Festivus with Godzilla

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In the words of the great Frank Costanza, I’ve got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re going to hear about it. I say people, but I’m actually talking about a movie. I caught a Godzilla showing last Thursday, an hour before midnight. Knowing I had to wake up early for work the next day I still went to the screening. It’s Godzilla for goodness sake. As a boy raised by women, he was the male presence in my childhood. Well, him and Phil Harris. So it felt like an obligation to see this movie as soon as I could. *Sigh*. Let me make Frank proud and list my problems.

  • What the f*ck was up with Ken Watanabe?!

Seriously. Ken Watanabe has proven himself a capable actor. He’s been in some of my favorite films, hand picked by one of my favorite directors. He looked nauseous or sea sick throughout the whole film. Either that or he would just stare into the distance….even when he was on a submarine. It took me out of the film more times than I’d like to admit. The only worthwhile stare came when he dropped the “Let them fight” line. In a film with some atrocious acting (more on that soon) he was whatever the opposite of the “bees knees” is.

  • How dare you mishandle Bryan Cranston

Don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the film. It’s spoiler town. My gripe isn’t that they killed off Bryan Cranston’s character, but that they did it so soon. He was the only one the audience had a chance to connect with and you pulled his plug way too early. The two best (non-Godzilla) scenes in the film were when he lost his wife and when he was in the interrogation room. I had goosebumps twenty minutes into the film. Even worse, he was proven correct after all these years of being labeled as a conspiracy theorist, lunatic, whatever. I wanted so bad to see some sort of redemption. Then when you kill him off (perhaps directly from a Muto, not internal bleeding) the payoff would be so much better between him and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. You could have the whole “sorry I was obsessed with work and didn’t spend more time with you” father/son talk. For crying out loud when that army dude asks who Ken Watanabe needed, Watanabe pointed right at the injured Cranston. Man, was I pumped. Walter White working with Fake Ra’s Al Ghul. Next thing I know they’re zipping up his body bag. Ugh.

  • Not Aaron Taylor-Johnson or Elizabeth Olsen’s proudest moment

Elizabeth Olsen is so hot that I don’t care how useless she was in this film. She was there to scream and get wet in the rain. But ATJ was the bigger disappointment. Was it because he sounded exactly like Kick-Ass? What about his total lack of emotion in every scene, especially during his fathers death? Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge Aaron Taylor guy. Loved both Kick-Ass films and I didn’t hate him in Savages. Are they the only films I’ve watched that he’s in? Absolutely. Relevant? Most likely. I’ll admit he had to carry the bulk of the film considering Cranston’s death and the hoarding of Godzilla footage. Being the terrible writer that I am, I can only say he didn’t do it for me. It’s a bad sign that I would start dozing off whenever he came on screen (I’ll concede it was approaching 1 A.M.). When they make sequels I’m hopeful they use a new cast with each movie. Why would I want to follow his storyline into another film?

  • It’s the little things

So you have a nuclear bomb that makes the one from the 50’s look like a firecracker. It’s drifting to sea on a tug boat for five minutes. YET IT ONLY LEAVES A LITTLE BIT OF DUST ON A NAPPING GODZILLA. The Dark Knight Rises had a more believable nuclear explosion than this movie. Also, we have one guy who knows how to disable a bomb. Let’s throw him off this plane and hope we some how meet up. THEN, when we do get the bomb, we’ll let him out of our site so he can go burn the baby Mutos. I wasn’t buying the general’s belief that the monsters food source would be their demise. He should have listened to the only logical thing Watanabe said and let them fight. Clearly Godzilla just woke up to whoop some ass. He wasn’t purposely smashing buildings. He was just trying to get to those punk monsters and serve them justice. Sometimes I don’t understand the military.

 

Having said all of that, I absolutely loved this movie. I know, it’s hard to tell from all the bitching above, but I truly did. Gareth Edwards is the best at creating monsters. Godzilla looked…monstrous. He appeared to carry a swagger with him, like he knew he was the star of the film. The fight scenes (as few as there were) were worth the wait. We were able to see Godzilla use his two most iconic movies and he even did the “walk of fame” back into the sea at the end of the film. All of the things I pointed out above are miniscul problems that are fun to complain about with friends after viewing, but of no major consequence. Edwards nailed Godzilla. And that’s all that matters. Watanabe can stare for an hour straight in the sequel (I’m expecting it) but if we see another bodacious fight scene at the end it’ll all be worth it. This is the most I’ve ever complained about a film that I absolutely adored. Just forget I even said anything. And lets be honest, who wants to have the feats of strength with Godzilla?

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Silicon Valley – “Third Party Insourcing”

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As much as I love comedy it’s very rare for me to audibly laugh out loud. I’m talking really laugh out loud. Not chuckling or snickering, but full on laughter. The easy answer would be I’m lazy. I’m using energy to laugh, burning calories for goodness sake. It takes something special to make me crack-up. Safe to say last Sunday’s episode of Silicon Valley had something special and more.

The scene in question involved Erlich beating up some punk kid for picking on Richard. I’d suggest watching the episode for context, but you can even just YouTube it and still find it funny. It’s no secret how big a fan of T.J. Miller I am and that scene is exactly why. I guarantee that whole scene was Miller improving every line and movement. I’ve lost count of how many times I watched the episode this week, and for that part alone.

The focus of this episode though, is Richard and his lack of self confidence. The gang explores the idea of bringing in outside help (The Carver) to help them with Cloud. Richard takes that as them not believing in his abilities. He ends up letting “The Carver” do too much which leads to him blowing up their system or something. I’m terrible with technical jargon. Luckily, with the help of Adderall, every thing was fixed in the end. All in all I thought it was a great learning experience for Richard. He should know now that he has the full support of his guys. They know how smart and capable he is. More importantly, they trust him to the end.

Dinesh and Gilfoyle’s relationship just keeps getting better. Tara, Gilfoyle’s girlfriend, is in town, and apparently she has the hots for Dinesh. Dinesh spends the majority of the episode weighing the pros and cons of sleeping with Tara (there are quite a few more cons than pros). In the end it was obviously a prank (well, a joke when Gilfoyle was really high) on Dinesh. Another classic episode for the Pakistani Denzel.

Oh yeah, Jared gets abducted by one of Peter Gregory’s smart cars. It wasn’t funny. It was absolutely terrifying. I’m not joking. There’s a less than zero percent chance I ever use a smart car. Poor, poor Jared.

Funniest Quotes

“I pound mellow yellow, Oreos, and Adderral and I don’t sleep until I’m done.” – The Carver

“Decomposing. Oh, ohhh okay. That was dark.” – Jared after making an Amy Winehouse joke

“Jesus Christ man I can barely stand next to you when you’re in your towel.” – Dinesh when offered sex with Gilfoyle’s girlfriend

“You just brought piss to a shit fight you little cock!” – Erlich


 

God that last line brings me so much joy….and laughter. This show never lets me down. Can’t wait for the next episode. Oh wait…it’s on tonight. Sa-weet.

“Next One’s Coming Faster”: My Month With Justified

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“Truth always sounds like lies to a sinner.”

– Boyd Crowder

Is there a better feeling than enjoying something you’d never expect to have interest in? Whether it be a new band or singer, falling unexpectedly in love with a city, or becoming deeply invested in a TV show that focuses on a gunslinger from Kentucky.

Justified is the saga of Raylan Givens, who grew up in a family of criminals and because of that, became a U.S. Marshal. There is clearly outlaw blood in Raylan, and the beauty of the show is seeing him juggle his upholding of the law while fighting the urge to break it. His father Arlo was once one of the biggest criminals in Harlan County (as much a character in Justified as New Mexico was in Breaking Bad). Raylan and Arlo have the worst relationship I’ve ever seen between a parent and child. And this is coming from someone who has seen The Sopranos! The utter disgust Raylan shows for any and all fugitive is delicious to see, but yet intriguing at the same time because of how similar he is to them. And none more so than Boyd Crowder.

If Justified was an actual person, Boyd Crowder would be its heart (and maybe its cool hairdo). Played magnificently by Walter Goggins, Boyd has become Raylan’s ultimate adversary. They were best friends back when they worked in the coal mines together during their teens, only to take two wildly different paths. Raylan”s path has been pretty straight forward. Become a U.S. Marshal and uphold the law. Boyd has taken a much more interesting road. We meet him as a bomb loving, bank robbing neo-nazi, then witness him take up god and religion only a few episodes later. Boyd Crowder is the ultimate chameleon and you never know if what he’s preaching is genuinely him or a one over he’s trying to pull. As much as I enjoy Timothy Olyphant, it’s because of Walter Goggins and Boyd Crowder that people keep coming back.

This really is a show unlike many others in the golden age of television we seem to be living in. Each season is its own story. There’s a new “big bad” with ever new year, usually a one off storyline that get’s wrapped up nicely during the finale, and each season has its own distinct feel.

  1. Season 1 gave us mostly Raylan (and Boyd near the end) vs Papa Crowder and the Miami thugs. Still one of my favorite season finales of all time. Admittedly the beginning of the season was pretty weak. Justified tends to do episodes that have little side stories. A “case of the day” for Raylan and his U.S. Marshal co-workers. Normally I find these episodes to be tedious, reminding me of lesser television dramas from before HBO showed us what real television could be. But for Justified it works. Again, I would never expect to enjoy it, yet I can’t deny the appeal.
  2. The strongest of the show, Season 2 introduces us to the Bennet family. Mags Bennet (one of the deepest villains I’ve watched on television) and her sons were incredibly fun to watch. This season had Boyd changing once again, southern politics (absolutely loved the scenes with the mining company trying to take over the small town), and gave us the hilarious Dickie Bennet. Season 2 was also where I realized that this show was genuinely funny. Certainly the funniest drama I’ve ever seen (unless we count Louie as a drama).
  3. Ah. The fan favorite season. We meet two “big baddies” this season in Robert Quarles and Ellstin Limehouse. Both totally different and equally as captivating. Especially Robert Quarles. It doesn’t get much more charismatic than that guy. He wears his personality on his sleeve (insert spoiler arm pun here) and it’s a joy to watch. Quarles, the Detroit mob thug, tries to set up business in small town Harlan making enemies with every one from Raylan to Boyd to even Limehouse himself. It may not hold up to the pinnacle that is Season 2, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t fun.
  4. Season 4 is where I started to really respect the show. They took a major risk in changing the tone by making the whole season predicated on a mystery. You can feel the difference from the first episode. There are flashbacks, secret identities, unsolved murders from thirty years ago. It’s like they snorted a Twin Peaks drug. They may not have made perfection, but I give all the credit to the show runners for trying something different. Too many shows rehash the same ground and become stale (looking at you Sons of Anarchy).
  5. The latest season gave us the Crowe family. A Florida based group that moves up to Harlan because their cousin Dewey lives there. In reality, they’re just a watered down version of the Bennet clan. Unequivocally Justified’s worst season, but it all leads to what we’ve been waiting for. It sets up the sixth (and final) season to be a showdown between Raylan and Boyd.

The show certainly isn’t without its faults. There are quite a few plot holes I’ve had to roll my eyes at (why is a U.S. Marshal always in Harlan, Kentucky?!), the green screen usage is TERRIBLE, the show has trouble fleshing out side characters (specifically Tim and Rachael, Raylan’s U.S. Marshal co-workers), and as I’ve said before, the mini-story line’s in some episodes become tedious. But when it comes down to it, I don’t care. As long as Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder are on that screen, my eyes will be glued to it.

I don’t know why I took the chance on Justified. The western genre never totally appealed to me. Yes, I adored Deadwood, and that’s a huge reason why I gave this show a chance (I needed more Olyphant!), but other than that, gunslingers and outlaws never interested me. Southern culture in general disgusts me. It may be a generalization but I only think of guns and confederate flags when thinking of the southern states. As a liberal the show never appealed to me. Fortunately the show exposes the people of the south for what they are. Gun loving, simple minded, law breaking idiots. But also as caring, family oriented, community first, good people. I’ll never live south of Pennsylvania, but I’ll admit the show has softened my opinion of southern folk (while also confirming them).

It appears Season 6 will be the end of it all. I’m always in favor of shows that have an ending in mind. More importantly, we finally get the Raylan vs Boyd finish we’ve not so secretly been waiting for. Will Raylan catch (or kill) his white whale? Will fan favorite Boyd live on beyond the end of the series? Perhaps both of our main characters will meet the same, ugly fate. Of course, if we know one thing about Harlan, Kentucky it’s this…