R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman @chadwickboseman #42 #BlackPanther #MCU #RIP

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He died on Jackie Robinson (#42) Day and Jack Kirby’s birthday. Here are three great scenes from his three biggest roles.

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Jarvis from Endgame #movie #MCU @PaulBettany

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Case and point:

Bettany-Jarvis
It’s true.

Fight me, unless you’re IQ is over 50, in which case you know I’m right.

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Dysfunctional to Functional Family: Tony Stark, Obadiah Stane, Spiderman, and Morgan Stark @ComicBook @BrandonDavisBD @Rowaenthe @TheJeffBridges @RobertDowneyJr #IronMan #QuarantineWatchParty #MCU #Spiderman

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June 30 was the first ComicBook.com quarantine watch party in quite some time. As always, I made a few more Twitter connections through the conversations that came from it. These conversations inspired three posts for my blog, this being the first one.

My posts aren’t about getting clicks. If no one read any of my posts, I wouldn’t really care. Writing them is more about catharsis than fame. Moreover, I’m no film student, psychologist, or sociologist, so I can’t break down the science of movie-making or human behavior. Instead, these posts are about analyzing the themes used within the movies due to my personal connection to their messages (accordingly, YMMV). As a result, my favorite posts have been about Nebula’s Redemption, my comparison of Shazam! and Guardians of the Galaxy, and others dealing with a particular theme. That theme is realizing and accepting that your idealized vision of family is complete nonsense, breaking away from those abusive relationships, and appreciating the family you didn’t realize was in front of you the whole time (though for me personally, the third has been elusive). Not everyone has these experiences, but it’s a recurring theme in superhero movies. I never considered that the first Iron Man movie implicitly raised issues related to this theme.

Father Figure

Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) father died, and then Tony disappeared for a while. This isn’t surprising considering how self-absorbed he is, but when he returned to Stark Industries, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) must have served as a father-figure for him. Before I go forward, I want to mention . . .

Tony didn’t show as much respect for Obadiah as you would want to see from your own child, but Tony didn’t ever show much respect for any authority figure, so it’s still fair to assume Obadiah acted as an adoptive father to him. That is, Obadiah wasn’t merely a coworker, boss, or even family friend. Assuming that, it must have been absolutely devastating for Tony when he realized Obadiah had called for his removal from the company, and even worse, his death. That betrayal would hold back Tony’s growth, which became a slow burn throughout the Infinity War saga. It helps make Tony’s grief over Black Widow’s death as believable as that of any other character despite his never overtly expressing that grief or deep feelings for her. It wasn’t until the first Avengers that Tony showed a willingness to “lay down on a wire” for his allies, but his ego made sure that no one would forget that. Somehow, it was still about him . . . until he started to understand fatherhood in Captain America: Civil War.

Peter Parker and Morgan Stark

In Civil War, Tony latched onto Peter Parker/Spiderman. At first, he was looking for a little more firepower to take down Team Cap ®©TM℗SM, but by Infinity War it was clear he had a genuine emotional attachment to Peter.

By Avengers: Endgame, he was devastated because he “lost the kid,” but he got a second chance in that film. Tony’s life became about Pepper and their daughter, Morgan. He was reluctant to restore the Vanished because doing so threatened what he had finally found after a lifetime of searching, even if it meant giving up on his filial figure, Peter.

Tony’s progression from self-absorbed brat to the guy who’d “make the sacrifice play” was 22 movies long probably because of Obadiah more than anything else we saw, but Tony made it there, and that wound up saving half the universe.

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Meh Watch: F Is for Family, Part II @billburr @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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F Is for Family is the R-rated brainchild of my favorite active comedian, Bill Burr. The fourth season dropped to Netfilx on June 12, 2020. It’s a sitcom about middle-class, suburban America in the 70s, and as I’ve discussed, I relate quite a bit to the show.

In that prior post, I mentioned that the yelling and complaining of the father, Frank, began to grate on me. It was even worse in season 4, so much so that, despite some genuinely funny moments, and a tear-jerker of an ending, I didn’t really enjoy it. I was laughing out loud at several points; it’s just that what stuck with me the most was how annoying Frank had become. A character can’t completely screw up for 9.8 episodes of a 10-episode season, even while specifically trying to fix his issues, without it bring down the viewing experience. The yelling and complaining continued to get less funny and more annoying. Considering he’s the center of the show, that’s not likely going to change. What’s weird is that it didn’t bother me for the first 2-1/2 seasons, and I’m not sure if that’s because it got worse or got old. Either way, I’m afraid the show has jumped the shark, but the ending of the season makes it clear that there’ll be a season 5.

Fortunately for Mr. Burr, fans like me will always watch it because there’s always a chance it will turn into the funniest thing I’ve seen in years.

Regardless of how I feel about it now, the first three seasons were certainly worth my while. As always, YMMV.

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Guilty Pleasure: Priest @Paul_Bettany @KarlUrban @MaggieQ @lilycollins @CamGigandet @netflix #GuiltyPleasure #QuarantineLife #priest

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Over on Rotten Tomatoes, Priest earned scores of 15 from the critics and 46 from the audience. Not many liked it. I bet some the actors I copied will not be happy I did.

The 2011 movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth in which warrior-priests are the first line of defense against a race of vampires. While there are similarities — fangs, superior senses, vulnerability to sunlight — these vampires are different from what we see in other media. They’re barely even humanoid. The critics criticized the movie as just trying to throw a bunch of pop-culture elements together in a way that hasn’t been done, and it created a mess. You may criticize its execution, but trying to carve a novel path isn’t something deserving of such criticism. I won’t hold that against them. By no means do I like this one as much as many of the other guilty pleasures about which I’ve written, but it’s okay.

This movie is nothing more than a shoot-em-up, and sometimes thats all I want to see.

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Good Watch: F Is for Family @billburr @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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F Is for Family is the R-rated brainchild of my favorite active comedian, Bill Burr. There are currently three seasons posted on Netfilx, with the fourth set to be released on June 12, 2020. It’s a sitcom about middle-class, suburban America in the 70s.

Mr. Burr isn’t even a month younger than I, so he’s writing a story that I’ve lived as well, and thus is something to which I relate. There are other parallels to my personal life. Half of my family tree is essentially Irish and Scottish, and my nuclear family consists of an eldest son, a middle-child son (me), and a youngest daughter. For about a decade, until my younger brother came along, that was my family’s dynamic. The middle-child in the show is named Bill, leading me to believe that Mr. Burr, like me, is the middle child.

By the start of season 3, the father’s yelling seemed to get more annoying than funny. I’m not sure if  that’s because it grew old or if the scripts changed, but that’s the only thing I don’t like about this series.

I don’t know if I like this show because I related to a lot of it, but Bill Burr has a large fan base. If you’re a part of it, you may like it too.

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Casey Biggs and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine @netflix @arenastage #QuarantineLife #StarTrek #DS9

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My favorite movie and television property is Star Trek. I wasn’t fond of Star Trek Into Darkness but otherwise am an apologist for the property. However, Star Trek Deep Space Nine wrapped up while I was in law school, so it’s the only series for which I haven’t seen all the episodes. I’m currently remedying that situation by watching seasons 6 and 7.
There’s nothing I can say about the series that hasn’t been said before. Instead, I’ll mention a personal anecdote. I’ve been attending the theater since I was 5 years old, so over 4 decades. However, it wasn’t just any theater; it was Arena Stage. Arena is high-quality theater. I can’t tell you how many now-famous actors I’ve seen cut their teeth at Arena, as well as stop by for a visit after getting their big break.

So, when I saw that Casey Biggs had joined the cast of Deep Space Nine as Damar, I was thrilled. Mr. Biggs has a history with Arena. He was the first actor I had ever seen on TV (L.A. Law) that I first saw at Arena. My favorite two roles for him were that of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew. He appears to be assigned to soap opera hell but consistently gets one-shot roles on prominent TV shows.

He remains an obscure actor, but I’ve paid attention and appreciate what he’s done through these years.

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Guilty Pleasure: Tron: Legacy @TheJeffBridges @oliviawilde @boxleitnerbruce @britjfrain @disneyplus #GuiltyPleasure #QuarantineLife #Tron

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The two Tron movies were the first or second thing (don’t remember) I watched when I subscribed to Disney+. I subscribed for the MCU, NatGeo, and Star Wars; and I was intrigued by Pixar (I had never seen any of those movies), but I watched the Tron movies before any of those.


I’m not sure if Tron: Legacy is actually a guilty pleasure. Rotten Tomatoes reports scores of 51 from the critics (who I don’t care about) and 63 from the audience. The 63 is technically a “fresh” score, but just barely. Still, I suspect it fair to call this a guilty pleasure if for no other reason that the sequel, Tron: Ascension, was scrapped due to a poor box office. That could have been an awesome story of Clu’s invasion of the real world.

Besides a really good cast, there are three things I loved about the movie. First, “Radical, man!” “Far out, man,” “We were jammin’,” and the like. Based on the story, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is clearly a man out of time, and everyone he knows from the VR world would similarly be so. Even if new lingo had developed within the VR world, Flynn’s isolation would keep his vocabulary stale. It seemed like almost every sentence Mr. Bridges spoke contained a smattering of 80s lingo. That’s a hell of a way to tug on the heartstrings of a child of the 70s/80s like me.

Second, I like when a movie plays on the notion of the grass being greener on the other side. The idea of plugging ourselves into a virtual reality world is something that intrigues a large percentage of us (if not a majority), but Clu has the exact opposite perspective. He’s in that VR world and is doing everything in his power to get out. What’s more important: Being able to move like Neo in the Matrix or seeing a true sunset? I think the former is more important. We don’t really see sunsets, but rather how our brain interprets sensory data from our eyes and intervening parts. If the brain can be sent signals for a sunset even when the sun isn’t up, it’s no different from the real thing and could actually be programmed to be better. So, in the VR world, you can have both. Regardless of whether you agree, the point is that many of us want VR, but human nature is such that humans who’ve always existed in VR would probably want to see the real world. Everyone wants what the can’t have.

Then there’s the music. I have music from both Tron movies on a playlist I frequently enjoy. I’m a child of the 80s, so I loved the scene when Sam turned on the power at the arcade, and Separate Ways belted out. However, Legacy took place much later, and Daft Punk captured the upgraded feel very well.

If Tron: Ascension were ever made, I’d be there opening weekend.

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Guilty Pleasure: Legion (the 2010 Movie) @Paul_Bettany @AdriannePalicki @Willaaaah @TheLucasBlack @Tyrese @KateWalsh @actordougjones #movie #GuiltyPleasure #QuarantineLife

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Legion has Rotten Tomatoes scores of 19 from the critics (who mean nothing to me) and 31 from the audience, which is even worse than Green Lantern. Go figure. Like Green Lantern, the cast was actually pretty good, mixing newcomers with established veterans, and a couple of up-and-coming stars. I’m sure a few of them wouldn’t appreciate me linking them here, but they did a good job with what they had.

I think there are two things that make me like this movie. First, as a mythology fan, I love it when mythology, religion, and legends are turned on their heads. It gives the stories a different take and thus isn’t a bland remake of the same story we’ve seen a million times. In this case, while not evil per se,  Gabriel is still the villain. Michael, on the other hand, is the protagonist even though he’s going against the Judeo-Christian-Islamic notion of god. That’s the big difference; there are others. Maybe some of the bad ratings are based on the fact that this offended people. Perhaps just a little bit?

Second, at the time I saw it, I was still playing Dungeons & Dragons and thought it could be the basis of a really interesting campaign. Unfortunately, I never got around to it. Food for thought for the gamer nerds.

It’s a guilty pleasure. So sue me.

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Good Watch: The Finest Hours on Disney+ @EricBana67 @disneyplus #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Whether you’re an MCU nut like me, or a Pixar nut, there’s actually a lot more on Disney+ than what you subscribed for. Back in March, I watched the Finest Hours.

It starred Chris Pine as Bernard “Bernie” Webber, a real person who led a 1952 rescue of the SS Pendleton during a nor’easter. The opening act focuses on how Bernie met and fell in love with his future wife, Miriam. After that, the action picks up as the rescue gets underway, but the movie still revisits Miriam as she frets over what she sees as a suicide mission for Bernie. Whether you’re looking for action or characters, there’s at least a little bit in there for you.

The movie also stars Holliday Grainger, Casey Affleck, Eric Bana, and Ben Foster, all of whom did a good job.

For what it’s worth, the Finest Hours’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes are 64 from the critics and 66% from the audience.

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