Wednesday, December 26, 2018

I'll be in Michigan doing some shows and here's some Christmas movies I watched this year

Hey, it's after Christmas and I'm gonna be doing some shows in Michigan. So here are a list of all the Christmas movies I watched this year in descending order of how awesome they were and a list of places you should see me in Detroit in chronological order. Enjoy.

Christmas movies I watched this year (descending order of how awesome they were)

1. Love Actually
2. The Christmas Chronicles
3. Christmas Inheritance
4. The Princess Switch
5. The Holiday Calendar
6. El Camino Christmas
7. Angels in the Snow
8. Santa Claws (the one with the talking kittens, not the horror movie)
9. How Sarah Got Her Wings
10. Pottersville
11. Holiday Breakup
12. Miss Me This Christmas
13. Believe
14. Christmas Wedding Planner
15. A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale

And the list of places you should see me while in Detroit (chronological order)

1. Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase 12/27 8:00
2. Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase 12/28 8:00
3. Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase 12/28 10:30
4. Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase 12/29 8:00
5. Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase 12/29 10:30
6. B. Nektar in Ferndale 01/02 8:00
7. Tonight Vs. Everybody @ Planet Ant in Hamtramck 01/04 11:00
8. Cellarman’s in Hazel Park 01/05 8:00
9. 313 Comedy @ Detroit Shipping Company in Detroit 01/06 8:00


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

I watched How Sarah Got Her Wings and I got problems with it.

I'm kinda a sucker for Christmas. Maybe it’s because my dad always was a sucker for Christmas, but I like it. I like Christmas music. Even the shitty Christmas music. I like decorating and tinsel and all that fucking horse shit that comes with this time of year. I love it. I never really got into the Christmas movies though until recently and now I can’t get enough. The shittier the Christmas movie the better. 

I like the top tier ones like Love, Actually and The Christmas Chronicles. I like the second tier ones like The Christmas Prince and The Princess Switch. And I even like the third tier ones like whatever garbage Haley Duff and/or Melissa Joan Hart was forced to churn out. Then there’s a little film called How Sarah Got Her Wings. I don’t know if it’s the best bad movie or the worst. But it’s worth a watch because it is straight bonkers. 

The movie starts with our protagonist, Sarah, volunteering at what appears to be a homeless shelter. She goes to fetch a homeless guy’s dog and gets hit by a goddamn bus. She’s not allowed into heaven so she has to go back to earth and help her exboyfriend buy a bar (???) by channeling the dead wife of the guy who currently owns the bar. In the process, she falls back in love with her ex and goes back to heaven. 
This is Sarah's archangel. She spends the entire movie telling people she's horny and workplace harassing her suboordinate. 


At this point, you’d think that the movie would be over. She fell in love. She’s back in heaven. What else could happen? My friend put it best when she said: “Aww, that’s sweet she fell in love so now she get’s to go to heaven…wait there’s still 42 minutes left?” 

She goes back to heaven. Turns out she’s still not heaven worthy. Has to go back to earth and help her ex’s other ex. Don’t know why. She has to help them get back together because he spent too much hanging out with the ghost of his ex and trying to buy a bar. Takes a while. About 42 minutes. And she realizes that she’ll never get into heaven, but decides to take over people’s bodies so she can get her ex and his ex to hook up again. 

The movie ends with her being sent back before she got smooshed by the goddamn bus and she gets rescued by a guy named Hank and they presumably bone. Nothing explicit is shown. But the boning is definitely implied. 

The movie itself is just atrocious. The acting isn’t as bad as you’d assume. But here are my three biggest problems. 

Problem

How much is this guy a discount Chris Pratt? Like, so much so it’s distracting. He looks like the Chris Pratt version of that I want a famous face show. That’s a weird thing to do. The dude is seven years younger than Chris Pratt. So he went into acting knowing who he looked like. His whole career will be made up of people squinting and going “is that…Chris Pratt? It can’t be.” before they check IMDB to make sure. You can’t go into acting looking so much like an already existing celebrity. I can’t imagine that’s ever worked out for the second person to come along. 
This isn't Chris Pratt. I sweat it. 

Problem 2

The dude who owns the bar her ex buys dies right after he sells (or maybe just gives…it’s never made clear) discount Chris Pratt the bar. We know this because Sarah runs into him next time she’s hanging out in Purgatory asking if she’s allowed into heaven yet. He’s there. He tells her that he had a stroke and now he gets to hang out with his wife. They share a bottle of wine and it’s supposed to be sweet. But it’s not. They’re both outside heaven. Neither of them are in there. They’re both in purgatory outside the gates of heaven sharing that bottle of wine. How is that sweet? She only says that she has the one bottle anyhow. So they better nurse it. Because it literally has to last them for eternity. 
Yo, what the fuck?


Problem 3

Sarah never gets smooshed by the bus. So everything is negated. I’ve seen enough time travel episodes of Star Trek to know all about shit being undone like this. So she’s not there to help him get his bar. His one dream never comes true. He says that he couldn’t afford it. He only gets it because Sarah and the bar owner’s dead wife intervene. That means that not Chris Pratt meets with him, doesn't have enough money, and then the bar owner quietly has a stroke a week later and the bar is sold to some shitty developer and turned into condos. 

Plus, Sarah never intervened with his relationship either. They were having problems. It looked like they were on the road to splitsville before Sarah stepped in. They still are. They're done for. Sarah never helps so now they’ll still break up and stay broken up. Plus, now that Sarah has a Hank to bone she’ll definitely be spending less time volunteering at the homeless shelter. The only person who gets a happy ending is Sarah. Not only does she learn a lot about herself, but she gets a free pass into heaven. Her archangel tells her she can use it whenever. She gets to do whatever she wants now and will just be able to waltz right into heaven. 
Hank


I guess Hank gets a happy ending too. He gets to bone Sarah now. 


All that being said I give this movie a 4.5/5. I definitely recommend. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Social Contract Violations


We live in a society. Some people forget that. There are rules so obvious that nobody thought they needed to be written down. I guess we do. Because these are some unwritten social contract violations and how they should be punished:

1. Standing in the middle of the subway door and not getting the fuck out of the way when it stops. - pushed out by someone leaving. Forced to wait for the next one. 2. Fine members of the NYPD who park on sidewalks, crosswalks, middle of intersections, or like fucking assholes in general. - should be completely legal to slash their tires. More than three instances of asshole parking will mean smashed windows too. 3. Saving a seat at a crowded bagel place while your boyfriend takes 20 minutes to order leaving people with bagels have no place to sit while you just sit there looking at your phone. - Death. Sorry. I know it's harsh, but society doesn't need you anyway. 4. Listening to your phone without headphones on the train. - You have to watch while your phone is crushed with a vice grip. (You are then given a pair of those shitty Gumy headphones for your next phone)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2018 End of Year Media Power Rankings

Well, It’s December. Another year has just about gone. Nuts right? We're all just marching towards death. Towards the end of every year, you're gonna come across a lot of year-end lists. The music and books and whatnot that were the best of the year. Well, I’m not immune to that either. I took in some media this year and I have opinions. I don’t often take in a lot of new stuff. A lot of these came out a number of years ago, but it’s still what I listened to or watched or read and enjoyed the most throughout 2018. So without further ado, here's my sixth annual End of Year Media Power Rankings. 

(note: the font is smaller for the TV section. I don't know how to fix it. Oh well.)

Music.  

5. Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman
Image result for tea for the tillerman
Cat Stevens is a dude, I’ve, of course, heard before. He’s been around a while. He's got some hits. Don’t know why I’m just getting into him now. Especially since he’s one of my dad’s favorites and this album was probably played a thousand times growing up. Now it's one of my favorites. The torch has been passed. 

Standout track: Father and Son. Which is more devastating than Cats in the Cradle if you had a good relationship with your dad growing up. 

4. Royce da 5'9" - Book of Ryan
Book of Ryan.jpeg

I know it's sacrilegious for a dude from Detroit, but I don't really care for Eminem. There's a couple of his songs I think are fine, but he was never really for me. Unless he's featuring on someone else's stuff for some reason. Jay-Z's Renegade and Caterpillar from this album are two of my absolute favorite songs. I'm putting this one on here even though it's the only song I've listened to from it. The rest of the album might be great. There's no way to tell. But I've listened to this song enough times for it to qualify. 

Standout track: Caterpillar

3. The Kinks - Greatest Hits
Image result for the kinks greatest hits

The Kinks are one of those bands that just scream cool. I put a few of their songs on a running playlist and wanted to dive into some other songs. Honestly, I hate going through an artist's whole catalog. Even the very best of the best bands put out a lot of horse shit that I don't really want to wade through it all to find the gems. That's why I like greatest hits albums. Deep cuts usually aren't worth the work. Give me them hits, baby!

Standout song: Victoria. Plus I love how it was used in an episode of How I Met Your Mother

2. Adele - 25
Image result for adele 25

I'm sure you've heard a lot of the tracks on this, but have you really listened to them? This wasn't my favorite Adele album initially, but I think I might prefer this one to 21 now. Adele gets shit on for writing about heartbreak too much but fuck you, she's really good at it. Why shouldn't she? If you don't like it then just mind your own business and let me get misty while I listen to this late at night on the train. 

Standout track: All I Ask. It's devastating and great. And if you don't love it you're dead inside. 

1. Ezra Furman - Tranangelic Exodus
Image result for ezra furman transangelic exodus

Ezra Furman was someone I just recently became familiar with. Again, I don’t usually get into a lot of current music. One of their songs came up in a Spotify Discover playlist and I went apeshit for it. I think the first song was We Should Fight which is a great song. I clicked on his page and am now an Ezra Furman superfan. Ezra's just the best. Not only is this one of my favorite albums of the year it’s just one of my favorites. It’s fun and earnest and funny and serious and sentimental. There's are also songs that you can and should also rock out to it. If you’re not listening to Ezra, then you’re a goddamn fool. Also, I’ve seen them twice and the live shows are bananas. Do yourself a favor and become an Ezra superfan too. You'll thank me after you do. 

Standout track: I Love You So Bad. It's one of those songs where when it pops up I just end up listening to it on repeat for a while. 

Books.

5. Colson Whitehead's Sag Harbor or Zone One. It's a Tie. 
Image result for colson whitehead zone one

I read a few of Colson Whitehead's this year. Last year I read The Underground Railroad and it blew me away. I couldn’t put it down even when I really really wanted to. It's compelling and brutal. I’m a fan of Zombie stuff so I read Zone One. I wasn’t really feeling it at first. I liked it, but it wasn’t grabbing me the same way I thought it might. It was very good and I liked it enough where I was looking forward to reading more Whitehead after but it just wasn't grabbing me. Then I got closer to the end and at some point, something clicked and I loved it. I also thoroughly enjoyed Sag Harbor, which I read and also loved. But in a different way. I enjoyed the whole process of reading Sag Harbor more, but the end of Zone One just punched me in the gut. So it's a tie for this prestigious honor. Also, The Intuitionist is good too. Will probably read a couple more of his next year. 

4. Devil All The Time - Donald Ray Pollack
Image result for devil all the time

My buddy, Nick told me to read this book. When I first started it, I liked it but thought it was a little too Cormac McCarthy-ey for my taste. But then I remembered that I really like Cormac McCarthy. So I kept on going. It can be fucking brutal at times and a lot of just awful things happen to just about everyone. But it’s also very good and keeps you reading. Just budget some time for being kinda bummed about humanity for a bit after. You'll need it. 

3. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark - Michelle McNamara
Image result for i'll be gone in the dark

I’m not usually a true crime guy but this book was pretty hard to ignore. The fact that McNamara died shortly before publication coupled with the fact that the subject of the book, the Golden State Killer, was caught shortly after made the book pretty unignorable. It was talked about a lot and I was intrigued. I liked it. I still don't think I'm a true crime guy because I liked the parts about how she got into true crime more than the actual true crime details themselves. But it's a compelling read. Also, I read it on a quiet tree-lined street in the suburbs and was scared shitless more times than I can count. I particularly enjoyed how she both doesn’t flinch away from or dwell on the graphic details. I'm not a huge gore fan. I got queasy reading Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. 

2. The Barracks Thief - Tobias Wolff
Image result for the barracks thief

I had read all of Tobias Wolff’s books a long time ago. I love them. He’s probably my favorite author of all time. I try to reread one every year. I’ve read most of them a couple times. I can’t remember if this was my second or third time through The Barracks Thief. Which is a short novel (or novella if your an asshole). It’s still good. I don’t know if I’d recommend it if it’s going to be your first one by him. I’d probably go with The Night In Question, which is a short story collection that has several of my absolute favorites. But this is still good and captures his style well. I’m not smart when it comes to books (or anything really), but I’ve always loved how he’s able to give such nuance to his protagonists. I like to describe them as being people who are just realizing that maybe they’re not always the hero of their own story. This is an interesting one because the story of a theft at an army barracks plays out and then the perspective switches and you get to see the story unfold through the antagonist's eyes. Read this. Read anything by Wolff. 

1. Susan Jane Gilman - Undress Me In The Temple of Heaven
Image result for undress me in the temple of heaven

This is the second book by Susan Gilman I’ve read. I liked the first. It was a book of essays called Hypocrite in the Poofy White Dress and I'd recommend that too. This is different. It's not a book of essays. It’s a travel memoir about going to China with her college friend shortly after westerners started being allowed in and it blew me away. Just as soon as I started reading it I was pulled in and couldn't put it down. It's funny and at times you cringe at Susan and her travel companion as their trip starts to turn to shit. It goes to places you don't expect and it's utterly engrossing. I can't recommend it enough. I also can't wait to read her novel, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street. I will probably read that soon. I hope I enjoy it half as much as I enjoyed this one. 

Dishonorable Mention

The Coffee Trader - David Liss. 


I didn’t really hate this book like I did like last year’s dishonorable mention, The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay, but I don’t really think I liked it either. It seems engaging and there are some amazing quotes in the first couple of chapters. And that keeps you going. But by the end, I didn’t really like the protagonist and felt shitty having spent all that time with him. 

Movies (films if you're a nerd).

5. Hardcore Henry
Image result for hardcore henry

Listen, I know this isn’t a good movie. But goddamnit it's a great movie. It's built around a first-person perspective gimmick and it’s silly and it wears a tad thin. But also, it's super fun and insanely graphically violent. You follow the exploits of a guy named Henry. Or not it doesn’t really matter what his name is because there's just a bunch of mayhem and he never says a word. There’s an extended fight sequence over the Queen song Don't Stop Me Now and it’s great and I laughed out loud multiple times and couldn’t have enjoyed it more. It’s the best kind of trash. The bonkers kind that's awesome. It's very worth your time. 

4. Black Panther
Image result for black panther

This was easily one of my favorite Marvel movies. I haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War. I’ve heard good things. I look forward to checking it out when it comes to Netflix on Christmas. Maybe I'll watch it on Christmas morn. I wanted to put Thor: Ragnarok on here too. I liked them both. I think I liked this one a little more. But I'm mostly putting Black Panther on here and not Thor because of all the hype around this. Everyone on earth told me how great this movie was and I didn't think there was any way it would come close to living up. It did. I'm a little sick of two people with similar powers CGI duking it out for twenty minutes at the end, but whatever. That's the nature of the beast. 

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The world
Image result for scott pilgrim

This was one that new to me. I know that it came out a long time ago. I wanted to see it then. I never got around to it. There was a shit load of Michael Cera movies out there. I just got around to seeing this and another golden age of Cera movies. I liked this one a lot. It's so visually cool fun to watch.

2. Swordfish. 
Image result for swordfish movie

Fuck you. It’s great. 

1. Children of Men. 
Image result for children of men

Hey. This movie is something. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t know what to tell you. Get on it. It's the Ezra Furman of movies. I think this is the only movie I’ve ever seen by Alfonso CuarĂ³n. I guess he did Gravity too. Which I haven’t seen, but I’ve heard good things about. It may or may not have won an Oscar. I don’t know. I don’t pay attention to that stuff really and don't feel like opening a new tab to look it up. The only awards I pay attention to are these, The End of Year Power Rankings. He also did a Harry Potter movie. I haven't seen any of those, but now I kinda want to watch that one. Do I need to see all the ones before I do the third? Anyhow, I saw Children of Men when it first came to my local Blockbuster a while back. And it blew me away. I’m not a film nerd. I like movies and all, but I usually don't pick up on the film nerd stuff. But there's a crazy scene where everything is going to shit all around and it's all captured in a single take and it's just fucking bananas that it was able to be pulled off. The movie is about a near future where the whole world has gone infertile. No babies the past 20 years and the world isn't taking it well. 

Dishonorable Mentions

Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. 

I really wanted to see this when it came out. So naturally, I waited this long to get around to it. Some people think that Michael Cera’s schtick runs a little thin, but I've always liked him. Not to mention that I find Kat Dennings quite easy on the eyes. I live in New York. I like seeing New York in movies. It’s fun to see places you recognize in movies. All that being said, I did not care for this movie whatsoever. It's boring and dumb and I didn't like it. Fuck you, movie. But Kat Dennings is still quite fetching.  


TV. 


5. Big Mouth.
Big Mouth (2017)

This show is just great. In terms of best first two seasons of a show, I put this up there with Arrested Development and The Good Place. It’s ridiculously honest. I've never seen a portrayal of what it feels like to be going through puberty as this. Also, I still feel like this most of the time. So I think I'm still going through puberty.  

4. American Horror Story. 
Image result for american horror story season one

I don’t know what I was expecting from this show. Maybe it was all the ads that featured the due in the gimp suit, but I was expecting an overly silly, borderline ridiculous show. It's not. I mean, it certainly can be silly sometimes. But really it's pretty spooky and fun. The world building in what I've seen is just amazing. You just get pulled in and become immersed in whatever the setting is. Also, I don't watch a lot of network TV. But did you know that you can just show people having sex on basic cable? I'm no Tipper Gore, but yikes. Still a great show. Especially if you like butts. There's a lot of butts. 

3. The Good Place. 
Image result for the good place

I already mentioned that The Good Place ranks as one of the best seasons one and two of all time. Season one was on my power rankings last year. I absolutely adored it. It had such a great and amazing ending that I honestly didn’t think there’d be any way that season 2 could do it justice. Well, it did. It might even be better than season 1. I can't wait for season 3 to come to Netflix. 

2. Bojack Horseman. 
Image result for bojack horseman

I don’t ever expect to laugh and tear up in equal measure, but with this show, it’s hard not to. It's weird that the most brutally honest show is one about a cartoon horse. But it is. I've been watching since the beginning and I liked the first couple seasons. But something about the last few seasons is just insane. I'm really invested in this horse and I can't wait to laugh and cry with him more next year. 


1. Better Call Saul.
Image result for better call saul

Another repeat from last year. It’s very good. I haven’t tried rewatching any of these, but I think that this will hold up more than Breaking Bad in terms of repeated viewings. Breaking Bad was an amazing show that I really got into. I loved watching and got really wrapped up in it. I tried rewatching it and when you know what becomes of Walt you start to realize that he’s actually a huge SOB. I don’t want him to win. I want him to stop breaking so much bad and start breaking good. Jimmy is different. Even though he's also in the process of breaking bad, his journey seems so much sadder and heartbreaking. He makes a lot of bad decisions, but you can see why every time. 

Honorable Mention

How I Met Your Mother. 

My dad says this show doesn't hold up. He's a fool. It's great. 

Alright, that's all the stuff. Now you know the exact ways that I wasted time and avoided doing real shit this year. I hope you enjoyed reading about it anywhere near as much as I enjoyed taking them all in. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

What the fuck is wrong with 20% of this country, bombs, & Good Trek/Bad Trek #72 The Paradise Syndrome

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that the news has been particularly fucked the past couple of weeks. I was listening to the NPR Politics Podcast. They were talking about a recent NPR survey that found that 80% of Americans think that violent rhetoric and incivility could lead to politically motivated violence. The same survey says that the other 20% need to get their fucking heads out of their fucking asses and watch the news every once in a while. 80% Think it “could” lead to violence. Yeah, we’re kind of there. We’ve been there.

Listen, I’m not saying that folks don’t sometimes deserve to be bombed. I’m sure they're out there. The thing with the bombs is that they never get to the person you think they’re going to. What kind of fucking idiot thinks that George Soros isn’t the kind of idiot who’d have someone go through his mail for him? Of course he does. He’s not just sitting there at the mailbox mumbling about how many 20% off Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons he gets or doesn’t get. He has a person. Or maybe a whole team of people sit there and go through that stuff. They remove all the shit that’s a waste of time and gives him all the stuff that has to do with being a billionaire.

Same with the politicians who got bombed. They’re not going through every single package that comes their way. They have people. Underpaid people whose job it is to sit there and sift through all the horse shit letters and whatnot they get. That’s my problem with this. Not that politicians and oligarchs might get bombed. They won't. The postal workers and low-level employees for rich people are getting bombed. We're angry at the folks in charge and so we send bombs to other people like us.


And also, that politicians are having bombs sent their way and normal synagogue goers are getting gunned down. Jesus fucking Christ, this is all so fucked. What is the wrong with the 20% who don’t think that there’s violence on the horizon? Anywoo, the whole country is fucked, a good portion of this country is dumb as rocks and don’t consider bombs and synagogue shootings violence for some reason, and also I watched an episode of Trek. Which feels dumb at this point, but that’s what I did. It was The Paradise Syndrome. Here goes.

Recap

The gang finds itself at yet another Earthlike planet. They’re just kicking around for a little bit to investigate a planet before they try to divert an asteroid and have it not destroy the planet. But oh no, Kirk falls and gets amnesia and becomes an American Indian (?!?!) medicine man and gets married while the crew is diverting the asteroid.

Good Trek?

It wasn’t awful. I don’t think I’d call it a good Trek. It’s certainly a lot better than I thought it would be. Usually, when any kind of ridiculous looking Native Americans shows up, you’ll think that you’re going to be in for a rough ride. But it was really just kind of boring. Don't get me wrong, the portrayal of the Native Americans is pretty fucked. A whole lot of noble savage stuff. But really, it's mostly just boring.

Sometimes there's a fine line between CPR and just going to town on an unconscious child

They talk about how astronomical the odds are of running into a planet that is so remarkably similar to Earth. There are even American Indians running around. This is always the case though. Damn near every mission involves them running into an Earth-like planet. They’ve even run into actual Nazis from time to time. They've been to the ancient Rome planet. Like every planet they've been to is exactly like Earth. Why aren't they always this surprised?
Boratner

Boy, these scenes of Kirk acting his way through his amnesia are fucking brutal. You get a classic Scotty "giving it all she’s got." Which is nice. That’s such a thing that TOS is known for, but I can’t really remember him doing it all that much until now. Maybe he has and I’ve missed a few. But at the same time, I don’t think he has all that much. Maybe he really kicks it in high gear throughout the rest of the season.

Oh dear

Trek, despite its reputation for progressiveness, has always been a little weird with its portrayal of Native Americans. TNG had at least an episode where they go to a native American planet. Voyager famously had a Native character. It was awful. Nothing against poor Robert Beltran but his Chakotay was something else. He did the best with what he was given, but what he was given was absolute horse shit. I read that Voyager hired a consultant to help them with their portrayal of Chakotay. And in one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard, the Native consultant was full of shit. He was just some dude who made up a bunch of Indianey sounding stuff.
Still not as bad as any Chakotay spirit guide episode

Maybe it’s the benefit of having HD at my disposal, but Kirk’s stunt double gets so much work done. Some episodes he should really get higher billing than Shatner.

I legit LOL'd at this

It seems with the death of Kirk’s wife at the end that they were going for a cheap way to recapture some of that sweet sweet City at the Edge of Forever magic. It's cheap and I don't buy it. I actively wanted to boo my computer.
BOOOOOOOOOO


Better Trek?

If you want to watch a great episode where a character gets amnesia and has to try to figure out who they are, then I’d say go with the one where Data gets amnesia. Or whatever you call it when an android loses its memory. Data loss? Is that too on the nose? Anyhow. It’s a good one. It’s called Thine Own Self. Data has a bunch of radioactive material and loses his memory. He accidentally exposes a bunch of people to the radioactive material while he’s trying to figure shit out. It’s not the best amnesia episode, but I like it. Data was my favorite character growing up. And this is a good Data-centric episode.

Of course, the ultimate episode where a character wakes up on a strange planet and ends up with a wife he wasn’t expecting is The Inner Light. One of the best TNGs of all time. Also one of the best Treks of all time. It’s a great episode that has an ending that’s emotionally devastating in the best possible way. I know Trek is just a series of shows. Some of them can be very silly. It’s weird to watch a horseshit episode like this one and then watch The Inner Light shortly thereafter and realize just how good this show can be. So don’t watch Paradise Syndrome. Or maybe, if you want to. It’s ultimately fine, but forgettable.

Friday, October 19, 2018

See you in hell, Sears & Good Trek/Bad Trek #71 The Enterprise Incident

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

Boy, Sears, right? If you didn't know that company Sears is in trouble. I’m sorry you had to hear it from me, but it’s true. The company you’ve long gone to for your store brand tools and Dockers might go the way of the dodo bird. This is all very sad. People are going to lose their jobs and I’m, of course not happy about that. All of these big box stores are in trouble. Some are getting better at adapting than others. I remember a while back Sears and K-Mart merged which seemed like an odd idea at the time. I don’t get why companies like that do that when they’re in trouble. It almost seems like. They were two companies who were having a bear of a time adapting to the new economy and they thought they attach their stars to each other's wagon. That’d be like if the wonder twins joined forces and remained powerless pre-teens. They’re not gonna go too far in the crime-fighting world that way. 

I’m not an economist. I think I’ve made that clear. What I don’t get is the. I worked at a big box legacy retailer for a number of years. I worked at a Best Buy. It always confused me to the point where Best Buy just existing became a thing that people who worked there cared about. I don’t know if everyone who worked there thought that they’d be integral in the Best Buy rebuilding or what. Some people gladly saw themselves as pawns who’d have to be sacrificed for the greater good. The greater good being...keeping Best Buy afloat, I guess. That blew my mind. 

Companies go on for a while because there's a reason for them to exist. They're filling a need and people want them to exist. Then at a certain point, their whole reason for existing is to just keep on existing. On a certain level, I guess it kinda makes sense. All these companies. People shit on people all the time for engaging in the sunk cost fallacy. Which you could say I’ve been guilty of for the past forever. As a comedian, your whole journey is a constant struggle against the sunk cost fallacy. 

So maybe Sears needs to act like a comedian who's starting to realize that shits just never gonna break their way. Maybe Sears needs to move back in with its parents for a while and figure shit out. Maybe start a podcast. Learn how to sell cars. Not work retail though. 

Know what will never have to figure shit after realizing everything they've done their entire adult life is a mistake? This episode of Trek. Because it was really really good. 

Recap

I'm just doing one sentence recaps because these posts have gotten out of hand. In this one, the gang goes on a secret mission to steal a Romulan cloaking device. There are crosses and double crosses. It's pretty sick.

Good Trek?

Umm, hell yeah. I’ve heard that season three was going to be a rough ride. The first episode was pretty brutal. But this is one of the best episodes that I’ve seen so far. This is a good episode. I don’t know if it’s my favorite. It’s good. So far, even though the Klingons are the most iconic TOS villains, but man oh man, the limited times that we’ve had contact with the Romulans they’re knocking shit out of the park. This episode is great, of course, Balance of Terror is still my favorite episode. But this is right up there. I’m trying to think of any episodes aside from the Trouble With Tribbles where the Klingons really are great. And they’re good in Trouble with Tribbles, but they don’t steal the show the way the Romulans do in every episode they’re in. Maybe it’s because they use them a little more sparingly. Whereas the Klingons were such a huge deal the Romulans have really only popped up a few times. Also, the Klingons are just so silly so far. It’s really hard to take them as a credible threat so far. Where the Romulans are just so goddamn sneaky. They're great.
Spock's getting ready to slip her the old "Vulcan shocker"

I'm sure I could just go ahead and look this up, but how long ago were Romulans and Vulcans the same race? Because I think it’s been too long for everyone on both planets to all have the exact same hairstyle. I don’t know how many eons it takes for one to move on and maybe mix shit up a bit, but they are both well beyond that point. I’m no evolutionary biologist, but I have to think that even after a handful of generations, not just apart on the same planet, but on two wholly different planets, they might start to look a tad different. It's not like the Vulcans and Romulans decided to just put a little line down the middle of a country and each go their separate sides, like some kind of classic sitcom (and I do mean classic). You’d think that one of them would at least have a couple gingers running around. But nope.  Both races. Nothing but dark bowl cut.

I find Scotty's face deeply unsettling here
Okay, here’s my one qualm with this episode. The sneak onto the Romulan ship to steal the cloaking device and prevent further acts of war. How is this not a HUGE deliberate act of war? You know how the most recognizable ship in the entirety of Starfleet went into Roman space and went aboard under false pretenses and then took secret military technology and then kidnapped the commander of that ship and then hightailed it back to Federation space. Come on. This should make the whole Roman Star Empire sit up and take notice. This should cause war. This was an insane plan on behalf of Starfleet. But seriously great episode. 

Better Trek?

This is a solid one. So, watch this. If you want another episode where a beautiful Romulan gives the crew of a ship called the Enterprise the business then you'd have to go with Redemption. In that one, Denise Crosby comes back playing her own daughter. But she's also a Romulan. 
If your secret plan is based on people believing the acting of this man, then it's a bad plan

There’s also a great, albeit kinda dark episode of DS9 titled "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" where Ben Sicko and Dr. Julain Bashir are trying to stop Section 31 from doing all kinds of underhanded shit. It’s all very exciting. It’s one of the two darkest episodes of DS9 and that puts it easily in the running for the darkest Trek that’s ever trekked. Because there are some pretty nuts implications in that one. That Starfleet just has spies in other people’s governments is pretty odd for a Star Trek. That they're completely cool with assassinating foreign dignitaries is another.

Gene Roddenberry famously hated the idea of Deep Space Nine. He thought it was too dark and didn’t care for the idea that folks on the ship might not get along. That’s because even though the whole Star Trek thing was his idea he really was the worst person for it. TNG didn’t really hit it’s stride until he was too old and infirm to do anything with it. So all the Trek folks owe him a debt of gratitude but really, Roddenberry kinda sucks when it comes to knowing what makes Trek awesome. 


Saturday, September 22, 2018

I'm in Michigan and Good Trek/Bad Trek #70 Spock's Brain

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.


I was in Michigan when I started this. Then I forgot to finish it. Now I’m back in New York. The internet is crazy, right? Today is Saturday. Come to Featherweight in Brooklyn Sunday at 8 and/or Coco 66 in Brooklyn Monday at 8:30 hear some sick jokes. But before that check out this sweet sweet blog. 

I'm in Michigan right now. (editor’s note: Again, not anymore) Which is fun for the most part. I've been kicking around here for a while. Like they say when you're ordering food. You have to make sure that you're eyes aren't bigger than your stomach. You have to do that as well with trips to Michigan. That's a lot of time to spend in a place where you no longer actually live. 

I'm not staying in my old bedroom because there's not a bed in there anymore. But I've stopped by. And boy, the memories. If those walls could talk they'd probably say "hey, look. The guy who used to masturbate all the time is back!"

I woke up in a dog bed one morning I was here. I've been sleeping in my older sister's old room. Because in my old room there's nothing but some junk, an old dog bed, and the remnants of an old pillow. I've never really been a sleepwalker. But I sleepwalked (slept walk?) from my sister's old room and the very human bed I was sleeping in, to my old room. Where I curled up. Like a dog. Into the dog bed. 

So I'm treating this less like a trip home and more like a dry run for when I inevitably have my nervous breakdown. Which, is not the same as the movies would have you believe. It's almost become a romantic comedy trope where a guy in his thirties goes back to his hometown because he's poor and sad and then immediately gets to fuck Kirsten Dunst. The reality is a lot sadder. Also, there's a lot less of The Shins. Nothing against them. Just not my faves. 

Recap:

Here it is Spock’s Brain. This is supposed to be one of, if not the worst episode ever. The Enterprise is being intercepted by a strange ship. Being intercepted by a strange ship most foul. Everyone is pretty impressed by it. Because it's powered by ions. I don't know why we're supposed to be impressed by it. It's like the science fiction within science fiction I guess. That's what they watch shows about. They tool around the galaxy on a anti-matter powered warp drive, which sounds pretty nuts, but they're all drooling over the prospect of a ship that runs on ions. I'm not saying it's not cool, but still.
These nerds might know a lot about spaceships, but they don't know shit about gloryhole operation

A female beams aboard the Enterprise and knocks the entire crew out. When they wake up, everyone is fine. Everyone except Spock. Who now does not have a brain. So there’s that. They only have a certain amount of time before his body won’t work. Turns out he’s being used to power a planet or something dumb like that. McCoy uses some crazy contraption and uses the knowledge to put it back in. The women of the planet are pretty bummed they won’t have a brain to rule their planet. Kirk tells them that they’re going to have to make nice with the savage race of men who live on the surface. It’s all really weird. 

Good Trek?

This is supposed to be one of the worst episodes ever. And I'm almost bummed that it wasn't. It was really just okay. The whole episode was just there. I don’t even know what to criticize about it. I'm not saying there's nothing to criticize about it. I wasn't even invested enough to really criticize it. It's bad Trek. But not even fun bad Trek. It's worse than that. It's boring Trek. The worst kind of Trek. 


Scotty's hair looks really weird

Not only is Spock's Brain the name of a notoriously bad episode of Trek. This one. But I guess Spock’s Brain is also the name of a song by the band Phish. So in addition to watching this stinker, I also listened to the Phish song. 

Good Phish?

It’s okay. Not really for me. If you’re a Phish fan then I’m sure you like it. I’m not and I don’t really. I didn’t find it offensive anything. Just kind of there. It was also just kinda there. For six minutes I listened to the song and I felt nothing. So, that's probably why they named the song after this episode. 


"My name's Buck, and I like to fuck!"

So good Phish or bad Phish? I’m not really phamiliar with Phish. I had one of their albums that I listened to a couple of times. It wasn’t really for me. I also had one of their patches which I wore before I'd bought an album. Because I was a poser. I say don’t listen to the song Spock’s Brain instead listen to St. Stephen of The Grateful Dead’s Live Dead. It’s a sick album and that might be my version of my favorite Dead song. 


And watch The Magnificent Ferengi instead of this garbage. Some people have issues with Ferengi led episodes, but I’m not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some stinkers out there. Profit and Lace is very very bad Trek. But The Magnificent Ferengi is great. Funny and engaging and you get to see characters that aren’t often depicted as the most heroic be the heroes for an episode. Plus, you get one of the greatest Trek cameos of all time, one Mr. Iggy Pop plays a Vorta. 

So, that's it for this week. Hopefully the rest of season three is better or worse than this one.