If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Week(s) In TV - 10/20/14

So I missed a week. Oops. Consider this a two-week summary (any more procrastination and it'd be a three-week summary). Instead of listing them based on the day they aired, I thought I'd rank the shows in general order of awesomeness.

How to Get Away with Murder: The show has really grabbed me. I'm glad I gave it a second chance after the first episode. It's a wild ride with mostly interesting characters. Viola Davis is, not unexpectedly, tremendous, especially at the end of the third episode a week ago.

American Horror Story: Freak Show: I find it a cross between the more sinister, darker Asylum and the more campy Coven. Jupiter, Florida in 1952 is a very strange place. I'm loving the musical numbers (of contemporary songs, not songs from the time period!) and the Baltimore accent employed by Kathy Bates as the bearded lady. (Also, if anyone wants to gift me with a DVD set of Season One, which I have yet to see...)

Arrow/The Flash: I'm combining these because they're practically the same show. Same co-creators, same format featuring current events explained/enlightened by flashbacks, both shows feature the titular hero and his support team. And, of course, Barry "The Flash" Allen was introduced in Arrow last season. There are plenty of differences as well, though. Arrow, while based on a comic book, is a little darker and more grounded in something close to reality. The Flash is more obviously of the genre, but it also makes room for a little more humor.

Scandal: I'm still on board with a lot of this, but I'm starting to tire of the Olivia/Fitz drama. If you're not going to put them together as an actual couple once and for all, and I guess it's impossible -- even on this show -- for a sitting U.S. President to divorce his wife and marry his mistress, then just put this romance far, far away for a while.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I read an article somewhere which stated that it feels like this season's show will influence events in future Marvel films, unlike last season, when events in the Captain America sequel turned this series around. Of course, if the ratings aren't up to snuff, then there will be no more influencing in either direction.

The Big Bang Theory: Still solid and reliable, but at the same time it's a bit formulaic. For example, there are episodes in which the guys and girls go their separate ways -- in the case of last week's show it was the girls in Vegas while their men were at home being their usual geeky selves.

Bones: Again, kinda formulaic, although they're not above a bit of Law and Order-style headline-ripping. Or tweaking, in the case of the episode where the "corpse du jour" turned out to be an overweight right-wing radio talk show host who, it was said, didn't believe any of the conservative stuff he said but only said it because the ratings were so big. Sound like anyone you know?

The Simpsons: The 25th Treehouse of Horror special was on Sunday. Not bad, but for me the best part of it was the end of the final segment. That segment featured the Simpsons' house being haunted by the ghosts of their original selves -- from the crudely-drawn shorts on the Tracey Ullman Show. Then, under various circumstances, the current Simpsons die and become ghosts. Lisa then wonders if there can be other versions of their family, and a string of alterna-Simpsons suddenly line up at the door, including the LEGO Simpsons from last season and Simpsons looking like characters from South Park, anime shows (Maggie as Pikachu), Archer...and the minions from Despicable Me!

Gotham: I still can't figure out why I haven't stopped watching this mess. I feel like this could be such a brilliant show but they've made so many missteps. Too many characters, plotlines that are either predictable or ridiculous (or both), some bad acting...but this kid playing the young Bruce Wayne is excellent. I'm still undecided about continuing with this show.

Family Guy: Meh. Also, one week the show was a rerun for some reason. The new TV season is a month old and already there's a rerun?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Quick Review: Gone Girl

Okay, so I slipped away from blogging again for a few days. I actually saw Gone Girl two weeks ago. Heavily hyped, I managed to avoid spoilers before seeing it. Sometimes I don't actually mind spoilers, but in this case I really wanted to be surprised. It's the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) who comes home on the day of his fifth anniversary to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing. After he reports this to the police the investigation (with the help of a media frenzy) tilts towards him as a suspect in his wife's disappearance. Although I figured out a primary part of the mystery quickly, the details and subsequent events proved quite twisty, right up to the end -- which, as the final scene faded to black and the credits began, led at least three people in the theater to yell things like "THAT'S IT?" and "WHAT THE...!" I was not one of them. I enjoy an unconventional ending, as long as it's not so far-fetched or really stupid. This one? Definitely not how I would react if I were in Nick's place, but not too far...gone. (Pun intended.) My grade: A-minus.

P.S. I was watching very closely during the moment where reports indicated Ben Affleck's junk is supposedly onscreen. If it was, I missed it. I'll wait for someone to screengrab it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WHAT THE HELL...Philly Gay News

So this happened...



This is just...shoddy. I shared that first Facebook post with the comment "Wow. Happy but very surprised. VERY surprised." I should have known by the 193-0 "margin." Anyway, I wanted to mention it on Twitter and that's when I saw this:


(You should follow Josh on Twitter, BTW.) When I returned to Facebook I saw the correction. Obviously it's good that they corrected it, but I have so many questions. How on earth did this information get posted in the first place? Who gave them the incorrect information? Who received it? Did NO ONE check to make sure it was legit before they rushed to post it? Whatever happened to journalism? (Okay, that last question I've been asking for years.)

So, yeah, Philadelphia Gay News, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?????

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Week In TV - 10/5/14

Well, Dallas was canceled by TNT. It seems that once J.R. was gone, so were the ratings. That will make my Mondays a little easier in the future. As for this most recent week, let's start with...

Gotham: I saw enough improvement from the pilot to keep it on my watch list, at least for now. I can do without Jada Pinkett Smith as a new character, Fish Mooney. But on the other hand, Carol Kane guest-starred as Oswald Cobblepot's mother. She would have easily fit into one of the Tim Burton "Batman" movies.

The Big Bang Theory: Silliness as Wolowitz (who spent some time on the International Space Station a while back) was asked by NASA to throw out the first pitch at an Angels game. His athletic ability adding up to zero, he uses a replica of the Mars rover to deliver the first pitch. It goes very, very slowly. That, and giving him a microphone to address the crowd, made the entire storyline ridiculous.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: I want to see where they're going with the mystery of Skye's parentage. It appears she'll be meeting her father soon. Maybe she'll get a last name out of it and we'll know her as something other than "Skye."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Week In TV - 9/28/14

Remember how I used to post about which comic books I bought every week, with comments about each book (or comics in general, or whatever else I decided was sort of related to them)? Well, I don't buy nearly as many comics as I used to (go back and read about my issues with the DC comics reboot that led to Superman's using his baby blanket as a cape). So, I thought I'd try something new: commentary on the TV shows I watch each week.

This is in part inspired by what a big week this was for my personal TV viewing, which I will get to. First, though, this won't be about my regular Monday-through-Friday shows -- consisting of the brilliant Keith Olbermann on ESPN2 and, of course, TMZ -- unless something in particular during those shows that I think needs attention. Nor will this be about telecasts of sporting events, again unless I feel it's warranted. So we'll start with the programs that aired between September 21 and 28. (I didn't necessarily watch them in their time slot. I usually DVR everything and skip through the commercials. Also, I hope future posts won't be as long as this one is turning out to be.)

Last Monday started with, thanks to the magic of DVR, two episodes of The Big Bang Theory on CBS, the two-hour third-season finale of Dallas on TNT and the premiere of the new series Gotham on Fox.

Big Bang has been on so long now that I'm sort of waiting for the dropoff in quality. Not sure it's happened yet, because they've been able to have the characters grow out of their established personas. It's very slow, but just enough (such as Raj finally being able to talk to women without alcohol) to keep them interesting. So we'll see. (Note: it's on Monday for a few weeks due to CBS showing some NFL games on Thursdays.)

The Dallas reboot has been surprising since the start. Although ostensibly starring the sons of J.R. and Bobby Ewing, so much of the show has featured the old cast, and killing off J.R. (necessitated as it was by Larry Hagman's passing) led to some of the best television of 2013. Season three ended with a shocking death, although the shock was lessened by the fact that it happened at the very end of the episode and was hyped by TNT: "One...Ewing...Will...Die." Better to kill the character in the middle so it's truly unexpected.

I had tremendous expectations for Gotham, the Batman series without Batman.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Boycott the NFL? What Says Lurie? Philly Media Asleep?

I've been increasingly disgusted with the NFL lately. Although I love football, the NFL and I have issues, such as their overreaction in stadium security which won't let me carry my little drawstring bag* with my phone charger, reading material for the subway/El, etc. into the Linc -- if I even actually got an Eagles ticket, which I can't afford anyway. And their claim that they want to make the game safer and reduce or prevent serious injuries, particularly head injuries, is completely at cross-purposes with their insistence that there be weekly Thursday night games, as well as their consideration of future expansion of the regular season from 16 to 18 games.

But that's nothing compared to the initial outrage over the pathetic two-game suspension originally given Ray Rice by commissioner Roger Goodell, and the league's response to the punishment's total inadequacy (especially when compared with longer bans given players who committed the horrible crime of smoking pot), followed by the responses of Goodell, the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens once TMZ acquired the video of Rice viciously punching his then-fiancee, now-wife in the elevator at the newly-defunct Revel Casino in Atlantic City, followed by the league's totally inadequate responses to domestic violence caused by other players (you MUST read this).

And on top of all that came the news that Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was charged with child abuse, after beating his four-year-old son with a tree branch until the child bled. For those who somehow think there's nothing wrong with such discipline, think about it. Pause on these words, stare at them for a minute or two until it sinks in: HE BEAT HIS CHILD AND DREW BLOOD. HE MADE A FOUR-YEAR-OLD BLEED!

That was followed by the Vikings' flip-flops on whether he should be allowed to play, deactivating him for one game, then announcing that he would be reinstated, then reversing course after team and league sponsors began distancing themselves from this mess.

And then came today (technically yesterday, since this won't be finished until after midnight).

Monday, September 15, 2014

WHAT THE HELL...Urban Outfitters

Really, Urban Outfitters? Trying to sell a "Vintage Kent State sweatshirt" with fake blood spatters and, after immediate outrage caused them to pull the product, claiming it was never intended to allude to the 1970 shootings by the Ohio National Guard on the Kent State campus, killing four people? Seriously? One, trying to sell it to begin with? Two, thinking anyone would believe this bullshit denial? Three, $129.00?


ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE FUCKING DOLLARS FOR A FUCKING SWEATSHIRT????

Urban Outfitters, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU????

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quick Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

I really need to see more movies. (That would cost money, which I can't really spare in large amounts for movies right now. Help.) Almost half of the movies I've managed to see this year involve Marvel Comics characters. The most recent, Guardians of the Galaxy, presented a dilemma  It's one thing for me to see movies featuring Spider-Man, X-Men and Captain America. I'm at least somewhat familiar with the characters, even if I didn't read their comics. The Guardians of the Galaxy, on the other hand? Never heard of them. And I wasn't that impressed by the trailers.

Fortunately, it was a good movie. Solid, not especially brilliant, mainly due to a pedestrian story that, despite its characters being quite different than typical superheroes, still fits neatly into the Marvel movie formula. However, Chris Pratt was a great fit for the role of Peter "Star-Lord" Quill, abducted from Earth as a child who eventually ends up as head Guardian. And, as we're all aware by now, he buffed up for the role. I can never disapprove of that. My grade: B.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dilworth Park, The Councilman and I

If you follow me on Twitter you know that, besides the various things I get obsessed with (#EverySimpsonsEver) or angry about (#FireRuben), I can also get silly and snarky. However, I can also be quite sincere.

Let's face it: there are lots of problems, here and around the world. Members of Congress (especially Republicans). The Pennsylvania state legislature (ditto). The worst PA governor in my lifetime, who thankfully seems to be on track to be the first one-term governor of the state in over 40 years. The lack of funding for public education, especially in Philadelphia (see above re: PA governor and legislature).

The economic "recovery" in which so many people still struggle because the minimum wage isn't nearly high enough and huge corporations have seemingly every advantage thanks to the aforementioned Republicans and their servants on the Supreme Court. The health care system, slightly improved by the Affordable Care Act but still wildly inadequate and too expensive (just ask my friend Kurt, and while you're at it could you sign his petition, and maybe make a donation to help him get his new laptop? Thanks.)

The moronic fight against immigration reforms. The increasing havoc that climate change is having on our planet. Russia's efforts to take over Ukraine. Everything going on in the Middle East. And hey, did anyone #BringBackOurGirls or find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 yet?

Yet, as pessimistic as I can be about, well, everything, I also realize there are still good things happening. For example, there was another victory this week in the effort to make Philadelphia a nicer, greener, more lively and fun city. Already we've seen success on the Delaware River waterfront with the Race Street Pier. This summer brought the (seasonal) Spruce Street Harbor Park (with the hammocks!) and the (permanent) Washington Avenue Pier. And yesterday, Dilworth Park opened.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WTHIWWY: Cee Lo Green

Cee Lo Green
Let me see if I understand what you're saying, Cee Lo Green. So if a man sexually assaults an unconscious woman it's not rape because if the woman isn't awake to say "no" that's the same as giving consent? Really? Is that what you're saying, Cee Lo? You seriously think you can drug a woman in order to have sex with her?

And now your "reality" show's been canceled; whether it was because you're a pig or because of lousy ratings is possibly subject to debate. (Hey, NBC, can we kick the pig off "The Voice" permanently as well?)

Cee Lo Green, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU???