Tag: Blog

[BLOG] TV shows that have outlived their welcome

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I know it’s supposed to be Hatton’s week but…

….I GOT THINGS TO SAY!

SO… I just finished watching Season 8 of “The Blacklist” on Netflix, and was shocked at the ending.

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET!
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I HATE that we were led along for 8 years of this show to finally see the payoff of Keen finding out who Reddington is (and who he is to her) and this is what happens.  Sure the ‘plan’ was to kill Reddington (which I never believed was going to happen) but I *didn’t* think we’d end up seeing Keen get killed.  I understand actress Megan Boone was off to do other things… but damn if this doesn’t feel like a punch in the dick.

Having been a fan of LOST, I suppose one should never let their guard down on things like this… but I honestly feel, as much as I love Spader’s portrayal, that the show has probably gone on for too long (and is still going…)

With that in mind… here as some shows that are still trucking along that I feel have overstayed their welcome.

The Walking Dead – I honestly couldn’t care any less about anyone left on this show.  I keep watching because I’m pot committed and want to just finish it out.  I know it only has one season left, but 11 seasons was probably 3 or 4 too many.

The Blacklist – See the above rant.  The last few seasons felt like the show was getting cramps trying to tie itself into knots of double-crossing and betrayal which felt effortless in the first few seasons.  I will say, I will completely miss Amir Arison as Agent Mojtabai…he’s been chewing up every scene he’s been in lately.

Pawn Stars – Ok, look.. it was fun and interesting in the beginning when it was about the ‘stuff’, but now the show is different.  It’s “Kardashians at the pawn shop” kind of vibe now that everyone knows is amazingly fake and staged and should have been left on the shelf years ago.

Great British Bake-Off – Yep, I’ll catch flack for this, but I gave up on this show 3/4 of the way last season.  Too many things are a “thing” now… (the “Hollywood Handshake” being one of my biggest ‘ugh’ things).  Also, my pet peeve on long-running reality shows of this type.  Sure, the first season was “the 12 best amateur bakers in the country”… what’s the tag line now?  “12 of the top 145 best amateur bakers…”.  Sure the specials are kinda quaint, but this show hasn’t been the same since Mary, Sue and Mel left.. and it never will be again.

Hit us up on the Twitter @STSTCast and let us know what shows YOU think have been around too long!

– PCR

[BLOG] PCR wants your thoughts on what’s to come!

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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 somethingsomethingcast@gmail.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!

– PCR

[BLOG] A Little Something about Hatton and Arthouse Horror

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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.

[BLOG] Hatton talks A Little Something about Halloween and Halloween Kills [SPOILERS!!!]

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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.

-Hatton

[BLOG] The Streaming Dead

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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.

[BLOG] Rob’s thoughts on AHS Double Feature : Red Tide

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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…….

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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.

[BLOG] Hatton gives us HIS AHS ranks!

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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!

[BLOG] PCR ranks AHS!

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Hey Somethings, PCR here!

So, in our Free For All episode (which you can listen to here…) we touched on ‘American Horror Stories’ and, tangentially, AHS in general.  Long time listeners of the show know both Hatton and I have varied opinions of the AHS seasons… but here, for the first time, I’m giving you my rankings of them…

9 – Roanoke –  I know they tried something a bit different this season with the ‘real vs re-enactment’ and the second half feeling like a different story until it wasn’t… but the whole thing fell super flat for me.  When I first saw the title, I wanted a season ABOUT Roanoke not.. this convoluted mess that we got.

8 – Asylum – I know I’m stepping on toes here, there are a BUNCH of people who like Asylum.  There were PARTS I liked, not not nearly enough to override the fact that I feel like I got scammed in a story that was teased and never shown.

7 – Cult  – Cult was… uncomfortable.  I know AHS stories aren’t supposed to be all ‘light and fuzzy’, but “Cult” for me felt ‘too soon’ with what was going on in the world at the time.

6 – Murder House – This season falls in the middle for me because, I get this is where it all started.. but I would love to see AHS decide it’s time to ‘move on’ from it.  It comes back around way too often for my tastes in other seasons (and even spin-offs) and it would be nice to see the show give it a rest.
5 – Freak Show –  This was an interesting one for me.  The whole carnival vibe I enjoyed, and Finn as Dandy was a standout performance for me.

4 – 1984 –  I liked the schlock of it.  The season captured the ’80s vibe great, and it was exciting for me to see them bring Ramierez back.

3 – Hotel  –   I’ll say it, I loved Lady Gaga in this season.  All the acting was pretty top notch, the story was engaging, and nothing felt too forced for me.  A very solid season from top to bottom.
2 – Coven  –   I adore The Witches.  Coven was a great story, the infighting and intrigue about the Supreme… it hit all the right notes for me.

1 – Apocalypse  –   I’ll be honest, this almost came in at the second spot as the first few episodes I was a bit “meh” on, but once The Witches showed up and everyone revealed their true colors, this season really took off.  Cody Fern as Michael Langdon REALLY gave me some “Lucifer/Ahura Mazda” vibes from Cry for Dawn and there was little, if anything, I would change about the season as a whole.

[BLOG] A Little Something from Hatton about Documentaries

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How often are you skimming through your streaming options and all of a sudden you see a documentary and go, ‘I do want to know more about that?’ – For me, there are a lot of docu’s I just don’t get into. I’m not one to sit and dive into a 10 part World War I retrospective with all new footage or, with exceptions coming, anything political, and lastly.. anything brutal about animals.  There have been a lot of award winning documentaries that fit in those three spots, but the first two put me to sleep and the last one makes me never want to sleep again.  More than one person has said to me I should watch ‘Don’t F**k With Cats’ – and I am certain I would love everything about it except, you know, someone fucking with a cat.

All that said – here’s a few of the documentaries I’ve watched in the last year or so that may have slid by your radar – or are just so damned good they deserve to be praised over and over again.

The Defiant Ones – Featured on HBO, Emmy nominations abound, the story of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre was so shockingly good, I was late to work the next morning because I couldn’t stop binging it. Two men who come from very different backgrounds who climbed up the music world away from each other, but ultimately became music mavens in the same eras and ultimately met up in the middle to create beautiful harmonious business together. By far one of the most slickly produced and well thought out documentaries I’ve ever seen. Part 3 (out of 4) features a comparison between the rock & metal love affair with edgy Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson’s problems with the violent problems of the East Coast/West Coast rap battle that makes you realize that the culture of music is the same, no matter the genre.

Q: Into The Storm – Ok, so I said I don’t get political, but the story of the rise and fall of the conspiratorially minded political landscape of the last 5+ years and how it has a direct lineage to the old internet is an astounding journey. Centering on the ‘Who is…’ question that has never fully been answered, it paints a very full picture about, not the politics themselves, but the people that built the theaters those politics have lived in.

My Octopus Teacher – Ugly cried… I ugly cried at this damn film.  It is a tale about a man looking to reboot his life and finding an octopus that he becomes remarkably attached to – and the octopus to him. It is poignant, and sad, and wonderful, and you will inevitably find yourself invested in their lives that when it comes to its end you can’t help but feel things.

Circus of Books – A journey through queer culture of the 80’s and 90’s as told from the remarkably unexpected perspective of an older couple who ran one of the most famous gay pornography stores in Hollywood. The story is this amazing set piece to not just hear about the journey of gay culture, but also tell the story of this young woman who grew up with this as her home and her two unassuming simple parents, as the protectors of it all.

SpeedCubers – Have you ever wanted to feel deeply invested into the tale of Rubix Cube speedrunners?  Yeah, I didn’t expect it either.. but Speedcubers is exactly that. It explains the people in the community of speed-completing Rubix Cubes – their rises and falls – and the friendships for a whole world of people that may have a harder time finding community elsewhere.

So these are just a few of the real stories that I’ve fallen into recently – what are some documentaries that you have seen or we have missed?  Let us know in all the usual places!

[BLOG] PCR talks TTRPGs!

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Hey all, PCR here.  Reading Hatton’s blog last week as he took a walk down memory lane with some video game accessories got me waxing nostalgic as well, and this week I wanted to speak on some of my favorite Table Top RPGs from back in the day.  So, without further ado, grab your sheet and your dice, and let’s roll….

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition – Still my favorite version of D&D as it’s what I spent the majority of my D&D time playing.  I don’t begrudge folks their 5th ed and their D20 systems, but for me, this was something special.  More streamlined than 1st ed, some great new spells and categories.. to me it just had a great, smooth feel to it.  Had I the books, I would love to get into a 2nd Ed group to this day.

Mutants & Masterminds – My first foray into the d20 system came from M&M, and I have to say, I loved this system from Green Ronin.  The rules were polished enough that combat was easy to jump into without feeling overly bogged down, and the creation was flexible enough that everything pretty much made sense.  I’ve played RIFTS and GURPS and such, and while you can come up with anything your heart imagines in those systems, sometimes it just feels “Huh… sure.. ok…”, but in M&M it all felt like it made more sense.  The closest a Super Hero RPG has been for me since the original “Marvel Super Heroes”.  Speaking of…

Marvel Super Heroes – I still love this system, even with all its flaws.  Loved the FASERIP chart, loved the d100 system.. my friends and I would spend countless hours just doing Battle Royal games…setting a timer for 5 minutes per person, having so many points to spend and just the Ultimate Powers Book to make a character, grab a random map, and off we go.