The Walking Dead Mid-season Report

walking-dead-daryl-beth-season-4
Standard

The Walking Dead has made noticeable strides towards becoming a competent television drama. Carol has been turned into one of the shows most beloved characters, behind only Daryl and Rick (and arguably Glenn). It learned how to end conflicts fairly quickly. The group’s Terminus situation was wrapped up in three or four episodes. We also haven’t apparently seen the end of Morgan! Let’s hope he sticks around for a while.

Unfortunately, the finale took a minor step backwards. Instead of letting the story dictate what happens, the show runners decided to end the mid season finale with a bang. Literally, and figuratively. There was no reason Beth should have been killed in that situation. The deal was done. She was home free, mere minutes away from seeing her only living family member. Instead she decided to make an attempt on her “mentor”’s life. Dumb, dumb, so dumb. If I have anything positive to say about the scene, it’s how well acted it was by Rick and Daryl. That moment swiftly came to an end when you see Maggie start wildly screaming.

Lauren Cohan, while immensely attractive, is not a great actress. On top of that, I have no attachment towards her character. She didn’t bring up Beth once this whole season (or much of last season if I recall). Who really tunes in for the Glenn/Maggie relationship? Maybe it’s more authentic in the comics, but the show hasn’t done well by them. Whenever either of them are in danger I end up hoping for one, if not both, of their demises. Beth and Daryl had more chemistry towards the end, which is why Daryl’s reaction stung.

I’m sure most people are fine with the group going from spot to spot, foe to foe. But eventually you need to map out an end game. There has to be some background as to what the virus is. Otherwise why keep watching? To see what underdeveloped minor, POSSIBLY major, character will die during the season. The arc with D.C. was a good start, even if it Eugene’s confession came as a shock to no one.

The Walking Dead is a fine show. I respect the viewership numbers it brings in. I’m for any show that will gravitate the medium away from cop procedurals. Every Sunday I’ll watch, just don’t ask me to care.

Silicon Valley – “Proof of Concept”/”Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency”

richard_disrupty
Standard

This past Sunday left me traumatized to say the least. No. Not for the reason you’re thinking. I mean, yes, my favorite character in Game of Thrones did meet an unfortunate end. But the even bigger devastation was my new favorite comedy, Silicon Valley, ended its very successful first season.

I decided to combine both of the previous two episodes into one review. Richard and the gang spend the majority of both at the Techcrunch Disrupt event. Their first dilemma arises once Erlich admits to having sexual relations previously with a wife of a judge. Monica makes it pretty clear from the start: they need to win this event. Not come in second, not do “pretty well”, they need to win the whole shebang. Oh yeah, and Dinesh might be “code gay”.

The episode ends with Erlich getting assaulted by the judge (for sleeping with his second wife, no less) and Pied Piper is thankfully pushed to the finals. People will do anything to avoid a law suit. After witnessing Hooli’s impressive presentation, Richard realizes that their original concept is no match against their rivals. With only one day until their turn to present Pied Piper to hundreds of people, the guys (specifically Richard) figure out a whole new identity for their company. It only took a group conversation about…

…dicks. That’s right. You all know the scene I’m talking about. And if you don’t, it’s right here for your viewing pleasure.

Okay, so it’s a bit more than just dicks themselves. More so the pleasuring of the penis. You get it, you’ve watched it. Many consider it the funniest part of the series — I myself prefer the “You just brought piss to a shit fight” scene — but it’s undeniably one of their funniest.

In the end, Richard’s new system thing (again I’m tech challenged) is revealed to generate a 5.2 on the Weissman score. Investors are lining up to put their hard earned cash on the train that is Pied Piper. The guys won $50,000 that, according to the judge, “they certainly won’t be needing”. And Monica seems to actually be interested in Richard. You could say his life is pretty good. Until that is, Monica lists all the upcoming, “exciting” future developments he has to look forward to.

Overall this has been my favorite first season of a comedy since “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. Truthfully, I enjoyed it more than the adventures of Dennis and company. Does any one else feel like each actor found their home with this show? Martin Starr has perfected his character from Party Down. Kumail (not spelling his last name) makes it seem like he was born to play Dinesh, the stand out of the show. This most definitely applies to Zach Woods, who, it seems for the first time, isn’t playing an unlikeable guy who has a stick up his behind. Thomas Middleditch is Richard Hendrix, and I’m pretty sure they unleashed the kraken when it comes to T.J. Miller.

My expectations are incredibly high going into future seasons. The loss of Christopher Evan Welch is huge. Especially since Monica claimed Peter Gregory would be more “hands on” from now on. I’m in the camp who thinks Peter Gregory should sell his stock in Pied Piper to another billionaire. Even if you have to lose Monica or just have her solely be a romantic interest. Please don’t recast him. Welch put too much of an imprint on that character, even in so little screen time.

What I want most from this show when it’s all said and done is to see a Richard versus Erlich showdown. That’s what I need to see during the last season. As funny as this show is they have an appealing story line. Gavin Henry is still going to try to compete with Richard. People will sue his company for stealing their idea (Facebook disease). But the interview at the end of the episode was what stuck with me. Erlich says, “Richard wrote the code yes, but the inspiration was clear”. And then goes on to ask how many dicks the reporter could jerk off. But the future is there in that quote. Yeah, maybe that’s Erlich being Erlich, but I’m not so sure. He has a valid point. He got them to the finals (not intentionally obviously but still. In his words “I had to fuck a wife and take a punch”) and his dick crack was the inspiration Richard needed.

Whatever Mike Judge and the rest of the crew decide I’ll be on board. One season was all they needed to hook this fish. What can I say, I’m easy prey.

Some Thoughts

  • The dick joke scene deserves all the attention it received, but this was my favorite scene of the finale http://gfycat.com/DapperGlitteringAustralianfreshwatercrocodile#?format=gif
  • Is there a single person out there who likes Big Head? He had his moments in the beginning of the season, but man does he just…suck.
  • David Wallace from The Office shows up in the finale. That is Office alum number two by my count. (Jared being the first)
  • Apparently Mike Judge got Stanford involved for the dick joke scene

  • Heartfelt little tribute at the end credits for Welch. Really going to miss him.
  • I heard more than a few people bash the Green Day at the end of the finale. Three words. “How dare them”

Funny Quotes

  • That might be the last time we see him alive – Dinesh
  • Which one? Which one? Which one? – Jared
  • I set them up for ya, now knock them down. – Erlich after announcing Richard
  • We have the speed, we have the features, and we have….Shakira! – Gavin
  • Do you have any wind machines? I’m going to need two of those. – Erlich

It’s been a wild ride. I’ll certainly miss this bunch. I’m glad I gave this show a chance and I hope you all did too. It’s worth trying the eight episodes out. They’re so short that you won’t be wasting much of your life. And chances are, you’ll love it. If not I’ll fight you. Make sure you don’t bring piss to a shit fight.

The Raid 2 – The Best Day of this Bloggers Life

Raid-2-Hammer-Bat
Standard

For the first time in over a decade I got my ass kicked. Physically, mentally, emotionally I was assaulted. Sometimes it was with a bat (or a hammer). Other times with knives of various lengths. But for the duration of the 2 hour and 30 minute beat down, the weapon of choice was our very own flesh and bones. Well, by ours I mean all the actors in the absurdly good sequel to “The Raid: Redemption”.

If you haven’t seen the first one, I’m begging you to give it a chance. I’ll even pray if you want me to (for all the good it’ll do). Especially if you like non stop action movies. After the first 10 minutes of the first movie it’s fight after fight after fight. That’s an hour and a half of hardcore ass kicking. We are introduced to the best martial artist since Jackie Chan in Iko Uwais (no disrespect to Tony Jaa. All disrespect to Jet Li). We also meet probably my favorite villain of any movie, ever. Did you just hear me? My favorite villain of all time! This coming from a guy who cried and walked out of a college class after Heath Ledger died. “The Raid: Redemption” was the best action movie I’d ever seen. Was. Until about 12:30 PT on Sunday April 13th 2014. That was the moment I witnessed the greatest action movie of my generation, “The Raid 2”.

I know how high I’ve made your expectations. Believe me I’m well aware. The thing is….I don’t care. It’s so rare we see a sequel better than the original. Hell, we hardly ever get a decent sequel. This movie is easily in the starting five of “best sequels ever” lineup.

  • The Godfather 2
  • The Dark Knight
  • Terminator 2
  • Mighty Ducks 2
  • The Raid 2

The fact that this movie was two and a half hours and I never ONCE felt restless says a whole lot. I honestly wanted more when the credits appeared. We were treated to more Rama, more bad ass henchmen (two of which are pictured at the top), and even a Terminator 2 storyline (where the bad guy from the first one is now a good guy). “The Raid 2” gives viewers everything we wanted from a sequel. It’s like the director could read our minds. Let me stop myself there. This man needs to be given credit. He’s edited, written, and directed BOTH of these movies. All himself. Hey Hollywood, how about we give Gareth Evans a summer blockbuster already? Frankly, I don’t care what you give him, just give him something. Anything.

When it comes to criticisms of this flick I’ll only allow one. Subtitles. Personally, I don’t mind them at all. They didn’t stop me from loving “Pan’s Labyrinth”. The original Hunger Games, “Battle Royale”, is still lovably gruesome. And this might still be the best action movie ever if you mute it. But subtitles aren’t for everyone. I just can’t do 3D. Even for films where they are designed for that specific purpose (Avatar I’m looking at you). I’d still rather watch it in regular 2D. Just a personal preference. So I’ll give you the subtitle argument if you want to nit pick. But that’s as far as I’ll go.

That’s all I’m writing on this movie (I told myself I’d write nothing at all) because I just cannot do it justice. All I’m doing is gushing. And probably to the films detriment. Action movies pretty much raised me. That doesn’t make me a savant, but I sure as hell appreciate the good ones. And I’ll go to war over the great ones. I’ve seen them all folks. From the martial arts icons (Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa), to our 80s gods (Arnold, Stallone, Willis, Van Damme. You’re van damme right I said Van Damme), the next generation (Keanu, Damon, Cage, Cruise, Crowe, etc) and even now to our current stars (Neeson, superhero flicks, Expendables, everyone in Fast Five). None of their movies compared. All of them I loved. But I’ve never been so satisfied after an ass kicking than after seeing The Raid 2.

As I was writing this I saw Tony Jaa will be appearing in the third installment of the franchise. Holy. Fuck.

I Am Not A Young Adult Killer…Hater

trilogy_dan_wells1
Standard

The Hunger Games. Enders Game. Harry Potter. What do all of these books have in common you ask? At various points of my life, I’ve mocked others for reading them because they were YA. Up on Shadowfax, my high horse, I looked down at every one who read them. Or similar books in the genre. But I can happily say I am not one of those snobs anymore. And the enjoyment I got from reading “I Am Not A Serial Killer” and “Mr. Monster” is confirmation on the matter.

I still haven’t read the final book in Dan Wells trilogy, ” I Don’t Want to Kill You”, but I’m pretty close to spending full price at the local Barnes and Noble. Ridiculous, I know. But books will do that sometimes. Just like women. Lead you to make rash decisions. And it’s not just any book that’s doing this to me, it’s a Young Adult book. I’m 25 YEARS OLD. I lose my parents health insurance in under a year, that’s some Regular Adult shit right there. I feel like a pervert reading this stuff, right? Wrong. No need to lend me that copy of “Crime and Punishment”. I don’t want it.

Looking back on it, I was a huge hypocrite for teasing my friends. Secretly, I wanted to read The Hunger Games. For nothing else but to see what all the fuss was about. I’m like a conservative christian. All you hear me do is preach family values and how marriage is between a man and woman. A few months pass and you find me with a guy. Or a prostitute. Sometimes it’s a guy prostitute! In my mind, I was no better than any of them (the politicians. Not the prostitutes.).

All I ever hear is how we don’t read anymore. Specifically when it comes to literature (you know, not counting websites, wikipedia, tweets, etc). I don’t think that’s true. I’d argue that more people are reading now more than ever. And I think Young Adult books have everything to do with that. Just look at “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games”. What books in the 60s, 70s, 80s, had a following like they do? Maybe Stephen King? Maybe. But highly unlikely. Millions of people read these books. The summer blockbusters they make certainly don’t hurt their causes. I’m not going to argue about their content. Some will say it’s garbage, and maybe so. But I don’t care. I’m more interested in how many readers they are breeding. You ever realize how hard it is to make friends in a new area? Well, it’s twice as hard to find someone who reads. Oh, and to find someone who reads fiction? A billion times as hard.

Dan Wells books aren’t much different from any other Young Adult novels. The protagonist is a 16 year old boy who is fascinated with serial killers. Deep inside him he has the urge to become what he loves. And he knows it. Luckily for every one else, he has a strict set of rules he follows to prevent himself from succumbing to these urges. Until one day a dead body shows up in his small town. Then another one. And another. Apparently there’s a real serial killer in his small town. What if the only way to stop him is to let out the hidden serial killer out? Sure, they have some of the same tropes as other YA books. No cursing, no sex, poorly written females (not a case for all of them, but many that I’ve read), not much gore (and this is a book about serial killing). But it’s addicting. And it makes me want to read more. More of this series. More from this author. More reading in general.

The Young Adult genre is like a gateway drug. “Harry Potter” was the marijuana that lead me to Tolkiens cocaine. They help lead you, not to better, but more reading.

It wasn’t this series that made me a changed man. But it compelled me to write about my past as a “Young Adult Snob”. There will be book snobs no matter what. “Ugh, you read Stephen King? He’s a hack”. “I only read non-fiction. Sorry I like to learn something when I’m reading”. “The Hunger Games?! Dude my 6th grade sister reads that. Doosh alert!”. They’ll always be there. I’m just happy to officially call myself “snob free”. Well, unless you don’t read books at all that is….