Favorite Watch: The Finale of Aqua Teen Hunger Force @DanaSnyder @DaveWillis2 @hbomax #ATHF #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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I finished re-watching the entire series, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, on Monday. This is one of my favorite shows, but I saw only a couple of episodes of the last three seasons. In 2015, Adult Swim president Mike Lazzo made the decision to end ATHF, stating he “was ready to move on from it.” I completely understand why. They were weak seasons. I didn’t like the final final ending, but that’s no surprise. It’s hard for me not to laugh at the characters; with 11- to 12-minute episodes, story could never be the focus of the show. Nevertheless, I found myself watching it for the sake of watching it.

There’s no way those last couple of seasons could spoil one of my favorite shows, but the show had clearly run its course.

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Favorite Watch: Aqua Teen Hunger Force @DanaSnyder @DaveWillis2 @hbomax #ATHF #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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With HBO Max going live, you must have known it was only a matter of time before I started re-watching this series. My license plate tag is Frylock. After a 24-year absence from Dungeons and Dragons, the first character I created was Frylock, the half-elf warmage/rogue. I’ve recreated Frylock in 4th and 5th Edition. My blog is … well, you knew that. Too bad Carey Means isn’t on Twitter.

And as much as I like series with 30-minute episodes, one with 12- to 13-minute episodes is even easier to watch. I can watch one or two before I leave for work in the morning.

As always, YMMV, but if you don’t like this show, you’re objectively wrong. You might as well say you hate Star Trek, you dipshit.

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Good Watch: #Hush @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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The premise: A deaf and mute writer (played by Kate Siegel) lives in a home in the woods. She enjoys the isolation over her former life in the city. A man in a mask arrives threatening to kill her. Hush is less than 90 minutes long, so it’s no surprise that on 25 minutes in, you see the killer’s face. There’s no time to spare. 93/73

Her disability didn’t seem to play an important role in the movie other than to add a bit of color to the story. This had me thinking: What it would be like if the movie had absolutely no audio? The protagonist is deaf, and we’re supposed to step inside her shoes and feel her fear. What better way to relate to her than to experience the events from her true perspective?

Overall, the cast is good, but the writing fell flat, and I felt like they ran out of things to say, which would explain its 82-minute runtime (includes credits). We’re never given the killer’s motivation, but he’s so incompetent it appears he doesn’t want to win. Fortunately for him, everyone was incompetent, making all the wrong moves at almost every step. Perhaps that was necessary, as the slightest bit of competence would have cut the movie length to 15 minutes. The killer is played by John Gallagher, Jr., who I’ve always liked, but he’s never played an intimidating character as far as I know. There’s good reason for that. I wasn’t at all intimidated despite the neck tattoo, which was obviously a cheap attempt to buff him. At least the character he played was self-aware in this regard.

I don’t understand why it received such good scores on Rotten Tomatoes (93 from the critics and 73 from the audience), but I seem to be alone on this one. What do I know?

It wasn’t clever, original, or scary, which is all it tried to be, but in the time it took you to read this post, you could have watched the movie. As always, YMMV, and cats don’t give a shit.

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Good Watch: #Fractured @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Sam Worthington has done a few movies for Netflix. I haven’t enjoyed any of them until now. This one I did. Worthington plays a man on a Thanksgiving road trip with his wife and daughter. There’s an incident, and he has to rush his daughter to the hospital. He’s told only one of them may go back with the daughter during treatment, and he defers to his wife. After a brief nap, he wakes up and asks for a status report. The doctors and staff say that his wife and daughter were never there. Then the real story begins.

This didn’t end the way I was expecting, and while a bit of a strain on logic, it was a refreshing change of pace. As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: Circle @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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It’s hard to discuss this movie without engaging in spoilers. It’s a cast of mostly unknown actors (I vaguely recognized a couple of them) who are standing in a room. They realize that every minute or so, they must vote on which one of them is to be killed. There’s no way of knowing how many will have to die for the sick game to end, nor is there anything more than conjecture as to how they got there and who put them there.

I shouldn’t have liked this movie because it requires far too great a leap in logic. But I did. I certainly didn’t like the ending. It was trite and answered no question. Everything is left to interpretation.

But for some reason, I liked it. As always, YMMV.

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Great Watch: The I.T. Crowd @BigBoyler @RichardAyoade @porksmith @ITCrowdSupport @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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The I.T. Crowd is four-series, British sitcom that aired from 2009-2010, and then concluded with a single episode in 2013. After the first couple of episodes, my first thought was that it was a perfect blend of humor that did and didn’t translate well to American audiences. By the first episode of series 2, I was laughing out loud nearly constantly. Seriously; it’s that funny. It’s one of those shows that spends the first series/season getting to know the characters, and then once they’re established, lets them go nuts.

It’s also an easy watch. Each episode is less than 25-minutes long, and each series is only 6 episodes, so the entire show is less than 13 hours long (the finale is 48 minutes). You could hammer out the entire show in a weekend if you’re so inclined.

As an attorney, I find it funny that, despite America’s deep history of free speech, we can’t say, “fuck,” on TV. England is hardly totalitarian, but their laws tend to be less tolerant of speech in general. However, when it comes to silly things, England just doesn’t care, so it seems they have less a need for protections like ours. I’m not sure if my observation is on target, but that’s how it seems to me.

As always, YMMV.

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Good (Meh) Watch: History 101 @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Netflix just released season 1 of History 101. This is a 10-episode season with each episode under 25 minutes long. I watched the entire season in a single evening after work. It’s intended to be a crash course on the history of fast food, the Space Race, the rise of China, plastics, oil and the Middle East, robots, feminism, nuclear power, AIDS, and genetics. Obviously, none of these topics can be thoroughly discussed in 25 minutes, but then again, not many people have the time or patience to learn everything there is to know about all of these topics.

Some of the episodes focus on history (as they should) but unfortunately devolve into opinion pieces. That’s not why I was watching, and they could have spent those 5-10 minutes providing more historical information. I appreciate series where the episodes are 30 minutes or less, but that makes time precious, so wasting it opinion soured me a bit to the series, especially considering some of the opinions offered.

As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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You’ve all seen the memes, but this isn’t a joke. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is a limited-run series of four episodes each about 1 hour long. As someone who grew up in the DC area and has had some experience with actual politics, this was nothing new to me. High-class prostitution runs rampant in the world, so it’s inevitable that teenagers and even younger children will be caught up in the mess. This may be a tough watch for a lot of people because of the subject matter, but if you can watch it, you should. It’s important to be reminded that the world of the powerful and wealthy isn’t the same world in which the rest of us live. It’s also important to realize that, in the unlikely event that the whole truth ever comes out, your heroes are as likely to have egg on their face as your villains. But none of them will take a fall. Who will prosecute them?

I’m not into conspiracy theories, but Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself. As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: #Unorthodox @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Unorthodox is the story of a 19-year-old Hasidic woman in Brooklyn who escapes from her arranged marriage and heads to Germany, the home of her mother. I don’t know much about Hasidic culture, so I don’t want to paint too broad a brush. I’ll just say this: I see the value of organized religion, but it’s still a human institution, so it can be as flawed as the humans that run it. My experiences as a child in the Catholic Church exemplify that. This is an extreme case that disturbed me. There was little if any force. Even scarier, there was capitulation. The main character, Esty, willingly submits to the lifestyle for her entire life (often revisited in flashbacks), making change difficult and justice nonexistent. The present-day aspects of the movie show her finally breaking free from those social bonds, but she can’t quite escape her past. It’s long-term effects will always  be with her. Generally speaking, I can relate to all of that.

The limited-run series is four episodes each under 1 hour long. It was worth my four hours, but I did have to take some breaks while attempting to binge it.

As always, YMMV.

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Good (Meh) Watch: Space Force @SteveCarell @LisaKudrow @dianasilvers13 @FunnyAsianDude @rejectedjokes @netflix #GoodWatch #SpaceForce #QuarantineLife

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With much fanfare, Netflix just released season 1 of Space Force. It has some good star power (pun intended), including Steve Carell in the lead, John Malkovich, and Lisa Kudrow.

Malkovich is brilliant as usual, and as I’ve discussed before; Carell’s moving explanation as to why we have an expensive space program should shut people up about it (it won’t); and I love when the episodes are only (just over) 30 minutes each — I watched all 10 episodes in less than 12 hours — but I’m afraid that my opinion goes south from there. I was really looking forward to this show, but it just fell flat for me. It has some funny moments sprinkled in, but over all I thought the humor was ho-hum. I also imagine that, much like an attorney watching a legal drama or a doctor watching a medical drama, anyone with even basic understanding of the real U.S. Space Force or space travel will develop a nervous twitch from the inaccuracies. On this I say, it’s a comedy. Just roll with it.

More importantly, I didn’t care about the characters. There are very few criticisms worse than that. I really don’t care if Steve Carell’s General Naird, or the Space Force in general, succeeds at anything. Lisa Kudrow is reduced to a very minor supporting role, which I found as confusing as it was unnecessary. Maybe in the real world she didn’t want to commit to the schedule for filming, but if there isn’t a real world explanation, then I don’t understand why she was marginalized. In fact, we don’t even know why she was marginalized within the story. (I’m avoiding spoilers here.) She was my favorite “Friend,” and she’s really funny. She also provides the only scene in the entire season where I actually care about the characters. The one and only thing that’s good about her limited presence is that it sets up the possibility of a great dynamic between General Baird and his daughter, Erin, but the writing (not the actors) drops the ball on that. In fact, there’s little purpose to Erin’s character in the show at all.

Being a Silicon Valley fan, I’m happy to see Jimmy O. Yang  getting a good gig eventually with significant time on screen, but his role is more straight than funny. Ben Schwartz plays the same character he plays in absolutely everything else he does. I loved him in Parks & Recreation, but he didn’t get enough air time in that show for it to get old. It’s certainly gotten old seeing that actor play that role with an almost constant presence.

Then there’s Fred Willard playing General Naird’s father. Considering Mr. Willard just died, that was sad, but it also gave you reason to watch.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the critics panned it (36%), but the audience like it a lot (71%), so as always, YMMV. I hate that I agree with the critics. I guess I must have died inside recently.

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