Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 5-Safe

Hello everybody.  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, I will discuss episode five of Firefly, Safe.  There’s lots of insight into Simon and River.  Simon takes a significant turn between the beginning and end of Safe.  I’ll go into detail in a bit.  But first, a little about the episode.  As always, if you need a refresher on our characters, click here.

From cows to bullets

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At the end of episode four, we see that Mal’s cargo is a herd of cattle.  Well, he and the crew are on their way to offload the cargo and get paid.  They land on the remote planet to do the deal.  Mal and Jayne will handle the deal.  Sheppard stands by to observe (I guess).  The rest of the crew heads out to explore.  Mal orders Simon to take River into town to keep her from disrupting the deal.  Lately, River has been more erratic than usual.  Simon protests but Mal doesn’t leave him a choice but to head to town.

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During the course of the deal, Sheppard is shot in the chest.  It’s a pretty bad injury.  Mal sends Wash to find the doc, but he and River are kidnapped by the local mountain folk.  The people find value in Simon and wants him to remain as their doctor.  This probably would have been a good move, but they think River is a witch and try to burn her.  Mal shows up in time to save them.  Sheppard is treated by the Alliance and recovers (I’m going to come back to this).  And the crew keeps flying.

Simon and River

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As I previously stated, this is a very Simon and River-heavy episode.  We see that they grew up in a very rich family.  Fun fact: The little boy that plays young Simon is Zac Efron.  Anyway, Simon’s upbringing is why he is such a snob at the beginning of the episode.  He was not shy about expressing his disgust with the ship and the captain.  His nose could not be further in the air.  And that’s something considering he lives on a spaceship.  And what’s worse is that River senses his disdain for his present life.  I think she feels responsible for his present condition.  But, it’s not her fault her brother is a jackass.  By the end of the episode, he accepts his new life and recommits to his sister.  I’m glad he takes this turn because I would’ve spent the rest of the series hating him.

What’s up with the Sheppard?

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I do not remember if they answer this question later in the show or in the movie, but what’s up with Sheppard Book?  When he is shot, Mal turns to the dreaded Alliance for medical help since Simon was abducted.  At first, they are not willing to assist.  Then he gives the commander his ID.  All of a sudden, he is rushed to the clinic.  Sheppard claims it’s because he is a shepherd.  I think that’s bull.  I just cannot remember if this was addressed later.  If not, I guess the mystery will continue.  I refuse to Google it, that’s cheating.

Final thoughts

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Simon needed this turning point in his journey.  He was still in the mindset of an aristocratic surgeon.  He needed to be humbled.  His willingness to burn with his sister was moving and shows his devotion to her.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for episode five.  Next time, Mal get himself into a bit of a pickle in Our Mrs. Reynolds, episode six.  Until then be sure to join me for Pulp Fiction on Rod-Tino Tuesday.  Next Thursday, I will discuss Calamity of a Zombie Girl.  I was going to talk Harmonquest, but I will discuss that Saturday.

Rod-Tino Tuesday: The Faculty

Hello everyone!  Welcome to Rod-Tino Tuesday, where we watch a movie directed by either Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  Today’s movie is the business!!!  We are watching 1998’s The Faculty, directed by Robert Rodriguez.  This particular movie slipped out of my memory.  This has a lot to do with the timing of the movie’s release.  Think about the movies premiering around this time.  We have huge movies like Saving Private Ryan, Armageddon, American History X, The Truman Show, and the list goes on.  These movies all premiered in 1998.  If we are talking specifically about the teen horror style of movie, we have Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), The Craft (1996), and Final Destination (2000) to name a few.  But The Faculty is this weird and amazing movie with big stars.  Allow me to give you a refresher before I get into what makes this movie awesome.

The students

The-Faculty

If you have never seen The Faculty, it’s kind of like The Breakfast Club with alien parasites.  Casey (Elijah Wood) is our nerd going through nerd things like being the butt of horrible pranks, and being the photographer of the school paper.  The editor of the paper is the beautiful and cold-hearted Delilah (Jordanna Brewster).  For a brief moment in the movie, she is dating quarterback Stan (Shawn Hatosy).  But, they break up and he develops a relationship with the outcast Stokely (Clea Duvall).  Zeke (Josh Harnett) is the brilliant, drug dealing bad boy.  He starts an instant romance with new girl Marybeth (Laura Harris) from Georgia. We find out later that she is our queen thirsty worm.  Gabe (Usher, the Usher) is the new captain once Stan quits the football team.

The dehydrated faculty

The-Faculty

The faculty is the first infected with a parasite that needs water to survive.  The parasite decides to infect humans since our bodies are mostly water.  The first victim we see is the head football coach, the angry Joe Willis (Robert Patrick).  He is extremely calm after the parasite.  We also see Mrs. Olson (Piper Laurie), who helps the coach infect the principal Valerie Drake (Bebe Neuwirth).  Eventually, they infect the nurse (Selma Hayek), the drunk history teacher (Daniel von Bargen), the biology teacher (Jon Stewart), and the rest of the town.  Our Breakfast Club has to find the queen of the aliens, and kill her so that the town can go back to normal.  More importantly, what an amazing cast!

The meanest town in Ohio

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At the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to the meanest town in Ohio.  So much happens on this particular day of school.  First, we have our poor little Casey.  He is getting brutalized the second he steps foot on the campus.  A group of jocks is beating him up and slamming his junk onto a flagpole.  We also see a minor fender bender that leads to a fight.  Then, there is the girl that repeatedly slaps her girlfriend.  This scene provides a juxtaposition to the calm that the water worms provide its host.

Nerd power!!!

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One of the most delightful parts of this movie is in the end.  The big hero of the movie is not the bad boy Zeke, or the jock Stan, it is the nerd Casey.  He kills the queen aka Marybeth.  Casey is hailed as a hero and starts dating Delilah, who a month ago did not give him the time of day.  He is in every major magazine and on every news outlet.  He saves this terrible town, and the world, from the thirsty worms.

Overall

The Faculty is so much fun, from beginning to the end.  It does not take itself too seriously with a bunch of emo kids.  Rodriguez takes a cliche teen horror format and puts a campy spin on it.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for The Faculty.  Next week, we return to Quentin Tarantino.  The random number generator chose movie number two.  We are watching the absolute classic Pulp Fiction!!!  So, grab your Hunny Bunny and come back to read my thoughts on this fantastic film.  If you do not know the list, click here.  Until then, be sure to join me for Anime Thursday and Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion.  Sunday is episode five of Firefly, Safe.  I will see you later.

 

 

 

 

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 4-Shindig

Hello everyone!  I hope you find Serenity this Sunday.  Today, we are watching Firefly Episode 4, Shindig.  This episode takes us back to where our journey begins, the bustling planet of Persephone.  We run into an old friend, go to a swanky party, and deal with a bunch of snobberies.  Well, let’s get into the episode.  By the way, if you need a little character familiarization, go back to my post on Serenity episode one.

Mal’s social skills (or lack thereof)

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Mal and bars just don’t mix.  We begin this episode in a local bar with the captain, Jayne, and Inara.  Mal is playing pool with some guy, bragging about his slave ship.  After conversing with the guy for a bit, Mal tells Inara that she should head back to the ship.  We learn that Mal has lifted the guy’s money.  Before the group can make a hasty escape, the guy realizes he’s been robbed and a bar fight ensues.  This scene seems insignificant, just Mal being Mal.  But, this scene sets us up for events to occur later.

Persephone

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When the group lands on Persephone, they have to resupply.  Mal, Jayne, Zoe, Wash, and Kaylee are walking through town when Kaylee spies a dress shop.  She then says “look at the pretties”, like she’s five-years-old.  Mal basically asks her if she’s going to wear it around the engine room, which is super insensitive.  Kaylee gets angry and she, Zoe, and Wash go to resupply.  As they leave, an old buddy appears to have a little chat.

“Badgering” the captain

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If you do not recall, we met Badger (Mark Sheppard) in the first episode.  He’s a criminal who thinks he has status.  He sits down with Mal and Jayne that he wants them to talk to a guy who wants his cargo smuggled off-world.  Badger does not have a good rapport with the guy, and cannot get a meeting.  Mal agrees to take on the job.

The Shindig

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In the midst of this, Inara is preparing to meet a rich client on Persephone.  Atherton Wing (Edward Atterton) commissions Inara to spend time with him for several days.  This includes acting as his escort to a ball.  Coincidentally, this is where Mal will meet with the man who needs his cargo smuggled.  Kaylee accompanies Mal, wearing a cupcake…I mean a fancy dress.  The ball is full of people that have their nose so high in the air, that they can smell the next planet.  There is a group of girls that pick on Kaylee (no one’s allowed to do that but me!).  An old man comes to her rescue and she uses her mechanic knowledge to charm the men at the ball.

The duel

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While in the ball, Mal punches Atherton for disrespecting Inara.  Mal doesn’t realize that he isn’t in a rowdy bar, this is “proper society”.  Atherton takes this as a challenge…to a duel…with swords.  Sword duels are not in Mal’s battle wheelhouse.  But, he must show up the next morning to sword fight with Atherton.

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Meanwhile, Badger and his gang make his way onto Serenity to ensure that no one attempts to rescue Mal and escape.  River wanders into the cargo area while Badger and the gang are keeping an eye on the crew.  She puts on quite a show, mimicking Badger’s accent.  The Serenity crew is stunned.

Duel day

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It’s the day of the duel.  Inara and Sir Warwick Harrow (Larry Drake) are concerned about Mal’s chances against the skilled sword fighter Atherton.  To make a long story short, Mal wins.  He spares Atherton and leaves him alive, humiliated.  Mal gets the win, the cargo (a heard of cattle), and a few wounds.

Overall

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This episode of Firefly perfectly executes a combination that I will not see again until Westworld.  We see a combination of cultures in one show.  We have the wild west aesthetic with a futuristic, sci-fi theme.  This episode brings in a Victorian vibe.  We have duels, waltzes, and big poofy cupcake dresses.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s all for Firefly episode four.  Next week, we will watch episode five, Safe.  I do not have many memories of this episode, so it will be like viewing it for the first time.  Until then, join me for Rod-Tino Tuesday, where we watch The Faculty.  And Thursday, we return to Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion.  I will see you later!

Rod-Tino Tuesday: Death Proof

Hello everyone!  It’s Tuesday and it’s time to watch a movie from either director Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  This week, we are watching a movie by Quentin Tarantino.  It is 2007s Death Proof.  The first time I watched this movie, I was in Iraq on my first deployment.  I think this is why I have such vivid memories of this movie.  My dear friend and I went to the restaurant the ladies talk about, Guerro’s in Austin, Texas (by the way, she has a blog of her own.  Click here to go to it).  Like From Dusk til Dawn, I can spend forever talking about this movie.  Let’s get to it!

The little things

Death-Proof

I have seen this movie a billion times.  But, because I’m writing about it, I observed some new and interesting things.  For instance, there are many parallels between the part of the movie that takes place in Austin, and the other half in Lebanon, Tennessee.  At the top of each segment, there’s conversation about dating and relationships.  Jungle Julia (Sydney Poitier) is discussing her relationship with Chris Simonson, and Arlene aka Butterfly (Vanessa Ferlito) talks about an encounter the night before.  In the Lebanon crew, Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) talks about her romantic encounter with some guy that looks like The Rock, while Abernathy (Rosario Dawson) discusses her relationship (or lack thereof) with the director of the movie where the Lebanon crew works.

Death-Proof

Another little thing is tiny and I missed it until recently.  Both Arlene and Abernathy had a bad feeling about the creepy Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell).  They see his car and appear unsettled by it.  They also blow this feeling off, much to the detriment of Arlene.

Death-Proof

There’s also the song “Baby It’s You” by Smith.  We hear it when Arlene is outside of Guerro’s.  We hear it again while Lee is singing it on her iPod in Lebanon.  Tarantino has an amazing eye for detail.

Stuntman Mike isn’t the only creep

Death-Proof

Is it just me or are the guys in this movie awful?  We begin with Stuntman Mike, who is a serial killer that licks his finger and puts it on women’s feet (you nasty!).  Then there are those two bros in the Austin bar that are trying to get the girls liquored up so they can get laid.  Calm down horndogs!  The Austin ranger Earl McGraw (Micahel Parks) could care less that he is letting a killer drive around.  We saw him in From Dusk til Dawn.  We will see him again a couple of times in different movies.

One of my favorite scenes in any movie

Death-Proof

What solidified this movie as awesome in my book is when Stuntman Mike kills the Austin girls.  We get to see each individual girl’s death (by the way, watching Shanna Banana (Jordan Ladd) flying through the windshield shows why you should wear your seatbelt).  This was my first time seeing a scene in this fashion.  It was gruesome and completely unforgettable.

Overall

Death-Proof

With its strange editing, a classic soundtrack, and an old-school feel, Death Proof is a clear homage to grindhouse films.  This is one of many Tarantino films that shows conversations that anyone could have, but the audience isn’t bored by it.  The movie takes me back to a time when I was partying in Austin and having fun girly conversations.  Luckily, I survived those times without running into a serial killer.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Death Proof.  Next week, we return to films directed by Robert Rodriguez.  The random number generator has decided on movie number five.  So, next Rod-Tino Tuesday’s feature is The Faculty.  Until then, be sure to join me on Anime Thursday, where we will return to Angels of Death.  Also, we will watch episode four of Firefly on Serenity Sunday.

“Chartreuse.  The only liquor so good they named a color after it!”- Warren (Quentin Tarantino)

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 3- Bushwhacked

Hi everybody!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, we will discuss episode three of Firefly entitled “Bushwhacked”.  They should call it “You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About”.  I’ll explain this a little later.  In this episode, we gain a better understanding of the menacing and terrifying Reavers.   Let’s join our friends back on Serenity, where they are enjoying a little downtime.  If you need to familiarize yourself with the characters, I encourage you to read my discussion of episode one.

 Ghost ship

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At the top of episode three, we find the crew playing a ball game.  At first, I thought it was a version of basketball.  But, it looks more like the ancient Mesoamerican game which also contains a ball and hoop, but no one knows the rules.  During the game, the alarm sounds which alerts the crew that they are approaching another ship.  As Wash investigates the signal, a body hits the front of the Serenity.  The body is from a cargo ship modified to carry settlers.  Mal decides it’s time for him, queen Zoe, and Jayne to investigate.  Upon boarding the ship, they find that it’s abandoned.  It appears as if everyone on the ship left in a hurry.

Reaver remains

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As the crew continues to investigate, Mal and Zoe find some valuable cargo.  River, who has meandered onto the ghost ship after hearing “voices”, finds something else.  River points to the ceiling.  Mal and Zoe cast their eyes upon the object of River’s curiosity.   It is the settlers.  They are dead, mutilated, and swinging from the rafters.  Mal instantly knows why. He is looking at the work of the Reavers.  Meanwhile, Jayne is investigating the galley, when he is attacked by a traumatized survivor.  At this time Mal, Zoe, Simon, Jayne, River, and Kaylee are on the ghost ship.  Mal decides it’s time for all of them to regroup on the Serenity, where they lock the survivor in the infirmary.

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Mal briefs everyone about the ghost ship and the survivor.  He explains that the survivor’s experience watching the reavers skin those people is so horrific, he might as well be dead.  Shepard begins his speech of how the Reavers used to be people and that they lost their way because they are far removed from society.  Here’s the problem with this conversation: how the heck does he know?  He doesn’t know what the fringes of civilization or Reavers are about.  He just recently left Persephone.  But, I guess I should let it slide because he is speaking from a preacher’s perspective.

Alliance

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Speaking of know-it-alls, here comes an Alliance patrol ship.  They basically “pull-over” Serenity because there is a BOLO out for Simon and River, last seen on a Firefly-class ship.  Mal instructs Jayne to put the cargo in plain sight, and he instructs Simon to get his sister.  Simon begins to protest, saying that Mal is going to use the siblings for a bargaining chip.  Again, what are you talking about?  Why would he risk more trouble by ratting you out?  Jeez!!!

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The Alliance commander boards the ship looking for the fugitives.  River and Simon are in space suits, hiding on the outside of the ship.  The Alliance forces find the survivor, and he is messed up!!!  His face is mutilated and he looks absolutely crazy.  The commander orders the troops to take “yuck-face” back to the Alliance ship, along with the crew that he is placing under arrest.

Interrogation

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This part was kind of funny, except for Inara and Shepard.  We did not need to see their interrogations.  Zoe is telling the commander to mind his beeswax when he asks about her marriage.  Wash can’t shut-up about Zoe.  Jayne isn’t saying a word.  Kaylee is explaining to the commander that Serenity isn’t trash.  The commander is trying to get Mal worked up about the war.  He also accuses the crew of murdering the people on the settlers’ ship. He dismisses the talk of Reavers.  This is his first fringe of the system patrol.  He doesn’t even know what a reaver looks like.

You never go full Reaver

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While the commander is trying to throw his rank around and intimidate people, the survivor has become a Reaver.  This is what Mal was trying to tell Shepard and the commander!  When someone survives a Reaver attack, they devolve and become a reaver.  The survivor makes his way to Serenity, hunting for a victim.  By now, River and Simon are back on the ship.  River is trying to warn Simon about the Reaver on board.  But Simon thinks she is merely having an episode.  Simon needs to stop babying River and start LISTENING TO HER!!! She was right about the dead people on the ship, and she sensed the danger of the Reaver.  You say she is gifted, but you chalk it up to trauma.  Ugh!  But, this may be me projecting my knowledge of future episodes onto this scene.

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The commander and Mal return to the ship, where Simon and River are nearly discovered.  But the Reaver pops out and attacks the commander before this can happen.  Mal kills the Reaver.  The commander releases the crew, confiscates the cargo, and destroys the settler ship.

Overall

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I think if the show continued, we would have seen more reaver activity.  Maybe one of the crew winds up on a Reaver ship. Maybe someone becomes a reaver.  There are many possibilities.  This was another awesome episode.  I love how this show does not give you one conflict per episode, but mounting conflict.

Wrapping it up

Wow!  This is why I decided to give each episode individual attention.  Next Sunday is episode four, “Shindig”.  This is another great episode.  Until then, be sure to join me for Rod-Tino Tuesday and Death Proof.  Next Thursday, we dive back into Angels of Death.  Have a great week!

Rod-Tino Tuesday: From Dusk Till Dawn

Hi everybody!  Welcome to our first Rod-Tino Tuesday, where we watch a movie directed by either Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  If you want a list of the movies, check out my preparation post from Sunday.  First on deck is 1996’s From Dusk Till Dawn, directed by Robert Rodriguez.  I can spend an entire week talking about this movie.  Let’s not waste time.  Here’s a little background.

Making it to Dawn

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Theif Seth Gecko (George Clooney ) has escaped from prison with the help of his psychopathic brother Richard Gecko (Quentin Tarantino).  The plan is to escape to Mexico.  To accomplish this difficult task, Seth and Richie kidnap faithless pastor Jacob (Harvey Keitel), and his kids Kate (Juliette Lewis) and Scott (Ernest Liu).  They all pile into Jacob’s RV and make it to Mexico.  Jacob, Kate, and Scott must remain with the Gecko brothers until the brothers meet with their contact Carlos (Cheech Marin).  The rendezvous point happens to be a rowdy bar called the Titty Twister.   What they soon learn is that the bar’s dancers, staff, and the band are all vampires.  Now the brothers and the family along with biker Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Vietnam veteran Frost (Fred Williamson) have to survive this hellish bar.

Epic Scenes

To pick a favorite scene in this movie is difficult.  I will not even try.  I will just tell you about some of my favorite moments.

The Gas Station

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What’s brilliant about the opening scene is that you do not really know what is going on.  You see the Texas Ranger (Michael Parks) and cashier Pete (John Hawkes) having a casual and offensive conversation.  It is surprising to see the Gecko brothers pop-up.  A casual encounter is instantly turned into a tense and exciting moment.

Gloria

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The scene where Seth walks into the hotel room to find that Richie has assaulted and killed their hostage Gloria is an important scene.  First, Seth and the audience begins to understand the depths of Richie’s depravity.  He is sadistic.  This works against him in a scene I will discuss in a moment.  Second, the audience becomes aware that they are not dealing with warm and cuddly criminals.  We are not about to embark on some Robin Hood, Jack Sparrow adventure.  It is simply not that type of party.

Santanico Pandemonium

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The scene where Satanico Pandemonium (Queen Selma Hayek) does her sexy snake/table dance, something very interesting occurs besides the dance.  During her performance, she spots Richie sitting in the audience.  One can deduce from subsequent scenes that Satanico is the head vampire, which means she’s probably the oldest.   I think she sees Richie’s depravity.  She recognizes his foot fetish and knows she can use that to seduce him (go back and watch the movie.  Richie has a foot fetish).

Overall

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These are just a couple of scenes in a move riddled with awesome movies.  There’s Sex Machine’s sex machine.  There’s also Cheech Marin’s performance as that disgusting vampire.  But what really stands out is George Clooney’s performance.  This is by far my favorite Clooney role.  His Seth Gecko is something that the television show could not capture.  Also, the vampires are not these pretty Twilight-esque creatures.  They are ugly, ravenous, and brutal.

Wrapping it up

Well, there you have it!  Next week, we watch a movie by director Quentin Tarantino.  The random number generator has picked movie number seven on my Tarantino list.  That means that next week’s movie is Death Proof.  I have some interesting real-life memories of the movie.  I cannot wait to share them with you.  Until then, be sure to join me for anime Thursday, where we will discuss Planet With.  It was supposed to be ISLAND, but I had to take it off the watchlist for being super boring.  Don’t forget about Serenity Sunday and episode 3  of Firefly.

“Alright ramblers, let’s get rambling”- Seth Gecko.

Rod-Tino Tuesday Preparation!

Hello everyone!  Well, MC Tuesday is going on hiatus until the next major MCU movie.  MC Tuesday is fun, but I do not feel the need to talk it into the ground.  I want to explore other interests.  I’m nerdy about so many things, why limit myself?  So after pondering over a few ideas, I decided to discuss two of my favorite writers/directors/producers.  So ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Rod-Tino Tuesdays.

What’s Rod-Tino Tuesday?

Quentin-Tarantino

I’m glad you asked.  Every Tuesday, I will discuss a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  They have written and produced many films that will not be on this list.  The director duty made it easier for me to narrow down a list of movies.  So, each week, I will alternate between the directors, discussing their movies.  I will list the movies later in this post.  Instead of going in chronological order, I will choose a movie using a random number generator.

Grindhouse Homage

Pink-Flamingos

Tarantino and Rodriguez often put a modern spin on movies from the Grindhouse era.  If you do not know, Grindhouse movies are movies that are exploitative in nature.  They were extremely popular in the 1970s and get their name for the grindhouse theatres, converted burlesque establishments where the movies were featured.  These movies are usually considered “offensive”.  They are overly sexualized and violent movies.  Some examples from that era include Night of the Living Dead, I Spit on Your Grave, Blacula, and Pink Flamingos.

Why these two?

Robert-Rodriguez

I often sing the praises of JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon.  But it’s Tarantino and Rodriguez who are responsible for many of my favorite movies.  They have taken the spirit and look of Grindhouse and brought it to a modern audience who may have never seen Coffy or the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  The way they shoot, direct, and edit the movies gives them a gritty, unapologetic feel (although, Tarantino goes too far in some of his later work.  I will explain that when we watch those films).

The List

Below is the list of movies I will watch.  Shorts, TV movies, television episodes, documentaries, and kiddy movies are not included (Rodriguez directed the Spy Kids movies and Sharkboy and Lava Girl).  What’s left is below:

Rodriguez

  1. El Mariachi
  2. Desperado
  3. Four Rooms-The Misbehaviors
  4. From Dusk til Dawn
  5. The Faculty
  6. Once Upon a Time in Mexico
  7. Sin City
  8. Planet Terror
  9. Machete
  10. Machete Kills
  11. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Tarantino

  1. Reservoir Dogs
  2. Pulp Fiction
  3. Four Rooms-The Man From Hollywood
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Kill Bill vol. 1
  6. Kill Bill vol. 2
  7. Death Proof
  8. Inglorious Bastards
  9. Django Unchained
  10. The Hateful Eight

Four Rooms is on the list twice because of they both directed a segment.  I almost eliminated it from the list, but the segments are so good that I’m keeping them.

Up First

From-dusk-til-dawn

We are starting out with a bang!  The first movie is 1996’s From Dusk til Dawn.  Though Tarantino has a hand in writing the movie (not to mention he’s a co-star), it is directed by Robert Rodriguez.  I cannot wait!

Wrapping it up

Well, I hope you’re ready for Rod-Tino Tuesday!  I’m excited to re-live every moment of these movies.  I hope you will join me on this journey.  It’s going to be a fun ride!

Hello everyone!  Well, MC Tuesday is going on hiatus until the next major MCU movie.  MC Tuesday is fun, but I do not feel the need to talk it into the ground.  I want to explore other interests.  I’m nerdy about so many things, why limit myself?  So after pondering over a few ideas, I decided to discuss two of my favorite writers/directors/producers.  So ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Rod-Tino Tuesdays.

What’s Rod-Tino Tuesday?

Quentin-Tarantino

I’m glad you asked.  Every Tuesday, I will discuss a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  They have written and produced many films that will not be on this list.  The director duty made it easier for me to narrow down a list of movies.  So, each week, I will alternate between the directors, discussing their movies.  I will list the movies later in this post.  Instead of going in chronological order, I will choose a movie using a random number generator.

Grindhouse Homage

Pink-Flamingos

Tarantino and Rodriguez often put a modern spin on movies from the Grindhouse era.  If you do not know, Grindhouse movies are movies that are exploitative in nature.  They were extremely popular in the 1970s and get their name for the grindhouse theatres, converted burlesque establishments where the movies were featured.  These movies are usually considered “offensive”.  They are overly sexualized and violent movies.  Some examples from that era include Night of the Living Dead, I Spit on Your Grave, Blacula, and Pink Flamingos.

Why these two?

Robert-Rodriguez

I often sing the praises of JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon.  But it’s Tarantino and Rodriguez who are responsible for many of my favorite movies.  They have taken the spirit and look of Grindhouse and brought it to a modern audience who may have never seen Coffy or the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  The way they shoot, direct, and edit the movies gives them a gritty, unapologetic feel (although, Tarantino goes too far in some of his later work.  I will explain that when we watch those films).

The List

Below is the list of movies I will watch.  Shorts, TV movies, television episodes, documentaries, and kiddy movies are not included (Rodriguez directed the Spy Kids movies and Sharkboy and Lava Girl).  What’s left is below:

Rodriguez

  1. El Mariachi
  2. Desperado
  3. Four Rooms-The Misbehaviors
  4. From Dusk til Dawn
  5. The Faculty
  6. Once Upon a Time in Mexico
  7. Sin City
  8. Planet Terror
  9. Machete
  10. Machete Kills
  11. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Tarantino

  1. Reservoir Dogs
  2. Pulp Fiction
  3. Four Rooms-The Man From Hollywood
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Kill Bill vol. 1
  6. Kill Bill vol. 2
  7. Death Proof
  8. Inglorious Bastards
  9. Django Unchained
  10. The Hateful Eight

Four Rooms is on the list twice because of they both directed a segment.  I almost eliminated it from the list, but the segments are so good that I’m keeping them.

Up First

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We are starting out with a bang!  The first movie is 1996’s From Dusk til Dawn.  Though Tarantino has a hand in writing the movie (not to mention he’s a co-star), it is directed by Robert Rodriguez.  I cannot wait!

Wrapping it up

Well, I hope you’re ready for Rod-Tino Tuesday!  I’m excited to re-live every moment of these movies.  I hope you will join me on this journey.  It’s going to be a fun ride!

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 2-The Train Job

Hello everyone!  I hope you are finding serenity in your life this Sunday.  Today, we are talking about episode 2 of Firefly, “The Train Job”.  I cannot emphasize enough how much I love this episode.  If you need a refresher on who is who, please read my post on the first episode, where I introduce you to the gang.  I’m writing this assuming you know all of our main characters.  Okay, let’s get into episode 2.

Unification Day

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Mal, Jayne, and Queen Zoe (she’s not an actual queen, just one in my eyes) are sitting in a bar on some planet.  This patrons of the bar are in celebration mode because it is Unification Day, the day when the Alliance defeated the independent forces.  We learned in the first episode that Mal and Zoe fought with the independent forces against the Alliance.  Mal takes exception to one of the bar patrons toasting to the Alliance.  He provokes the man and a bar fight ensues.  Wash flies in to save the day.  The bar fight was Mal’s secondary objective in visiting the bar.  The primary objective is to pick up some work.  He succeeds in getting one heck of a job.

The Train

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Mal receives a task from this dangerous black market dealer called Niska.  He wants the Serenity crew to steal Alliance supplies from a train on the way to the outpost Paradiso.  The plan is simple, Zoe and Mal will ride the train, preparing the cargo for transport onto Serenity.  Jayne will be lowered onto the train from the ship, where he will latch the cargo onto a line that will hoist the box into the cargo hold of Serenity (did I say the plan was simple?).

Problems Galore

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There are a few small problems with the execution of the plan.  Unbeknownst to Mal, the train is crawling with Alliance soldiers.  They manage to steal the cargo, but not without causing a ruckus on the train.  Jayne is able to escape with the cargo, but Mal and Zoe are stuck on the train to Paradiso.  Once they arrive in the town, all the passengers are sequestered, including Mal and Zoe.  The sheriff is trying to determine who stole the cargo.  This is when Mal learns that the box contained medicine the sick and dying of people of Paradiso needed.   Inara manages to use her companion status to free Zoe and Mal.  Mal decides to return the stolen property to Paradiso.  Before he can do this, Niska’s henchmen show to claim the cargo and kill the crew for not making it to the rendezvous.

The Best Scene Ever!

After a bit of a skirmish, the crew comes out on top.  The medicine is given to the sheriff.  Mal tries to return the money to the lead henchman, vowing to stay out of Niska’s way from now on.  The henchman proceeds to make threats, saying he is going to kill the crew.  Mal says “too bad” and kicks the guy into the suction created by the turbines of the Serenity.  The guy gets SUCKED INTO THE TURBINES!!!!  Mal then makes the same offer of staying out of Niska’s way to the next henchman.  Of course, the henchman agrees.  The first time I saw the kick, I laughed, screamed, and applauded at the same time.  What a delightfully surprising and completely gangsta way of ridding the crew of an enemy.

Blue hands

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The episode concludes with Mal and Simon discussing River’s condition, while River mumbles “two by two, hands of blue” in another room.  The next scene shows two guys that look like Mr. Smith from The Matrix talking to a commander about the appearance of the Serenity crew on Paradiso.  They were wearing blue, latex gloves.  This looks like a set-up to episodes that were supposed to happen in later seasons, where the crew would encounter and fight Team Blue Gloves.

Wrapping it up

This episode is like a movie.  There is so much going on and all of it is entertaining.  Episode two made me a fan of the show.  It is a well written and well-executed episode that deserves a watch, even if you do not watch the other episodes (but you should watch all of them).

That’s it for episode 2 of Firefly.  Be sure to join me this Tuesday for our first Rod-Tino Tuesday, where we will be watching From Dusk til Dawn, directed by Robert Rodriguez.  Later today, I will post the particulars of Rod-Tino Tuesday in a separate post.  I will see you next Sunday for episode 3, “Bushwhacked”.  This one’s a little creepy.  I will see you then!

Marvel Cinematic Tuesday: Ant-Man and The Wasp

Marvel-logo

Hi everybody!  Welcome to MC Tuesday, where we watch a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Today’s movie is Ant-Man and The Wasp.  This movie had some obstacles.  The first Ant-Man was not a good movie.  Second, there was not a lot of buzz around this movie.  This ties into the third issue.  Ant-Man and The Wasp follow two epic movies in the MCU, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.  So, this movie was fighting an uphill battle from the beginning.  The movie is directed by Peyton Reed, the same director than the first movie.  Let’s get into it.  Spoilers guys!!!

I have popcorn, that’s all the corn I need.

Marvel-Ant-Man-The-Wasp

Here we go again.  From the beginning of the movie, we deal with a bunch of corny jokes.  This movie relies heavily on Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Luis (Michael Pena) for humor.  But, the movie lacks a good story.  Between the “laughs”, there is a boring story about Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas) trying to rescue Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfieffer) from Shrunken World (that’s not what they call it.  I just can’t remember the science words).

The villains

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Weak, very weak.  I did not expect bad guys of Thanos proportions, but these villains kind of fade into the background.  If memory serves, the villain in the first Ant-Man was also a dud.  Instead of adding two mediocre villains, they should have focused on one strong villain.  First, we have Sonny Burch (Walter Goggins).  He’s a lot like the villain in the first movie.  He’s some sort of black market technology dealer or something.  His involvement in the movie seems pointless.  If anything, it is a distraction.  Next, we have Ava a.k.a. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) with assistance from Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne).  They tried to cram so much junk into this movie, that her character development felt rushed.

It’s not all bad

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Some of the action in this movie is pretty good.  The car chase scene is pretty exciting.  It injects some energy into a drab movie.  Also, The Wasp’s first fight scene was pretty cool.  The movie could have used some more action and less cheeseball humor.

The Stingers

There are two stingers in this movie.  The second stinger is just a cute little moment with an ant.  The first stinger connects the movie to the rest of the MCU.  I think this scene will be important in Captain Marvel as well, but that’s just a theory.

Overall

Marvel-Ant-Man-The-Wasp

This could have been a Netflix original.  I thought Ant-Man and The Wasp was just a box that needed to be checked on my checklist.  But it looks like Marvel Studios shared the same sentiment.  I hope this is the last Ant-Man movie until they are ready to take it seriously.  They need to balance the humor, action, and dramatic parts of the film.  Do not give us corny humor, some action, and dramatic scenes that fall flat.

Wrapping It Up

Well, that’s it for Ant-Man and The Wasp (thank goodness).  This will be the last MC Tuesday until the next major MCU movie.  Next Tuesday will be the start of Rod-Tino Tuesdays.  We will watch a random movie from directors Quintin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.  I will alternate between directors each week.  The first movie will be announced Sunday.  Until then, I will see you on Thursday for my review of Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion.  Serenity Sunday will consist of episode two of Firefly.  I will see you later!

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 1-Serenity

Hi Everybody!  Welcome to Serenity Sundays where we watch an episode of Firefly.  I was originally going to do two episodes per week.  But, after re-watching the first episode, I realized that every episode deserves its own post.  Firefly is a sci-fi /western show that ran on Fox between 2002 and 2003.  Fox canceled the show after one season due to low ratings.  But, how can such a wonderful show get low ratings?  I looked back at the top-rated shows at that time.  Everything was reality competitions shows, procedural dramas, and sitcoms.  The powers that be probably decided to squeeze in another day of American Idol in the week.

Firefly-episode-1-Mal

The problem is that Firefly was ahead of its time.  It may have done better now in the time of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.  Today, the Joss Whedon show is a cult classic with 14 episodes and a movie.  Enough history, let’s get into the first episode.

Welcome Aboard

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The first episode introduces us to the crew and passengers of the Serenity, a Firefly-class cargo ship.  The captain of the ship is Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a former soldier who quit the game after the Rebels lost to the Alliance.  His second in command is the loyal and fierce Zoe (played by queen Gina Torres).  Zoe is married to the ship’s pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk).  I love that Mal and Zoe are platonic and Zoe is married to the nerd.  The ship’s mechanic Kaylee keeps the Serenity flying.  She kind of annoys me because she talks like a baby.  I guess she is supposed to project some sort of innocence.  She could’ve done that without the baby talk.

Firefly-Episode-1-Inara

Jayne (Adam Baldwin) is the brutish, greedy, mean guy that is the muscle of the group.  Of course, he’s my favorite character.  The beautiful Inara (Morena Baccarin) rents one of the shuttles to carry on her duties as a companion (an escort).  Her job is considered prestigious, so she brings some credibility to the Serenity.

Passengers for Pay

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Six years after the war, Mal and his crew are illegal salvagers.  They come upon a wrecked ship that has cargo that belongs to the Alliance.  They salvage the cargo and take it to Persephone to sell.  This is where they run into the rest of our characters.  Shepard Book (Ron Glass) left the abbey to see what the world has to offer.  Mal has no time for the Shepard and his religion.  He makes that abundantly clear.  Dobson’s just a dude…a dude with a secret.  Simon (Sean Maher) is a doctor who is carrying a large crate.  I will return to this crate in a moment.  The passengers board the Firefly, bringing a bunch of trouble.

Deception on the Serenity

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Mal is having the worst week ever.  First, he is almost busted by the Alliance while salvaging the loot.  Then, he learns that Dobson is Alliance and has alerted his buddies as to the Serenity’s location.  Mal learns that Dobson is not after the crew, but after Simon.  It turns out the crate contains Simon’s sister River (Summer Glau) who is in some sort of cryogenic sleep.  Simon escaped with her when he learned that they were doing experiments on her.  On Whitehall, Mal is almost killed by Patience, the woman who is making a deal with Mal for the cargo.  Once he’s out of that pickle, he is alerted that Reavers followed them to Whitehall.  Reavers are savage humans that will rape, kill, and skin the crew if the Serenity is captured.  Thanks to Wash’s piloting, they are able to escape the Reavers.

Complex Characters

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What makes this show interesting is that the characters are not one dimensional.  On the one hand, Mal is a tough guy that has no problems shooting Dobson in the face.  On the other hand, he is generous enough to spare Simon and River and invite them to stay on the ship.  Jayne is a d-bag but was ready to kill Dobson when he accidentally shot Kaylee.  Zoe is tough as nails but is madly in love with nerdy Wash.  I could go on about the characters, but I think you get the point.  It’s the complexity of the characters that peaked my interest.  But, it’s the second episode that made me a fan.

Wrapping it Up

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Well, that’s it for episode one of Firefly.  Next week, I will tell you about the epic scene that made me a fan.  If you like the show, you probably know what I’m talking about.  Until then, be sure to join me for MC Tuesday and Ant-Man and Wasp.

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