Monthly Archives: October 2019

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Cultural Appropriation and Halloween Costumes – A List of What Costumes Your Kid Should Not Wear (LINK)

Watching the Old Addams Family Show and Movies

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

After seeing the recent cartoon, I became nostalgic and was pleased to find that a lot of the 1960s original Addams Family TV show episodes are available on YouTube…legit too as in put up by MGM.

Whenever I have 20 mins free, I watch one and am impressed with the wit, the comedic timing, and the overall understanding of how comedy is basically committing to an absurd premise and sticking with it.

I also watched both 1990s movies – The Addams Family and Addams Family Values.  To my surprise, they hold up, though there are plenty of jokes that are funnier to people who were around in the 1990s.  Raul Julia was so full of life as Gomez that it makes me sad (and surprised) that he passed away not long after these movies were made.

Movie Review – The Addams Family (2019)

They’re still creepy and kooky, 3.5 readers. (Snap, snap).

Everyone’s favorite family of ghoulish weirdos is back, this time in an animated film.  The Addams Family have always existed as a twisted parody of American suburban family life.  They are a strange clan who are preoccupied with all forms of death, dismemberment and overall mayhem and yet, father Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and mother Morticia (Charlize Theron) are madly in love with each other.  They are devoted to kids Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Puggsley (Finn Wolfhard) and don’t treat extended family like Grand-ma-ma (Bette Midler) and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) as burdens.

In short, maybe they know more about being a family than most people give them credit for.

The villain is Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) a home make over expert who wants to see the Addams’ spooky manor destroyed or at least redecorated in pink for her home make over show, as well as to bring it in line with her planned community down the mountain.

It might have been interesting to see what live actors could have done this time around, though animation does have its benefits, allowing characters to do things that wouldn’t have been captured well in a live action version.

The plot of the Addams’ home being threatened by mean quote unquote normals who turn out to be the baddies and make the Addams’ seem normal in comparison has been overdone, though that is essentially the schtick of this series.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

Jesse’s back, bitches!

BQB here with a review.

When I heard they were making a Breaking Bad movie, my reaction was one of revulsion.  It’s rare that a TV show concludes with all the loose ends tied up, with an overall sense that the writers and producers really, truly cared about all the time the fans invested in watching the show and wanted to reward that time with payoffs galore.  Thus, to create a sequel seemed like trying to paint Mona Lisa Part 2: This Time The Bitch Really Smiles.

Turns out the movie is great, though it’s less of a movie and more of an extended episode.  My main fear was that they were going to bring Walter White (Bryan Cranston) back from the dead and have to conjure up silly, absurd reasons about how this guy has been able to live with terminal cancer for 11 years and how he’s still cooking meth when everyone from the cops to the coast guard are looking for him.

My fears subsided when I learned Walter was left to RIP and this was Jesse’s flick.  When last we saw Jesse, he was looking like an unkempt, unwashed, bearded mountain man, escaping from Nazi captivity in weirdo Todd’s El Camino.

This film tells us what happens next.  With police on his tail and plenty of rival crooks out to get him, will he be able to flee and start a new life, or will he go out in a blaze of glory just like his meth cooking mentor?

Series regulars come and go throughout the flick.  Badger.  Skinny Pete.  Mike.  Even Walter stops by.  Relax, those who ended up in body bags at the end of the series only reappear in flashback form.

Is this a movie we needed?  No, bitch.  To be honest, I never put much thought into what happened to Jesse after his escape.  That being said, it is a nice wrap up, tying up that one last loose end.

It’s fitting the movie is on Netflix.  After all, Breaking Bad is a show that became successfully largely due to the streaming age.  I’ll admit I avoided it for several years because a show about a sad old man dying from cancer after a lifetime of regret didn’t exactly sound like fun viewing to me, but once I kept hearing rave reviews, I started streaming it and I was hooked.  Dying science teacher depressed about his lack of success recruits his wayward former student to start a meth empire and eventually goes from underdog anti-hero to vile villain that you want to see lose?  Yeah, that’s not something that any network was going to pour a lot of dough into promoting.  Word of mouth and “hey, go stream this when you have a minute” was the key to BB’s success.

Still, I’m not sure how much juice can be extracted from the Breaking Bad world.  I suppose there’s always a prequel or a sequel.  I suppose, even for a truck of cash backed up to Bryan Cranston’s house and, hopefully, the right script, we could find out that Walter White survived but honestly, I felt this movie worked because it was just 2 hours.  Would I want to see an entirely new Jesse based spinoff series?  I can’t imagine it.  I did give Better Call Saul a couple of seasons before I gave up.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, bitch.

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Movie Review – Gemini Man (2019)

Will vs. Will = a battle of wills.

BQB here with a review of Gemini Man.

This movie neither sucks nor blows.  It’s not really destined to become that old standby that you’ll go to over and over again when you want some thrills, but as a diversion, it is worth the price of admission.

Will Smith plays Henry Brogan, one of the world’s greatest, most prolific spy agency assassins, though as he’s gotten older and more thoughtful, he has decided that he can’t stomach all the death and destruction anymore and decides to retire.

Alas, his superiors aren’t having any of that shit.  His former superiors are worried he knows too much and they can’t have that.  At first, they hire Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to keep tabs on him, posing as a potential love interest.  When Will proves that he still has some of that Big Willy style left, he converts a foe into a friend as the duo go on the run from the agency.

Clay Verris (Clive Owen) one of Henry’s ex-bosses, brings out the big guns.  He’s the head of Project Gemini (and rather humorously, operates out of a high rise building labeled “Gemini” which seems like a good way to blow his cover).  This project, is, you guessed, a cloning initiative.  It seems that years ago, Henry was cloned and the result, Junior, a version of Henry half his age that knows all his moves, is out to get him.

The CGI based aged shaving, clone making tech is at its peak, as there are times where Junior looks like Will has morphed back into his Fresh Prince days.  The fight scenes where young and old Will go mano y mano are fun, though the overall plot is convoluted and unlikely.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Stuber (2019)

Laughs.  Action.  Driver ratings in peril.

BQB here with a review of Stuber.

At the outset, this is a fun action comedy.  It’s not something I’d want to watch over and over again, but it was worth the rental fee.

Kumail Nanjiani plays Stu, a down and out sporting goods store clerk who makes money on the side driving for Uber, thus earning him the undesired nickname, Stuber.

He pines for friend Becca (Betty Gilpin, and who doesn’t?) but despite his best efforts, including forking over his savings so she can start a spin class business, he’s permanently in the friend zone.

His life of boredom is interrupted for a night of action, adventure and sheer, out and out terror when Vic Manning (Dave Bautista), a bad ass cop on the hunt for his partner’s killer, who rather conveniently just had eye surgery and can’t drive (or in reality, do anything but you have to suspend disbelief) hires him to drive and forces him into service as his unwilling partner for the evening.

They become the ultimate odd couple, Vic helping Stu to man up, Stu helping Vic to tap into his softer side.  Will Stu be able to save the day, get the girl, and maintain the highly coveted 5 star rating that all Uber drivers desire?

Bonus points for adding Mira Sorvino to the cast.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Joker (2019)

Put on a happy face, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Joker.

At the outset, I wondered about the necessity of this film.  After all, when we have the Justice League films trying to get off the ground, is it wise to put out a standalone film about Batman’s nemesis set in the early 1980s?

And does a Joker origin story interfere with the Clown Prince of Crime’s mystique?  After all, one of the scarier parts of 2008’s The Dark Knight is that the Joker is a wild card, and we know so little about who he is or what motivates him, so he is unpredictable and can’t be reasoned with.

But oh well.  Screw all that.  The movie was made and if you take it on its own, without delving into deeper comic book nerd considerations, its a rather intense look at how a combination of mental illness and a breakdown of the system can cause a man to snap.

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a socially awkward loner who eeks out a meager living as a party clown while trying to launch a stand-up comedy career, an art form in which he has no talent whatsoever, despite his grand delusions to the contrary.  He dreams of one day being discovered by Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro playing a Johnny Carson-esque late night talk show host.)

Arthur’s reality is much more grim.  He lives in squalor and spends his free time taking care of his equally mentally ill mother, Penny (Frances Conroy) while pining for his neighbor, Sophie (Zazie Beetz of Deadpool’s Domino fame.)

Without delving into spoilers, the majority of the film focuses on Arthur’s descent into madness as little by little, the little he had that kept him going is taken away from him.  The system is the villain of the film, that cold hearted, uncaring, unfeeling bureaucracy that takes away his psychiatric appointments, his medication, his job, his hopes, his dreams and after plunging him into failure, tells him there’s no opportunity left for him, because he’s such a lousy failure.

This movie has been controversial because, well, I suppose I can’t tell you exactly why without spoiling the ending and admittedly, 3/4th of the movie is a bit of a slog, slowly building up to the ending that leaves you on the edge of your seat when Arthur finally stops giving a shit about the norms of the society that stopped giving a shit about him.  Suffice to say, there’s a lot of media concern that this movie celebrates and/or glorifies the idea of people committing violence in attempt to garner attention but…well, at the end of the day, it is a movie and perhaps these concerns miss a point, namely that taking away movies is but a band-aid, whereas developing a comprehensive plan to provide mental health care and opportunities for those who are struggling would be the better solution.

As a comic book nerd, I didn’t like that Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, is portrayed as a villain.  The Waynes are usually portrayed as the only rich people in Gotham who care, so this is a deviation.  However, without giving much away, there’s a do-it-yourself aspect to this movie, in that you can choose what you want to believe and what you don’t.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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A Rap About the Seventeen Cents I Made Selling My Books on Amazon

rappa

Uh.  Yeah.  Uh.  Yeah.

Crank up the bass.

Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Comin’ straight at ya face.

Seventeen!

Three less than twenty,

It sure is plenty.

Seventeen!

Eighty-seven less than a buck,

You know I don’t give a…

Seventeen!  Seventeen!

You know a man can only dream of

Seventeen!

A dime and a nickel, two portraits of Lincoln.

Go to the club and my breath is stinkin…

of Cristal!  Because I’m a baller.

Because I’m rolling up to my crib, still chasin the green.

But until I get some foldin’ cash, I’ll have my seventeen!

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