|Posted on June 5, 2013 at 3:10 PM|
Note: This will be the last "long" Blog of this nature, I'll be seperating them from now on and putting up multiple blogs over a week rather than one day.
Hey there, how are you? I've been busy. In this Prompt Entry, we're going TV-heavy, though we'll start off with a piece of WTF news.
Grumpy Cat Movie Announced, Apocalypse Inevitable
Well, we've done it! Everyone celebrate! Grumpy Cat is getting his own feature film!
Ironically, a Grumpy Cat meme would be more fitting here, but I refuse.
Didn't I just write a little something how nobody in Hollywood has a clue what people actually want, they just take something with a small snippet of popularity and assume way, way too much on it?
I mean, it's a picture of a cat. You're making a movie out of a picture of a cat that's on the internet. I guess if you can't pay out for the Garfield license, an equally grumpy cat that is actually better because he loves lasagna, that you can just take a meme that nobody will remember in six months (and barely remembers now). What's annoying as that the cat itself isn't funny,it's the meme that's funny. That's two completely different things - one is the cat which looks weird and that they're basing an entirely movie off of the fact it looks weird, the other is the thousands of pictures of him with text on them about "not being impressed" - the comedy meme is what's viral, not the cat itself. If you want to make a movie out of a popular cat on the internet, Maru has been popular for years and at least he/she has more going for it because there's an entire video series about the damn thing. Grumpy is just a cat with a photo that, for some reason, the media has attached itself to like it's the second-coming of the OJ Simpson trial.
What's worse is that it's apparently live action. Are you really going to go and see a live-action grumpy cat movie? Well, the producers of gems such as Jack and Jill and Zookeeper think so. Oh, and I love his press statement:
"This started off as a picture of a cat, but rare is an image that evokes that much comedy," Garner said. "You read all of the memes and the comments, and one is funnier than the next. We think we can build a big family comedy around this character." - Todd Garner
No, idiot. You say it right there: it's a picture of cat. The comedy is the memes and comments, but you're making a film all about the former. Can you not separate yourself from your own douchebaggery to realize how dumb this statement is?
But here's the thing, it's not just a dumb picture of a cat and a horrible producer, but it's the fact this this is green lit and being "fast tracked" at New Line. Apparently, nobody over there knows how a meme works. It comes, you laugh for a half a second, then you move on. Nobody who's seen grumpy cat or stumbled upon it, no matter how funny they apparently found it, is asking to know more about it. Nobody feels they need to know the story of, behind or about a cat who's fame is from what others have done with a picture of it, not of the cat itself. Seriously, is nobody in the room ballsy enough to stand up and say "wait a minute, are we all morons?"
That all being said, Garner is going to dish out a horrible movie one way or the other because that's all the guy does. He has not made a single film worth anything and makes Bob Simonds look top-tier (at least he did Half-Baked, damnit). There's a whole slew of guys like him, so while it's annoying that we've sunk to Memes as movie sources now (much like sinking to Boardgames and Twitter accounts a year or two ago), if there's one guy that'sgoing to sink that low, it's going to be him.
So let it happen, we can spend our money elsewhere while they waste theirs. That's the best thing you can do. It'll come and go as quickly as the thing its based on, assuming we even remember who or what a grumpy cat is six months from now.
My memo to everyone involved with this.
TV Watchin! (aka I have no social life)
I've been doing a hell of a lot of catching up on television shows and binge watching everything, so here's some general thoughts on a handful of shows that you may or may not like.
It was only going to be as good as the lead the actor, and Arrow's Stephen Amell is fantastic in this Green Arrow television show as Oliver Queen. This show asks a lot of the guy: it's very physical, has to play a younger Oliver training on an island and ignorant to everything, an older Oliver now back in the real world and has to pretend to still be that dumb kid but also show he's grown, then the Green Arrow, or Vigilante or The Hood or whatever they're calling him that week, which is exactly what you would want a modern Green Arrow to be and look like.
It's full of action and suspense, though I feel the strongest part of it is the flashbacks to when Oliver was on the island. It does a good job paralleling the story of what he went through against what he's currently going through (Lost did this a lot as well…and also involved an island though it's reversed here). It's not sharpest in terms of writing despite that nice addition, but Oliver is a strong, strong character that really lifts us through all that and the supporting cast is great throughout. Well…almost. more on that in a moment.
Calm down, be patient.
I especially like how it puts in fan service without feeling like fan service. There's a lot of nods to the comic and it's great in how it reinterprets characters and ideas. I especially like that they don't hesitate to show that our "hero" pretty much just murders people. There's really no practical way around it, and even though I like that, and I like that his murdering is a part of the story and brought up in terms of the moral right and wrong of it and his growth as a character (he might not kill later, we'll see), I never quite understood why he's so fine with killing henchmen just there for the job but really never takes out the big-bad-guy in the room. Nope,he usually lets him live and get arrested or just warns him, which is even worse.
By the way, he goes back in the forth in the comics in term of his morality and ethics. I've never read the full series, though, only a few minis and whatnot, but he's not as morally "good" as other heroes. So I don't have a problem with him killing,especially if they make a point in the story where he begins to question whether he should…and they are arrows, folks.
It's not without some problems. For example, it tends to not be a very connected show episode-to-episode with any other characters other than Oliver Queen (and that's thanks to the B Story with flashbacks to the island). In one episode, a character might start as a real bitch, but then soften and "learn a lesson" by the end as she comes around by the end. However,in the next episode, she's pretty much being a bitch again.
And that leads me to another problem: the female characters. They are either bitchy or obnoxious, none are very well-rounded or interesting or even believable. I know there are some female writers in that writer's room,but it's obvious that it's male dominated because none feel very good.Thankfully, they do establish a strong female character in the latter half of the season (probably not coincidentally when there seemed to be more women added to the writer's circle, so I have a feeling they were aware of the issue). Some shows are heavy on the male characterization but can't write a believable and tolerable female character to save their lives.
Not sure why it seems so hard for shows like this to write good female characters.
My other complaint are come-and-go plot lines. Some are built up,then nothing happens for a while. The biggest one is the handling of Oliver's step father, Walter. About mid-way through the season, he vanishes. It's a part of the story, so I won't spoil it, but he's more or less written out of the show. The thing is, it's like nobody cares or notices. You never hear of the police out looking for him, the characters rarely mention him and Oliver, who is a superhero mind you, don't try to even find him once.
I just have an issue with that. I mean, months have passed before Walter is a part of the story again, and here you have this hero who, you would think, would turn around right in the next episode and hunt him down..but no, he's just opening a nightclub. The new Ninja Turtles series has this same problem where April's father is also kidnapped but it's hardly ever talked about and nobody seems to really care. It's like "oh yeah…that's a thing," and then they eat pizza. There's other plot lines that seem to come and go randomly as well.
What I do love, though, is John Barrowman. He's awesome in this show and a great counterpoint to Stephen Amell. There's another Doctor Who regular on Arrow as well, so it's kind of like a reunion, though I can't remember if they ever worked with each other.
Gif Judgement: Problematic, but at least entertaining
Person of Interest
I was putting off getting in to Season 2 only because I found Season 1 of Person of Interest only mildly entertaining at best. It wasn't bad, but it didn't really set out to make a name for itself. Thankfully, it does that with Season 2. You can pretty much see on screen that producers and writers probably shared notes on how to make the show better after Season 1. Need to make the main characters less cold? Throw in the dog. Need a stronger female lead? Make Carter work with John and Harold rather than against them. Need more overarching stories? Make the "machine" pretty much a character itself and throw in a villainous threat. It still maintains a "helping a person per episode" idea, but everything feels more interconnected because while Story A is per episode, Story B and C is stretched out throughout the series.
It's just sharper, with more to do for its characters than Season one, and as a result I ended up enjoying it a million times more. The first season was a solid, but safe season. This one took risks, which is great.
Things I didn't like, though? There's a lot of women in the show, which is great, but I can't tell a lot of them apart. They're all white, brunette and all seem to be written with the same "voice." There's no personality here, and some are pretty strong but…you know what, I'll just say it. All these brunette white women on this show look alike. There, I said it. I can't tell them apart and when they all tend to sound the same too, it just makes it impossible for me to know who is who. I know Zoe, she's cool, but the girl at the start and then the other one at the end, and I think the third one that I can't fully remember, I don't know, maybe I'm just bad with faces.
Gif Judgement: Jeremiah Approves of this New Direction and Will Continue to Watch.
Arrested Development Season 4
Loved it. All of it. Well, nearly all of it, but overall...loved it.
And truth be told, I kind of find it interesting on who has really liked it, and can talk about it and back that up, versus those who don't who can't really put in to words why...which tells me they have no idea what they're talking about.
Plus it tells me who appreciates good writing over instant laugh-out-loud gratification (in other words, a The Big Lebowski versus a lot of Will Ferrell movies).
I saw a status update (by, someone who's taste is questionable in the first place) and it simply said "wow, three episodes in, Season 4 sucks." That's the problem…especially now years later, there's not an "instant gratification" on this Season, and that's why some haven't been happy with it. I mean, I'm sure they're happy, but it didn't meet whatever expectations they had for it (which were probably insanely high to begin with because why not?).
Unlike the original three seasons, where you can pretty much sit and watch any cluster of episodes and get the gist of it, even if some callbacks and running gags are lost on you, Season 4 demands you to watch the entire thing, because the entire thing is basically a 15 part movie.
Perhaps the reason why some have not been as open to the new season (other than overhyping as mentioned, or just having way too high expectations). It's not that it's so structurally a different show by having character-specific episodes and a longer runtime, but it's entire storytelling approach is different. In the original show, the first three seasons, it was always "what's going to happen next?" From episode to episode, the question was, what goofiness are they going to get in to this week?
In Season 4, though, the focus isn't "what will happen next." Instead, it's "what has happened" mixed with peeling back layers of one central story that "is currently happening." You can watch the first episode and know the "present" story - all subsequent episodes are just retellings of that same story and timeframe from a different perspective with character specific backstories in each. Maybe, and I'm only speculating here, that feels stagnant for some viewers. For me personally, I love diving in to one thing and it constantly re-inventing and analyzing itself, which is exactly what Season 4 does. Some aren't fans of that. It's not something you could do on regular television, so the change is pretty drastic.
Some just don't like it. Their loss.
Actual problems with it, though? The jokes tend to be a beat or two longer than they should be, sometimes dragging out way too long and a laugh just never coming. Also, because it's character-specific on the episodes, some feel far more relevant than others and it's obvious which characters can really carry their own stories (George Michael or Job for example) and who really really struggles (Lucille certainly, and though I love Buster's entry, I'm glad he only has one episode because more than that would have been overkill for someone so over the top and wore out his welcome).
Gif Judgement: Chicken Dance of Approval
Doctor Who's Latest Season
Season 7, I think. Is that is? The second half of Season 7 with Coleman as the companion? Whatever it was when she jumped on board as the new companion. Ever since they started doing that "minibreak" with Doctor Who, it's hard to know what's what and when. Then again, not knowing what's what and when is kind of Doctor Who's thing so…to summarize.
One of the most satisfying Doctor Who seasons I can remember.
When the series came back after the Christmas Special, along with brand spanking new companion, Clara, who is cute, sometimes vulnerable and also willing to stand up and be her own, which is a nice change. That's why Doctor Who always goes through companions. It's an easy way to "start fresh" with ideas and stories and re-introduce old ideas and stories alongside it to make it seem fresh because the companion usually has a far different personality that the one that comes before and after. She has a lot more going for her than most because there's a strong center to her storyline rather than just "flying off with the Doctor on adventures"that most companions have.
Anyways, this last batch of episodes were terrific. Some far better than others, but even the "meh" ones were still incredibly well done and just seemed to have a great sense of enthusiasm and creativity wound through it.It also had a ton of variety and covered pretty much every genre you would think Doctor Who could cover. There was an espionage/thriller episode, a psychological horror episode, a classic claustrophobic/monster episode,mysteries, ghosts, time bubble-things, big reveals and even nailing a few emotional beats that were absolutely beautiful. For example, the second episode back had the Doctor pretty much baring his soul to a monster-planet-thing, and for the first time I actually pitied him. Sure, he's immortal, but he's been through a ton of stuff and though there's been great moments with the Doctor throughout the entire series, to have him really come out and just say it all was absolutely touching.
But the best episodes for me were Nightmare in Silver, which harkened back to old-school Doctor Who and really gave Matt Smith a moment to shine as a "villain" and Journey to the Centre of the Tardis, which despite the time-travel silliness was fun and best of all interesting because you rarely go inside the Tadis itself. I was kind of sucker for Hide also, only because I like old fashioned ghost stories. But all were pretty solid, even though I think the "finale" probably could have used two-parts. It just felt rushed at times and seemed to throw too much at once in to the pot.
Gif Judgement: The Happy Dance of Conan and Colbert's People
So with that Last Bit...Farewell, Matt Smith
As all over the internet like a burgeoning new meme (that they'll probably make a movie out of), Matt Smith announced he's leaving Doctor Who. First thoughts is dissapointment - I like Matt a lot and he really had some big shoes to fill. He took over the role and made it entirely his own, blending every single angle that you can take for a character all in to one. Sometimes comedic, sometimes dramatic, sometimes emotional, frightening, spiteful...he really ran the gamut of what one actor can realy do.
But it's a perfect time for him to go, all the same, and honestly what more could we ask of Mr. Smith at this point? This last season not only was strong but was pretty self-contained. It told the story of Clara and it finished that. Then you have the 50th Anniversary, a perfect ending to his Doctor with a nice farewell coming in the Christmas Special, I'm sure. In other words, there's nothing more he can do and there's nothing more we could ask of him. It's not like it was with David Tennent who felt he could have gone on for at least a few more years (doing the movies only emphasized that even more, there were a lot of places to go with that particular Doctor). Of course, his departing wasn't by choice, so that probably has something to do with it.
Smith, though? I think we're good. The big stories and even smaller stories (like this past brillian season) were nicely done and boy, did they ever have variety in situaion for him to get himself in to. Like the revolving companions, it's time to start fresh and do different takes on stuff. That's probably what Doctor Who fans are most concerned with. It's not that Smith is leaving, it's the uncertainty of what's to come because the show is only as good as the lead the actor in it.
That being said, Doctor Who is known to be a very progressive show and that makes the uncertainty even more apparent. Whoever is to play the next Doctor could be of any age, race, gender with the only thing "set in stone" being they'll probably be from the UK. It's made itself to where it could go in any direction, and that's why so many people love it because it feels so uninhibited by creeds.
But What About Race?
What about it?
Ok, by this I mean, there's a strong movement to having a Doctor of color, and I guess I'm on board because, really, it's The Doctor. But the appearance of the Doctor isn't nearly as important as who he is, so while I can see that people woudl applaud someone of color, I'm kind of indifferent because of a couple of reasons: the Doctor's skin color isn't really that important in the overall scheme and, and truthfully, it's safe because the Doctor can regenerate. If you're going to take a pop culture icon and change his race, The Doctor has a pretty open door to easily walk through, so while I think it'd be great, at the same time I don't think it'll be a huge leap to make it happen.
Doctor Who, The Doctor, falls in the same line of characters that are defined well beyond the color of their skin. It's who they are and what they do that defines them, to steal a line from Batman. In fact, Batman is another one of those that could be of any race. Same with Superman. James Bond. Sherlock Holmes. Now those would be bigger leaps than The Doctor, and I would welcome them just as much (if not more because I know it would be more bold to do) You know with others, there would be (and are, actually) people that would complain about the race change. Those people upset over casting a black man as the human torch or even having a British guy play Superman are small-minded to say the least. I don't think they're "racist" or "bigots" but they obviously can't see beyond what the true point of a character is.
I'd like to think that "fandom" culture would understand this, but...
Point is, unless it's written specificially for a certain race or culture, then there's nothing to whine about. For example, you wouldn't cast white leads in Slumdog Millionaire or a white guy as Shaft and you wouldn't cast black people to represent an affluent British family in Downton Abbey. One is due to a specific culture of "slumdogs," the other specifically written to be black as a representative of black cultur ein the 70s and the other a period piece about an aristocratic British family. When things are written like that, then yes, you have to have a specific race or culture represented on screen.
Fans of something should be fans for what it represents, not for the particular color of skin. I know in this world it's frustrating. Some fans are just purists and that sense of being a purist can come across as being racist, but most aren't that. It's hard to be politically correct or even know what is PC sometimes when you live a world where idiots see a picture of Adolf Hitler in a friggin teapot and think JC Penny is ran by Nazis or when Cherrios has an interracial couple and, somehow in 2013, there are people not OK with that. There's this strange extreme tugging at both ends: people looking for something that's not there and people that are actually there keeping progress down and bigotry up.
Fans aren't either, I don't think, but it's probably more unintentional in most (certainly not all) cases of them demanding a Johnny Storm be white or upset that Heimdall is black. Sure, you're a purist, but is the color of the skin all that important when you really come down to it in most cases, especially a Batman or a Doctor Who where the race isn't all that important in terms of story to begin with? I know it's likely intentional, but that doesn't mean you don't sound like an idiot the more you try to defend your stance.
Characters like The Doctor or Bond or Superman or Spider-Man or Johnny Storm or Sherlock Holmes? Their traits are entirely personality based along with what they do, not what they look like. Race doesn't define them. Hell, in some cases gender doesn't define them. But I'll leave that for another time...
Well, time to go...