Hey Somethings! PCR here.
This week’s blog, I’m taking a slight detour.
As has been our pattern, we’re taking December off from recording and releasing new episodes due to the holidays. Now, fear not, we have some things in store… but I wanted to look to the future, and to get our listener’s thoughts on things.
We’re pretty happy with the shows and the formats that we have, we feel it gives us a chance to stretch our legs at times while still giving you all something we’re proud of and we feel is in our wheelhouse.
All that said, are there things you’d like to hear us talk about? Topics, ideas, show styles…
As much as Hatton and I enjoy listening to the sound of our own voices, we want YOU to enjoy listening to the sound of our voices even more.
Let us know over at email@example.com, over on Twitter @STSTCast, or join our Facebook at facebook.com/SomethingSomethingCast.
While your at it, heading over to iTunes and leaving us a review would be an amazing thing to do for us!
Hey Somethings, I actually had to go back and look through some of my old blog posts to see if I’ve talked about this, and I was surprised to find out that I hadn’t! If the ending of a horror movie ends with the director saying things like, ‘Well, what do YOU think it means?’ like they are your therapist, you may have just watched an arthouse horror movie.
“But Hatton,” you ask, “what IS an elevated/arthouse horror movie?”
Well, it’s a movie that is trying to hide a deeper message beneath its horror. This isn’t new, as films like Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and even Godzilla (1954) were talking about one thing under the guise of scares. Nowadays though, it is a twofold defense mechanism for:
* Movies that have a deeper message
* Movies that want you to think they have a deeper message
* People who don’t want to admit they like horror movies
Movies like Get Out, with its obvious racial overtones use the vehicle of horror to really turn a topic on its head and make you uncomfortable in your own world. Mother is a story of Christian mythology. Babadook is about abuse. These movies tell an engrossing tale of scares while also at the end give you something to think about. Bad arthouse horror, on the other hand, gives you attempts at symbolism that are never explained and plotholes that you hope are intentional until you get to the credits and you end up confused. The truth is, a good percentage of horror movies out there have some other meaning, intentional or not, and brushing aside any movie because its message isn’t deeply imbedded enough is, at the very least, insulting to the people involved. To sit and look at a movie like Hereditary (2018) or Neon Demon (2016) and comment about how the deeper message is beneath the surface and the horror is what you feel and.. well, I could go on, is to ignore that horror has been telling interesting stories about the human condition since the first vampires were born of fears of porphyria and rabies.
In the future, at the end of a movie, you sit there scratching your head while your one friend who only vapes artisanal clove oil and refers to your fruit salad as a ‘reconstructed charcuterie’ tells you how deep the film you just watched is. It’s ok to hate the movie.. it’s ok to think it was stupid.. it’s ok to want a clear answer to your narrative tales.. and it’s ok to kick that dude out, because seriously, you don’t need that kind of negativity.
Hey Somethings… PCR here.
I know a while ago I gave you my thoughts on AHS : Double Feature and.. at the time, it was rather rosy and hopeful…
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
I have no idea who pitched Season 10, or who OK’d it, but whoever pitched it needs a raise, and whoever OK’d it needs to be fired. If you can pitch something that turned out like Season 10 did, and can get people to buy into it.. you need to be doing/selling/pitching bigger things than a season of a TV series that.. at this point.. may have gone on too long.
Don’t get me wrong, Red Tide had a lot that I liked (as noted in my previous blog) but they way it was ended was waaaaayy too rushed. A majority of AHS seasons have been 10 or more episodes, and I think Red Tide could have been a much better story had they given it a full 10. I know that cancels the whole ‘Double Feature’ vibe they were going for…but when it was done as shitty as this was, things need to be rethought.
That being said, I was really digging the thought and concept of Death Valley…until I found out it was only 4 episodes.
In my opinion, AHS needs to take a long, hard look at itself in the mirror and figure out what worked and what didn’t over the 10 seasons it’s been on. My biggest fear is that “American Horror StorieS” have given them the idea that they can tell short, non-connected stories that are just as entertaining as their full seasons…and it’s my belief that that kind of thinking is what got us Double Feature.
I can’t even call Double Feature my least favorite season because, to be honest, it didn’t feel like an actual season.
Whatever you call it, and whatever you thought of it…this is one “Double Feature” I wish I had walked out of.
Before I get into this week’s topic – let me just say that this post includes some spoilers for Halloween Kills. If you haven’t seen it and you don’t want to have some of it spoiled for you – I suggest you skip this one.
Are they gone?
Ok, good. We didn’t want them here anyway.
I didn’t want to review Halloween Kills as much as I wanted to talk about what it did right and wrong. You see, the 2018 relaunch/new timeline/thing was, quite literally, the best Halloween movie I have ever seen. Of course it is hard to compare it to the 70’s original, but that movie defined the tropes of the ‘unkillable monster kills kids’ genre, but with that said, it did what no other Halloween movie had done other than the original… it engaged me.
Now, I love slasher flicks, obviously – but the reason you just don’t see that many is because the genre is stale with a rare exception (See: Terrifier, The Strangers) and there doesn’t feel like much more you can staple on to the old classics of Jason and Michael. But Halloween turns itself around. It isn’t a movie about a monster hunting a woman – it is about a woman who is prepared to kill the monster. It’s Laurie Strode’s movie. She isn’t the final girl – she is the protagonist.
Halloween Kills, as the middle chapter of the preordained trilogy, had hard shoes to fill. How do you keep the two away from each other so you can get to the actual really real final showdown, but also continue to try and turn the genre on its head?
You show what the PTSD of this monster caused to the town, the collective character of Haddonfield. With literal pitchforks in hand, this is a story of a hundred people who think they are just like Laurie Strode. They feel guilt about surviving, fear over Myers’ inevitable return, pain at what they’ve lost… and collectively they try and face Michael — and inevitably, they fail. It really is a brilliant concept, and I bet a few passes around with great writers could have evolved it into a movie just as strong as 2018’s was, but it can’t help but lean into its tropes, bury itself like a hatchet into the skulls of its viewer, and misses every mark along the way.
Somehow, the first film subverts its tropes and has ascended to easily the greatest slasher film of the last decade – and yet, even with a brilliant take on a sequel, the most recent film can’t help but feel like it has taken a step right back into what made people bored with the slasher genre to begin with.
I hope the final act continues the trend of giving us a different story than the one we expect. We’ve seen slashers die before, hell, we’ve seen Michael Myers die a couple of times.. the key is to make us still surprised by the idea.
Hey Somethings, PCR here.
So, I’ll admit, at the time of this writing, I have not yet finished Season 10 of The Walking Dead. I don’t have cable, so everything I watch is through streaming, and I finally got around to starting S10 about a week ago.
Mind you, I’m not watching because I’m excited about it.. I’m watching it because, in poker terms, “I’m pot committed”. While the show certainly feels different with Rick gone, I feel the show has been pretty boring since Terminus. Sure Negan breathed some life (no ironic pun intended) into the show in Seasons 7 and 8, but for the most part, The show has been a wash/rinse/repeat cycle of
“They don’t trust us!”
“Well, we have to behave to make them trust us”
“Hey, they trust us, we can stay here!”
“Oh shit, we did something stupid and ruined it all, now we have to leave!”
“Hey… we found someplace!”
“…they don’t trust us…”
“…well, we have to make them trust us…”
I was never a huge Daryl fan. King Ezikiel grew on me, and I like Carol. Gary is a great character. Gabriel has been interesting through the second half of S10, and Eugene has grown into his own man. I will say, I LOVE Princess so far.. she brings a whole new “uhhh..wtf?” but, it feels like a crumb in a sea of blandness. Even the Whisperers got lame this season. Out of 20 episodes (out of 22 for the season) I’ve seen so far, there has been exactly 1 scene that made me sit up and go “No shit…” and two lines I enjoyed. Oddly, all of them involved Negan. The reveal of who Negan drops the head in the bag to caught me off guard for sure. When the Whisperers were about to attack… uhh.. Hilltop? Alexandria? (I can’t tell them apart, and couldn’t honestly care less to) and Negan says “it’s time for folks to put on their shittin’ pants”.. well, I’ve started using that in unsavory situations. His exchange with Daryl when Beta’s identity is revealed of “Holy shit, you know who that was?” “Yeah, nobody” made me literally laugh out loud…but the bright spots have been few and far between.
Daryl’s missing 5 years? Don’t care. Leah? Nice to look at, but don’t need her story. Maggie coming back? Feels like a bone thrown to fans to have SOMEone ‘come back’ after her and then Rick left.
I don’t know what the last 2 episodes of Season 10 hold, and I don’t have much faith that the series will wrap itself up in a way that even a majority of fans will like at the end of Season 11… but I’ll watch when it comes out… just so I can say I finished it.
I’m so proud of the world… it finally discovered one of my favorite sub-niche’s of entertainment: Games of Death
Everyone has gone crazy recently, the meme machine is pumping out hits, for Netflix’s newest gift from across the ocean, Squid Game.
Now, this premise may have some similarities to other things you’ve seen: A group of people are in a game that when they lose.. they die. Of course the similarities are there to be drawn to a dozen other things: Battle Royale, Hunger Games, Roller Games, Running Man, Gladiator, Alice in Bordertown, Saw… it’s a pretty lengthy list of weird movies that I have an affinity for.
In the month since it’s come out, it has already done the life and death of an internet trend. Some people notice it. Some people meme it. Some people declare it is the best thing that has ever been created and that nothing has ever been as unique. Some people hate those people. Some people get sick of it being mentioned and promptly hate it without ever having seen it. And they are the usual round of reactions.
Is it good, yes, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about here. It’s about how cool I am. You see, it’s a weird thing when something you’ve loved since you were a kid hits the zeitgeist. I get why the hipster mindset of ‘I was there before it was cool’ comes out because it feels like something special that you’ve owned for so long and now it isn’t part of your personal entertainment genetic code. There is this gut reaction of, ‘Yes, I know you like Squid Game, but have you ever seen…’ that makes you sound like a complete tool. I mean, they like Squid Game, sure, but don’t they understand that the trope of the character that can’t be good at the game or the bully are simply common features of the genre? Geez people, come on!
If you look inside yourself, you know you’ve done the same thing. Maybe it was when everybody started loving comic book movies and you stared at your longbox full of X-Force #1 and wrote a lengthy angry Livejournal post? Or when everyone got into Sharknado and you, the foremost authority on horrible ‘animals in disaster’ movies felt horrible when nobody called you for an interview.
Here’s the thing you need to hear though: don’t be that person. It’s great to discuss the origins of a genre or note all of these other movies that people who enjoyed Squid Game may have liked, but guess what… you don’t own a niche or a sub-genre. Yes, it’s frustrating that more people are ignorant to the nuance of people being flayed alive by board games, but you get to be the ambassador. Tell them how fantastic Tag is or find interesting comparisons to make about the characters. Use your obsession for the power of good.. and be happy the popularity of Squid Game means you may get a lot more games of death to watch in the future.
Hey Somethings, PCR here!
Now.. fair warning, if you haven’t caught up with the 1st half of AHS S10, you may want to pass this by…….
Ok! So far, Season 10 is an interesting and enjoyable season. Red Tide is 6 episodes, and the first half of Season 10, with Death Valley being the last 6 episodes. I haven’t watched Ep 7 at the time of this writing, but the guess is the two seasons will somehow converge and overlap in some way. I really liked seeing Finn Wittrock in a lead role. The whole vibe was really well done in my opinion..the stormy greys, the lack of any real vibrant color.. really got the whole ‘winter in a Massachusetts coastal town’ feel down. Macauley Culkin was the real scene stealer for me, as Mickey was the only one I felt sorry for at how his story wrapped up. That said, I wasn’t crazy about Ursula, and.. to be fair, I don’t believe I’ve enjoyed *any* character Leslie Grossman has played in AHS. While other actors seem to play a multitude of styles and personality types, Grossman always seems to end up playing the ‘Meh-person-turned-bitch that I could care less about’. The final episode of the first half was a case and point as it really revolved around her. For me, Episode 6 was a let down that moved way too fast through the narrative to wrap up the first half of Double Feature and set up the second. Where the first 5 episodes were a slow-burn pace, episode 6 felt like a roller coaster ride built by someone who’s never built a roller coaster but has seen one once.
All in all, I’m mildly optimistic for Death Valley and to see how it ties in to not only Red Tide, but previous seasons as well.
Can we discuss Wonka?
Those that know me know that there are a handful of movies that are ‘my thing’ – movies that, back in the day of VHS tapes and stegosaurii, my copies wore through. The original Wonka, Gene Wilder, 70’s perm and all, is probably the first film I can even think of that I wouldn’t stop watching as a kid. Since then, I’ve learned I wasn’t the only one and Wonka fits similarly into many people my age because of our exposure to it at the dawn of cable and the tape.
We are now getting not one, but two Wonka related movies and I am filled with the fury of a middle aged white man on the internet. So lets take a look at the rumors as to what we’re getting in the Wonderful World of Wonka and gauge how angry I’m going to be… to be clear, Depp Wonka gets me a 9 out of 10 on the Hate’Ometer, saved from a 10 solely by the CGI squirrels.
The first is a ‘young Wonka’ story, as portrayed by acting Wunderkind Timothee Chamalet (to be clear, I have no idea if he’s a wunderkind (or how to spell that)) I just know that he’s in a lot of places, and I don’t know anything about him. That said, this is rumored to be the first in a ‘Wonka Cinematic Universe’ which is a phrase that makes me wince so hard I felt my neck pop. The only saving grace to this entire concept is that the writer connected to it is Simon Farnaby who has done some notable work (including Rogue One, The Mighty Boosh) — but as the Depp Wonka taught us, sometimes, telling us too much ruins everything.
The second one is an animated series being created by Netflix and helmed by Taika Waititi of What We Do In Shadows and Ragnarok fame. This, mind you, I have less of a problem with as I have always wondered why there wasn’t a traditional Saturday Morning Cartoon about Wonka. There were cartoons for Back to the Future, Pac-Man, Robocop.. all that came well after the property had seen its golden days, so why not Wonka? A cartoon also feels quite less important in the scheme of the universe and a lot more ability to be playful without living in a green screen.
In the defense of both of these concepts, I do appreciate that they are being done by not-Americans. Waititi from New Zealand and Farnaby from England, Dahl’s humor and sensibility was most certainly not an American one and we’ve already proven we don’t deserve the rights to write a Wonka film… in the end, a cartoon gets only mild grunt from me, but a Cinematic Universe? Please don’t. Oh dot, please oh please do not. No good can come of it and what other books are you going to tie that into?! Maybe a discussion for another blog.
Unless, mind you, these Wonka properties help bring back Wonka candy bars… the ones that had the graham crackers in the blend… then you’ll get a pass as I sit on my couch with a mouth smeared in chocolate that a Gloop would be proud of.
Hey all, PCR here!
So, I just watched the finale of LEGO Masters Season 2 last night and…I have thoughts.
First, let’s go over the teams…
Caleb and Jacob – Even though they had been in the bottom two more than any other team in the finale, they made their move towards the end, winning Episodes 9 (Land and Sea with their “Chameleobster”) and 11 (Cliffhanger) which gave them some great momentum going in to the final.
Mark & Steven – They held The Golden Brick the longest, and had the most wins going in to the final episode, and though they were only at risk of elimination twice, once was the episode right before the finale, which put them on shaky ground.
Zack and Wayne – They were only ever at risk of elimination once in Episode 10 (Flip My Block) and had more 2nd place finishes than any other team the entire season.
So, we’re in the finale, and the teams are tasked with doing a “Day/Night” build. Caleb and Jacob opt for an hourglass design with a ‘Day City’ on the bottom and a ‘Night Realm’ in the top of the hourglass. It was bold in design and impressive in construction considering the two halves were built separately and then the top literally flipped upside down to join with the base. Considering the middle didn’t actually connect and it was only the 4 outer pillars supporting the weight, it was amazing to me that the thing stayed together.
Mark and Steven opted for a “Warden of the Woods” character. The “Day/Night” shift was accomplished with a number of lights throughout the model, and while the water base they created was very impressive at “night”, the figure overall honestly wasn’t that impressive to me due to the complete brown build with little variations of color except the leaves for the hair and the glowing eyes.
Zack and Wayne went back to the well once more (which they did often this season) and incorporated dragons into their tower build. It was tall, and each floor of the tower was personalized to their story, but the “Night” shift felt like it was just lights inside each floor that made them brighter.
Overall, I was expecting something different when the Brickmasters said they wanted a build that had a different feel and look in each Day and Night segment. To my dismay, Caleb and Jacob came in third, leaving Zack and Wayne and Mark and Steven to fight for the top two and… to be fair… both builds left me nonplussed. Mark and Steven as a team just felt too… cocky? Too… entitled? I don’t know… just something about their demeanor and how they came off most of the season made me not a fan, and while Zack and Wayne had many of those same qualities, it was their constant use of things we had seen them do before that left me unimpressed with a lot of their builds.
For me, the REAL winners this season were Natalie and Michelle, and Dave and Richard. Both teams had that creativity factor in a lot of their builds that felt others were lacking. They thought outside the box (and the brick) to do builds that were always on theme, but always original.
I won’t spoil who the winner was.
Did the best team win? Probably. Did the most creative team win? Certainly not in my opinion.
Season 2, while I was happy to see it come back, didn’t live up to Season 1 (the highest rated episode of S2 was barely over half of the lowest rated episode of S1), and it will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes to fruition for a Season 3.
Somethings! It’s Hatton!
Since PCR went and ranked his American Horror Story seasons, I thought – especially since our tastes differ pretty severely on a couple ones – that I’d hit it up too. If I really was going to dive in deep here, I’d break them down by half seasons, because it always feels like AHS gives you two stories and notoriously I like one side of it better than the other.
That said, let’s get into it…
9 – 1984
I thought 1984 was a disappointment. It leaned on the ‘Ghost’ rules of AHS heavily, and the latter half felt completely unbalanced to the first half. I really had wanted this to be a brilliant take on horror slashers and 80s teen horror, and it just fell into its own AHS branded melodrama.
8 – Asylum
PCR and I agree about the weakness of Asylum… with the exception of Lily Rabe as Sister Eunice, it felt like this season just didn’t have a cohesive story to tell, but a handful of separate stories that just didn’t land for me. The twists of aliens and the like just didn’t match the tone of the rest of the show.
7 – Apocalypse
I will admit, this one sits in the middle for me because it is the one season I’ve promised I’ll go back and rewatch sometime in the not far future. I would watch AHS while I was doing other things and I missed a lot of this one. I like bunkers. I like apocalypses. I remember there being one thing about this season I really disliked, but I couldn’t tell you now what it was.
6 – Coven
I know not worshipping Coven as a season is sacrilegious for some fans of AHS. I enjoy it, and it does feature one of my favorite subplots in all of AHS in the Axe Man. Coven, to me, feels like a season where AHS discovered what it could be and how it can tell different stories. Not a bad season, and important to AHS lore, but similar to my next entry – it felt like a well they kept coming back to.
5 – Murder House
I love a good sexy latex gimp. Who doesn’t, right? Murder House was an intensely new way to see a serial story and you didn’t know if you were watching a one season journey or if this was chapter one to a much bigger tale. The insert of the Black Dahlia felt very disconnected, but it set the rules we got to know so many times.. even though I think that at times it has been a crutch for AHS to lean on.
4 – Cult
PCR made a point that Cult was uncomfortable. I agree wholly, and it was that uncomfortability that had me glued to what was going on. I’ve seen so many documentaries about cults and group conspiracies and Jim Jones, NXIVM, etc that this was as much a curiosity as to how far they would take it as much as finding the real stories they pulled from to get there. Plus, Billy Lourd was a VIP in brilliance in her AHS debut.
3 – Freak Show
This was the first season I loved. Immensely loved. The addition of Neal Patrick Harris as huckster Chester Creb, Jessica Lange’s black and white over-produced musical numbers, and Dandy. I would have watched a Dandy season – he was brilliant in all of the most horrible of ways.
2 – Roanoke
OK OK OK … Hear me out. I can hear the pitchforks already. I have learned there are people that like what they did with Roanoke… and people that don’t. A documentary style show where the reenactors then go and get sucked into the plot of the story itself. it is AHS at its most meta and I was all about it.
1 – Hotel
I find Hotel to be -the- perfect story for Horror Story. It brings back something that hadn’t been around since the first and second season, which is this intangible sexiness. The location was this gorgeous gaudy affair that was a character unto itself. Every person feels like a fully lived in character. It doesn’t hurt that Evan Peters’ character was this amazing mix of an out of touch HH Holmes and Howard Hughes. Gaga was just amazing icing on an already packed cake.
Which ones were your favorite? Tell us where you tell us stuff!