my made up dialogue got a special "J" notation in my notes, and will be in brackets in this blog.) Clara rode her motorcycle straight into the #TARDIS for her first scene with #MattSmith. Right then, I thought it would have been cool if she'd have said something like, [I ride a motorbike now. Motorbike's are cool.]  Because of that absurd, amazing thought I missed something that blew my mind on my third viewing of the episode. The Doctor smiles but pretty much mock-ignores her until after he complains about the draft from the open TARDIS doors, AND CLARA SNAPS HER FINGERS AND THE DOORS CLOSE!!!  Holy crap, indeed. #RiverSong told The Doctor in season 4 episode 9 (4x9) he'd be able to do it, he starts doing it, and now, with no further explanation, Clara can do it. Well, she can close the doors, anyway. I don't know what that means, but then again, Clara IS 'The Impossible Girl'.

"Rose Tyler. No. Yes. No? Yes, sorry. in this form I'm called #BADWOLF. Are you afraid of the big bad wolf, Doctor?

I really wasn't thrilled with #BilliePiper returning as an artificial intelligence during my first viewing. I wanted Rose, and I wanted to watch her interact with Matt Smith and Clara. After I had some time to think about it (though not quite 400 years), I changed my mind. We've seen #companions interact before. Think of Donna and Martha, and Rose/Mickey/SarahJane/K9. I don't know that a Clara/Rose meeting would have added anything to the story other than shtick. It also allowed Rose to do and say anything without consequently affecting the story. Well almost. She did accidentally call two Doctors from different times. My #DW brain added a line to that scene. "Ok, I wasn't expecting that. [Oops, I've called too many Doctors.]" She also reminded the Doctors they were the same person with the same #SonicScrewdriver which was a pretty big deal story-wise. All in all, Billie as the artificial intelligence worked pretty well and I can't complain.

I'm going to gloss over the #Zygons, because for story telling purposes, it really didn't matter who the villain was. It could have been #Daleks, #Cyberman or #WeepingAngels and the story would have just needed a little tweaking. I did worry for a bit that the statues were Weeping Angels. #DontBlink those things are damned creepy. The Zygons did provide some entertaining exchanges with Queen Elizabeth I. #DavidTennant, thinking that Elizabeth was the alien changeling proposes marriage to her, and she accepts. "Oh, it was the horse! Oh. I'm gonna be King." A few seconds later she kisses him goodbye and tells him she needs him alive for the wedding. "Oh, good one, Doctor. Nice one. You've already agreed. So much for history." Oh, that Doctor. Such a #rulebreaker.

A lot of old school fans of Doctor Who (they weren't called #Whovians then) don't like Tennant and Smith because they believe they lack this thing called #gravitas. They think he's too goofy, never takes things seriously, blah blah blah. I don't agree. Watch enough of them, and you see how serious #TheOncomingStorm can be. Regardless, I don't think even those old schoolers can dispute the fact that #JohnHurt was bloody brilliant. He made us laugh without being 'funny'. He was sad without being depressing. Above all else he was the #WarDoctor while still being the #Doctor. When Hurt asks Smith and Tennant if they are the Doctor's companions (they get younger all the time), check out Tennant's face. I died. And when Hurt says to them both, "You're me? In the future? Even that one (Smith)?" I died again.

Surprisingly, people still had complaints about 'The Day of the Doctor'. I'll address what I can.

#Moffat threw fundamental rules of #DW out of the window. The Doctor can never cross his own timeline. There can't be more than 12 Doctors. First of all, it's not just the #haters that need a reminder. All of the #sciencefiction nerds that break down #StarTrek #OnceUponATime #Stargate #BackToTheFuture, and every other tv show or movie that deals with time travel need to remember. We're talking about something that's not real. It doesn't have to make complete scientific sense 100% of the time. It's pretend, and it's fun. Stop being a #buzzkill. Also, since you're going to break it down anyway, keep this in mind. Time travel breaks the laws of physics at a fundamental level. That, by the rules of science, implies that there are no rules. Only theories, hypothesis, and guesses. It's a #wibblywobbly kind of thing, and there are plenty of ways to adjust our precepts to fit canon. #Canon being, whatever the writers say is true, is true. Chill. Secondly, DW canon says there can be only 12 regenerations, NOT only 12 Doctors. The first Doctor was just the Doctor. Every subsequent Doctor being the result of a regeneration means there are 13 total Doctors at the end. I have no idea how #PeterCapaldi will be explained or where the story goes next. But it's not my job. My job is to set a block of time aside to watch and enjoy it.

Lastly, before I list my favorite quotations of the episode, I'd like to throw my thoughts and minor complaints into the hat.

1. I really would have liked to have seen #CaptainJackHarkness and River make an appearance. I don't know what more I would have liked, but I wanted more than those little #EasterEggs.
2. John Hurt as the 9th(?) Doctor should totally get a miniseries or something, chronicling some of his adventures as The Doctor.
3. My friend Hayley, and lots of other Whovians, insist you could see John Hurt regenerating into #ChrisEcclston. After three full viewings, and watching the clips repeatedly, I still don't see it.
4. "The Adventures of Galllifrey in the Pocket Universe" Enough said.
5. How did the 3D painting end up in the archive? #TomBaker made a vague reference to it being "..acquired under remarkable circumstances". I can't wait to find what those circumstances were.
6. I think Dr. Osgood would make a pretty cool companion. She's already got the scarf, and she's convinced the Doctor will save her. #SaveTheDay Plus, she yanks the scarf out from under a Zygon's foot. That would definitely land her in a #NHL penalty box for tripping. "I've always wanted to meet someone named 'Yes'."
7. I really wanted to hear one of the Doctors yell, "This planet is under my protection!"
8. This was hard to catch, and it may be pure speculation on my part. Tom Baker says, "Who knows? Who knows (tapping his nose)." I saw it during my first viewing as, [Who, if anyone knows? Doctor Who knows.] Pretty cool, huh?
9. Kate Stewart mentions to Clara that she has top level clearance from her last visit to Unit. Last visit? Um, what? Clara is as confused as we are.

I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, I loved it. If I keep speculating I could ruin the #DoctorWhoChristmasSpecial for myself, and everyone. I'm that clever. I'll leave you with just a few favorite quotations, in no particular order, and wait for you to contact me so that we can ruin it together. Thanks as always for your attention. Fanboy, out.

1. "Would you mind telling these prattling mortals to get themselves begone?!" -Smith
2. "Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They're scientific instruments, not water pistols!" -Hurt
3. "Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light to flame, no matter the cost." -Hurt
4. "Alien technology plus human stupidity. Trust me, it's unbeatable." -Smith
5. "Timey Wimey?" -Hurt "I have no idea where he picks that stuff up." -Tennant
6. "Think about it. Americans with the ability to rewrite history. You've seen their movies." -Kate Stewart
7. "Dear God. Three of them. All my worst nightmares at once." -Timelord

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Best Relationships on TV - TV's NYPD - Sweeps

Pretty consistently, I can say that my favorite episodes from any show, any year, are during #PremiereSeason and #FinaleSeason. Maybe this is a special year, or maybe I don't always remember mid-season episodes, but 2013s #Sweeps #NielsonRatings have been kicking my ass. The possible return of 3XK on #Castle, #CriminalMinds visiting Chicago, Olivia's 'One Question' on #Scandal, and the last to #SVU episodes are just examples of how my mind has been blown this year. I hope you've been watching, because there are too many different shows and episodes to recap. Instead, I'll give you my two favorite of the season (so far).

#Hawaii5O - They teased us at the beginning of the season, telling us that #ChiMcBride would be joining the cast. He was there, and then he was gone. Finally, last week, he showed up again as the angry Hawaii PD's Captain Lou Grover. According to #CBS he'll be sticking around this time. Of course it had to happen just before all the shows go on break for the holidays, but I'll take it. His character is a lot like Dann-O but a little tougher, with even more disdain for how Steve does things. "You have a very angry dispotion [Steve], do you know that?" Remember a couple of things when you watch this ep. The first three minutes are possibly the best three minutes of sweeps this year, #5O on horses is kind of silly, Kona was conspicuously absent most of the ep, and that's definitely #ImagineDragons on the soundtrack. Very cool.

#PersonOfInterest - I'll do my best to avoid #spoilers, but I promise nothing. Too much happened in this, the best episode of the show. It was that could. I think I may have said this about other television characters, but it's especially true of Detective Carter. That woman is a damn bloodhound. We've seen it in the last couple of episodes. When she locks in on a scent, she doesn't quit. And when she gets her teeth around that bone, she is not letting go. She's a monster. Another monster, is Detective Fusco. Previously we saw him look HR right in the face and pretty much tell them, "I'm not afraid of you anymore, blow it out your ass." He doesn't slow down this week either. The bad guys break his hand, and so what does Fusco do? He breaks his own thumb. Holy cow. How about another cold-hearted monster? Shaw. Shaw has to make a tough decision to save one of two people, both in need of saving. I think she made the right decision, and she made it quickly, and decisively. #SarahShahi is one gorgeous killer. The last beast of the show will show what a badass he is next week. I can't wait to see angry Reece.

Problems with the NYPD - I noticed this week on SVU how screwed up the department's officers, detectives, and even the captain is. Then, it occurred to me that a couple of other shows have some 'questionable' practices taking place in the NYPD. How screwed up are you allowed to be before you're thrown off the force? SVU first, because it's got the biggest problems.

SVU - Almost everyone one them have serious character flaws, or major personal problems. Are these issues ignored? None of them are able to maintain a relationship.Do the issues exist because of the heinous job they have to do, or in spite of it? 

Captain Cragen is the boss. He's a recovering alcoholic, sober for something like 20 years. He is also divorced.
Sergeant Benson is now the first in command. She's been raped twice, killed her abuser in cold blood, had a father that abused her mother, and frequently sees or is told to go see the precinct shrink.
Detective Stabler was Benson's previous partner. He was divorced, with five children, and as a result was always good dealing with victims and families' of child abuse. A side effect of his sympathy was a difficulty with controlling his rage towards perpetrators, and having difficulty separating his feeling towards his family from his assigned cases. He had to take a leave of absence because of this, and never came back.
Sergeant Munch was the oldest member of the SVU team. He was a conspiracy theorist, and has been married and divorced three times. He maintains close relationships with each ex-wife.
Detective Rollins is one of the newest members of the teams. She is a compulsive gambler, and frequently attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings. Most recently, she was dating her sponsor. She and her sponsor were manipulated by murder suspect, who killed her stalkee, after accusing him of murder. Rollins has a younger sister whom is mentally ill, has a long rap sheet, and a penchant for dating criminals. Rollins shot and killer her sister's scumbag boyfriend when she walked in on an attempted rape. It was recommended she see the precinct shrink, but instead we last see her at a blackjack table. 
Detecives Amaro and 'Fin' Tutuola are the least troubled. It should be noted that Amaro is on bad terms with his ex-wife and occasionally must neglect his job to care for his child. Fin transferred to Special Victims from Vice Squad and has spent a lot of time undercover.

Person of Interest- The majority of the first two season has been battling corrupt NYPD police officers involved with an organized crime syndicate referred to as HR. Detective Fusco was previously a member, and Detective Carter's romantic interest was killed by HR. I don't know what HR stands for but I wish I didn't think of 'Human Resources'.

#Castle - This is more of an amusement than a complaint, because I love the show. It seems inexcusable how much trouble Castle is able to get himself into without getting pushed out the door. I realize he's friends with the mayor, maybe that's a poor reflection on the mayor. Even though it's cool, Castle should not have a vest, and Beckett should have a real partner besides a well celebrated crime novelist. 

There are other examples, of course. I just chose the ones from shows I like the best. Please feel free to comment and critique my opinions, or suggest other shows that have worse examples of a city's corruption or irresponsibility. #ChicagoFire, I'm looking in your direction.

Lastly is a list of the Best Relationships on TV. You know I love lists. I made a list of ten, in no particular order, and I'm sure I forget a bunch. Which on my list is your favorite? Chime in. Which relationships suck and shouldn't be on the list? Chime in. Which relationships did I forget to mention that should be on my list? Chime in. Thanks as always for reading. I'll be getting ready to watch, and watching #TheDayofTheDoctor and #CatchingFire this weekend, but I'm always looking for your input. #Sayonara fanboys and fangirls.

The Doctor & Clara - #DoctorWho
Bones & Booth - #Bones
Morgan & Garcia - #CriminalMinds
Castle & Beckett - #Castle
Sheldon & Leonard - #TheBigBangTheory
Sherlock & Watson - #Sherlock
The Doctor & The Tardis - #DoctorWho
Burke & Caffrey - #WhiteCollar
Steve & Dann-O - #Hawaii5O
Olivia & Huck - #Scandal

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doctor Who Season 7

I'm so excited for #SaveTheDay #TheDayOfTheDoctor that I had to re-watch season seven and post the best quotation from every episode. It's so much fun going back and getting ready. "Run you clever boy, and remember."

7.1 Run you clever boy, and remember.
7.2 Souffles? Against the Daleks? Where did you get the milk?
7.3 I'm riding a dinosaur, on a spaceship.
7.4 His name is Susan and he wants you to respect his life choices.
7.5 To save you, I could do anything, Rory.
7.6 And if I'm ever in the need of advice from a psychotic-potato-dwarf, you'll certainly be the first to know.
7.7 You know what I always say about plans. I don't have one.
7.8 I think I may have made a tactical boo-boo.
7.9 Hold hands.That's what you're meant to do. Keep doing that, and don't let go.
7.10 Hello, I'm looking for a ghost. And who are you? Ghostbusters.
7.11 Don't get into a spaceship with a madman. Didn't anyone ever teach you that?
7.12 Hang on, I've got a sonic screwdriver. Yea? I've got a chair.
7.13 I trust the Doctor. Think he knows what he's doing? "I wouldn't go that far."
7.14 It'd better be important. I was in the middle of destroying some very pleasant primitives.

Friday, November 8, 2013

#AmericanHorrorStory and other #TV

You may have noticed that I have been posting less entries than usual about all of my favorite television shows, and the shows I watch (they're not always the same thing). There are several reasons for this.

1. Most shows slow down after the premiere weeks. Some of it is because producers have to make the premieres so exciting. Some of it is because MLB's playoffs and the #NFL is in full swing, and the #NHL and #NBA are just starting. #Bones #Castle #NCIS #Hawaii5O #PersonOfInterest #SVU are all good examples. (Interesting that those are all cop shows.) And #Glee got preempted by the #WorldSeries a few times.

2. Another reason I've tried to write about other topics is it gets boring and repetitive to always be talking about the same crap over and over again. #Bears win. Bears lose. #Arrow and #Elementary were awesome this week! Have you watched the newest #WalkingDead and #Homeland yet? Blah blah repetitive blah. I've got to mix it up sometimes, or you'll quit reading, and I'll quit writing.

3. There are also some shows that started later, or haven't yet premiered. #WhiteCollar started later than premiere season, #MikeAndMolly are on their second episode and we haven't even gotten #Nikita #DW #DoctorWho or #Community back yet. #IsItNov23rdYet

4. Comedies are kind of boring to take notes and then write about. They're great but they're also only 22 minutes long. So far the best comedies of the year are #Brooklyn99 #LastManStanding #HowIMetYourMother #TheCrazyOnes and #TheBigBangTheory #TBBT. Hard to say anything about them if at any point to you had to pee, eat, or smoke. You probably missed a nice percentage of the actual show if you took a break.

5. My last reason for taking a break is my favorite, and anyone reading this has some explaining to do. I only know of two people that regularly read this blog. The first is my wife, who has no choice. If she wants dinner when she gets home, that's her penance. The second is my single follower, one of my best friends, who watches almost as much television as I do, and will do whatever I say (within reason) just because I ask her to. So if you read this, comment. Like it. Shoot me an email, Facebook critique, or snarky tweet. I'll appreciate it, and I'll always respond. And thanks.

Good reasons, aren't they? I think so, and if you disagree, you're probably just wrong. But back to #TV, and here are my brief thoughts on the newest season of #AmericanHorrorStoryCoven.

I honestly wasn't that excited about the new season. I thought #AmericanHorrorStoryAsylum was dragging a little bit at the end of the second season. I was really afraid #Coven would follow the same suit, but I have to admit, #RyanMurphy and #BradFalchuk caught me by surprise. The new story arc grabbed me by the second episode, and episodes four and five are definitely my favorite so far.

Even more than I enjoy the new arc, witches, and the wonders, I love the cast and the characters they play.

#JessicaLange, as usual, is one bad bitch. No way Fiona isn't "The Supreme". And she'll stay that way until someone kills her, hopefully Zoe, #TaissaFarmiga. #FrancesConroy as Myrtle and #SarahPaulson as Cordelia are super fun to watch as innocent, ignorant victims but I can't believe that's going to last. When the revenge hits, it's going to be violent, gruesome, and awesome.

But the best part of the cast is definitely the new members. This is not #KathyBates first rodeo is a creepy old lady. It's perfect casting, and definitely kicking it up a notch to make her a racist witch. When she looks freaked out, I get more freaked out. When she gets angry, I just about want to turn the show off and watch some #Disney.

#AngelaBassett is brilliant in everything she's been in, and a super-hot black woman. That makes her even scarier as a N'awlins Voodoo queen. In this instance, I find her scarier than Bates. Angela has an advantage, thought,  as we previously got to see #Bates in #HarrysLaw and #TheOffice. Definitely less scary than #Misery.

My absolute favorite person in the new season is #GaboureySidibe as #Queenie. She plays the perfect blend of bad-ass witch, unknowing little girl, and strong-black-woman-who-will-cut-you-if-you-say-the-wrong-thing. At random points in season three, she puts people in their place, thanks them for protecting her, and just hangs out as the sarcastic comic relief. One the few notes I took about this season reads, "Not only is Precious a main character now, she's AWESOME!" I was really worried Fiona was going to kill her at the end of episode five. Now I'm just worried that her character is going to become weak as the season progresses. Don't let them do it to Queenie, Gabourey! Stay alive, kick ass, and stick around to the next season!

Thanks, again for reading my nonsense. Next up are my thoughts on the legalization of same-sex marriage in IL, Thor, and whatever my #Bears do on Sunday. #AlphaMikeFoxtrot

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 10 #FantasyFootball and #ChicagoSports

A crazy thing is happening with my two fantasy football teams this year. I share one team with my wife in a couples' league and manage another on my own. Somehow, inexplicably, both teams are competitive. The last 2 weeks have been rough with #byeweeks and losing #AaronRodgers, but we're still sporting winning records. And though I play fantasy baseball and football every year, my teams are never good. Below are both of my #winning rosters.

The Fury - Record (5-4), 7th place - This is the team I manage myself, named for The Chicago Fury minor league hockey team. Incidentally Chicago also has a women's roller derby team, and an ABA basketball team that share the name. This league has two flex positions where you can start your choice WR, RB, or TE. I don't like having two flex positions. Even more than I don't like two flex spots, I have to start one defensive player who's only countable statistics are solo tackles and touchdowns. Which means every week I need to scour the free agent pool to start some player I most likely have never heard of.

QB- Ben Roethlisberger
WR- A.J Green
WR- Denarius Moore
RB- DeAngelo Williams
RB- Lamar Miller
TE- Jimmy Graham
Flex- Eddie Royal (WR)
Flex- Cecil Shorts III (WR)
K- Robbie Gould
DEF - St. Louis
Defensive End - Calais Campbell
BN- Matt Ryan (QB)
BN - Kembrell Thompkins (WR) Bye 
BN - Jared Cook (TE)
BN- Michael Floyd (WR)
BN - Brandon Pettigrew (TE)

El Cunado - Record (6-3), 1st place - This is the team I share with my wife, who possibly knows more about football than I do. I picked a good woman. Our original team name this year was "Cutler Milk" named for the episode of #TheLeague where Jenny and Kevin's son, Chalupa Batman drinks #KristinCavallari breast milk. We decided we wanted to mix it up and briefly considered #ChalupaBatman. Jenny and Kevin's kid has this ridiculous name because Kevin traded away his son's #NamingRights at the end of season 3. In the end we settled on #ElCunado, Ruxin's deranged sociopath, brother-in-law. Yea, we like The League. This team is good.

QB - Ben Roethlisberger
WR - DeSean Jackson
WR - Andre Johnson
RB- DeMarco Murray
RB - Maurice Jones-Drew
TE - Julius Thomas
Flex - Eddie Royal (WR)
K - Robbie Gould
DEF - San Francisco
BN - Jacquizz Rodgers (RB)
BN - Jared Cook (TE)
BN - Emmanuel Sanders (WR)
BN - Aaron Rodgers (QB)
BN - Roy Helu Jr. (RB)
BN - Dwayne Brown (WR) Bye 

And that, my friends, is how I have not one, but two fantasy football teams with winning records. At least for one more week. And in all honesty, fantasy football is just a way for me to watch games besides #DaBears and still care what's going on.

#ChicagoSports can be so frustrating both as a fan, and as a fan who wants to frequently write about them.

#DaBears #ChicagoBears are an enigma. The Bears started the season as who we thought they were. Then they weren't who we thought they were. Then they were again, who we thought they were. #JayCutler is hurt again, but at least #JoshMcCown has looked pretty good. During week nine only one analyst picked #TheBears to win. Who do you think it was? #DaCoach #Ditka! But the Bears played well enough to win, #DevinHester found the end zone again. Let's hope they can pull out another win against the #DetroitLions. I love beating #Detroit teams. Detroit is a terrible city.

#ChicagoBulls #DaBulls are off to a rocky start, but it's still early. #DerrickRose as back an already has a game winning floater under his belt, and always has the ability to take over a game. If he's back to true #MVP #DRose form we may have a pretty good year.

#ChicagoBlackhawks are off to a good start (10-2-4), and are definitely the most fun to watch, and talk about. I plan to wear out my #JonathanToews jersey this winter and hopefully we keep the #StanleyCup here in Chicago for the 3 time in 5 years. #SideNote - There's a strap that hangs off the back of hockey jerseys that the players clip to there hockey pants. That strap is extremely annoying when you're trying to pop a squat in the bathroom.

#ChicagoBaseball - What to say about the #ChicagoCubs or #ChicagoWhiteSox? They both had terrible seasons, and I fully expect them to repeat their dismal performances. So far this offseason the brightest piece of news for the #Cubs is signing Rick Renteria to manage for the next 3 seasons. Good news, I guess, for the Cubs. Bad news for Renteria, who should know that the Cubs are where managers go to die. Slightly more interesting news on the #SouthSide. The #GoGoSox snagged Cuban defector #JoseAbreu. He's a slugger, he's young, and the last couple of Cubans to join #MLB have turned out pretty good. The downside of the news is the contract. If you're going to gamble on a foreign player, I'd recommend you not do it on a 6-year, $68 million dollar deal. But what do I know? My fantasy baseball teams are losers.

So that's what's happening in sports. #BearDown and we'll talk Bears and #Thor on Sunday.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Walking Dead and the Greatest Detective ever

#TheWalkingDead I love The Walking Dead. But I'm having major problems with this third season. S4 has almost become unwatchable because all of the characters are so unlikable. Rick is bat-shit crazy. Carl is bat-shit crazy. Carol is bat-shit crazy.Maggie and Glenn are bat-shit crazy. The only likable characters are Michonne and Daryl.

Far more important, is a question that occurred to me watching this most current episode. How does it end? I googled it, with no results. I can only foresee two possible ending. A cure is found and everyone lives #HappilyEverAfter. Or #EveryoneDies. Everyone dies is far more likely.At this point I say kill everyone except for #LaurenCohan.

I made the mistake of asking my friend who the greatest detective was, of all time. I said #SherlockHolmes, and he immediately countered with #Batman. It's a super tough argument, either way. I never thought of Sherlock as a fighter but #Elementary proved me wrong. "I fight without mercy. It's a lesson you may want to learn, unless we are going to limit ourselves to cases involving small children or large house cats." I heart #JonnyLeeMiller.

I have a hard time thinking of Batman as a detective.You may not know, but #DC stands for #DetectiveComics. #BruceWayne is definitely the smartest of all heroes, but I always think of him as an ass-kicker more than an investigator. He proves it to me when he solves crimes as Bruce Wayne as he did many times in the comics. You can borrow one if you need source material.

I stand by my opinion that #Sherlock is the best detective of all time, fictional or real. Batman and #Superman are my favorite heroes, but I'd much rather Sherlock Holmes investigated my untimely demise.

Thanks, Steve.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ender's Game #SpoilersSweetie

Looks like I was wrong about a couple of things today #rarities. The wife got out of work early today, so we made it to a matinee of #EndersGame. As a result, my review of the movie will happen now, Friday evening, instead of trying to squeeze it in before football tomorrow. Also, #Thor will not be our last #datenight before the baby arrives. When I mentioned to Kate that I figured it would be, she very politely suggested I see it with my brother, my father, my nephews, or just about anyone else that is NOT her. Looks like our last date will be #CatchingFire. I should have known. Her phone's message tone is that bird whistle from #TheHungerGames. It gets very confusing when we watch the movie, or see a commercial. So there's that. I was not wrong, however, on my expectations of Ender's Game.

I'll be the first to admit, I throw the word 'best' around all the time. "That was the best steak I've ever had." "That was one of the best finishes to a game I've ever seen." "My wife is the best wife ever, and my little puppy girl is the best dog ever." For the sake of this blog entry, forget about my sometimes abuse of the word "BEST".

Ender's Game is one of the best science fiction novels of all time. Really, it is. Don't take my word for it, either. Google a list, or ask a very nerdy (probably very cool) friend, or something. #OrsonScottCard is regarded as one of the best sci-fi novelists of all time with the #EnderSeries being his crown achievement. Having said that, Ender's Game is also the best movie I have seen in 2013. Hands down, the best.

To start with just the basics, it was an excellent film. Forget about genre, adaptations, and #SciFi in general, it was a great piece of filmmaking. I'm looking forward to whatever #GavinHood does in the future. Visually, it was awesome. We didn't see it in 3D, we don't really like it. It makes pregnant women dizzy, and it gives me a headache if I don't get to take a break. But when you see it, see it in 3D. At one point, I turned to Kate, and said, "This scene would be fantastic 3D." Even she couldn't disagree.

The acting was amazing. #AsaButterfield was #Ender. I don't mean he played Ender, I mean he totally embraced the character perfectly, and became Ender. He always looked like he was about to cry, or kill you, and that's absolutely perfect. #HarrisonFord was equally great as Colonel Graff. The character is military-minded to a fault, with a dose of anger that feels just a bit unhealthy. I can count on one hand other actors that could have pulled it off as well. #BenKingsley as the mysterious Mazer Rackham was another perfect casting. I mean, you can't really go wrong with Sir Ben. He was Ghandi, for pete's sake. And how about little #AbigailBreslin? A lot of people won't recognize her since she's 17 years old now. Think back to when she was 10 and nominated for an #Oscar, #LittleMissSunshine. She'll have 5 of them before she hits 30.

My biggest worries about the movie, were the typical worries when adapting a novel into film. "It's too short, and they cut out too many important characters and subplots." "They changed the plot to placate the 'Hollywood audience'." "That character is nothing how I imagined him/her." "Since I can't read characters' thoughts the story makes no sense."

For the most part, those weren't issues with this adaptation. With a few minor exceptions, the screenplay perfectly followed the plot of the book. Dismiss from your mind immediately, the idea of encompassing everything you read in a book, being on the screen. Unless they re-introduce 5 hour movies with intermissions, it's never gonna happen. (By the way, I'm totally down for that if they serve dinner and drinks during intermission. I'll pay a hundred bucks for a full night of recreation for me and my lady.) In the book it felt like weeks and months passed in Battle School, playing the Game, and at Command School. The movie made it feel like everything happened in possibly a month. Another important change was in the character of Major Gwen Anderson played by #ViolaDavis. For the movie they combined at least two, possibly three characters into one, and they made her a female. Making her a female detracted nothing from the story. If anything, it added to the story, as there weren't many strong, adult, female characters in the the book. The big change was that the character was never actually at Battle School. She/He corresponded with #Graff solely by email. How the hell would you translate a bunch of emails into something viewable, that would keep an audience interested? The answer is, you can't. That kind of thing, has to be contracted, and adapted for the screen. And they did a good job of it.

There can be a legitimate complaint about some of other character development in this adaptation. Part of that can be explained by the fact that Card has written 13 novels about the characters, with at least two forthcoming, and numerous short stories. That's a lot to hash out in 114 minutes. For the sake of this not being an eleven page blog entry, I'll break down each character as briefly as possible.

Bernard - In the movie, he was a dickhead that eventually came around to Ender's side. I barely remember him in the book. He was a minor character who was on #Bonzo side, and then quickly forgotten.

#BonzoMadrid - In the movie, he was a villain. Ender handled him, and felt very bad. In the book he was a psychopath hellbent on killing Ender, and EVERYONE knew it, Ender included. Ender killed him, dead. Then he felt very bad.

Graff - In the movie all Graff cared about was developing the next commander of the International Fleet, at all costs. It's also true in the book, but you get more of a feeling that he's torn up about what he's doing to Ender.

Mazer Rackham - I never fully understood him in the movie, or the book. The only difference in the book, is that after the Second Formican War, he was sent away in a spaceship at faster than light speed, so that he wouldn't age while the Fleet looked for a new commander to train.

Petra - Petra was Ender's best friend at Battle School, as seen in the movies. There was even the suggestion of possible romance, which made me want to vomit. In the books Ender really only had one person he cared about; his sister. Petra was, however, his closest confidante. Petra Arkanian got a whole book written about her.

Bean - According to the film, Bean was a good, trustworthy, soldier and friend. In the books, Bean didn't really care for Ender at all. Bean was a brilliant tactician, and a possible military commander. Ender picked on him and rode him harder than anyone else in his platoon. The explanation was that Ender knew Bean could be a leader, and needed to be isolated from everyone else. Just as Graff isolated Ender from the other launchies, Ender isolated Bean. Bean didn't get it initially. Julian Delphiki, aka Bean, also got a book to himself.

Valentine Wiggin - Val was Ender's voice of empathy and reason, keeping him from turning to the dark side. The only thing you could have missed from the movie, was that Val also attended Battle School. She was a damn genius. After Ender won the war, she ended up a major part in shaping humankind's development.

Peter Wiggin - With only a minute or two of screen time, Gavin Hood did one hell of a job showing how much of Peter shaped Ender's persona. Peter was the antithesis of Valentine. He completely lacked empathy, but promoted all of Ender's drive towards self-preservation, mercilessness, and even brutality. Those feelings made Ender the great military commander he was, and eventually made Peter the foremost leader in human history. He, with Valentine share a sequel about what happens next.

Ender - Ender has the most discrepancies between the movie and books, which makes sense. He's the protagonist and you can't read all of his thoughts and emotions onscreen. Remember Stilson? That bully that Ender beat up at the beginning of the movie? In the book Ender didn't know it, but he killed him. "...just remember what happens when people try to hurt me." That's what got him into Battle School. Or how about Bonzo? When I said everyone knew Bonzo wanted to kill him, I meant EVERYONE. The administrators argued about letting them ever be alone together. Ender's 'Jeesh' (Dragon Army crew) assigned guards to stick by him at all times. When Bonzo finally got him alone, Ender killed him too. That got him his final test. They woke him at 3am, to fight two armies instead of the usual one, and his opponents got extra time to place their armies. And he won, anyway. Keep in mind, that in the book, Ender's Dragon Army hadn't lost any of their 13 battles, despite constantly being given a decisive disadvantage at every stage. That's why he was the highest ranked out of anyone in the school. And so what did they do? They took away his lieutenants. Petra, Bean, and Dink were all promoted and given there own armies. That's when Ender had enough and quit. "If you're just going to keep changing the rules after I win, I'm done playing." Ender was a #BMF

That's a whole lot to change for the main character, but it worked for me. The characters stayed real, and their behaviors maintained fluidity. Some might not like it, but my wife is an English teacher, loves the book, and loved the movie. That's good enough for me.

I only have two minor complaints. One, there was a scene where Harrison Ford had a piece of food on his lower lip. Seriously? Who the hell missed that one? Fire him now. My second complaint is the previews that showed before the movie.

I, Frankenstein - Frankenstein was the name of the doctor that made the monster, not the name of the monster. Also, the movie looks ridiculous.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Cool trailer, but I've already seen it a bunch of times. I like the previews to surprise me.

#TheBookThief - Ok this one looks great, and will probably be up for #BestPicture

Pompeii - I already know how this one ends. The volcano wins.

I would love for Ender's Game to be the start of a new franchise. I don't know if it's possible. The books and stories that follow will be even more difficult to adapt into movies. Their only option, in my opinion, is to make #EndersShadow and stop. If they only tell Bean's story, they can take as much artistic license as they want, and the rest of the stories be damned. Especially, since Card is still writing. But if this is the only one we get, I'll take it and be happy. The did a helluva job.

(P.S Anyone want to see Thor with me next weekend?)

#TotalRecall - Politics - Letter the the Mayor

With the #WorldSeries, #Halloween, and #reruns, and #ByeWeeks dominating the news and #primetime television, there hasn't been much to blog about over the last week or so. I suppose I could talk more about the #RedSox, or #ObamacareFail, but who really wants to start the weekend reading or writing about something that'll just annoy them? Not me, and probably not you. So I thought I'd take it in a different direction.

My original intent was to start this blog over a year ago. I even saved the first few entries as a word file. Obviously, that didn't happen, but it's still interesting to go back and see what was going through my mind during the summer of 2012. Below is a letter I wrote to #MayorRahmEmanuel of Chicago about his poor management of #ChicagoPublicLibraries , #CPL. I also sent copies of the letter to the #ChicagoTribune, #TheChicagoSunTimes, and a couple of other local newspapers.

Dear Mayor Emanuel,

I love my Chicago Public Libraries. Usually it is very efficient and convenient, but it hasn't been lately.

Today I went on CPL's website to check the status of some books I had on hold. The website wasn't working so I went to my local branch, Lozano at 18th St. and Loomis. The book I wanted wasn't there. The poor librarian at the front desk couldn't help me at all because the system was down, and wouldn't be back up until Monday. I did end up checking out a few books, but I'm not even sure that they are properly checked out. The librarian was putting anything she could into Microsoft Word so that they could properly input the information later.

Along with the reduced hours that the libraries are now available, I find this unacceptable.

When the internet shuts down at my house, I call my provider and they fix it within twelve hours. I don't understand why this can't be resolved before Monday. If this was a planned shutdown we should have been notified. I'm on the CPL's website several times a week, and I did not see any such notification.

Libraries are a vital part of education, and a method of making each of our communities stronger. Making them less available weakens our communities, our city, our country, and our world.

Thank you for hearing me, a proud citizen from the south side of Chicago.

Sincerely, Jason J. Smith

The next one is a review of the #TotalRecall remake starring #ColinFarrell #KateBeckinsale and #JessicaBiel. It came out August 3rd, 2012, and I saw it opening day.

            Phillip K. Dick, Arnold, and Sharon Stone. Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel. Awesomeness. Explosions, car chases, amazing action sequences, hot men, and hotter women. When I shell out ten bucks for a summer blockbuster that’s all I want to see.
            Total Recall (2012) had all of that. Colin Farrell must have jumped out of five or six exploding buildings. The cars in the chases were all flying, sometimes upside-down. Colin and Kate’s fight scenes were spectacular, making me wonder why I haven’t seen all of the ‘Underworld’ movies. And who is hotter than Jessica Biel?
            If that’s all you’re looking for, you’re in luck. Your ten bucks was well worth it. But if you were looking for a truly great ‘flick’ when your ticket stub was torn, you probably are asking the same questions as I.
            How in the first forty minutes did they so completely run out of dialogue that the only memorable quotes were “Oh, shit.” I thought it might have been a catch-phrase at first, but after an hour it didn’t stop.
            If you’re going to stick to Dick’s story, and remake an already pretty good movie, what happened to Mars? That was a pretty big part of both the short, and the first version, and it barely had any relevance.
            That’s all you could do with John Cho? Seriously? As if no one saw Harold & Kumar. More importantly, he’s Sulu, for chrissake! Thirty seconds of blonde hair and a tiny little voice over at the end is not enough. If you wanted him in the movie, you should have had him in the movie. Otherwise, you’re spending money on cast that you could have spent on another writer who could come up with a little more than, “Oh, Shit”
            How come we got to see Colin Farrel with no shirt, (not that he isn’t a very hot man), and never really got to appreciate the ladies? Sure, we got Beckinsale in her panties for about five seconds at the beginning. But that was it. No love for Biel?
            And the most important question of all. Did this movie really need to be made at all?
Props to Bokeem Woodbine. His character was probably the coolest in the movie. John Cho is amazing but was completely unutilized as an actor. Whoever came up with the idea (*spoiler alert*) to put a tear on Jessica’s face instead of a bead of sweat on Bokeem’s forehead deserves a bowl of sherbet from my fridge (I don’t like to share.)

            The answer is no. Colin Farrell, while cool, is probably still less cool than Arnold. Beckinsale, and Biel, though really hot, are probably not as hot as Sharon Stone in her prime. And, ultimately, if you’re not really going to change the story, and you’re not going to add anything significant to the storytelling, you’re not really doing anything. So, my advice is wait until you can see it for cheap, or just rewatch the original. If you just enjoy the movies and a fun summer blockbuster, go for it. I do, and I still don’t regret it.

The last piece of throwback bloggery is a rant I made about some truly things #republicans were saying at the end of August, 2012. You'll probably remember the comments from #ToddAkin, former U.S Representative from Missouri, and #StaceyCampfield, Tennessee state senator. They were just too absurd to forget.

I am a 31 year old, African-American living on the south side of Chicago.  I was a member of the Michigan Black Republicans. My father is a Baptist minister living in Fort Wayne, IN. I am very proud of my ethnicity, my heritage, and my upbringing.

But some of you politically conservative and religious-right politicians have lost your minds.

Thank you, Todd Akin for telling us that female body can reject pregnancy in the case of rape. Thank you, Stacey Campfield for letting us know that AIDS can only be transmitted via homosexual interaction.

I won’t lie, I got my first D in freshman health class. But I’m pretty sure both of those topics were covered, and my teacher never said anything like that. A woman can become pregnant regardless of the circumstance of intercourse. AIDS, as a sexually transmitted disease, may be transmitted through any bodily fluid regardless of the sex of the participants. Maybe I’m not as smart as I suppose, but these are both pretty basic lessons in biology.

What were you thinking when you said that? Who on your staff let that one slip by, and when are they going to be fired?

I agree with the politically conservative, religious right wing on most cases. But right now, you’re just making me look bad.

Go ahead and make a stance. Defend my religious political views. But please don’t make me an asshole. I want you to represent me, not the other way around.

So that's how my first blog posts would have looked if I had started back in June of 2012, like I planned. Oh well. #LifeHappens. At least I finally got it going this year, even if my writing still isn't always up to the standard I usually set for myself.

Check me out tomorrow, as I review #EndersGame. I love the book, my wife loves the book, and tonight may very well be our second to last #DateNight before the baby comes and ruins all of our fun.Our last date night will probably be next week when we go see #ThorTheDarkWorld.