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Showing posts from 2020

Occasional Media Consumption: Man of Steel (2013)

Every so often, there's a movie where I watch it and think, "that was pretty bad", and then time goes by, and I see other people talking about it, and so I watch it again, thinking I was too harsh on it, and after watching it again, I think "not only was that movie bad, it was worse than I remember". I try very hard not to hate-watch anything, movies or TV or whatever, because that's a waste of time, energy, and emotion. My expectation was that my first reading of this film was overblown, that my reaction to it was as an outsider, someone who didn't know the depth and breadth of the Clark Kent / Kal-El story, and who couldn't appreciate the subtleties or easter eggs or whatever. But in the intervening years, I've read a bunch of DC comics, and many of them Superman comics. And I've come to a conclusion upon rewatching this movie, one that surprised me given the budget, the cast, and the story being told.Rarely has any movie so misunderstood …

Occasional Media Consumption: Justice League (2017)

So let's get this out of the way first: this movie is bad. I mean, it's bad. And not in the way that most superhero movies are bad, though it is bad in that way too: inconsistent characterizations, lack of understanding of motivations, weirdly-shot fight scenes, dodgy use of CG, etc. I mean, it is bad in all of these ways too, especially the whole thing where they digitally removed a mustache from Henry Cavill, who's honestly doing his best with a bad script and a character he's fundamentally unsuited to play. Gail Godot, in an iconic roll for her, suddenly shoved out of the way to make room for (also fundamentally-miscast) Ben Affleck's the Batman and Cavill's Superman, And Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller trying to introduce characters that honestly deserve their own movies. Jason Momoa's Aquaman got his own movie, but as far as I can tell he's just stepped into this one from a whole different universe and is basically pretending to live in the grim-n-gritt…

Occasional Media Consumption: The Family

Mobster Movies are effectively their own genre. They run the gamut, from comedies like Mickey Blue Eyes to dramas like Miller’s Crossing, but they are almost always about bad people doing bad things in somewhat sympathetic ways. They are also almost always about guys doing guy things with guy people in guy ways; to say that mobster movies are made with testosterone the same way that they are made with film would not be entirely hyperbole. Despite having seen many, many many of these, I’m not exactly a fan of the genre; the films are almost entirely too sexist for me to enjoy even as a satire. Which is one of the reasons I liked The Family so much: the women are strong, intelligent, involved, and agents in their own right. 


It’s clear right from the beginning that The Family is about exactly what it says on the tin: a group of people tied together by blood and love and the experience of being alone in the world together, and relying on one another in just the way you do when you’re part…

Verbs, not Nouns

There's a bunch of videos going around right now, of white people exercising their power in a supremacist environment to ensure and protect their supremacy, and either killing or trying to kill black people. This isn't new, by the bye. White people have been executing, or trying to execute, black people since basically 1500 or so, and Americans (and that little appellation is deserving of its own rant, at some other time) have been doing it since at least 1600. I'm not particularly interested in watching or sharing a snuff film (or an attempted-murder film) so I won't be linking them here, but there are a LOT of people up in arms about the fact that the perpetrators of this violence are suffering from the consequences of their actions including losing their jobs, which some folk seem to think is an overreaction. 'I know these people, they aren't racist!' says Yet Another White Supremacist, and here's the thing: they're probably not actually wrong. 
G…

Money and Happiness as a fungible resource

Money really does buy happiness. Anyone who tells you differently has a vested interest in keeping you poor, unhappy, or both. I know this because I grew up on the ragged edge of poor, and then backed my way into a career in IT, which is where the modern world keeps all the money that isn't in Finance. So I am one of the extreme minority of Generation X that actually had an adulthood that was markedly more financially stable than my parents. And let me tell you: money really does buy happiness.
To be clear: at 45 years old, I'm now in a relationship and a period of my life where our household is effectively double-income, no kids. I live in the city, but I own a house, and can only afford to do that because of our combined income. We also have two cars -- one new, one used (though neither of them is getting driven very much these days) -- and we have a small discretionary budget every month for things like videogames, books, and the like. What my brother used to call DAM -- Dic…

Occasional Media Consumption: The Good Place (Spoiler Free)

"When we look at the ocean, we see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer lasting or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, the wave also lives the life of water. It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water."-- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddah's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
The elevator pitch for this show, according the showrunner and writer Mike Schur, was "dead people read philosophy". Which is a hell of an elevator pitch for a 22-minute, multi-camera network TV sitcom. Then again, Mike Schur also created the US version of the Office, Parks & Rec, and Brooklyn 99, all of which are shows that are smarter than their premises would seem to indicate. So someone somewhere was willing to take a risk on the show, which…

The Trap That Is Twitter

I can no longer believe that the people who run and work and make decisions about Twitter are ignorant, or misguided. At this point the only explanation is that they are deliberately fomenting abuse and division within the userbase as a tactic. Were it not for my friends and professional connections, I'd quit twitter in a heartbeat. If I could find another way to connect with those whom I enjoy connecting with, I would, because that is the only thing that keeps me here. It's not clear to me how much longer that will be true. It's become exceedingly clear to me that Twitter is toxic along several different axes, and I'm rapidly getting to the point where the toxicity outweighs the positive interactions. Which is a shame. The original thing that drew me to Twitter was the ability to connect with a wildly diverse number of voices, some of which I knew, some of which I admired, and many of which I envied in one way or another. Then, later, I became exceedingly conscious of…