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. In light of this post appearing between my viewing notes for the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, today is a series of Next Generation bloopers that were put back into the shows.
If you don’t like this post, please note that the original subject of the post was deleted from the internet. I was in a rush. 🙂
Here’s another one of those “watch this before it leaves Netflix” movies. But is it any good? It’s 1:27:00 long, so it’s easy to find time to watch it.
Presented by Pad Thai Pictures. Good start. I like pad Thai.
Netflix calls it Time Trap, but the opening credits call it Timetrap.
Enough nonsense. Let’s get to it. It doesn’t take too long to figure out what’s going on. Once you get past the fundamental premise, there’s some decent science playing out. While I can’t stand some of the occasional histrionics and stupidity of the characters — seriously, why are most writers unable to write a story independent of such elements — I still found myself unable to turn away. I wanted to learn more as things went on, and then wanted to see how it ended. Which it kind of didn’t. Not because it was necessarily setting up a sequel, but just because they didn’t give you an explanation. It’s left for you to fill in the blanks. If you don’t like that, you won’t like the ending.
Come again? Did you say “Honey Mustard Morty”? Other than Morty’s voice, what’s not to love? I love Pringles. I love honey mustard. As far as I was concerned, my diet was officially over (while supplies last). So, I did some research. The first thing I learned is that they already have honey mustard. Honey Mustard Morty is nothing more than Honey Mustard Pringles with a picture of Morty on the can.
I felt betrayed.
But hell, I was still asking, “What’s not to love about Honey Mustard Pringles?” I remained intrigued, so I kept digging. It turns out that they’re sold exclusively at Walmart, and the only Walmart near me that sells them was a bit out of the way. “Never mind,” I thought, until I noticed the nutritional content. Sugars? Less than 1g per serving, which is 16 freaking chips! Even on my strictest diet, I can have one serving of those per day, and I’m not on my strictest diet. Geez, even the salt content isn’t as bad as you’d expect (6% RDA per serving). On the flip side, the fundamental basis of almost all diets is caloric count, and each serving has 150 calories. This is certainly manageable, but you must be careful not to load up on them.
I decided to give them a shot. Today (actually, 9/15), I stopped by that Walmart and grabbed three tins. I thought it was a worthwhile investment. How bad could Pringles and honey mustard be? The verdict?
From a sugar perspective, you get what you pay for, so they’re good, but I won’t be driving out of my way to get them again.
By the way, that image could be the next blue dress/gold dress thing (it’s gold). That shirt and tie are clearly purple, with the tie particularly purple. I see this as a grey-blue.
As always, the real lesson here is the value of intellectual property.
American Pickle is a strange story. Herschel Greenbaum falls into a vat of pickle brine in 1919 and wakes up in 2019. There, he connects with his great-grandson, Ben. Both characters are played by Seth Rogan.
I suspect that the message I pulled from this movie isn’t what I was expected to get. The message I suspect we’re supposed to get is that people’s antiquated are harming American society, but that ignores the setting in which the story plays out. What I’m witnessing is that everyone is so focused on what everyone else has, they forget what they have. Both Hershel and Ben share this trait, but being out of time, Hershel is amazed at the things Ben, a relative loser, has. Hershel would be ecstatic to have the life of a renter with a struggling business, being focused more on his personal and family honor than on “things.” The idea of a machine that creates seltzer water mesmerizes Hershel, which shows us how silly it is to lose sight of the amazing things we now take for granted.
At this point, I think it’s best to say SPOILER ALERT. I’ll place the next paragraph as quoted, italicized text so it’s easier to ignore.
Ben is a complete villain. As Hershel’s work ethic pushes him to success, Ben’s jealously has him leveraging cancel culture against Hershel. He even tries to get him deported. I suspect that, as with all art, people will read into it what they need in order to justify their worldview, which gives it a guaranteed fanbase. That’s a bit heavy for something I think is supposed to be a comedy, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Ben’s behavior really didn’t make me laugh, and that’s the deal breaker. When Ben attempts to reconcile, Hershel’s old-time notions of honor turn him into the villain, and aided by a typical Hollywood mischaracterization of the legal system, does Ben dirty.
Of course, everyone comes together by the end, but to me it’s too little, too late (and honestly a little cheap). The movie is just a depressing tale of how selfish we all can be, and I can’t help but feel I’m being lectured over things I didn’t do. Moreover, it just drags.
Class Action Park on HBO is a 90-minute documentary on Action Park, an amusement park in Vernon, NJ known for violating just about every regulation to which it was subjected. Gene Mulvihill founded the first modern water park — so far; so good — where the visitors to the park had total control over the “rides” (including speed boats) — ummmm — and supervised by teenagers, some of which were too young to work — wait; what? — who were operating on little sleep because they spent every night getting high and have sex with each other. The results were exactly what you expected.
But that’s okay. Our legal system would protect the visitors, right? Legally, the park was required to be insured, regulatory authorities could cite him for irregularities, and people could always sue for damages. Watch the show to see how all of that works out for the victims.
On July 8, 1980, someone died. It was the first of six deaths that occurred in the park. Despite the deaths and injuries, the park didn’t close until 1996, but it eventually reopened and still operates today.
Star Trek: Lower Decks is CBS’s attempt to capture the magic of Rick & Morty without losing its target audience. That would seem to be a tough sell: trying to do something but tying one’s hands in an important aspect. It certainly started that way. It’s first couple episodes fell flat for me, but even Futurama had a boring first episode. All first episodes are set ups.
Five episodes in, it’s finally growing on me. It’s better than Star Trek: The Animated Series, which was ridiculous. (There was only one good episode, and it was good because the third act was ridiculously funny.) This doesn’t mean I’d ever re-watch and episode of Lower Decks, but it’s decently entertaining, and I’m already paying for it. The gimmick with this series is that its main characters are ensigns rather than ship captains and senior officers. However, the higher-ranked officers get far more attention than was initially advertised, so they don’t really stick to the gimmick.
I think CBS missed the mark on this one, but if it fills the gap between the other shows such that we always have Star Trek, I’m on board. A low production budget show to fill that gap may have been the idea. Besides, Lower Decks may get better.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch today’s episode. As always, YMMV.
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. Today, it’s the Smithsonian’s restoration of the original model of Star Trek‘s USS Enterprise.
Back to Hulu I go, and this time I’m doing something really different. This is my first audio blog post, and I’m joined by my cousin, Kessel Junkie, who I give so much grief on this blog. This is our running commentary on a movie that’s certainly a guilty pleasure for both of us. No one else seems to like it, but we both love it.
Cue up the movie when instructed if you want to watch it with us. Kessel has clearly done his research on this movie, which is unsurprising considering 1) his love of the movie, and 2) the fact that he has a degree in theater. As a Star Trek nut that was raised on the theater (Arena Stage), I should be just as knowledgeable about this movie, but I’m lazy.
Just one note. There’s a point where Kessel Junkie changes the subject on me, and I don’t quite pick up on it, so we wind up talking past one another. I get his point. There’s an apparent canon violation between an episode of the Animated Series and this movie. Both have the Enterprise visiting a planet at or near the center of the galaxy. Fortunately, he’s wrong. The Enterprise was thrown into an alternate universe, so the fact that “God” wasn’t there isn’t a canon violation. Interestingly enough, “Lucien” was originally supposed to be God, but the network nixed that. Enough about that. Enjoy the listen.
Click here for the audio file. Note: This is just over two hours long, and if you pause it, note where you paused. Pausing it often requires you to refresh the page before continuing.
Holy shit! This is some scary stuff. Netflix’s series, Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons, is well-named series currently consisting of four four-episode seasons, with each episode about 45 minutes long. It doesn’t take long to get scary. They start with a prison in Honduras where the guards lock themselves out and leave discipline to the most dangerous of prisoners. They even arm them, and the “warden” is a convicted killer. The interview with the 19-year-old is heartbreaking, but not in the way you might think. He belongs there. Another guy claims he acted in self-defense but still says he wish he hadn’t killed the deceased. Prison is worth than death for him.
From there, it goes to a Polish prison that keeps prisoners in cells 23 hours a day, Mexico, and a couple of overcrowded prisons in the Philippines. That’s just season one. Season two moves on to an understaffed prison in the Ukraine, a prison in Papua New Guinea where constant food shortages create chaos, and an evangelical prison (!?!?) in Belize.
None of these prisons are in the United States, but the show nevertheless reminds me of three concerns I have. First, do whatever you can to stay out of prison. The notion of spending any time there is terrifying for most of us, and the rest of us are just naive. Second, some people truly belong there. I don’t want them roaming the streets and posing a threat to society, so lock them up and make it uncomfortable. Third, we can’t forget that even the hardest prisoners still retain their humanity, and prison often breaks them. I don’t want prison to be easy, but forgetting their humanity assures us that they’ll continue to be a threat once their time in prison is done. We can’t leave most of them in there forever, so I want them returning to society with the assumption that they have a chance to get their lives back on track. It’s a puzzle for which I don’t have the answer, and unfortunately, as with all other complicated problems we face, each of us tends to look at only one side of the story and refuse to budge when presented with criticism. When we pass that sentiment on to our elected representative, we assure that this puzzle will never be solved.
My first draft of this post was written after having watched the first season, and it included a statement that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish it. I’m currently halfway through season 3 and will watch all of season 4. I think I actually got hardened to the imagery after a while. Considering what these prisoners go through, and thus what they may be hardened to, the thought of their release is scary.
This is a very tough watch, but it gives you a lot of food for thought. As always, YMMV.