More TV-2018

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More television…

Best Return:  Nathan Fillion.  Love the fact that Fillion is back on TV with The Rookie.  He is charming and lovable.  Runner-Up:  Alec Baldwin,

Show that fell flat:  Murphy Brown.  I was excited about this return because I always enjoyed Murphy Brown.  I watched the pilot but could not get into the show.  I did not see any other episode.  Runners-Up:  The Conners, Roseanne, Thirteen Reasons Why

Best Reality Show:  My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David LettermanThe interview show was always interesting with one guest each episode.

Most Improved Show:  Iron Fist.  Yes, this was still not great and was cancelled, but season two was considerably better than season one.

Best Animated:  Big Mouth.  Netflix’s crude animated comedy was funny and shocking all at the same time.

Gone Too Soon:  American Vandal.  I loved season two.  I feel like it really improved as a story telling show.  Why can we not get a season three?  Runners-Up:  Daredevil, Luke Cage

Best Last Night host:  Stephen Colbert.  No one has benefited professionally with Donald Trump as President as much as Stephen Colbert.  He really found his footing in this year.  Runners-Up:  Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden.

Best Musical Episode:  “Chapter 31: A Night to Remember” Riverdale.  This one caught me off guard as I did not know it was coming.  Songs were surprisingly catchy as they did Carrie: The Musical.  Runner-Up: General Hospital, The Nurse’s Ball 

Best Show I Do Not watch:  Atlanta.  Everyone raves about this one.  I like Donald Glover.  I just do not watch it.  Runners-Up:  The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, This is Us, The Good Doctor.  

Worst Return:  Roseanne.  I watched this show when it first came back and there was just something that was missing.  Then, of course, Roseanne Barr went crazy.

Worst Decision:  Netflix cancels Daredevil, American Vandal, Luke Cage, Iron Fist etc.  Of course.

Favorite Online TV Talker:  Roxy Striar.  Roxy is currently on the Collider Live Show and she is fantastic.  Her One on One with Kristian Harloff is a must see. Runners-Up:  Josh Macuga, Kristian Harloff.

I tried, but….:  Manifest.  I thought it sounded like a nice LOST type show but I was bored in episode number one so it lost that opportunity.

Biggest Drop:  Scandal.  I used to love this show but, as it ended, I just wanted it to be over.

Versus:  Joy vs. Megan.  On the View, these two polar opposites in the world of politics, when Joy and Megan go at it, it is must see TV on the View.

Best Talk Show Host:  Kristian Harloff.  Kristian has become a fantastic interviewer with his One on One show and with Collider Live.

Best TV Game Show:  Match Game.  Alec Baldwin as the host has made this a great time every week.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters (2015)

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Last week, the Top 10 Show did a show of their Top 10 Animated Superhero movies in honor of the upcoming Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse. I did my Top 10 list as well at EYG, as I do every week.  I posted it at the Top 10 Show site on Facebook and I got one specific response.  It was from Ken Lutz and he recommended Justice League: Gods and Monsters.  He called it “one of the top underrated SCAU films.”

I told him I would see if I could catch it during Christmas break.  It turned out sooner than that.

I found Justice League: Gods and Monsters on Amazon Prime and I rented a copy of it.  Ken was absolutely correct.  It was a very enjoyable take on these classic characters.

Superman turns out to be the son of General Zod and then gets raised on Earth after Krypton’s destruction by a Latino migrant family.  Batman (not Bruce Wayne, by the way- instead Dr. Kirk Langstrom who in DC proper turned into Man-Bat) is a living vampire (who reminded me a lot of Morbius from Marvel) and Wonder Woman (who is not Diana) turns out to be the Jack Kirby created character Bekka from the Fourth World.

Interestingly enough, we never find out word one on Diana or Bruce Wayne in this alternate dimension.

Well-connected scientists (all known characters from the DC Universe) are beginning to be murdered, and the Justice League is being framed for it.  The Justice League is a much more brutal, violent group, who step over the line and kill enemies without remorse so it does not take a giant leap for people to believe that they have finally gone rogue.

The trio must discover who is behind the murders of the scientists before the US government comes for them.

I am not a huge fan of Elseworlds type tales, but this is very well done.  If you get past the fact that these heroes are nothing like what you know of them, there is a solid story with a well-done reveal at the end. It was fun hearing certain names (Ray Palmer, Silas Stone) and knowing their connection to the DC Comics Universe and seeing how they are in this dimension.

I wish some of these DC animated movies would be able to receive a bigger budget so they could have better animation (which here is the typical, DC cartoon animation) because the stories here rival anything DC does.  This is better than most of the live action DC films and something like this could be a huge hit as an animated feature.  Perhaps the success of Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse will open some doors for this type of film receiving more backing at WB.

I don’t know if this would have cracked the top 10 list I put together last week (maybe), but it would certainly have been mentioned in the honorable mentions if it wasn’t.  Gods and Monsters was a fun ride and have some different adaptations of these icons.

Thanks for the recommendation, Ken.

funtime

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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I received National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at my work Christmas party in a white elephant gift exchange (which I had no idea what it was) so I figured it was time for me to finally watch it.

I have never been a fan of the Vacation movies.  Chevy Chase is fine, but honestly, I don’t like this kind of comedy.  The lead character who is oblivious to the idiocy that he causes or that is around him…that never appealed to me.  Plus, how is Clark Griswold not in intensive care after everything that happened to him.

Christmas Vacation is a cartoon comedy where everything that can go wrong with a family Christmas is only the starting point.  I did not find a lot of this funny.  Slapstick shtick has its moments, but this felt too pushed.

To be fair though, I have to say that there were some times when the movie showed some real heart.  I especially enjoyed Chevy Chase sitting down with his Cousin Eddie’s (Randy Quaid) daughter for a talk about Santa Claus.  That was a sweet moment and the film could have used more of that.

I know people love this movie and it is at the top of most people’s Christmas movie lists, but it is so over the top for me that I am just not a fan.

overrated

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Miles Morales: Spider-Man#1

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Miles Morales: Spider-Man#1

Writer:  Saladin Ahmed

Artist:  Javier Garron

Cover Art:  Brian Stelfreeze

With the release of Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse this weekend, Marvel Comics took the opportunity to release the first ever Brian Michael Bendis written Miles Morales series.  Miles Morales: Spider-Man#1 is that series.

Miles Morales has become quite a big deal in the Marvel Universe and this series looks to be a great re-start for the character.

The story is pulled out of today’s headlines and has Miles in an unexpected team-up with someone you would not expect.  I found it fascinating and I am excited to see where they take it from here.

Of course, lots of people online may not be a fan of Miles and the comic having a polticial tinge, but I think this story will be very important.

ReadIt

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Vox Lux

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There were parts of Vox Lux that were downright haunting.

Then there were parts of Vox Lux that were just there.

After surviving a devastating school shooting, Celeste (first played by Raffey Cassidy and then by Natalie Portman) is discovered when she sings at the funeral.  The Manager (Jude Law) pushes her in the direction to become a huge pop star.  We then see how this woman devolves from the innocent youth to an embittered middle aged pop star.

This film was all over the place.  I was extremely compelled by the opening scenes involving young Celeste.  To say that the scenes of the school shooting was not frightening would be a lie.  However, I do not think the film brought together the extremely powerful scenes into a common narrative.

Unless that narrative is that Celeste is a bad person who has been affected by her past.  As she gets older, we see this young girl lose her innocence (which I supposed one could argue happened at the school shooting) and slip into bad behavior,both with drugs and with sex, and destructive tendencies in relationship with her sister (Stacy Martin) and her daughter (also played by Raffey Cassidy).

The end of the film, without spoiling it, felt like it came out of nowhere.  The people in my theater sat and waited for the credits to finish because it seemed like something was missing.  There was certainly no wrap up of the film.

There were parts of the movie where I thought we were going to get a deep psychological study of the results of survivor’s guilt or how trauma affects the life of young people, but that all felt unimportant in the overall story.

Natalie Portman was good in the role, but I thought Raffey Cassidy was much better as Celeste.

This felt like two completely different movies.  The first part was haunting, but the second half felt like most party-hardy musician story you’ve ever seen. That is until the ending just jumps up at you.

3 stars

Mortal Engines

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Did not like this one much at all.

To be fair, Mortal Engines, which I had dubbed the “London-on-wheels” movie, looks tremendous.  The visuals and the CGI of this film is top notch.

That is where the positives end.

Mortal Engines is the story that sees cities on wheels rolling around the countryside “consuming” other smaller towns and a group of heroes look to help stop a conspiracy led by the one note villain Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving).

Our main heroine is Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) whose mother was killed by Valentine when Hester was a young girl.  She tries to gain revenge on Valentine but fails and she then escapes with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan).

I was unbelievably bored through most of this movie.  The beginning 10 minutes or so had some promise, but the remaining time of the film was just so dull and lifeless that there was not reason for it.  I had zero care about any of the characters so I anything that might have happened to them did not effect me in even a little bit.

Oh, and, despite what the trailers may want you to believe, Peter Jackson is only one of several writers and one of several producers on the project.  The promo material makes it sound as if it was straight from the mind of Peter Jackson and that is stretching the truth considerably.

Mortal Engines was boring and I did not like much about it.  It did look great though.  I have nothing more to say.

1.5 stars

Aquaman

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I was really rooting for Aquaman to be a good movie. I got a chance to see it early as part of Amazon Prime’s special offer of an early screening a week prior to the official release.  That was great.  As for the movie….

It’s okay.

I found Aquaman, the latest DC Comics movie, to be a mixed bag.  In the places where I thought the film was good, I thought the film was REALLY good.  When I thought the movie was bad, I thought it was cringeable.

The under sea kingdom of Atlantis is beginning to make waves about launching an assault on the surface world.  Orm (Patrick Wilson) is pushing for the title of Oceanmaster over the Atlanteans but Mera (Amber Heard) has other thoughts.  She goes and recruits Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and tries to get him to come and claim his birthright as the King of Atlantis.  Aquaman does not believe himself worthy.

So, mixed bag, right?  So let’s do a point-counterpoint type review.  The visuals of the undersea nation and animals was beautifully rendered.  A DC movie with bright colors?  I watched several scenes in the film where it was like a beautiful artistic design.  Most of the underwater scenes worked very well visually.

However, there were also several moments in the film where the CGI was terrible.  The Nicole Kidman fight scene at the very beginning of the movie is one example.  The people looked very rubbery, as if they were not real people being thrown around.  I hated the designs of the white armored Atlantean flunkies.  They made me think too much about Stormtroopers.

Jason Momoa was great as Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman.  I liked him here considerably more than I did with him in Justice League.  Amber Heard was good as Mera too and there was a strong cast including Willem Defoe, Dolph Lundgren, Nicole Kidman and Temuera Morrison.

Unfortunately, I was less impressed with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who played Black Manta.  I found him to be overacting big time in the early scenes on board the submarine.  His performance took me out of the movie during that time.  I am not sure I felt the overall chemistry between Momoa and Heard.  Separately, they were very good, but together it was iffy.

There were some great action scenes. My personal favorite was the scene in Italy with Black Manta chasing Arthur and Mera.  I thought that was well developed and intensely carried out.

The problem was there was too much action.  Because there were too many action scenes, the film felt too long.  A friend of mine said that maybe they should have cut out the Black Manta stuff and saved it for the sequel, and, in retrospect, even though I loved those scenes, that might have helped the film out.

The film has some fun moments and it is very silly at times. You see this with Aquaman himself as he embraces his role of big blockhead.

Unfortunately, there are too many tones in the film and they shift, sometimes, within the scenes.  Much of the humor did not land in Aquaman.

I do not know why DC movies insist on third act CGI fights with red backgrounds.  I swear that they are in every DC movie since Man of Steel.  I was hoping that we would not have the red since we were under water here, but the lava showed up just in time for a big fight between Aquaman and the monstrous creatures.

However, at least the red backdrop was kept at a minimum in the third act and did not show itself in the final battle with Oceanmaster.

Another major gripe is about the trailers.  Why did we need to see Aquaman in his orange outfit in the trailers and the promotional materials prior to this movie?  When he gains the outfit and the trident is a huge part of the movie and, if I did not already know that he was coming out dressed in his orange outfit, that moment might have been a classic moment, maybe even a cheer out loud moment, but the movie itself spoiled that for me.  Did seeing Aquaman in the orange outfit put anybody extra in the seats?  If not, then they wasted what could have been a brilliant moment.

Amber Heard’s red wig distracted me all the way through the movie.  I don’t have a counterpoint for that one.  The wig just was bad.  Nitpicky? sure.

As I said, Aquaman was a mixed bag for me, but I do think that what they did well out weighed what was done poorly.  This is a step in the right direction for DC movies because they allowed the audience to have some fun and to look at the movie with a marvel.  Aquaman does spectacular well, but the small scenes were lacking… or were punctuated with an explosion (and there were a ton of explosions).

3.35 stars

 

TV 2018 Best Supporting Actors and Actresses

Best Supporting Actor

Network

Runners-UpDonal Logue (Gotham), Robin Taylor (Gotham), George Newbern (Scandal), Kai Penn (Designated Survivor), Jeff Perry (Scandal)

WinnerIain De Caestecker (Agents of SHIELD)

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Iain got to play the whole range of emotions during the year.

 

Streaming

Runners-UpWilson Bethel (Daredevil), Jackie Earle Haley (The Tick), Chris Lowell (GLOW), Nathan Fillion (Santa Clarita Diet), Bill Skarsgard (Castle Rock)

WinnerVincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)

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D’Onofrio is one of the best Marvel villains in any film/TV project.

 

Cable

Runners-UpRoy Santiago (Ash vs. Evil Dead), Lee Majors (Ash vs. Evil Dead), Rhenzy Feliz (Runaways), Chandler Riggs (Walking Dead)

WinnerJ.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)

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One of the biggest jerks on Cloak & Dagger

 

Best Supporting Actress

Network

Runners-UpMorena Baccaria (Gotham), Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of SHIELD), Madelaine Petsch (Riverdale)

Winner:  Cicely Tyson (How to Get Away with Murder)

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Powerful performance as Viola Davis’s mother.

 

Streaming

Runners-UpLiv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet), Sissy Spacek (Castle Rock), Kia Stevens (GLOW), Simone Missick (Luke Cage)

Winner:  Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage).

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Black Mariah is so bad ass in Luke Cage

 

Cable

Runners-Up:  Lyrica Okamo (Runaways), Ariela Barer (Runaways)

WinnerLucy Lawless (Ash vs. Evil Dead)

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Back being bad.

 

2018 TV Best Actors & Actresses

Best Actor

Network

Runners-UpClark Gregg (Agents of Shield), David Duchovny (X-Files), Kiefer Sutherland (Designated Survivor), Cole Sprouse (Riverdale)

Winner:  Nathan Fillion (The Rookie)

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Nathan Fillion’s return has been short so far, but his charisma has been welcomed.

 

Streaming

Runner’s UpMike Colter (Luke Cage), Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Marc Maron (GLOW), Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet), Andre Holland (Castle Rock)

WinnerPeter Serafinowicz (The Tick)

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He had big shoes to fill and Peter Serafinowicz fills them admirably.

 

Cable

Runners-UpAndrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead), Aubrey Joseph (Cloak & Dagger), Donald Glover (Atlanta)

Winner:  Bruce Campbell (Ash vs. Evil Dead)

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Best Actress

Network

Runners-Up Chloe Bennett (Agents of SHIELD), Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD), Maggie Q (Designated Survivor), Lili Reinhart (Riverdale), Camila Mendes (Riverdale), Kerry Washington (Scandal)

Winner:  Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder)

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Viola always brings the power.

 

Streaming

Runners-UpAlison Brie (GLOW), Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)

WinnerDrew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet)

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Drew is hilarious as the zombie wife.

 

Cable

Runners-Up: Olivia Holt (Cloak & Dagger), Melissa McBride (Walking Dead), Lauren Cohen (Walking Dead), Dana DeLorenzo (Ash vs Evil Dead)

WinnerDanai Gurira (The Walking Dead)

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Michonne faced a ton of problems losing Rick and Carl.

 

The Mule

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The newest Clint Eastwood directed movie features Eastwood as the lead character, and there are some strangely uncomfortable moments in a 2018 movie.

First off, the trailers made this look like something more violent in tone and more like Eastwood’s character is trapped in a life that he did not want to do and was uncertain how he was getting out of it.  However, that was not the tone of this movie.

This movie was more comedic than it was violent.  It was more weirdly uncomfortable than it was vicious.  Eastwood played a character who was an old man with old world values who did not know when he should not say something or know when he was saying something inappropriate…or racist.

Earl Stone (Eastwood) was a 90-year-old horticulturist is having money problems and is shown as a deadbeat father and husband.  He takes a job “driving” for some people, who turn out to be a Mexican Drug Cartel, and he is driving drugs.  However, Earl does the job very well and the cartel wants to increase his load.

Meanwhile, DEA agents Bates (Bradley Cooper) and Michael Pena (who has no name in the film) are trying to operate a sting inside the cartel which puts them on the trail of earl as the mule.

Earl’s family is having severe problems as well and he finds himself split with his attempts to be there for his family now, making up for the years he missed.

The film is very odd.  As I said, Eastwood’s Earl is extremely likable, but he says things that show him to be somewhat racist, or, at the very least, not empathetic toward people of different races.  He comes off more as an old guy who doesn’t know any better rather than a racist, though.

He also did not seem to be bothered much about driving these drugs around for this cartel.  He liked the money they were paying him for sure.  The film did a great job keeping Earl likable despite his outright criminal behavior.  Sure he needed the money to help his family, but that really did not excuse his activities.

There were several storylines that began but were dropped.  There was a relationship begun between Earl and his “handler” Julio (Ignacio Serricchio), but nothing came from it.  Serricchio was a former General Hospital star and was seen recently in Netflix’s Lost in Space reboot.  He was good here, but I was looking forward to a pay off of that relationship, but it never came.

There were plenty of things that happened in the plot that did not make a whole heck of a lot of sense either.

It was a strange movie because I found myself unsure of how I felt about the characters involved and Earl just was shuffling his way through this movie and he never felt as if he fit in with the narrative being told.  It was in opposition to the trailers that they showed and made me kind of uncomfortable.

That is not a bad thing.  The film was okay.  It is not up to par with some of Eastwood’s best films, but it was better than many, especially some of the recent one. Eastwood fans should enjoy this movie.

3.4 stars

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse

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What were the odds that I wasn’t going to love this movie?  I mean… Spider-man is my all-time favorite character.  It seems to be receiving rave reviews from almost everyone.  The first time we see Miles Morales.  There is Peter Porker Spider-Ham and Spider-man Noir (voiced by Nicolas Cage).  Of course I was going to love this, right?

Right?

Right?

Am I building the tension?  Do you think I am waiting to pull the rug out?  No?  Of course, I loved this. It was fabulous.

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse is the origin story of Miles Morales(Shameik Moore) and how he became his universe’s Spider-man.  Miles is an incredibly smart and talented young man who is on his way to a new, special school throwing his life into a spin.  Unable to talk with his father Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry), Miles heads to his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) for help.  After going with Aaron to a secret location, Miles gets bitten by a radioactive spider from Alchemex.

Miles finds himself in the middle of a big fight between Spider-man and the new Green Goblin around a gigantic collider that is potentially tearing a hole in the time-space continuum.  Tragedy strikes and Miles winds up with the only thing that can stop the machine.

He is approached by a group of time displaced Spider-people including an older Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Spider-man Noir (Nicolas Cage) and Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and this group is trying to find their way home.

And come one, Spider-Gwen is just cool as can be.

So is Spider-man Noir.  The whole black and white thing was such a cool joke.

And Spider-Ham.  C’mon.

The story is so tremendous and very deep.  The characterization is beautiful, the plot is intense and the relationships between characters, especially between Peter and Miles, is special and original.  We get a fun version of Aunt May (voiced by the classic Lily Tomlin).

The animation of Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse was unbelievable and was the most creative type of animation I have ever seen.  It felt like a comic book come to life, literally.  It was weird, artistically astounding, filled with texture and style.  It seemed as if it were in 3D, but it wasn’t.  This was not a typical animated movie.  They took a chance by making this film different and it worked extremely well.  I could see some people having problems with the animation, because it is so different, but I found it to be an awesome stylish piece of art.

Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman were the directors of this movie, but many people seem to be giving a ton of credit for the film to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were involved as producers and Lord was one of the writers too.  They brought their trademark humor to the film and it worked perfectly for Spider-man.  The witty banter from Spider-man is such an important aspect of the character and it is the best example of it here than any previous Spider-man movie to date.

The fact that they showed that Miles Morales is half African-American and half Puerto Rican is a moment of inclusiveness that takes the world to another level.

The only thing I was not wild about was the portrayal of Kingpin.  The character was well done and I liked the voice by Liev Schreiber, but the look of the character was something that I had a hard time getting past.  It was the one negative that I can state of Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse.

This is one of the best movies of the year.  I need to see it a second time to really judge where on that year end list this is going to land, but it will certainly be in the single digits.  This film could open up the market for theatrically released superhero movie and that would give the genre even more ability to tell amazing stories.

4.95 stars

 

EYG Top 10 Animated Superhero Movies

EYG23

I am so excited about Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, which comes out December 14th.  As a huge Spider-man fan, I cannot wait to see it.  So John and Matt paid tribute to that film this week on the Top 10 Show with the Top 10 Animated Superhero Movies.

I immediately, of course, think to myself…how are they going to do that?  There were not very many that fit the category, but when they said that they would be adding films that were non-theatrical released, the number of choices multiplied.

 

Related image10.  Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 1 & 2.  There are a bunch of Batman animated movies on this list because DC Animated movies are great.  And this adaptation is one of the greatest mini series of all time.  Dark Knight Returns is a comic classic (an EYG Hall of Fame member) and it translates beautifully to the screen. This should have been released theatrically.  It is the perfect example of what Batman vs. Superman should have been.

 

Image result for batman assault on arkham#9.  Batman: Assault on Arkham.  This turns out to really be a Suicide Squad unofficial film and it should have been what the live action Suicide Squad should have been.  It is amazing that the animation is so good for DC but their live action films are, at best, divisive.  I found this so exciting and dramatic and it shows how good the Suicide Squad could be.

 

Image result for teen titans go to the movies#8.  Teen Titans Go to the Movies.  I did not think this was going to be any good and then I heard positive word of mouth.  Then I saw it and I loved it.  It was incredibly funny, completely meta and filled with DC Comic Easter Eggs everywhere. Just sitting in the theater and watching the crowd of heroes at the movie theater and seeing DC characters that you never see on screen.  So much fun.

 

Image result for mask of the phantasm#7.  Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm.  This is considered one of the best Batman animated movies around, coming off the Batman: The Animated Series success.  We had a Bruce Wayne love story at the center of this film as well.  It has been a long time since I saw this, hence the reason it is lower on this list.

 

Image result for incredibles 2#6.  The Incredibles 2.  This year’s big Pixar sequel throws Elastigirl to the front and center of the story as Mr. Incredible stays at home with the kids. Bob has to learn new math, try and fix Violet’s love life and try and wrangle baby Jack-Jack and his discovery of new powers.  Jack-Jack and his fight with the raccoon is one of the best scenes of the year.

 

Image result for lego batman movie#5.  The Lego Batman Movie.  This is my favorite of the Lego movies and it is one of the best film portrayals of Batman in a long time.  It is also one of the films that has perfectly shown the sick relationship between Batman and the Joker.  It is a laugh out loud movie and it uses the Lego genre beautifully.  Who would have believed that one of the side characters in the Lego Movie could carry his own film.  Even with it being Batman.  But the joke did not wear thin.  It was great.

 

Image result for justice league flashpoint paradox#4.  Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox.  This was my number one animated movie in 2013.  In an alternate timeline (thanks Barry), the world is a much more dangerous place.  Batman is now Thomas Wayne.  Aquaman is one bad ass.  Based on the classic DC Comics storyline, Flashpoint Paradox allows the writers to tell a story where they can do anything they want.  It is one of the best Justice League movies you are going to find.

 

Image result for big hero 6#3.  Big Hero 6.  Here is a Marvel property that was unexpected, but it turned out brilliantly.  Baymax became a huge breakout character in this film and wound up winning an Oscar.  The relationship between Baymax and Hiro carry this movie.  It is extremely sweet, but it is also a great action movie with some intriguing characters.  We also get one of the best Stan Lee cameos around.

 

 

Related image#2.  Incredibles.  The original Pixar superhero movie that created a huge sensation is the Incredibles.  The family superhero is a classic trope and this is done perfectly here.  And the villain is one of the great ones around in Syndrome.  The villain who is connected to the hero and becomes a villain because he is rejected by said hero.  The Incredibles will always be one of the great super hero films.

 

Related image#1. Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker.  I love this movie.  I wasn’t sure if I should put it at number one, but, as I was debating the choices, I kept thinking about the flashback section of the film where we see the Joker’s death and the trauma that the Joker put Tim Drake through.  That was devastating and heart breaking.  This is how brutal the Joker can be and how he really would push the boundaries.  The whole brainwashed Robin bit was tough to watch.  I loved it.  The mystery of how the Joker comes back to “life” is tremendous.  And the pain and feelings these people had remembering the past was real for me.  If you have not seen this before, treat yourself.  One of the best uses of Batman Beyond.

 

Honorable Mentions:  There are a bunch of them.  Unfortunately, a lot of Marvel animated films are, at best, okay.  I almost put Hulk Vs. on the list, but I cut it.  Other Marvel films I considered was Ultimate Avengers, Doctor Strange, Planet Hulk.  I loved the Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders with voices of Adam West and Burt Ward.  Batman: Sub-Zero made Matt’s list and it is fantastic.  Batman: Under the Red Hood was another great Batman movie.  Justice League: New Frontier and Justice League: Doom are two wonderful Justice League movies.  Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are tow awesome movies.  Green Lantern had Nathan Fillion voicing Hal Jordan.  I am guessing that Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse will be on this list after I see it Thursday night.

EYG23

Once Upon a Deadpool

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This is a fascinating experiment.  Taking the rated R Deadpool 2 and recutting it to make it PG-13 is intriguing.  I especially liked the fact that part of the money made from the box office of the movie goes to fight cancer.  “Fudge cancer” is the PG-13 version of that.

Then, they shot a bunch of new scenes featuring Deadpool and Fred Savage, whom Deadpool kidnapped, tied him up, dressed him as Fred’s character from The Princess Bride and read him the story of Deadpool 2.  This framing device is all new and very creative, filled with a ton of meta jokes.

I LOVED the Fred Savage stuff.  Every scene with Deadpool and Fred are GOLD!  I absolutely loved watching every second of these creative bits.

The problem is that the rest of the film felt wrong.  Maybe the fact that most of the parts that are remaining was the parts of Deadpool 2 that I did not love.  I did not love them killing Vanessa.  I was not a fan of of the kid, Russell (Julian Dennison).  This movie felt as if it really doubled down on these aspects of Deadpool 2.

Then there was Cable (Josh Brolin), who I thought was great as Cable, but Fred Savage had made a joke about Cable in one of the framing sections.  Fred was excited in the story when Deadpool mentioned Cable because of how developed and intricate the character in the comics is, but the joke is that the Cable in this movie was nowhere near as developed as the comic.  So they were making crap out of their own film character.  I found that strange and I hadn’t considered that.

Then, the story itself just felt off.  It did not fit the PG-13 rating.  What they did with Deadpool 2 was neutered.  Even the best part, the introduction and immediate dispatching of X-Force, is considerably less funny here.  Maybe I just knew it was coming, but I think the overall brutality of that moment is what makes it so hilarious and it just is not as funny in this one.

Now, what this tells me is that Deadpool can absolutely survive in a PG-13 world, as they prove with the Fred Savage scenes, but Deadpool 2 can not be redone to be PG-13 and be effective or anywhere near as entertaining as the rated R version.

The most emotion that I had in the film was at the last post credit scene which was a tribute to Stan Lee.  It almost brought me to tears.  It was a beautiful tribute to the man.

When I first saw Deadpool 2, I loved it, but did not think it reached the level of the first Deadpool.  Once Upon a Deadpool’s framing scenes with Fred Savage are every bit as good, if not better, than either film.  The rest of the movie is just not up to snuff when compared to the other Deadpool movies.

3 stars…(overall-  but 5 stars for the Fred Savage-Deadpool stuff)

2018 Anna Devane Kick Ass Female Award

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Woman power!

In honor of General Hospital’s super spy Anna Devane, this award goes to the toughest, strongest and smartest females in the world of pop culture.  There was a time that this would have been a difficult award to field, but now I can easily fill a top ten list and probably go for even more.

I was in love with Anna Devane when I was young.  She was so strong, she could take anyone down, and that British accent…Oh yeah!

So to honor my GH crush, I named this award after her.

Previous winners:  Rey (Star Wars), Mockingbird (Marvel Comics), Wonder Woman (DCEU)

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#10.  Spider-Gwen.  She has had a big year and she is appearing in Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse.

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#9.  Ms. Marvel (Marvel Comics).  Kamala Khan is on the verge of becoming huge.  In a few years, she may be way up this list.

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#8.  Wasp (Ant Man & the Wasp).  Evangeline Lilly kicks some serious butt in the Ant Man & the Wasp film this year and I love her from her days as Kate.

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#7.  Joy Behar (The View).  With Donald Trump in the Oval Office and Megan McCain at the table, Joy has to be her strong self to have her opinion heard.

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#6.  Emily Blunt from A Quiet Place.  For God’s sake, she gave birth with aliens who respond to noise in her house.  She deserves her place here.  Her character’s name was Evelyn Abbott.

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#5.  Tandy Bowen (Dagger).  Tandy in Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger is a great character and she carried herself with amazing dominance.

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#4.  Elastigirl (Incredibles 2)  Elastigirl takes front and center in the world of super heroes trying to help bring them from the shadows.

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#3. Shuri (Black Panther).  Not really “kick ass” but certainly one of the best female characters of the year.  Perhaps the smartest person in the MCU.

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#2.  Okoye (Black Panther).  The head of the Dora Milaje, Danai Gurira was perfect in the Black Panther movie and claims her place in the MCU

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And the winners of the Anna Devane Kick Ass Female of the Year is….

 

#1.  The Shirewolves (Movie Trivia Schmoedown).  “Classy” Clarke Wolfe and Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing, the current Schmoedown Team Champions.  The first female champs of the Schmoedown, Clarke and Rachel are amazing performers and remarkably powerful trivia contestants.

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TV Streaming 2018- Year in Review

The most shows I watched in 2018 came from the streaming services although,it sure seems as if Netflix has been going on a canceling binge of their own.  Several of this list has been cancelled by Netflix so next year’s list could look considerably different.

Starting off with #13…

#13.  Lost in Space (Netflix).  I know some did not like this.  I saw EW name this the worst show of the year.  I can’t believe that since I enjoyed the show.  I liked the different take on the classic show.  Not sure I liked the ending.but on the whole, I liked this.

#12.  Orange is the New Black (Netflix).  There was just something about this season of episodes that did not catch my attention.  I have not seen the ending of the series yet and I am not sure when I am going to do so.  I know it was announced that the next season will be Orange’s finals one so maybe I need to go back and finish the season.

#11.  Iron Fist (Netflix).  Iron Fist season 2 was considerably better than season one.  Unlike most people, I did not hate season one, but there is no denying that it is not as high of quality as the other Netflix Marvel shows.

#10.  A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix).  I enjoyed season two more than season one.  Nathan Fillion made a guest appearance and brought the goods.  Unfortunately, he did not survive the season.  Season three of this series is also the last one so we should see a conclusion to the story of the Baudelaire orphans.

#9.  Luke Cage.  This was a really great series, but I was not sure I liked the way the series ended.  Plus, now that Netflix cancelled this one, that is the end that Luke Cage will have to end with.  Mixed feelings on that for sure.

#8. Castle Rock (Hulu). The first non-Netflix show on the list, the Stephen King mash up int he city of Castle Rock was a really strong show.  Admittedly, it slowed a bit for my tastes in the middle, but it did not take away from the series.

#7.  Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix). This is such a funny show.  Nathan Fillion is here too (or was) as a severed head that is still “living.”  The show takes steps that few comedies do and it pays off in spades.  I love the pairing of Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant.

#6.  Cobra Kai (YouTube Red).  One of the biggest surprises of the year.  This series that continues the story of the Karate Kid via the enemy karate dojo should never have worked but it was so good.  It had no right to be this awesome.

Image result for jessica jones season 2#5.  Jessica Jones (Netflix).  Some did not like season two of Jessica Jones, but I thought it was some of the best work we got.  The character of Jessica Jones is really delved into and we learn and meet her mother.  The arrival of Jessica’s believe to be dead mother really kicked the series into overdrive.  Plus, we got the continued push toward Hellcat in the MCU.

Image result for glow season 2#4.  Glow (Netflix).  I binged Glow season two in a night.  These 10 episode, half hour comedies on Netflix are such an easy binge that they should do more of them.  Glow was amazing this season as we continued with the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling struggling to become a success.  The episode that was basically the wrestling storyline episode “The Good Twin” was off the charts.

 

Image result for the tick amazon#3.  The Tick (Amazon Prime).  The second half of season one came to Amazon and brought with it so much Tick goodness that it reminded me how much I loved that character and the world in which he inhabits.  Peter Serafinowicz has won me over as the big blue bug of justice.

 

Image result for daredevil season 3#2.  Daredevil (Netflix) Season three of Daredevil was fantastic and so when it was announced that Netflix had cancelled it, it was a shock to say the least.  This season brought back the Kingpin of Crime to the front burner and included the arrival of Bullseye.  Again, the villains of this series continue to be the best of the Marvel TV Universe.  Hopefully we will be able to see some of these characters again somewhere inside the MCU.

 

Image result for american vandal season 2#1.  American Vandal (Netflix) Another cancelled series, American Vandal was absolutely hilarious and I loved it completely.  American Vandal was another one night binge and I really appreciated that.  This season tried to uncover the identity of the Turd Burglar.  The mystery this season is better than season one’s mystery (although I think season one was funnier overall).  There are some characters in this season that are just transcendent.  I am sad that we will not get another season from this consistently funny show.  Hopefully someone will pick up the show for a season three.