Here’s a few rambling reviews of some tv shows and movies I’ve seen recently.

Foundation series was maybe the first real science fiction novels I read. From Golden Age Isaac Asimov. It’s pretty hard stuff for a kid but it set the bar really high. Good old Asimov was a particular kind of writer. He was born in 1920. He had muttonchop sideburns. I had heard some personal anecdotes of him from SFWA, of which he was made a Grandmaster, and he was pretty sexist. I remember personally reading an intro of some stories and he talked about how he would never have characters use the bathroom unless it highlighted some pertinent piece of science–because he thought such things were prurient and unseemly. And in all his works he had almost zero female characters and less than zero sex.

As I was watching the series, taking in the cool world building, I was struck by a few things. First off, about half the male characters in the books had been changed to women. And after watching my third slow, languid, explicit sex scene, I was like, “this is totally not Isaac Asimov.”

I think a big problem is there has been one, ONE, gigantic genre tv show and it was Game of Thrones. So every SFF show is going to be Game of Thrones. Just like they do with movies. They look at what was a blockbuster and they go, okay, now make that but in the old west. So Foundation has become a soap opera with largely female leads. It’s pulling stories and themes from the various Foundation books and setting it to the music of Game of Thrones. And Game of Thrones is awesome. But it’s not Foundation. The GoT tv show followed a lot of the books, other than the last couple seasons. But Foundation is kind of all over the place. They took a few big, big concepts from the books and are like, “Okay, how can we make a love triangle out of this science stuff?”

There seem to be a huge number of female writers and directors on the show. That’s not something I looked up on purpose. It stuck in my head because I go, “Yes, I want to skip the intro.” And Apple goes, “Okay, but obviously you still want to know the writer and director of a tv episode and watch the main title so we won’t skip that, you asshole.” And I can’t say the sexy hot tone is because of that or has anything at all to do with it. My hunch is like I said, and they were required to make sexy a hot tone with female leads.

It’s not terrible. It’s fine. But I feel a bit let down. The Foundation series is some old school hard science fiction. And the tv show is largely a soap opera with some poorly-choreographed action and very cool visualizations and concepts sprinkled here and there.

Free Guy
The movie. I like Ryan Reynolds, and the trailer, so I rented this. I got about 40% of the way through and stopped. I went back to finish it today and realized the 48 hour rental period had expired. I had never done that before. I wasn’t even doing anything cool or interesting. But whatever it was, it was more exciting than Free Guy.

I really liked the core story and the core acting. A minor NPC in a game becomes sentient. Done. Boom. Run with it.

Again, maybe I’m blaming the wrong people, but they tacked on all these other plots. Trying to find out he stole our code and that’s bad so we’ll go in the game to get proof. As a former computer programmer and avid gamer, I can say that’s poopy stoops. Like I get the idea that some studio head was like, “No one will know what an NPC is so have this big other story.” But it just made things way more confusing.

And the dialogue and acting of all the side characters was totally horrible. Just pure exposition. Like everyone had just met and they had never spoken to a human before. “Aren’t you some super brain MIT grad? Why are you working down here in customer support?” I don’t know, Brad. Maybe you should’ve asked me that two years ago and not now. But it’s good we have this totally fluid rapport and relationship despite knowing literally nothing about each other.

Oh, man, they actually had two characters be interviewed so they could do a 100% exposition dump. Just sitting in chairs talking about the back story. Stop that.

Anyway. Maybe the next 60% was super awesome and I would have loved it. But I’ll never know.

Black Widow
I’ve always liked Scarlet McJoJo as we came to LA around the same time and she started doing indie films while I was learning cinemaaah and watching indie films. I think I even saw her at the old, old Farmer’s Market on 3rd and La Brea and I didn’t have the courage to stalk her.

Anyway, this was fun. The action was actionable. The characters were likeable.

I’d say the only shortcoming was the plot. I didn’t really get the whole Red Room of World Domination and it wasn’t explained until very late in the movie. So we didn’t really know the stakes until like 80% of the movie was over. Like, oh, this is important, and not some personal vengeance thing. Maybe it was shown and I didn’t pick up on it. But whatevs.

The Stranger Things dad as Captain Russian Guy was very cute. Very close to being a little too hammy. But it was a goof he pulled off.

You watch the women fighting here and then you watch Foundation where the women fight like they’re on ice skates and their opponent is their best friend. Yeah, it’s a big budget movie vs. a tv show. But that’s your bar. If you can’t make good fight scenes, don’t try. Because no one is going to watch a shitty fight and go, “yeah, they only have $480,000 to make this, so it’s believable.”

So a good popcorn movie. I don’t think it’s a top tier Marvel. More like an Ant Man. Which is fine. Just chill out, get some chips and turn off your brain.

Suicide Squad
I didn’t watch the first one because it seemed absolutely terrible. And, wow, as of now it’s a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

But this just didn’t do anything for me. I like the James Gunn Guardians of the Galaxy movies. But this simply wasn’t that funny. He was trying to make a Guardians of the DC Galaxy, but it just kind of fell flat. The jokes weren’t good and their timing was very bad.

I’ve never been a Harley Quinn fan. Holy shit, that is a popular character. But to me she was hella annoying because she cartoonized the psychopath Joker. I mean she even looked silly cartoony. As soon as you have a mass murdering psychopath with a girlfriend, or a dog, or a kindly grandmother they do chores for, they become humanized. I like scary Joker. And scary Batman. Not Superman and Superdog and their pal Jimmy Olsen (was an actual comic). This is the DC comics I always disliked

Whatshername Robbie did a great job playing Harley Quinn. But by fuck there was a lot of Harley Quinn. That was so much Harley Quinn. I was like, what is this movie about again? Something something Harley Quinn? I can’t even remember.

There were a lot of characters and I really didn’t give a fuck about any of them. Not a fuck. I suppose they could have made them more…something. More relatable. Understandable. But they didn’t really spend the time or bother. So much Harley Quinn.

And it’s funny because this is similar to Black Widow. Black Widow is just a gal. If you shoot her 2389 times, she’s gonna die. But the way they keyed the action in BW, it wasn’t…super unbelievable. But most of these Suicide heroes were the same. But they would straight up walk through an army firing machine guns at them. Like, is your super power the ability to make everyone have terrible accuracy? For payloads of military hardware to malfunction? They had a girl who talks to rats with a wand. Not a magic wand. A technological one. So take the wand and give it to a non-criminal. Or at least give the poor girl a kevlar vest.

Mreh. I don’t know why this movie is so popular. I was pretty bored.


I do a friday update for my patreon people. It's usually me walking the dog and talking about what writing I did this week. I...

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