Hey all, PCR here.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the MCU. Going all the way back to our Year 1 celebration we’ve talked about it, hypothesized about it, fawned over it and reviewed aspects of it. Today, I’m going to dive a bit deeper into the “why” I enjoy it so much, and some things they do that I’m not fond of.
First, the Infinity Gauntlet comic crossover is, by far, my favorite comic crossover. End of story. Was it perfect? No… most huge comic crossover events tend to start amazingly, then seem to have a hard time finding a way to finish, but it still struck a chord with me and has stuck with me since my comic-collecting days… so when Marvel teased at the end of Avengers that we were getting Thanos, I was in. I felt “there’s no WAY they would do Thanos and NOT do Infinity Gauntlet!” and I was pleased to be correct on that count.
One of the most amazing things in my opinion that the MCU gets right is casting. I have not found one instance of casting.. hero or villain.. that I’ve been against. Now, have I thought some were ‘meh’? Sure, but in those instances it’s more of a “I don’t hate it” and much less of a “They missed the boat..So and so would have been MUCH better!” (looking at Corey Stoll as Yellowjacket here and to a larger extent Anthony Mackie as Falcon). Those examples aside (I’ll get into the Mackie thing later), from hero to villain to supporting role, the casting in MCU movies and shows has been amazingly spot on.
Another thing I absolutely love about the MCU as a whole, is how they set precedent for future endeavors. “Ok, we got you to understand The Convergence and The Nine Realms? Good, here’s The Quantum realm and Dr. Strange” “You good with multiple suits of Iron Man armor flying around on their own? Awesome, here’s Ultron and his army” just to use two examples. It’s brilliant storytelling in my opinion, and makes it easier for those who *aren’t* huge comic fans to digest what they’ve been seeing on the screen.
I’ll call it “loyalty to the source material”. Civil War was a great comic series (not Infinity Gauntlet great, and fell off with a much weaker finish, but still a great concept). The movie we got, while entertaining and giving us some great fan service in scenes, was not the story told in the comics. Now, I get it. It couldn’t be. Civil War comic run was a huge crossover event in and of itself. There’s no way to effectively condense that down into one movie…and I also know the MCU shouldn’t be a slave to the source material in a way that doesn’t allow for moving the MCU plot along. That being said, to me, there’s something about a movie using source material so loosely that it almost retcons and makes the original source material irrelevant. This isn’t just an MCU flaw, this is a movie flaw in general, but it’s one the MCU and Marvel doesn’t do better on. Is there a way for them to? I’m not sure, but it stands out to me nonetheless.
And finally, let’s talk about the Netflix shows.
Overall, I enjoyed them. Daredevil was spot on. Jessica Jones wasn’t my kind of show, but I found value in watching it. Luke Cage season 2 was far better than season 1. Iron Fist …well… was necessary for The Defenders to work (which, to me, it did) and Punisher was amazing.
None of them (to date) have ever been ‘shouted up’ to the greater MCU movieverse, and there’s an easy way they could have been in Infinity War.
When Thanos snaps, there could have been a montage scene (much like they had in the comic) of scenes from around the world of people disappearing. Imagine, Thanos snaps, and we cut to Hell’s Kitchen and see Matt talking to Foggy and Foggy dusts… Jessica and Trish both dust mid conversation…Luke watching people in Harlem suddenly dust away… it could have taken them… 2-3 minutes of movie time to intersperse something like that, and it would have paid the TV shows respect for carrying on the MCU torch in other media.
That’s it for me for now, Hatton’s up next week!
Yarr yo ho ho and a bottle of Something not so brutally alcoholic (see: The Booze Episode)
Wellllcome back everyone – and it is time for the Somethings to set sail on the seven seas as we go on a voyage to review Netflix’s The Lost Pirate Kingdom. Do the boys hoist the jolly roger and go pillaging across the Atlantic? Or are they scurvy lilly-livered scalliwags who don’t know their port from their starboard? Well, get yourself on board and join us as we take a look at this docuseries.
Was it good? Was it accurate? How much syphilis can one documentary feature? Find out here and now on Something In Review: Lost Pirate Kingdom
Ok, here we Yo Ho Ho!!
This week, I want to dive into a part of one of my all-time favorite film franchises… James Bond.
Bond films have set a high bar for fight scenes, chase scenes, cinematic excellence, and, what I’ll touch on this week… stunts. So join me as I run through my top 3 favorite stunts in James Bond Movies!
3 – Corkscrew Car
In “The Man With The Golden Gun”, we get a comical sequence where Bond ‘reunites’ with a character from a former movie, J. W. Pepper. As the duo chases Scaramanga, they come across a broken bridge over a river. Flooring it, Bond drives his red AMC Hornet X Hatchback at the broken bridge, which corkscrews the car through midair, landing safely on the other side. It was stuntman Loren “Bumps” Willert’s first time doing the stunt, and he pulled it off in one take. (Check it out here)
2 – Boat Jump
“Live and Let Die” was Roger Moore’s first Bond film, and the first time he encounters Sheriff J. W. Pepper. In this scene, Bond is being chased by Kananga’s men through the bayous of Louisiana. Running out of water, Bond races his boat at an embankment alongside a highway where Pepper and his men are waiting for him. Hitting the embankment, Bond’s boat sails over 100 feet in the air before landing in the water on the other side of the highway. (Check it out here)
1 – Dam Jump
“Goldeneye” marks Bond’s first return to the screen after a 6 year hiatus, and the first time Pierce Brosnan takes up the title role. In the pre-title scene, we see Bond running along the top of the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland. In a wide, panoramic shot, after securing a cable, Bond dives off the top of the dam in a makeshift bungee escape. The leap set a world record for stuntman Wayne Michaels, which was done in one take. The scenery, the epicness of the cinematography, and the fact the jump was done in silence just emphasizes the immensity of it all, and puts this stunt at the top of my list. (Check it out here)
Let’s discuss some nostalgia porn, as it isn’t all created equal. First, let me mention Meddling Kids which is a novel I read last year that blew me away. A group of twenty-somethings that bear a remarkable similarity to a group of teenage detective sleuths and their snack-hungry dog have all grown up and are dealing with the PTSD of the things they saw as kids. From being faced with murder to the supernatural, they have grown-up like the kids from It have – repressing everything.
The nostalgia in Meddling Kids is biting and funny and a new take on tropes as the not-Scooby Gang bump into Lovecraftian Lore, it analyzes not simply what the characters would be like if they actually had to deal with fantastical Hanna-Barbara cartoon mysteries, but talks about the relationships of these people. Why is the book smart nerd friends with the stoner and the ‘nice guy’. It takes its premise through brutality and emotional turmoil and makes these fictional kids feel like they could fit in a real-ish world. It stunned me, and I highly recommend it.
Now, let’s discuss the other side of nostalgia porn, and the reason I picked this topic to talk about. I enjoyed Ready Player One, the book. I caught it early on the hype train and it tickles quite a few of my weird sub-sub-genre’s of stories. It hits on ‘movies as game’ like It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Midnight Madness, and Jumanji. It features one of my particular eras of nerddom that doesn’t get a lot of notice, 1980s computer culture – and mixes it with science fiction, comics, Brat Pack pop culture, and a thousand other things that were the bread and butter of my pre-teen youth. There was one thing that stuck in my craw about it though, and that was we are watching a ‘day after the day after tomorrow’ type world and the creators of said world seem obsessed with this era of culture. Now don’t get me wrong, I do understand that this is a love letter to that era, but in a book about video games with the grand master video game makers of all time.. you would think they also liked things a bit more ambitious than NETHACK. All of that said – I enjoyed RP1. I thought it was cute and fun and itched the popcorny itches it was designed to itch, even though it is not without its flaws…. unlike its sequel….
You see, Ready Player Two is now out and it has given up on everything that even remotely made RP1 enjoyable and doubled down on the thing that made it annoying. Yes, there’s another fetch quest. Yes, the band gets back together. Yes, the stakes are raised… and it is because of those things that everything else falls off a cliff. Without delving too deeply into spoiler territory, RP2 puts lives at stake. It isn’t about an evil corporation and a young plucky hero… it’s about millions of lives in peril and our, now infinitely rich and yet somehow still remarkably naive, hero – with his encyclopedic knowledge of everything his idols have ever done, spends literal chapters spilling about movies and music. He goes into explicit detail about the life of John Hughes and into deep Tolkien ephemera. He whines about his lack of romance and realizes all of the mistakes he’s made and the missteps he’s taken (none of which that we get to see, mind you) — all while telling us about the trees on Chewbacca’s home planet. There are millions of lives depending on his journey and he can’t help but idly giggle like a schoolgirl because he sees a computer generated Juliette Lewis — a Juliette Lewis that he literally could have delivered to his virtual bedroom and programmed to ride his Natural Born Killer from Dusk Til Dawn.
Nostalgia porn has its place to make a story taste the way it’s supposed to taste, like one of my all time favorite movies, Super 8 or something as charming as La La Land… but when your narrative only serves to plate nostalgia instead of tell a good story dressed in it — all I want to do is go find a new story that doesn’t need to tell me all of the stories that it relies on.
Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!
Hey hey Somethings! PCR here, and today I’m listing out my “Top 5 Favorite Swords”! These could be from movies, TV, Comics, Video Games… not limiting myself here. I am also grouping “Lightsabers” as an honorable mention as a whole.
On to the list in no particular order!
5 – D’Artagnan’s/Top Dollar’s/Inigo Montoya’s Rapier
While not the same prop, they all have an amazingly similar style and look to them. The large, swept-hilted basket hilt is very distinctive and back in my Ren-Faire days, it was my favorite kind of weapon to wield.
4 – Highlander’s Ivory Katana
While there should have been only one (movie), this sword quickly became iconic. I know when that movie came out, if you picked up *any* katana, you were immediately acting out one of the many scenes from “Highlander”
The title character from First Comic’s “Dreadstar”, Vanth’s weapon was more than just a sword, it was a part of him. Made of energy, he could manifest the sword as a weapon of unbelievable power, or he could absorb it into himself to become nigh invulnerable.
Forged by legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzo from 1000 layered Japanese steel, this sword was able to dispatch the Crazy 88, O-Ren Ishii, and undoubtedly been able to, as Hanzo stated when presenting it to her… cut God himself.
1 – Sword of Omens
Able to grant “sight beyond sight”, Lion-O’s sword.. containing the Eye of Thundera was more than just a mere sword. Nearly a sentient being in it’s own right, The Sword of Omens was instrumental in defeating Mumm-Ra on many occasions, as well as summoning the ThunderCats to Lion-O’s side when needed.
- Kurgan’s Sword
In the last two or three months, I’ve started going back to X-Men. You have to understand, there was a time where I drank down everything ‘X’, and when I needed new furniture, I was able to put my mattress on the longboxes I had so many filled with Charles Xavier’s team of racial allegory.
Now, I will admit, I am not currently brought up to speed… I stopped reading what I previously had said was a couple of years ago, but honestly is almost coming up on a decade. Somewhere shortly after Hope Summers saved the world I got super busy and life happened and comics just fell to the wayside. I’ve found during our current Under-The-Dome sheik lifestyle, comics and logic puzzles have helped me caulk up the boring minutes.
So to celebrate that, here are my three favorite X-Men and why!
#3 – JAMIE MADROX
Oh yes, the Multiple Man, the only comic book character that shares my name. Maddrox, for a long time, just felt like ‘another tough do-gooder’ in his younger years, but after Peter David took back X-Factor and we got ‘Multiple Man, Private Dick’ and the much more traditional soap opera of David’s runs, Jamie really came into his own as a complicated and, in many ways, man broken into hundreds of pieces. He’s layered and at times completely wrong in his choices… but that’s what makes good character.
#2 – ROGUE & GAMBIT
The middle spot here is a bit of a revolving door of characters. I always love Maddrox, and #1 is kind of a non-shocker if you know anything about me… but this middle spot really could be taken up by ‘whomever I am really loving right now’. It’s been Blink, it’s been Colossus, it’s been Maggott (oh yes, you read that right). But Rogue and Gambit, at their best, are a fantastically brutal story about the things you can’t have and the toxicity of relationships. Some writers have done them well, other writers have been complete garbage to them and can’t help but treat them like a ‘forbidden fruit’ trope.
When they’re good, they’re great, though – and in my trawling through the X-verse, I have been keeping an eye on where they end up. Sadly, with the way comic books work, their world will never be perfect, and if it feels that it is, it won’t be for long. He’s too broken and she’s too uncomfortable with who she is and there will never be a writer that wants you to feel that they are an ideal that has been achieved when there is so much more gristle on the bone in their dysfunction.
#1 – EMMA FROST
Are you surprised? If you know anything about me, you shouldn’t be. Emma has been one of my favorite characters since Generation X and, honestly, probably before that (but I’ll blame that on teenage me seeing a woman clad in white lingerie and thinking that was the cat’s pajamas. The truth is, Emma, when done correctly, is a tragically beautiful character. From her Hellions being brutalized to her making amends and being the teacher for the next generation of mutants. Followed up by being Cyclops’s therapeutic ‘other woman’. She is cold and calculating, brutal and unforgiving, and that’s even after you get to know her. The emotions of Emma and the feelings beneath her coldness has been attempted to be explored in an individual series and many many flashbacks that all don’t seem to make much sense when you blend them together, but the heart of her character is true – it is easier to be cold, than hurt…
At her best, she doesn’t care about what’s best for the ‘Dream of Mutants’ and she doesn’t care what’s the best legal choice. Emma does what’s best for those she has placed beneath her, the kids that are using her as her template. Every story that includes some concept of ‘will Emma be evil?’ doesn’t get Emma at all (I’m looking at you Whedon) and where I loathe her secondary mutation as it feels a tad to ‘on the money’ – when Emma wants something, you’re doing what Emma wants which is the fear everyone has about the Psi-Level-Mutants because if she wanted to, she could rule the world and you wouldn’t even know she was doing it.
So what about you – who’s your favorite X? Who am I completely wrong about? I’ll tell you right now.. I will happily write more X Reviews if you want, as it’s how I cut my teeth as an internet presence and I do miss it sometimes. See you next time.
Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!
Hey all you Somethings!
We haven’t talked much Music lately, and we’re always looking to give listeners an insight into what makes us “Us”, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 albums that, as a catalogue, speak volumes as to the person I am. In no particular order….
10 – Eat ‘Em and Smile – David Lee Roth. The year was 1986, and an impressionable PCR was just entering High School. Between Yankee Rose (with Steve Vai’s ‘talking guitar’, and the frequency of the video on MTV), Shy Boy, Tobacco Road and I’m Just a Gigolo.. this album quickly became one of the soundtracks of my High School years.
9 – Passion and Warfare – Steve Vai. A second shout out on this list to Steve Vai. Up until now, my musical interests had been rather… vanilla? Commercial? Mainstream? Whatever the word, 1990 hit and this album caught my eyes and ears. Liberty, Erotic Nightmares, The Audience Is Listening and The Animal spoke to ‘college Rob’ in ways other primarily instrumental music hadn’t.
8 – Raising Hell – Run DMC. I remember recording the Raising Hell concert off WBLS when they aired it live (Fun Fact : Beastie Boys opened for them. More on that later). Full transparency, I love EVERY Run DMC album, but this is the one that started that love for me.
7 – Disney’s Robin Hood Album – Various. I had this on vinyl. I listened to it endlessly. I can still quote 90% of the movie word for word in the accents. Fight me.
6 – License To Ill – Beastie Boys. The ‘sampling’ issue had been around for a while, but when License came out I was old enough to understand it. Sampling from Led Zeppelin for Rhymin’ and Stealin’ felt almost like… well… stealin’, but the beats they dropped for other songs such as She’s Crafty, No Sleep Till Brooklyn, and the rap/rock of Fight For Your Right. turned me in to a longtime fan.
5 – BomBARDed – The Library Bards. The story of how we met Bonnie and Xander has been told before, but meeting them in person was one of the best things this show has ever done, and we were happy to support both of their albums, the newest of which is BomBARDed which can be found at https://librarybards.
4 – Running With Scissors – ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. Much like Run DMC, I love ALL of Al’s albums, but for my money, this is probably my favorite in no small part to seeing him live and watching him do The Saga Begins and All About the Pentiums live. The man is an unstoppable force when performing live and it remains one of my top concerts ever.
3 – Appetite For Destruction – Guns n’ Roses. Not a bad song on the entire album. My current workout jam.
2 – Un-Led-Ed – Dread Zeppelin. Take a reggae band that does Led Zeppelin covers and give it an Elvis impersonator as a lead singer and you have this bit of genius. First introduced to this band when it was background music at a party I was at, my brain kept saying “I know this song… but not… THIS.. song…”. Once I was able to focus, I was hooked. Seeing them live (with Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors) was hilarious.
1 – Sunshine On Leith – The Proclaimers. This album was unexpected. Originally purchased for one song and one song only (I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)) the rest of this album I absolutely adored. From Cap In Hand, My Old Friend The Blues and Sunshine On Leith showing off their soulful side, to Then I Met You and Oh, Jean being more raucous and rambunctious, this album is still a go to for me on long road trips.
Music From The Elder – KISS. My favorite album from one of my favorite bands.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles. My top Beatles album.
Disraeli Gears – Cream. For my money, the definitive Cream album.
Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!
How many movies have you seen the past year? If you are anything like good ol’ Hatton here, you have probably seen a lot. I have been getting annoyed with myself at just how many damned movies I’ve digested in the last year because.. honestly, why the hell shouldn’t I? I’ve found in recent months that it is harder to settle in to a television show (although I most certainly have), but I can convince myself to give up 2 hours to movies about almost anything. So here are a few of the movies I’ve watched that I’ve loved, and also a couple that I’ve hated. If you have any interest you can read my shorter reviews on these and every movie I watch over on Letterboxd (which is basically like GoodReads, but for movies (which is basically Raveller, but with books (which is basically … ok, I’ve run out, but about yarn).
SOUL – Yeah, there was no way that Pixar’s journey into the afterlife, what it means to live, the soul, and jazz wasn’t going to make a list of movies I enjoyed. It’s just rich in color and tone, it makes the music feel like a living and breathing character while the performances of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey are so emotional in both the good and the bad, I would believe that they are best friends outside of work. I also would watch that talk show. Anyway, Soul is beautiful and the music, from a genre that I don’t usually have anything to say, makes the world live.
VFW – In the ‘weird subgenre’ tropes that exist out there, the ‘a group have to defend their place from evil’ is one you don’t hear a lot from. Things like Breakin‘ 2 or Revenge of the Nerds, obviously 1980’s fair and Home Alone being the most famous. (I do hope you are now sitting there and trying to find the connection between those 3 movies, and I assure you.. it’s there. They’re movies about a group of like-minded people defending a THING, a PLACE, an IDEA from evil. Well, in VFW it’s a bunch of veterans defending their watering hole from evil drugged out punks. It’s an action movie riot – and stars so many actors you know from that action movie thing they did that time. The film looks dated, the locales look old… this movie could be from 1993 Cinemax and you wouldn’t know the damned difference. It’s brilliant.
SPONTANEOUS – This is, by far, the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. Part of that, I’m sure, is because I wasn’t expecting it. The premise is that there are kids in a high school that occasionally blow up, so the rest of the class has to deal with it. It sounded like it was going to be a perfect little silly horror comedy, but it isn’t what I got. It is a movie with humor that actually made me laugh out loud, and the emotional weight of a Heathers or a Pump Up The Volume. The movie is a breakdown of the modern teenage experience in ways I can’t empathize, but I certainly can sympathize. If you go look up one thing on this blog post today – This should be the one.
GIRLS WITH BALLS – A weird French Canadian film about a volleyball team fighting deliverance style backwoods types that turn out to be a cult? I mean, it isn’t the worst premise in the world… sadly, the movie it got is just a series of scenes that may have had plots, but somehow they don’t now. The same 5 bad guys dying over and over again due to, I am sure, budget reasons. Moments of suspense ruined by these girls yelling at each other over their status in the team, but the comedy being ruined by not having a punchline. This movie fails at fundamentally everything, it doesn’t even fit the mark for a ‘so bad its good’ because it knows its bad… so there is intent, which makes it even dumber. The poster is actually much cooler than the movie
STARFISH – The world is ending and this girl may or may not have the answer to fix it? I mean, that feels like a good slug line for a reasonable film… but this movie just.. walks around. Takes a nap. Reads a book. Feeds the fish. Ignores the monster outside. Doesn’t tell you much about what’s going on. Takes another nap. Ends. Seriously, won’t lie, that’s pretty much the whole thing. The worst kind of ‘horror as art’ and ‘I don’t have to explain it to you, Warren…
30 MILES FROM NOWHERE – A bunch of 30 – 40 somethings all meet in the woods after one of their own’s funeral. I actually am most disappointed by this one, as I find the premise is wonderful. It is the sort of premise you hear about a great play… there is a history the viewer isn’t aware of, tensions we can’t see, there is so much that could be happening before the story even starts that it is rife with things to reveal — but 30 Miles just starts the film with everyone acting nice, but hating each other. It is less ‘Friends reconnected’ and more ‘We have to do this’ – which would be fine, that is a reasonable direction, but none of them respond to anything reasonably. They just do dumb plot-pushing things and yell at each other!
That’s that! A few movies to tide you over until we’re allowed outside – I mean, even the bad ones take up time… it’s an angry, want to crush and destroy, time.. but it’s time.
So what have you seen during the world of lockdown? What great or horrible thing had you previously missed? Let us know!
Been playing a fair amount of Freddy on Dead By Daylight lately, and that got me thinking about the “Nightmare” franchise, so here’s my take on ranking all nine movies from worst to best!
#9 – Freddy’s Dead : The Final Nightmare
This movie was trash. Most of their plots and ‘revelations’ were lifted from other movies that the viewer had known for a while (Wait… you can PULL FREDDY OUT OF A DREAM?!?!?…) which made things very boring for me, and the times they tried to be original (Freddy having a daughter.. his power coming from ‘Dream Demons’…) were so schlocky that this movie easily falls to the bottom of the list.
#8 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Regardless of the possible ‘subtext’ of this movie… it was a huge downgrade from the original with lackluster acting, cheesy visuals, and ZERO memorable scenes. The lack of memorable scenes gives it JUST enough of a boost over the AMAZINGLY memorable(ly bad) Final Nightmare to have this one clock in at number 8.
#7 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010 Remake)
Rebooting a beloved franchise that had fallen off in recent years? Casting Jackie Earl Haley (who was amazing as Rorschach in ‘Watchmen’) as Freddy? I’m in! At least… I wanted to be in. It felt like a college film project based on the original. Visually it was close (although, I wasn’t a fan of Freddy’s ‘new’ look), but it lacked the heart and… dare I say charm.. .of the original. All in all, the title was accurate, though not in the way that was intended.
#6 – Freddy VS Jason
It was a bold move to even attempt this movie as it had the potential to ruin two different, beloved horror franchises…however, out of all the matchups that could have been made… the ‘immovable object’ of Jason paired up with the wise-cracking Freddy was the perfect match. While the ending was to be expected, it was a valid homage to both fan bases and well done.
#5 – Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
This movie is underrated. Arriving 3 years after ‘The end of the franchise’, I love the metaness of it. I love seeing the principle cast back. While it’s the poorest performing movie of the lot, and falls a bit outside of the continuity of the franchise, it was an amazingly bold direction to go in and I applaud the choice.
#4 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : The Dream Child
The wrap up of the ‘middle trilogy’, “The Dream Child” uses Alice’s unborn baby’s dreams to fuel Freddy’s ability and was the poorest performing of said trilogy. The gas was starting to run out of the series, which lead to the inevitable “Final Nightmare” debacle.
#3 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : The Dream Master
This was the mid point of the “Dream….” trilogy and it effectively put Renny Harlan on the map. Pulling in nearly $50 mil on a $6.5 mil budget, it was the highest grossing film of the series in the U.S. until Freddy VS Jason came out… even with Patricia Arquette’s role recast to Tuesday Knight.
#2 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : Dream Warriors
Spots 2 and 1 are close enough for me to almost be interchangeable… (almost). With a great cast (Langenkamp, Arquette, Fishburn…) it revitalized the franchise after the dismal “Freddy’s Revenge” and really drove the series for the next two films. Had this movie tanked, it easily could have relegated “Nightmare” movies to late-Saturday-night-schlockfests until it died with a whimper. Instead, it lit a fire in the fandom and shifted the series from straight horror/slasher to more Horror/SciFi/Fantasy which was a wise choice.
And the number one is!
#1 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
This is the one that started it all, and therefore deserves top spot on the list. With an original concept for a slasher/killer and amazing practical effects, this movie put not only Freddy, but Langenkamp and a young Johnny Depp on viewer’s radar. Without the impact this movie had, none of the others would have been made, and therefore takes its rightful spot at the top of my list.
Have you listened to our recent episode about Cobra Kai & Evil? Well, if you haven’t – take a minute – go listen now… I’ll wait.
Now that you’re caught up – since that episode, I’ve binged down Evil and figured it seems only right to discuss it. (And I challenge my podcasting partner to do the same with a certain karate oriented program)
The only information I had walking in was what Rob had told me – the show was about a man of faith trying to debunk exorcisms with a tech and a shrink on his side. The premise felt like the type of show I would dig, add in that there are lengthy background mysteries going on the whole way through and a villain in Ben Linus—- I mean Michael Emerson, it was an easy sell.
So, with all that, was it worth the time and effort – and the answer is a yes, but not without qualifications.
Both Mike Colter, playing David Acosta and Katja Herbers, playing Kristen Bouchard are three-dimensional characters who spend the season fighting demons (internal, external, and imagined) and come across as three-dimensional layered and conflicted people. To round out their trio is Ben Shakir, as performed by former Daily Show alum Aasif Mandvi, the skeptic tech expert who is enjoyable to watch, even though out of the three, his character feels the most stereotypical.
One of the main factors the show wants you to question throughout is ‘what is real and what is supernatural’ – is this person possessed or do they have an identity disorder? Is that person pulling secrets from the aether or is someone being stalked? That, it does well. Even weird creepy things from the first half of the show get more concrete answers later. To the point where it lulls you into a false sense of security when you see something that you are certain must be supernatural.
The only problem the show suffers from is one that a lot of shows do – and that is the ‘nothing is normal’ issue. It’s a minor gripe, but its one that never ceases to be notable. A perfect example is an episode near the end of the season where David is invited to a woman’s house because she is having a crisis of faith. It also just so happens that she has a man chained up in her basement for offenses he may or may not have committed. Why was David called? Why would she invite David over? Can’t David just go to someone’s house and tell them about his Lord and Savior and provide them a bounty of pamphlets and associated literatures?
A lot of that is simply the buffalo of television – nary a minute can be spent not developing a plot lest they lose our attentions which is reasonable. It wouldn’t be an interesting episode if he just so happened to visit a an old friend, they talked about their favorite episode of Friends and there was no possible demon infestation… but when the weird shit is the only thing you see, it makes it feel like these characters just stumble place to place and every portion of their life is an interconnected plot of intrigue.
I will give it this though – the last ten minutes of its first season makes you re-evaluate what you’ve just watched. Not in a ‘Fight Club’ way, but in a ‘Oh, this is a story about Sam Gamgee’ sort of way. It makes you look at one particular character’s journey in a new light… and also makes you wonder what Baphomet charges for in-patient office visits. (When you watch the show, that will make you laugh..)
So was Rob right? Is Evil a show for me? The answer is yes. I’m not riveted, but I’m enjoying it. It’s a show that teeters on the edge of too much. The villain is too smart and gets what he wants too easily. The ramifications of actions are brushed aside when they’re not necessary… but it is telling an interesting story, and that’s all that really matters.