What'cha Watching? (TV or Film)

I don’t get it either. I am weirdly stoked for this despite Zac Snyder being a deeply stupid man who probably has bad politics and a limited repertoire of tricks to his movie making. That’s still far more interesting to me the algorithmically produced competency of the MCU. I mean the trailer for the movie had The Joker saying “we live in a society”!

Zack Snyder might accidentally wander into something…interesting? Interesting might be a little strong. More likely to produce something I haven’t seen before than the Disney-brand entertainment mind paste (which I enjoy, I should say) of the MCU, even if that’s by virtue of sheer unadulterated incompetence.

So I did it. I said I’d watch it over the weekend in chunks but I couldn’t resist it. I watched Zack Snyder’s Justice League and, on balance, I think it was not bad!

I should add that this rounds out what was a week of watching the Snyder Superman trilogy which started on Monday with Man of Steel and continued Tuesday with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Man of Steel is definitely the most competently executed of the three and I think as a result the most boring. It feels indebted somewhat to the tone of the Nolan Batman trilogy with the weird reactionary undertones of Dark Knight Rises sanded off for a generic superhero movie.

Batman v Superman is the most baffling of the three. A genuinely interesting enough movie for the first 2/3rds and exudes some of the best visual directing and silly philosophical questions Snyder is obsessed with as a baby Randian that’s undone by maybe the worst plot resolution I’ll ever see in a movie followed by an escalating climactic fight that I literally don’t remember anything of despite seeing it two days ago.

First of all, I’m glad Zack Snyder’s Justice League exists. The toxic fandom are terrible and the fact that they’re maybe the only group who’ve ever achieved what they wanted through posting should inspire awe and terror at the same time but I’m glad this movie saw the light of day. It’s not a great movie, far from it, and it’s maybe a damning indictment of the times or whatever but I’m glad that something this baffling and somewhat interesting can exist at such a huge budget. It’s not The Last Jedi or anything which was another deeply flawed but interesting movie in a different and better way but it’s also not an Avengers movie which is so smooth I can’t grab at anything.

It’s just good I suppose to see something that’s someone’s own uncompromising* vision even if their vision is really stupid. It’s sorta like Kojima where there’s cool stuff to think about and a lot of great stuff happening visually but there’s also tons to poke fun and laugh at before you even get to the bloated mess of it all.

*I say uncompromising but there’s a dream sequence at the end of the movie which follows on from Batman v Superman which, imo, are glimpses of where Snyder actually wants to take Superman but is either too cowardly to make or he’s being prevented by DC/WB because it would be very detrimental for the brand.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. And full shouts to Ray Fisher who has a good shout for being the main protagonist of the movie. Throws his treatment at the hands of Josh Whedon into greater effect, imo, because he did not seem to have this much screentime and character development in the original movie.

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I just picked up The Night Manager on Prime Video with Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie (and a shout-out to Elizabeth Debicki who they can’t put in heels because she’s 18,000 feet tall already). It’s low-key anticapitalist in a way I really appreciate.

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Godzilla vs Kong does not bring the heat I’m afraid to say. Kong: Skull Island remains undefeated. You really need a director and a production team who have watched some goddamn anime in order to make a good one of these movies. Skull Island had Kong rip out a monster’s guts through its mouth. That’s what I expect from my Hollywood monster movies.

The chad-on-chad violence was not beefy or plentiful or gory enough for me. I’d honestly take King of Monsters over this one because at least it had some fist-pumping fuck you moments.

I did not get any hint of Adam Wingard’s directorial fingerprints either. Dude directed You’re Next and The Guest - two unabashedly leftist films with nasty violence to spare and there was none of that on display here. If you’re not going to give me Pacific Rim then give me Shin Godzilla.

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If we’re talking leftist fare, my wife and I have been watching Superstore for the first time. I am really impressed at how this most mainstream of current network sitcoms wears its seething hatred for late-stage capitalism on its sleeve. Following the minimum wage workers of an ersatz Wal-Mart, the show borrows the structure of The Office while dispensing with that show’s comfortable middle class setting. Superstore deals with heavy themes such as raising children with no health insurance, elder poverty, and even the practicalities of labor organizing, but it remains incredibly funny throughout. Oh, and it’s got one of the most diverse casts I’ve ever seen in a network sitcom! We’re in the middle of season 4 currently, so the show could nosedive from here, but right now it is a very hearty recommendation.

Well, LeBron seems like he’s having fun at least

It really speaks volumes as to just how greedy these entertainment companies are, that they took the incredible layup of “Space Jam 2 with the modern MJ” and still packed it to the gills with fuckin product placement

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Why do they keep dragging the Iron Giant into these things? Though, admittedly, he is better suited to basketball than the nonsense Ready Player One was doing.

I just finished Last Chance U Basketball. For anyone that has seen the other Last Chance U’s it follows the same formula. For those that haven’t a quick synopsis is that it follows a community college sports team (football and now basketball) through a season. They are usually a highly ranked school, and have a roster of really talented players. Some are there because they flamed out at a higher level school, some for bad grades, and others are just looking for a shot, but all are looking it make it to the next level.

Despite sticking to the same formula as previous seasons, there are some differences both good and bad. The good first, this is the best coaching staff of any of the seasons. No demeaning of the players or yelling which makes you think ‘come on man they’re just kids’. Also none of them seem to be using the kids to get a better position. I felt there were a handful of coaches that were just there to showcase their own talents rather than help the kids/athletes (the QB coach from one of the Independence seasons comes to mind). This seasons also seems to have the most friendly and close-knit team yet. There were some genuinely cute and touching moments (looking at you forest retreat episode). Now for the bad, and bad might be too rough of a word. With the smaller rosters of basketball teams compared to football I felt like they really only focused on 3-4 players, and there wasn’t some out of nowhere star that seemed to happen in all the football seasons. The players they chose to focus on where definitely the right choice, but I just wish there was some plucky player that wows in practice and finally gets his shot to play in a game. My biggest issue is that the jump from JUCO to D-1 or even D-2 basketball is so less meaningful than in football. In football if you make that jump I have a chance to watch you on Saturday and root you on, and possibly even make it to the NFL. In basketball, there are just so many smaller D-1 schools that I’m never going to see Sacramento State or Long Beach University on TV. Then also the last time a JUCO player got drafted to the NBA was like almost a decade ago.

I highly recommend it to anyone, even non-sports lovers. My partner, who doesn’t like sports at all, gets really into the show. She sees the students she taught in these athletes, and she gets so invested in them and their success. This might be my favorite season of the series yet!

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I tried to watch the first episode of The Expanse and just couldn’t do it. I’m reading the books at the moment and thought: ‘I could use some related background TV. I enjoy Thomas Jane’ but nada. Everyone is too hot and the sets look like soundstages and it’s just not what I’m visualising while reading the books. It really needed to be hit with an Altered Carbon-sized production stick to work for me. Sci fi is so tech-based than as soon as it looks the slightest bit cheap, I have trouble staying engaged. Also the dialogue is slower somehow compared to the books and it sounds weird coming out of actual human people’s mouths. I don’t like how Belter creole sounds, what can I say? This shit just doesn’t work for me an it’s not even the show’s fault as both of the series’ authors were apparently heavily involved with the production. Sorry Rob!

Q : Into the Storm, the 6 part documentary about QAnon by Cullen Hoback. Found it depressing/disturbing when it focuses on the Q followers but also fascinating- specifically the Watsons and whatever the fuck is going on with them, the facades within facades of Ron Watson and his relationship with the filmmaker…
Recommended!

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I just watched it and really enjoyed it. I don’t know if I really learned a whole bunch of new information just given how much I learned about Gamergate and just being on the internet. It was all very fascinating though. I was surprised to see the “leader” of Anonymous going after the Watkins and Qanon. The relationship between the filmmaker and the Watkins and Fred were all super interesting. He literally helped the dude move from the Philippines to avoid jail time!!

I had a question about the identity of Q though. So Q was Ron obviously (I loved that scene where he lets it slip and they both just start cracking up). I was curious though was it Ron the whole time or just when that shift in writing style happened? I don’t really know if that needs to be blurred, but figured I would just in case.

It was very interesting seeing followers explain the conspiracies and make excuses when Q would get something wrong. I have family members that seem to be into the conspiracy theories of Qanon without really knowing what it is. They use similar tactics of moving the goalposts when something doesn’t happen like it’s supposed to, but just don’t have this cult devotion to this group/person.

Have no idea, we can only speculate on a lot of the details.It does seem likely though, doesn’t it?

Another interesting thing was the dichotomy of Ron needing anonymity but also craving attention/documentation of what he was doing. I couldn’t guess if he will just come clean about everything in the future or not.

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Yeah that’s true. The simplest answer is usually true. There is just all that stuff before the shift in tone that makes it seem like it could be a different person. That could be because of Ron’s need for attention/credit though. He started it being as anonymous as possible, and then slowly started leaving very subtle breadcrumbs that he was Q. It all culminated with him using his personal Twitter during the election first. I guess that last post wasn’t actually signed by C!0demaster then. Now that it is out there I wonder if he will come clean about it.

I doubt he’ll come clean until someone else proves it beyond a shadow of the doubt. He clearly enjoys the feeling of being one step ahead of the rest of us, and by playing coy he gets to keep that feeling while also enjoying the notoriety of being probably but not provably Q.

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That trailer didn’t exactly make me excited for the movie, but seeing that somehow the Clockwork Orange gang is in the background of one of the scenes makes me curious as to how weird some of this movies “remember that?” will get.

We’ve been watching a S. Korean show on Netflix called Let’s Eat and are getting pretty into it. Early on, I couldn’t figure out the tone it was trying to take – shifting between sort of sitcom, rom-com, and, weirdly, a thread of a thriller, but it seems like that was resolved fairly soon. I would like to know how it fits into these genres the way they’re done in South Korean TV, because it’s a little bit of an odd mix for a U.S. viewer. There are a bunch of cultural signifiers that I probably just don’t pick up on, too – like the law firm where the main character works is probably sort of low rent, but it took a while for that to be clear to me. Anyway, it’s fun, and has lots of good food photography and food chat.

Oh, snap, the thriller plot line is not over, this show is so all over the place!