Saturday, December 2, 2017

Shitty Christmas Movies, My Favorite Movie Cliche and Good Trek/Bad Trek #48 Journey To Babel

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.

Since it’s December I’d say that we’re firmly in the holiday season. The holiday in question, of course, being Christmas. I’m not one of those who wants to put the Christ back in Christmas folks, but come on. There’s more than one holiday that occurs this season, but we all know who the star of the show is. One thing I like to do during the holiday season is to watch shitty Christmas movies. The cheesier the better. I like them enough where I’d probably watch them all year long, but they’re a hell of a lot easier to find this time of year. Even though they make enough to watch them all year round. There are a lot. They make about fifty new ones a year. Most of them are pretty goddamn awful. I don’t know if I can speak for Jesus, but he’s probably up there watching them and wondering instead of a million of these movies every year why they don’t just focus on making one or two good ones. That way maybe they could save up and hire some actors who aren’t Hailey Duff or Dean Caine. Maybe have someone go through and punch up the script. Make them more watchable. I hope they don’t because I think that they’re perfect as is.

There are two basic kinds of these shit Christmas movies. There are religious and the secular. The religious ones are fun because you get to see what the writer of a Christian movie thinks atheists talk like. And I have to say that they are way off base. In the universe of Christian movies, nobody talks about God more than an atheist. There are religious scholars who bring up god less than an atheist in a Christian movie. There are Popes who broadcast their faith less than these people do in these shit movies. They spend the whole time waiting for someone to bring up the season so they can scoff and tell you how they don’t need Jesus. I know a lot of people. Most people I know don’t have any kind of religion and I can count on zero hands the amount of time we spend sitting around talking about all the personal grudges we have against a god none of us even believe in. Things atheists in Christian movies never talk about are sports, movies, TV, Star Trek, or their family. Nope. None of that shit ever matters. All they want to talk about is God. Which is weird. One of the great things about being a non-believer is that it frees up a lot of my time. Since I don’t believe I get to spend a whole bunch of time not thinking about God. Time that ironically I spend watching religious-themed Christmas movies.

The secular movies also exist in their own special world. They are almost always about a woman. And there’s an 85% chance that that woman is Hailey Duff. She is usually a career-minded business woman who doesn’t have time for romance. Sometimes through magic sometimes through circumstance sometimes through a Christmas miracle she ends up in her hometown with her former boyfriend and gets to learn the true meaning of Christmas/love/balancing work and love.

My favorite one was one I saw last year. Not only did it have the cliche of a businesswoman who by some kind of Christmas magic had to help her hometown and old flame, but it had my absolute favorite movie cliche of all time. This is something I’ve seen in a handful of movies. Where a rich industrialist is paying a bulldozer operator to destroy something. There are a bunch of normal townsfolk who are standing in the way of progress and by extension the bulldozer in protest. The rich guy tells the bulldozer guy to just go and if he hits the folks, so be it. And the bulldozer…just goes. At the last second something happens which means the bulldozer has to stop before he actually kills all those people, but still. He didn’t know that was going to happen. He still just went. That’s fucked up.

Jesus H. Christ. How much do small town bulldozer operators make? Enough to make up for how you’ll feel after you just murder a bunch of people? I don’t know if rich guys have a bulldozer operator on the payroll or not so there’s a good chance that bulldozer operator is a resident of this same small town. These are his friends and neighbors. He knows these people. His kids go to the same school as these folks’ kids and he’s going to just bulldoze them? I know it’s important to show up and try to do your job well, but there’s a line. And the line is definitely before you end up cleaning human blood off the treads or your bulldozer. How is this guy supposed to do anything in town after that? I hope that the old rich industrialist is paying him enough to move away from this very small town and start over because shit is going to be awkward after this. Tough making small talk with your neighbors at the deli when they’ve just watched you hosing their loved one’s blood off your bulldozer. Is this a prerequisite to operate a bulldozer? Is it the same for all other forms of heavy machinery? Where you have to look at a human shield the same way you’d look at a small sapling. Do these people take some weird loyalty oath to rich industrialists? Are all construction workers just a private mercenary army there to serve the interests of rich people. This just makes me want to ask so many more questions about heavy machinery operators and their motivations. Also, I have trouble believing that any small town folks would be willing to give up their lives to stop a Walmart. I’ve met small town folks. They really like Walmarts.

I’ll tell you one thing that you wouldn’t have to run me over to force me to do and that’s watch this episode of TOS again. It was Journey to Babel and it was pretty solid. Here it is.

Recap:

The Enterprise is transporting a slew of ugly mother fuckers to a peace conference. Seems like everyone should have drove separately because these folks seem to be a little cantankerous. Maybe they should wait until they’re in the hands of the expert peace negotiators before they’re all crammed in a ship’s mess hall together. They’re going to peace talks. Let them talk peace when they get there. Seems like there’s just so much shit that can go wrong. There’s a lot that can go wrong because a lot does go wrong.  

The Vulcan delegate is ambassador Sarek. He’s being kind of an ass to Spock. Turns out they have a history. A lot. He’s Spock’s dad. So that’s the history they have. We also get to meet Spock’s mom. She’s a human by the name of Amanda. She’s nice. Seems nicer than Sarek. Maybe that’s because Sarek is sick though.

The call is coming from inside the ship!

Just when we think that this is just going to be a little family drama there’s a murder of one of the other delegates. A murder of one of one of the other delegates most foul. The pig-faced alien done and gets his neck snapped. The evidence points to Sarek, but if you’re too familiar with other forms of Trek you know that Sarek pops up periodically not in a Federation prison. So we know that he didn’t do it.

It’s one of the Andorians who's a fake Andorian. We know it’s a fake because one of the antennae snap in half while they’re interrogating it for knifing Captain Kirk. The fake Andorian has also been communicating with another ship to help it track and destroy the Enterprise to sabotage the peace talks.

Women: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Who sent these folks? We don’t ever get to find out because the ship explodes and the fake Andorian kills himself after they’re plan fails but before we ever get to find out.

Good Trek?

Yeah, I’d say it was a pretty solid Trek. It’s still hard to go from Discovery back to this one. The pig-faced aliens look so damn dumb that it’s impossible to care what happens to them. But all in all, it’s a solid episode. I loved the strained relationship between Sarek and Spock. Something that’s been given a little more depth in Discovery. The battle with the ship at the end has a similar feel to Balance of Terror. I’m still not sold on Kirk as a captain, but I do think he sells these intimate space battles pretty well.
This fake Andorian in his death throes kinda looks like The Golden Girls' Estelle Getty

I was excited to meet the Andorians. You don’t get to see a lot of them in other Treks. I liked Jeffrey Combs’ Andorian and thought he was one of the highlights of Enterprise. I can’t really remember any of his episodes. There weren’t really a lot of highlights in Enterprise so they should take what they can get. I haven’t really rewatched any of his episodes and I’m going to recommend any of them because even though Combs is great I’m sure most of the episodes were shit.

That's Vulcan for "crazy pussy"

One thing I didn’t get about the Andorians was the fake one. Okay. He’s not a real Andorian. He’s wearing a disguise. His disguise is so shitty when he falls his antenna just snaps off. So it’s not even made of normal Andorian antenna material. It’s brittle like a twig. I can see how that might fool humans and Vulcans, but how does that fool the other Andorians. I’m calling bullshit on that aspect. And what race was he?


Even though Shatner and I are similar amounts of fatness, I'd rather shoot myself in the head with a disrupter than allow myself to photographed shirtless, whereas he seems proud of this disgusting body. I don't get it.  


Don’t want to get personal but good lord does Kirk look fat in this episode. I don’t know if it’s just the way that the dress uniform looks, but he looks bloated in almost every scene. Then out of nowhere, there’s this weird-ass scene where he’s just sitting in his apartment looking all shiny and shirtless. It’s messed up. I have trouble thinking that this scene was originally in the script. I think Shatner demanded that he get to be in here shirtless because he knew how fat he looked in the rest of the episode. I have to say he should’ve just looked fat in his uniform because this scene makes him look worse. He looks like a greased up pig you’d chase at a country fair. Again, I would love for any woman who finds Kirk attractive to contact me. The only people who have told me that woman loved Captain Kirk are other Trek characters and dudes who are quoting other dudes who heard that women loved Kirk. If you are a woman who finds this man attractive, please let me know.

Worse Trek?

If you want to see “real” Andorians then check out Jeffrey Combs’ work in Enterprise. He was in eleven episodes as an Andorian. Don’t watch all eleven. Unless you want to. I’m not the boss of you. Do whatever you want. I’m sure they’re mostly shitty, but do whatever you want. They’ll just about all be worse than this one though. 

Better Trek?

Discovery: Lethe. This is one of my favorite Discovery episodes and it gives a lot of context to this episode. In it, you get to learn a good amount about Spock and Sarek’s relationship, why Sarek was so angry at Spock for choosing Starfleet, and you get to see aliens with proper makeup. It’s the first episode that made me really start to adore Discovery.

Also, TNG’s Sarek. In this episode, Sarek travels to a new enterprise on a peace mission. Sound familiar? Only this time his mind is going soft on him and he can’t control his emotions like he used to. Which isn’t good. Because Vulcans are by nature pretty violent and also psychic enough where their emotions can affect those around them. It’s a bonus because you also get a really solid performance from Patrick Stewart who steps in to help Sarek.

That's it for this week. 

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