10 Wondery Podcasts: TheList

Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to discuss my favorite podcasts produced by Wondery. If you’ve never listened to a Wondery podcast, they have the tendency of fulling fleshing out the story. Plus, they do narration-style storytelling, so it doesn’t feel like you’re just listening to the facts.

Here is a list of my favorite Wondery podcasts in order from least to most favorite:

10. The Mysterious Mr. Epstein

The Mysterious Mr. Epstein goes past the major headlines and gets into Jefferey Epstein’s life. This is important because it explains how he got to a point where he committed gruesome acts against young girls and women for decades with no repercussions. The reason it’s so low on the list is that there’s another podcast (Truth and Lies: Jefferey Epstein) talks about that monster from the viewpoint of his victims.

9. Man In The Window

Man in the Window is one of those podcasts that my keep you up at night. Co-produced with the L.A. Times, Man In The Window is about the Golden State Killer, James Deangelo. He terrified California in the late 70s, early 80s.

8. Confronting: O.J. Simpson

Confronting: O.J. Simpson is hosted by Kim Goldman, Ronald Goldman’s sister. To me, this is the definitive podcast on the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and the trial of O.J. Simpson. Kim interviews the prosecution, witnesses, jurors, and others.

7. Legal Wars

Hosted by actor/lawyer Hill Harper, Legal Wars covers some of the most high-profile cases in history. The show discusses how the case came about, what happened during the trial, and the lasting effects. Season 5 is one of my favorites. It’s on Pharma Bro Martin Sckreli.

6. Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.

This is a complicated one. This podcast is about the rise and eventual conviction and death of Aaron Hernandez. But, it goes a little deeper than that. It also discussed how the institution of football may have been complicit in a lot of the things that led to Hernandez’s participation in the murder of Odin Lloyd.

5. American Scandal

Just like Legal Wars dives into huge legal cases, American Scandal tackles…well…scandals in America. Each season, the show tells the story of how certain people and events led to big scandals. Some of my favorite seasons are Balco, the Hare Krishna Murders, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, and Enron. This season, they are covering Waco.

4. The Shrink Next Door

If you loved the crazy story of Joe Exotic, then you should listen to The Shrink Next Door. It tells the story of a psychologist who pretty much took over one of his patient’s life. He alienated the guy from his family, took over his businesses, and mooched off of this guy for decades. Your favorite fiction writer could not create a story this nuts.

3. Over My Dead Body/Joe Exotic: Tiger King

If Joe Exotic sits at number three, you know we have some really good podcasts coming up. Season one is about a couple that had a nasty breakup, where one of them wound up dead. Season two was about Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. It would later become Joe Exotic: Tiger King. That’s right! Everyone’s favorite Netflix documentary is based on this podcast.

2. Dr. Death

I think this story is more messed up than Tiger King. You’re supposed to trust the doctors, nurses, and surgeons charged with your care. Well, the neurosurgeon in Dr. Death should’ve never been trusted. He injured over 30 patients and killed two. But, how did this happen? Why wasn’t he stopped before hurting so many people? Those are the questions that this podcast answers.

And my number 1 Wondery Podcast is…

1. Dirty John

Sitting at the top of my Wondery Podcast pile is the shocking Dirty John. This podcast was an emotional and frustrating rollercoaster ride that you have to hear to believe. It’s about a really lonely woman named Debra. She thought John was the man of her dreams, but he turned out to be a terror for her and her family. But, it’s not John’s actions that will shock you…it’s Debra’s. You won’t know whether to feel sorry for her, or feel extreme anger at her decision making. Dirty John begs the question: is it love, stupidity, or loneliness that makes us blind to dangerous partners?

Wrapping It Up

Well, that’s it for this week’s list. Wow! It took a few days to finish this one. This week, I have more DnD & Me. Tomorrow, I will bring you my thoughts on Tower of God episode 2. Later this week, I will tell you my thoughts on episode 1 of Food Wars: The Fifth Plate. I will see you later!

[List] 7 Netflix Originals While on Quarantine: TheList

Hello everybody!  Welcome to TheList.  Wow! I haven’t done a list in a minute.  For this list, I thought I’d give you some of my favorite Netflix Originals to watch while we are all stuck in the house during this wretched virus.  

I had a couple of criteria for this list.  The first was that it had to be a Netflix original.  Second, I wanted non-anime shows. The reason for this is that not everyone is an anime fan (for some reason).  Finally, I wanted to cover different genres. Let’s get into it!

1. The Umbrella Academy

Released in February of 2019, The Umbrella Academy is based on the comic by Gerald Way.  This eccentric billionaire takes in seven young kids from around the world. All the children share the same birthday and have extraordinary powers.  The children eventually will grow up and go their separate ways. Years later, they return upon their father’s death. Meanwhile, one of the children discovers that the world will end.

The show’s characters are complicated.  You really feel the trauma of growing up in this man’s house.  Also, the villains are fantastic, there are great fight scenes, and a cliffhanger ending.  Season 2 should premiere sometime this year. Make sure you catch up before then.

2. Mindhunter

Mindhunter premiered in 2017.  It is based on the FBI serial crime unit created in the late 1970s.  Two FBI agents (with the oversight of a Boston psychology professor) travel around the country interviewing serial killers.  The goal is to gain some sort of understanding as to what motivates serial killers to do what they do. This is where profiling comes from.

Now how can I say this without sounding like a weirdo?  Serial killers are fascinating. It’s not the horrific crimes, it’s how they get away with it for so long with so many victims.  Mindhunter gives you a gritty deep dive into serial killers and murder. It also shows the impact that examining these crimes have on our FBI agents.  Right now, I’m nearing the end of season 1.

3. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

You’ve probably already seen the Joe Exotic memes flooding your social media.  The docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness tell the outrageous story of big cat enthusiast/zookeeper Joe Exotic and his beef with so-called big cat conservationist Carole Baskin.

You guys, I do not want to go too much into what happens because it’s a lot and you have to see it to believe it.  But, let’s just say “Murder, Mayhem, and Madness” is the understatement of the century. This story is crazy and gets crazier with every episode.  I’m only on episode 5 (out of 7). But, I already know what happens thanks to season 2 of the podcast Over My Dead Body.

4. Altred Carbon

Altred Carbon premiered in 2018.  The first season is a sci-fi murder mystery in a futuristic world where no one dies.  Season 2 takes place in the same crazy world, except our hero Takeshi Kovacs jumps into a new body(otherwise known as a sleeve) and he’s trying to find his mentor/lover that he thought was dead.

This show has a little bit of everything.  It’s futuristic, full of intrigue, and great fight scenes.  My only thing with this show is that it’s very sci-fi. If you do not like that kind of thing, you may find the show boring.  But if you dig shows like The Expanse or Defiant, I think you will appreciate Altred Carbon

5. The Circle

Ah! My new favorite obsession.  The Circle is a 2020 Netflix reality show that puts eight people to the test in regards to their utilization of a social media platform known as The Circle.  Each player lives in separate apartments and tries to gain favor with the other players. It’s like a social media big brother.

I’m on episode 4 or 5 and I’m hooked.  I already have my favorites (Chris and Shooby) and I’m hoping they make it to the end.  I like that some people are catfishing and others are being authentic, but everyone is at risk equally.  What a great idea. Note: I tried Love is Blind, I didn’t like it. I guess dating shows aren’t my jam.

6. Queen Sono

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried some of the international shows on Netflix, but they are freaking fantastic.  One of them is a show straight out of South Africa called Queen Sono. This show is about a smart, kickass, beautiful spy named Queen.  She is trying to stop a Russian private security mogul from bringing her dangerous business to the continent, and discover who’s responsible for her activist mother’s death.

One thing I loved about the show was that the fighting didn’t seem outlandish or unrealistic.  Also, Queen was a complex character with a complicated past that influences her behavior. It is a slick but raw show that reminded me of one of my favorite blacksploitation films, Cleopatra Jones.

7. The Witcher

Another social media meme sensation is 2020’s The Witcher.  The series is based don the novel, which later became an extremely successful video game.  The witcher tells the story of Geralt. Geralt is a witcher that hunts and kills beasts for money.  He also picks up whatever work he can find along the way.

One thing that is crazy about The Witcher is that Henry Cavil’s Geralt looks and sounds exactly like Geralt in The Witcher 3 video game.  Also, like the video game, the storytelling is phenomenal. So if you want to know why everyone is humming a ditty about tossing a coin to a witcher, watch the show and you’ll find out.

Wrapping It Up

Well, that’s it or my list of Netflix shows to watch.  Next week, we wrap up A Destructive God Sits Next To Me and In/Spectre.  I’m also going to bring you a list of some of my favorite Podcasts produced by Wondery.  I will see you later!

5 Reasons I’m Loving AHS:1984

Hello everybody!  I’ve had an American Horror Story: 1984 piece sitting in my drafts for a while now.  But, I’ve decided to ditch it and create a list since pretty much the same thing happens in every episode.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good. It’s just not something I need to go through episode by episode. Before I get into the list, allow me to give you a brief introduction into the world of AHS: 1984.

Sweet young Brooke (Emma Robers) decides to join some strangers from her aerobics class on a trip to Camp Redwood.  There, the gang will become counselors. But, as soon as they arrive, it’s a bloodbath. Infamous serial killer Mr. Jingles (John Caroll Lynch), who terrorized the same camp a decade earlier, has escaped and is out for revenge.  Who will survive? 

Now that you know the very basic plot, let’s get into the five reasons I’m loving AHS: 1984.

1. It’s An Homage to 80s Horror

  There are some real 80s horror movie tropes this season.  You have the young virgin who is pure and sweet but somehow manages to survive despite her never-ending clumsiness.  You also have the ominous killer who never really runs, but always seems to catch his victim. And you also have the rather disposable group of unfortunate people trapped with a homicidal maniac.

2. But It Still Has A Twist

This “disposable” group has more skeletons in their closets than Mr. Jingles.  It appears that almost everyone is crazy in some way, shape or form. So far, some of the reveals are extremely surprising.  They add a greater sense of urgency to an urgent situation.

3. Can We Talk About Billie Lourd?

American-Horror-Story-1984-Billie-Lourde

Honestly, I cannot think of a Billie Lourd character I didn’t like.  I loved her as Chanel #3 in Scream Queens. I loved her as Winter in AHS: Cult (even though Cult was garbage).  She was amazing as Mallory in AHS: Apocolypse. Now, she plays Montana. Montana is a coked-out aerobics instructor that’s hiding a secret vendetta…and a secret love affair.

4. Can We Also Talk About Angelica Ross?

American-Horror-Story-1984-Angelica-Ross

I am a huge Pose fan.  Pose is one of the most well-written, well-produced shows around.  One of the stars of Pose was the beautiful Angelica Ross, serving you cheekbones for days.  Unfortunately, Candy (Ross’ character on Pose) was killed in the last episode. Thankfully, she returns in AHS: 1984 as Nurse Rita.  I’m not going to tell you why, but Nurse Rita is very instrumental to this story

5. Convoluted but Dripping in Lore

In classic AHS fashion, the storyline gets a bit convoluted in the latter episodes. It’s not just a simple matter of a Jason Vorhees-style serial killer on the loose, now we have elements of the supernatural including possession and ghosts.  It feels like a bit too much, but it’s very American Horror Story. The story is never straight-forward. It’s always chalked full of twists, even if they are unnecessary.  

But if you are a true crime fan like yours truly (I’m not a fan of the criminal act but I do appreciate the story-telling aspect of it), you recognize the history the American Horror Story brings to light.  We’ve seen the fictionalized backstories of real-life people like H.H. Holmes, the Black Dahlia, the missing settlers of Roanoke, and Marie Leveau on the show. This season, we have Richard Ramirez (played by Zach Villa) aka the Night Stalker terrorizing our heroine Brooke.

Overall

When you watch American Horror Story you’re going to have a season that is absolutely thrilling (Murder House), a hot mess (Cult), or somewhere in the middle (Asylum).  I think that 1984 falls somewhere in the middle. It’s not as good as Murder House, but it’s not a disaster like Cult.  

The season starts as a slasher creep-fest that is entertaining as hell.  But, as the season progressed, the show mutated into a complicated maze of twists and turns. I think that is why it is difficult for AHS to surpass the extremely high bar season one. It trying too hard to tell a story instead of just simply telling the story.

Wrapping It Up

Well, that’s it for AHS:1984. Next time, we are returning to the Shokugeki in Food Wars. I will see you later.

[List] Taking My Money- E3 2019: TheList Special

Hello everybody! This week was the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3. If you are unaware, E3 is the time when gaming studios show off what’s next in gaming. I’ve never been to E3, but I watch the press conferences every year on YouTube.

I’ve seen the premiere of gaming consoles like X-Box One and Nintendo Switch. I’ve seen early trailers for games like Street Fighter V, Persona 5, Fallout 4, Fallout ’76, Super Mario Maker, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, etc.

Like years past, this year’s E3 press conferences were full of surprises . 2020 looks like it’s going to be an incredible year for video game fans, including your’s truly. I thought I’d compile a list of some of the games I’m looking forward to. Keep in mind that Sony did not do a press conference this year, Hideo Kojima premiered a big trailer for Death Stranding before E3, and I did not watch EA, the PC Gaming Show, or Ubisoft.

Ok! Let’s see who is taking my money in 2019/2020! I’ll put it in order of the studio that is taking a little money, to the “I may be homeless” studio.

Bethesda

Bethesda-Studios-E3

Bethesda’s press conference included some major updates to Fallout ’76 that had the audience all worked up, including the addition of new campaigns and NPCs. I do not play Fallout, but I can understand the excitement, especially after the disappointing rollout. With that being said, here are games I’m looking forward to playing from Bethesda Studios.

Ghost Wire Tokyo

I’m excited about this title for two reasons. First, I’m fascinated by the way people are disappearing like the rapture. I cannot wait to see what that’s about. Second, the super sweet creative director Ikumi Nakamura presented the game with such enthusiasm and positive energy, that you want to support her any way that you can.

Deathloop

Deathloop gives me a “grindhouse meets sci-fi” feel that I absolutely live for. The fact that our two main characters with two different ideologies try to kill each other over and over piques my curiosity. How are they going to break free from the loop? Who will come out on top?

Microsoft

Microsoft-E3-2019

Microsoft did not come to play this year. They have people talking about games, and I’m not sure they know how to turn on an X-Box. We’ll get to the excitement in a minute. First, I want to honorable mention a few games. I may not buy them right away, but they are definitely on my radar. They are Dragon Ball Project Z and Borderlands 3.

12 Minutes

What an interesting concept. It appears that you and your significant other are in your one bedroom apartment and you’re stuck in some sort of time loop. There’s mystery, intrigue, and…MURDER! It gives you a claustrophobic feel. I’m looking forward to it.

Tales of Arise

A long time ago, my husband played Tales of Vesperia. I watched him play and felt that I was really immersed in the story. Here’s another installment in the Tales series. It gives me a good anime story vibe. Believe me when I tell ya, I will be playing this game.

Cyberpunk 2077

This should’ve been the finale of the Microsoft showcase but they decided to put it at the beginning. You cannot snatch wigs at the beginning of the presentation. We’ve seen Cyberpunk 2077 at a few E3 presentations. This time, we get a longer cinematic trailer. The only way to describe the characters is that they are dope! At the end of the trailer, one of the biggest movie stars in the world pops up…KEANU FREAKING REEVES. The audience loses it and I lose it. Then he walks onto the E3 stage to announce the release date (April 16, 2020) and my head nearly explodes. Cyberpunk 2077 looks like it’s going to be a great story with interesting characters. My fear is that it’s going to suffer from the Fallout ’76 rollout debacle. It’ll be a whole bunch of hype and then disappoint us upon its release.

Square Enix

Square-Enix-E3

Final Fantasy VII Remake

I’m not really excited about this game, but my husband is stoked! I want to say the first announcement of the remake was 2015 (it may have been 2014). Fans like my husband grew up on this game, so they had a jolt of adrenaline when the remake was announced. This year, they announced a release date and showed a little gameplay. The boss fight looks really tough. I will not play it, but I will definitely watch my husband play. The scheduled release for the game is March 3, 2020.

Nintendo Is Stealing My Purse!

Nintendo-Switch-E3

And the winner of E3 (for me anyway) is Nintendo with its Nintendo Direct presentation. Nintendo had some great announcements. They include the introduction of Banjo and Kazooie to Smash Brothers Ultimate, a new Animal Crossing game, Fire Emblem: 3 Houses, No More Heroes 3, Pokemon Sword and Shield, and Ultimate Alliance 3. These are all titles that I’m willing to buy, I’m just not going into detail here.

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi is back in Luigi’s Mansion 3. This time, our friend is in a haunted hotel. I relate to Luigi because I’m just as easily startled and often under appreciated.

Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

This game looks fun and super cute. Of course, I would want to play a game with one of the most iconic characters in video game history.

Cadence of Hyrule

Speaking of Link, this game looks very entertaining. I’m here for the “fighting to the beat” mechanic. I would love to play this with someone who lacks rhythm and they have a few drinks in them. I bet this is hilarious.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games

You guys, I played the crap out of the last installment of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. This one is in honor of the next Olympic Games, to be held in Tokyo. I will make me a cocktail, grab the hubby, and play this game.

Overall

Microsoft also announced a new console in the works, Project Scarlet. They didn’t exactly set the world on fire with this announcement because they really didn’t show anything. Many video game fans and journalists are a little disappointed at E3 this year. There was a lot of cinematic trailers, as opposed to actual gameplay. I can understand the audience frustration. After all, they are gamers, so they want to see gameplay, not movies. Hopefully next year Sony will present and we will see more gameplay.

Wrapping it Up

Well, that’s it for this special list. Next week, it’s business as usual with Demon Slayer, Yu-No, and a list where I revise a previous post. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the dads out there!

[Review] Marvel Cinematic Tuesday-Avengers: Endgame

Hello everybody! Welcome to MC Tuesday, where we watch a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, we’re finally here. A journey that started over a decade ago comes to a conclusion in a HUGE way. That’s right folks, we are to talking Avengers: Endgame. This movie puts a giant bow on a phase of the franchise that gave us the most formidable opponent to date, Thanos (Josh Brolin).

The movie was directed by the Russo brothers. I tell you what, when it comes to brothers, there’s The Mario Bros.,the Jonas Brothers, and the Russo Brothers. Anthony and Joe Russo directed every Avengers movie in the franchise and none of them sucked.

Before I discuss the movie, I want to discuss some “in real life” stuff surrounding the movie. Let’s do it!

Spoilers, Shaming, and Society

Avengers-Endgame

People have been waiting for this movie ever since the snap that ruined all of our lives. The movie’s advanced screening was on a Thursday. From that day forward, you pretty much had to go off the grid until you saw the movie. Otherwise, you were vulnerable to an onslaught of posts, memes, and outright spoilers.

The popcorn was barely swept off the floor Thursday night before videos were on YouTube giving you “35 Easter Eggs You Missed in Endgame”, or “The Meaning of (insert spoiler here) in Endgame”. I saw the movie Saturday morning opening weekend. When I arrived home and started scrolling through Twitter, someone revealed a major spoiler in the movie.

Now, I do not condone violence. But I understand the urge to want to punch people in the face when they spoil a movie that even casual Marvel movie watchers were anticipating. I’ve come to terms that spoilers are here to stay. I learn the best way to avoid them is to stay off of social media.

Here’s something crazy that occurred in the media involving Thor. Let’s see if I can explain this without spoiling it. Thor changed in a pretty drastic way in the movie. Certain people were not happy with how Thor’s friends handled the change. They wrote op-eds about the reaction.

I’m going to need people to either be quiet, or get a sense of humor. I do not understand how these people enjoyed the movie. The change happened pretty early in the movie. That means the spent the rest of a 3 HOUR MOVIE thinking about this.

I think you have to pick your battles. Quentin Tarantino saying the N-word in Pulp Fiction, slight eyebrow raise but nothing to get worked up about. A white person saying the N-word a billion times in The Hateful Eights, unnecessary. My point is, we do not have to die on every hill people, especially that particular Thor hill.

The Quiet Parts

I like that Endgame really made us feel the gravity of the snap. They could’ve switched to Avenger-mode and I’m sure the movie would’ve been great. Instead, the heroes are forced to deal with the fact that they failed.

It was intense and emotional. I liked the juxtaposition of how Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) handled the aftermath, and how Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) handled it. They both suffered a great deal but retreated to opposite ends of the grief spectrum.

Time after time, the Avengers managed to save the world from annihilation. And we as the audience are there every time, applauding our heroes. I loved that we experience the sense of hopelessness and sadness with them, as opposed to glossing over that very humanizing moment.

The Loud Parts

When it’s time to shift into Avengers mode, the Russo Bros. and the writers gives us all the excitement and awesome action that we needed. It’s like they said, “we know we you’ve been on an emotional tailspin since the snap. Here’s a little treat!”. No description, or meme, or spoiler can capture the delight in watching the loud parts. I wasn’t ready, and the enemy definitely wasn’t ready!

And Then It’s Quiet Again

Avengers-Endgame

Just when we think the thrills will never end, we are brought right back down from our sugar high. Some of the stuff that happens is gloomy but necessary. And while you feel like it’s the end of an era, you know it’s the start of something new.

Overall

You guys, Endgame is so satisfying. This is especially true if you’ve watched the movies from the beginning. It was an exclamation point instead of a period. So where do we go from here?

I know a lot of people are screaming for a Marvel/X-Men movie. Me personally, I’d rather see high caliber X-Men movies before we start combining franchises. Unless they’re going to pull a Spiderman and just pretend like a lot of the X-Men movies didn’t exist. I’m not sure how forgiving geeks will be with that decision.

Wrapping It Up

Well, that’s if for MC Tuesday! Next time we talk Marvel will be Spider-Man: Far From Home. I wasn’t excited at first, but after the latest trailer, I’m looking forward to it.

Later this week is my review of Yu-No and a new TheList. I will see you later!

MC Tuesday: Captain Marvel (Spoiler Free)

Hello everybody!  Welcome to MC Tuesday, where we talk about a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  If you are not familiar with MC Tuesday, I spent the first half of 2018 watching MCU movies.  I also did pre-Disney movies like Blade, a TV show, and even a documentary.  If you have not read any of those posts, you can click here and it will take you to the MC Tuesday page, with the last post being Ant-Man and Wasp.

Now, we are back for Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson.  Honestly, I could not remember who Brie Larson was. But I checked out her IMDb and she played Tara’s daughter in United States of Tara (great show).  What’s more impressive is that she played the iconic Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury, but before he was Director Fury. The movie also stars Jude Law and Annette Benning.

The movie is written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Enough introductions, let’s get into what I liked and disliked about the movie.  I’m keeping it spoiler-free since it is relatively new.

Nostalgia

Captain Marvel takes place in the 90’s. I was a teenager in the 90’s, so it was fun to relive that time. There was a great deal of attention paid to showing us we were in the 90’s. There are payphones, Nine Inch Nail t-shirts, and some of our favorite 90’s songs, not to mention a Blockbuster.

With that being said, after a while it felt that the nostalgia was overwhelming. It went from fond memories of the 90’s, to the 90’s throwing up all over us.

First Act Pacing

Marvel movies are tricky. The good ones have a balance between progressing the overall Marvel story and giving us the cool action and special effects.

Captain Marvel is an origin story, which is even trickier. I think that’s why the first part of the movie was so slowly paced. They are trying to give us some back story before thrusting us into the good stuff.

There’s action in the first part, but it wasn’t exciting. The dialogue was bland, and some of the lines that are supposed to be funny, weren’t that funny. And this is coming from someone who laughs at everything.

Where’s the Villain?

My favorite Marvel movies have dynamic villains. Thor and the Avengers have Loki, Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity War have the prolific Thanos and his minions.

Captain Marvel really doesn’t give us a solid villain. Sure, there are villainous moments, but they do not equate to an interesting villain. By the end, I didn’t care about the bad guy one way or the other. It is truly difficult to explain this sentiment without spoiling the movie, so I’ll just leave it at this.

After Act One…

The second half of the movie felt like the actual movie. We get some fantastic Captain Marvel moments. The quieter parts where she is learning about herself are sweet. The action and intensity of the battle are entertaining.

My favorite parts of the movie involved the cat Goose. Goose gives us these surprising moments that made me smile.

One tiny issue is that some of the special effects take me out of the movie. It just looked extremely computer generated. But, they are minor and only lasted for a second. I’m probably the only one in the theater that noticed.

The Stingers

The stingers do not really give us a lot to work with, so you can leave once the credits start. The first connects us to Endgame but not in an extraordinary way. The second features Goose in a forgettable moment.

Overall

My buddy Ben asked out of 10 “kapows”, what would I give Captain Marvel. I’d give it seven kapows. The second half of the movie gave me the story and action I wanted and Goose was absolutely awesome.

The writing in the first half was very dull, along with the action sequences. This movie is not The Incredible Hulk or Ant-Man bad, but it’s not Infinity War or Black Panther good.

If you ever watched anime (actually anything but it is abundant in anime), you may be familiar with filler episodes. These episodes may not be the main story, but they get us there.

That’s the type of feeling Captain Marvel gives me, a filler movie. We needed it to introduce another player for Endgame. But, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a standout movie. In that way, it is similar to the Ant-Man sequel. We needed it to put Ant-Man in a certain place at a certain time. It makes sense for these two movies to fall between Infinity War and Endgame, our main story.

Wrapping it Up

Well, that’s it for Captain Marvel. What did you think of the movie? Let me know! MC Tuesday will return next month for Avengers: Endgame, followed by Spiderman: Far From Home in July.

Tomorrow, I will finally bring my thoughts on Ace Attorney season 2, episodes 20 and 21. Spoiler alert: I have serious issues with Ace Attorney! Later this week, we will continue our look at Mob Psycho 100. I will see you later!

Serenity Sunday: Serenity

Hello everybody!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Well, we’ve come to the end of our Firefly journey.  Today, we are talking about the movie Serenity.  If you have never watched the movie, it is a good film and a fitting way to end an epic show.  Every time I watch it, I am immediately immersed in the world.

I’m thinking the best way to wrap up Serenity Sunday is to talk about each of the characters via the movie.  We are going to wrap up their individual stories.  Let’s do this!

Sheppard Book

Serenity-movie

Since episode 14, Sheppard Book (Ron Glass) has settled on a planet with a group. When we see him he is thugged out in cornrows and a gun.

While talking to Mal, he reminds us that he has a lot of knowledge about Alliance military activity.  I’ve concluded that he is definitely former Alliance intelligence.

Near the end of the movie, Shappard Book is killed by The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor).  This motivates the crew to finish this once and for all.

Inara

Serenity-movie

Inara (Morena Baccarin) has settled on some planet.  The Operative finds her there and uses her to lure Mal and the crew to the planet.

Inara gets to fight and shoot a bow and arrow in the movie.  She also decides not to stay on the planet when the fight is over, but roam around with Mal and the crew.

Kaylee

Serenity-movie

Poor Kaylee (Jewel Staite).  Kaylee spends most of this movie in tears.  She sees a lot of death and she is ill-equipped to deal with it.

Before you get too sympathetic for our little Kaylee, she does get a happy ending, one that I will explain in a second.

Jayne

Serenity-movie

Jayne (Adam Baldwin) has had it!  He believes that River is too much trouble and she needs to go.

But, towards the end of the movie, he gets over it and decides that he wants to fight the Alliance.  Leave it to Jayne to want to go out in a blaze of glory.

Wash

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You get the feeling that all Wash (Alan Tudyk)  wants to do is fly Serenity and love his wife.  Unfortunately, life does not always go according to plan.

After piloting Serenity in a masterful fashion and saving everyone’s life, Wash is killed by a Reaver ship.  I do not know how Zoe kept it together as much as she did in those circumstances.  But, she does.

Zoe

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As you might have guessed, Queen Zoe (Gina Torres) is devastated by the death of her husband.  We watched her act with reckless abandon against the Reavers when she is usually calm and level-headed.

Near the end of the movie, we see her at her husband’s grave in a gorgeous white dress.  Not a dry eye in my house.

Simon

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Is it just me, or did Simon (Sean Maher) get hot between the last episode and the movie?  He also went up personality-wise in my estimation.

The beginning of the movie shows us how he managed to escape with River out of that horrible facility.  We also see him do everything he can to try and protect her from The Operative and any other trouble.

We finally get to see him profess his affections for Kaylee.  They finally hook-up and all of that awkwardness is a thing of the past.  Whew!  Finally!

Mal

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I bet you’re wondering why Mal (Nathan Fillion) is not the last person I talk about since he is our captain and the main character in the show.  It is because this movie is not really about him.

During the movie, we see Mal being Mal.  He is emotionally guarded, but still a brilliant fighter and strategist.

He is also a good person.  He knows that River is troubled and dangerous, but he does not fault her for this.  You get the feeling that he sees someone that is hurting and wants justice for her.

Mal defeats The Operative, a man that is smug to the point of nausea.  But at the end, Mal helps him see the truth and he is never the same again.

River

Serenity-movie

What makes this movie absolutely amazing is that we see things through River’s (Summer Glau) eyes.  But I may be simplifying what happens.

You see, River shows us something that when I first watched the movie, absolutely surprised me.  But, it gets to the heart of why The Alliance is hell-bent on retrieving River.  It also shines a light on a real-life issue.

The reason The Alliance is threatened by River is that they are afraid she will tell their dirty little secret.  The Alliance is responsible for creating the Reavers.  They did not de-evolve from living on the fringes of space, but from human experiments gone wrong.

Isn’t that always the way?  Some megalomaniacs think that they have the key to controlling people.  They only succeed in doing damage that is irreparable.

River leads Mal to ground zero of the Reavers, where he took a video proving that The Alliance is culpable for creating these monsters.  She may not have stopped the creation, but she shines a light on it, weakening Alliance control.

I almost forgot to mention, we get to see River fight.  Correction, we get to see River kick ass!

Final Thoughts

Firefly and Serenity are why Joss Whedon is such a legend.  His shows are why I love sci-fi/fantasy.  It is the storytelling.

A lot of shows nowadays feel trite and safe.  Anyone can have affairs or betray family.  That is easy.

Try taking a space story and putting a wild-west spin on it.  Then, show the cruelty, elitism, and classism of people without being cliche about it.

Tell a story about the line between marriage and duty.  Tell a story about growing love, without slapping us in the face with it.

Tell us about a leader who can be cruel and kind.  A man who is protective of his crew, yet expects them to do their part.

Tell the story of a prodigy who is haunted by things she’s only seen in her mind.  Show me how she overcomes her trauma and saves the world.

Now tell that story in 14 episodes and a movie, and make it good.  Joss Whedon does in one season and a movie what other shows cannot do in five or six seasons.

Thank you Joss Whedon.  Thank you, Serenity!

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Serenity Sunday!  I’m a little sad.  Honestly, I do not know what will happen next week.  Maybe I talk about Psycho-Pass, maybe not.

Until then, be sure to join me for Radiant episode 6 on Tuesday.  On Thursday, we watch episode 6 of Ace Attorney.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all my veterans out there!

[Rewatch] Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 14-Objects in Space

Hello everybody!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, I am going to talk about the fourteenth and final episode of Firefly, Objects in Space.  I was going to talk about this episode and the movie, but both deserve their own post.  So next week, we will conclude with the movie.  Let’s unpack this episode.

In the Mind of River

We open this episode with River.  We get to see the world through her eyes.  One thing you have to remember about River is that she feels everything acutely.  And, she reads minds.  You get this overwhelming feeling as she walks around the ship, watching everyone interact with each other.

River knows how the crew feels about her presence on the ship.  They think she is dangerous.  But she soon proves her genius outweighs her instability.  It really comes into fruition in the movie.

The River and Early chess match

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In this episode, the crew is terrorized by a bounty hunter named Jubal Early.  Early in the worst of the worst.  He threatens to rape Kaylee and kill Simon.  He claims that he does things like this out of obligation, but River knows he does it because he is a terrible person.

Early ties up Kaylee, locks the crew in their quarters, smacks Inara, knocks the Shepard unconscious, and shoots Simon in the leg.  He thinks he has the upper hand, but he is no match for River’s genius.

River manages to put the crew in a position to get rid of the threat by saying that she is Serenity.  Early thinks that River is in his head when she is really manipulating the situation for Early’s ship.

Had the show continued, I think we would have seen River grow into a critical part of the Serenity crew.  Her potential as a character was limitless.

Another awkward moment

Kaylee and Simon give us another uncomfortable moment.  Well, it was uncomfortable for me anyway.  Did you see when Kaylee put her foot on Simon’s face?

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I bet you thought I was going to talk about when they nearly kissed.  Nope.  I’m talking about the “toes-to-cheek” action.  That is traumatizing.

Another suspicious Shepard moment

Early gives us our suspicious Shepard moment this week.  Simon is asking him what plan constitutes him beating up a Shepard.  Early says the he “ain’t a Shepard”.  I nearly screamed, “I know right!”.

Overall

This episode is where we get to see River really shine as a character.  Also, everything that happens in this episode sets us up for the movie.

It’s kind of sad that we finally get to see the crew starting to gel, and then the show is canceled.  And why was it canceled?  To make room for more American Idol.  Sometimes, the world is unfair.

The bright side is that now that geek culture is a thing, people are discovering and appreciating Firefly just like the rest of us.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Firefly the television show.  Next week we conclude Serenity Sunday with the movie Serenity.  This is not only a good way to conclude the show, but it is also a good movie.

In the meantime, be sure to join me for my review of episode five of Radiant on Tuesday.  Thursday, we return to the courtroom in episode 5 of Ace Attorney.  Hope you had an amazing weekend!

[Rewatch] Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episodes 12-13

Hello everybody!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday!  Today, we are going to talk about Firefly episode 12, The Message and episode 13, Heart of Gold.  These episodes are not as fun as other episodes, but they are still great episodes because Firefly can do no wrong.  If you need a refresher on the characters, read about episode 1.

Episodes 12 and 13 are all about relationships.  12 explores the burgeoning relationship between Simon and Kaylee.  13 examines the relationship between Mal and Inara.  That’s what I’m going to focus on, these relationships.

Episode 12- The Message

Awkward Simon and Kaylee
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If we’re talking about wooing the ladies, Simon is about as smooth as a piece of sandpaper.  While Kaylee and Simon were looking at an alleged alien (it was a cow fetus), Simon is saying all the right things.

Then, he basically says that she is pretty much the last woman on earth.  He makes it sound like if he had better options, she wouldn’t stand a chance.

Of course, he did not mean it that way, but I still rolled my eyes.  How can someone that is so smart say things that are super dumb?  Now that I think about it, the only person on the ship that may be able to give him pointers on courting is Sheppard Book.  Wash is a dork, Jayne is a jerk, and Mal is just as clueless as Simon.

Tracey and Kaylee (sitting in a tree???)

While Simon was walking around with his foot in his mouth, Queen Zoe and Mal get a huge package.  It turns out that it is the body of an old subordinate from the war, Tracey.

Tracey sends along an audio recording, asking Zoe and Mal to take him home to be buried.  Kaylee listens to audio, feeling some sort of attachment to Tracey.

It turns out that Tracey is alive and using Zoe and Mal to get away from some Alliance guy.  He takes Kaylee hostage trying to get away.  You would think Kaylee would be wary of strangers after being shot.  But, her disposition is too sweet.

Tracey dies anyway and they still take him home to his family.  The scene is very moving.  In the end, we see Simon and Kaylee holding hands.  He may be socially awkward, but at least he won’t kill her.

Episode 13- Heart of Gold

Firefly-Episode-13

Mal and Inara

Inara receives a distress call from an old friend from companion academy, Nandi.  Nandi runs a brothel that is threatened by a real a-hole named Ranse.  She asks Mal to help protect the unborn child of Ranse.  The child is carried by one of Nandi’s prostitutes.

There’s quite a bit of hanky-panky in the brothel.  Most of it is Jayne having sex with one of the ladies.

But, Mal has sex with Nandi.  This devastates Inara, no matter how brave of a facade she tries to put on.

Mal having sex with someone Inara knows is in poor taste.  But, Inara would have felt the same way if Mal had sex with anyone.  It’s like she expected him to pine after her forever.  And when he finally gets laid, she decides it’s time to leave Serenity.

My best guess is that there is some sort of heartbreak in her past that leads her to decide on leaving.  Her deep affection for Mal frightens her.  I understand that!  But, you can only call someone a crook and a thief for so long before they start to believe that you are not interested.

At the end of the episode, Nandi dies, the douchebag Ranse dies, and Inara decides to leave Serenity.  Honestly, I really didn’t care.  Inara was always the least interesting character, so I was like “bye, girl”.

Another suspicious Shepard moment

Okay, we have another “who is Shepard Book” moment in episode 12.  He is sitting in the cockpit looking at the radar.  He notices that the alliance members chasing them did not notify the nearest Alliance HQ that they were in pursuit.  He deduces that the return of Tracey’s body is an off-the-books job.

This dude knows too much about Alliance protocol not to be a former Alliance intelligence officer or something.

Overall

These two episodes give the series more layers.  If the show continued, we would have seen how these complicated relationships impacted the people and the crew as a whole.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Firefly, episodes 12 and 13.  Next Sunday, we will conclude our discussion with episode 14 and the movie Serenity.  Before I move on to Psycho-Pass, I want to take on the last look at Firefly as a whole.  There are so many things we can take from the show and the movie.

Until then, be sure to join me this Tuesday for Radiant episode 4.  On Thursday, I will review Ace Attorney, episode 4.  I hope you had a terrific weekend!

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episodes 10 & 11

Hello everybody!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, we are talking about Firefly episode 10, War Stories, and episode 11, Trash.  These two episodes compliment each other perfectly.  First, we see the return of characters we’ve previously met.  Second, episode 10 is pretty heavy, while episode 11 is a light-weight caper.  I am only going to touch on a few things from each episode.  If there is anything you would like to add, please comment below.  Also, if you need an introduction to our main characters, read this post.  Let’s do it!

Episode 10- War Stories

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War Stories marks the return of Niska from episode two.  If you need a refresher, please read my post on that episode.  Based on that episode’s goings-on, Niska wants to settle a score with Mal.  He gets his opportunity when he learns that Mal is in the area trying to conduct business.  He kidnaps Mal and Wash (I’m coming back to Wash) and starts torturing them.

Wash and Zoe

One thing I loved about this episode is that I understand what both Wash and Zoe are going through.  Wash is feeling insecure because he feels that Zoe blindly follows Mal’s lead.  Zoe has a loyalty to Mal that comes from being in war with him.  As a former soldier, I understand that you can build these strong bonds with the people you eat, sleep, train, and deploy with.  This is something that civilians like Wash do not understand.  With that being said, I am also a spouse.  You want to know that at the end of the day, the one you married has unflinching loyalty to you.  Zoe proves this when it comes time to rescue Mal and Wash and Niska makes her choose between freeing her husband or freeing Mal.  She chooses Wash without hesitation.  She does this because she knows that Mal can take the pain of torture (I’m coming back to this as well) and Wash cannot.  But, I also like to think that even if he could withstand the torture as much as Mal, she would still choose Wash.

Mal is a little scary

Mal is subjected to a lot of brutal torture at the hands of Niska.  He’s being electrocuted, poked, and cut.  Niska even cuts off his ear and gives it to Zoe.  Mal eventually dies, but Niska brings him back to life so that he can continue to torture him.  Even after all of this, Mal manages to overpower Niska’s henchman and almost gets his hands on Niska.  What kind of crazy person is subjected to that amount of torture and dies, just to come back to life to kick ass?  No one should ever cross Mal…ever!

Sheppard, we need to talk

Back in episode 5, Sheppard is shot.  He was not going to receive treatment from the Alliance until he shows his ID, then people are tripping over themselves to help him.  This episode, he recognizes that Mal and Wash are kidnapped via ambush by sharpshooters.  Also during the gunfight with Niska’s men, he shoots without hesitation.  This brings me back to my original question: Who the hell is he?  Based on his knowledge of weaponry and tactics, I’m guessing that he was a high ranking officer with the Alliance prior to becoming a holy man.

Episode 11-Trash

Firefly-Episode-11-Trash

After the brutality of episode 10, episode 11 was a nice change of pace.  This episode marks the return of Saffron from episode six.  She is up to no good as usual.  She convinces Mal and the crew to participate in a little caper where they steal a priceless artifact from a wealthy man who we learn was also married to Saffron (he knew her as Yolanda).

Saffron needs to pick another profession

Saffron is pretty much a grifter with companion training.  This line of work does not appear to work out for her.  In episode six, she is discovered.  In episode 11, she is married to one man (who knows her as Bridget) and he abandons her on a moon where she bumps into Mal.  Apparently, she tried to steal the artifact once before and failed.  Then, she tries to trick Mal by getting his help to steal the artifact and then abandoning him naked in the desert.  But he has Inara there to back him up and get the artifact before Saffron can obtain it.  Maybe she should just be a companion.

They know, Jayne

In episode 9 of the show, Jayne tries to turn in Simon and River for a big reward.  He fails, of course.  Up until this point, Simon was unaware of the role Jayne played in the siblings nearly getting captured.  As a matter of fact, he thinks Jayne is a hero.  River informs Simon of the truth.  Simon informs Jayne that even though Jayne betrayed him, he will always take care of Jayne because he is the ship’s medic.  And, in one of greatest moments on the show, River reminds him that she can kill him with her brain.  I love how River is evolving throughout the season.  By the time we get to the movie, she is an absolutely amazing character.

Wrapping it up

Episodes 10 and 11 further prove that Firefly is top-notch when it comes to writing and character development.  Had the series continued, I’m sure that we would have seen more of Niska and Saffron/Bridget/Yolanda.  Maybe we would have finally learned what is up with Book.  Watching this show again reminds me of how other shows are often convoluted or lazy when it comes to character or plot development.

Well, that’s it for Firefly episodes 10 and 11.  Next week, we watch episodes 12 and 13.  Until then, be sure to join me for my thoughts on episode 3 of Radiant.  Next Thursday will be my review of episode 3 of Ace Attorney.  Have a great week and I will see you later!

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