Just Say No #election #politics

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I have a strict no politics rule on this blog. However, it’s Election Day, so I can’t help but violate that rule today. This cause is just too important.

Of course, this comes from a member of the Nihilism Party.

Do the right thing, people!

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Terrible Watch: Undone @PrimeVideo

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I watched this show because someone suggested it, and at four hours of content, I knew I could bang it out quickly. Now I want to commit a homicide. (Not really; he’s great.)

The first thing that bugs me is that it seems a lot of shows are trying to one up the last show on time travel, multiverses, etc., but each of them fails to do anything I haven’t seen before. Moreover, the main character, Alma, at one point says, “I don’t have time for this!” We’re talking about time travel. She literally has all the time in existence for “this.” Do you know a single third grader that wouldn’t be able to understand that? When a plot depends on stupidity to create tension or move the story along, the writing sucks (see, e.g., the horror genre).

The second thing that bugs me are the characters. There isn’t a single one I liked. The show centers on, among other things, a car crash and time travel. Once that becomes obvious, I find myself hoping that Alma will bring all the characters through time, place them (and herself) in the car, and they’ll all just die. Problem solved, and it would have taken 2 minutes to watch. Then I could have gone on with my life.

Then Alma pissed me off by stealing a line I’ve used for decades (something to the effect of “of course you love me; I’m just so damn loveable”). Where are my royalties?

Okay, ignore that one.

Alma is played by Rosa Salazar, but she’s partially obscured by animation, so she looked a little like Aubrey Plaza. Imagine being expected to root for Aubrey Plaza when she’s constantly being obnoxious but not trying to be funny. That’s Alma.

Based on the ending, all of this was almost explainable, but only in a Wizard of Oz sort of way, but if I’m supposed to treat this as the Wizard of Oz, then the ending can’t be reconciled with the knowledge Alma had. Besides, it was too little, too late for me. I can’t care about the story if I hate all of the characters, and no ending can possibly justify 4 hours of that. I have no idea what you all saw in it.

As always, YMMV.

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Follow Prime Video @PrimeVideo

Letdown Watch (So Far): The Expanse @ExpanseOnPrime #Good Watch

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I’ve been itching to activate a free, 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, mostly because of the Expanse. I’ve heard scientists explain how the show gets the physics of space travel better than any other show or movie before it, which also piqued my curiosity. I never thought I’d say this about this show, but with only a couple of episodes to go in season 1, I’m a bit bored. Surprisingly, the fact that it gets the science right isn’t that big of a deal. They produce drama around it, but they could (as so many other have) produce just as much drama around bad physics.

I haven’t given up hope on it. A fan of the show admitted that it starts off slow, and two of my all-time favorites, The Office and Parks & Recreation, both had weak first seasons to set up the series.

As always, YMMV.

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Follow the Expanse @ExpanseOnPrime

Good Watch: The Onion Movie @TheOnion @STARZ #GoodWatch

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I wanted to do something stupid, so I did. I watched the Onion Movie, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s the kind of movie that you can’t review. It’s just a ridiculous mess of funny anecdotes, each serving as a segue into the next. Just when I think it’s getting old, I suddenly find myself again laughing out loud at something ridiculously funny. It’s also great to see a snapshot of Hollywood in 2008, seeing which actors were on the rise, and which were on their way out. Plus, Jed Rees has a nice skit making fun of D&D players. That’s always fun for me. The Onion Movie is showing on Starz.

If you have a stupid sense of humor, this could be your thing too. As always. YMMV.

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Follow The Onion @TheOnion
Follow STARZ @STARZ

Overrated Watch: Good Omens @michaelsheen #GoodWatch

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As I mentioned last Monday, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm inspired me to finally start my 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. I’m otherwise uninterested in adding a 100th streaming service to my monthly bill. So, I asked the social media world what I should after Borat and received a ton of suggestions. Looking up everything, I settled on prioritizing the Expanse (I can’t believe I forgot that was available), Good Omens, Man in the High Castle, the Boys, and Undone. If there’s time, I’ll add Jack Ryan, Catastrophe, and Bosch. Practicing an analogue of Occam’s Razor, I chose Good Omens to start because it’s only six hours of content so far. I watched all six, 50-minute episodes this weekend.

Overall, it was decent, but I’ve seen too many movies and shows reimagining the apocalypse for modern times. Each adds a tiny twist. Tiny, not clever. I also get a bit annoyed by the overuse of flashbacks. Sometimes, holding back the history leading up to an event makes a lot of sense. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s just a gimmick. The first 30-some minutes of the sixth episode is a flashback, but it’s also the conclusion to the main story. There’s absolutely no reason for that, and little reason for the last 25 minutes. Finally, I was particularly annoyed by the theft of Sandra Bullock’s joke from Demolition Man (“lick butt v. kick butt”).

But it certainly wasn’t “bad.” If it were “bad,” I wouldn’t have finished it. Besides, if none of these things get on your nerves, you’ll probably like it a lot. It was still a good story delivered by a great cast. It was just a bit trite for my tastes.

David Tennant’s delivery reminded me of Bill Nighy. Every now and then, my mind would see Nighy delivering Tennant’s lines.

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Follow Michael Sheen @michaelsheen

Self-Awareness: The Fine Line Preventing Creepiness #gym #workout #creep

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I hate the gym. When I say I love it, I’m speaking of it relative to all others, so it’s a very low bar. Other than martial arts, I’ve never really liked working out. This despite blaring music of my own choosing into my ears, which I’d probably be doing if I went straight home. In short, it’s painful (because I do it right) and boring.

Because of the boredom, I noticed myself people-watching. I’m not just talking about particularly attractive people (oh, I do that too), but anyone who enters my field of vision. No one’s complained, but I know that’s really not a good thing to do in the gym. Would you like people watching you when you’re bent into weird positions, sweating like a pig, … well, you get the picture.

To avoid all of this, I stare at the ceiling when I’m working out (unless I’m distracted by my phone, which isn’t possible on the treadmill). I know that if I don’t, I’ll inevitably shoot a glance that will probably not be wanted.

So, nerds, pay attention to the effect you have on those around you. It shouldn’t be about making only yourself feel better.

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Sophmore Slump Watch: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm @SachaBaronCohen @RudyGiuliani

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Borat 2 inspired me to start a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. I’m glad it was free.

Okay, that was a bit rough, but it makes for a good tagline, so I offer no apologies. Borat 2 wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t as good as his first movie. Maybe I was expecting too much. The charm of the first movie was Borat acting crazy and watching the honest reactions of unaware citizens. Too many people recognize him, so that’s much more difficult. The movie is amusingly self-aware of that fact.

The other strength of the first movie was that Borat never learned his lesson. He started the movie screwed up and ended it that way. Not so here. In Borat 2, Borat returns to the “U S and A” but through circumstance is paired with his daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova). The movie makes a story out of their relationship, and that’s why I don’t think it was as good. It’s supposed to be a feel-good story, but if you focus on the story as serious, the premise is far too depressing for a comedy.

But that’s okay, as long as we get Cohen’s over-the-top comedy, right? Well, there was only one cringe-worthy moment for me, which was when Tutar speaks to the group of Women Republicans. There was also a funny moment, let’s just say, related to abortion, but it wasn’t embarrassing. It was just a misunderstanding. I can get that from any comedy. I did laugh out loud on occasion, but not enough. In fact, at one point, I walked away from the TV to put water on for pasta. I wouldn’t be able to do that while watching the first movie.

As a side note, the Giuliani thing is greatly exaggerated, probably on purpose. I suspect it was intentionally overblown in order to hype the movie. It seems to have worked.

I hope I have better luck with the Expanse, the Boys, the Man in the High Castle, and Good Omens. If there’s time, I’ll add in Jack Ryan and Bosch.

I really wanted a proper sequel for Borat. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Sacha Baron Cohen @SachaBaronCohen
Follow Rudy Giuliani @RudyGiuliani

The 20 Funniest Videos on YouTube? @YouTube @mashable #YouTube #Mashable

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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. Today, it’s supposedly one of the 20 funniest YouTube videos according to Mashable. The list is over two years old, and the entries aren’t all original YouTube works (i.e., they’re direct copies of another show without even modifications), but I still find it somewhat lacking. Here’s an example:

This one’s my favorite.

Here’s another:

Look at the complete list and form your own opinion.

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Follow YouTube @YouTube
Follow Mashable @mashable