Wow. I didn’t bother to watch the Oscars last night, only to wake up and read about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on live TV.
So, without further ado, my thoughts:
1 – My first reaction was it must be a publicity stunt. Oscar ratings are dwindling. Hollywood rarely, if ever, puts out big blockbuster historical type epics like Titanic anymore that made big money while putting butts in theater seats and have Oscar appeal. On this fine blog, I used to opine about the Oscars all the time but eventually stopped because, well, literally every year I had never seen any of the movies nominated so it’s not like I have an incentive to tune in and root for flicks I’ve never seen before.
So I wondered if this was designed to boost ratings, like “you never know what could happen at the Oscars so better tune in next year.”
Also, if you watch the video, Chris Rock barely flinched. He doesn’t skip a beat. He just goes on with the show. I wonder if most people wouldn’t have been flustered and not sure what to do next. Then again, Chris Rock isn’t most people. He has performed live for many years and as a pro he is trained in keeping a show running even under bad circumstances.
2 – Thus, I hate to say it but I think it was genuine, which makes me sad. I always liked Will Smith. I liked him because I feel like he’s an underdog story, like kind of a comedy nerd who put himself out there and hit it bigger than ever. When I went to bed and read he won for King Richard I thought good for him. About time. Now it will be hard to not view him as anything but an a-hole.
3 – A lot of people saying Chris deserved it. First this assumes Chris knew about Jada having a condition that causes hair loss. He might have just thought he was making a silly joke to roast an actress about her hair cut. Who among us has never put our foot in our mouth, said something that, once we learn a new fact, we immediately regret saying it? This would have been handled better with Will talking to Chris backstage, letting him know the facts and maybe Chris could have apologized later.
But still, if he knew, the better approach would have been for Will to just respond verbally. Explain how the joke was low class.
4 – I don’t know. Hollywood has been trying to cultivate a real person image like they’re people like the rest of us and then when a guy slaps another guy on live tv and gets away with it with no charges pressed…this wouldn’t happen amongst regular Joes. Slap a guy in a bar and there’s a chance you’re going to end the night in handcuffs.
Anyway, Chris Rock and Will Smith. Two celebs I have always liked and it makes me sad.
Gotta watch out for those soda slurping middle aged moms, 3.5 readers.
Usually I wait until the end of a season before I opine on a series, but this is a true crime drama based on real, well publicized events that I’ve already looked up and self spoilered for myself, so I’m not worried about spoilers. If you are, you might want to look away.
The show is about the actual case where midwestern mom Pam Hupp stabbed her cancer stricken BFF Betsy Faria some 50 odd times with a knife, then framed Betsy’s husband Russ so she could collect the insurance money.
The third episode, which aired this week, gave us a look at the horribly conducted trial and IMO, is enraging because it gives a clear view into the horrors of confirmation bias, i.e. once the powers that be decide something is X, they put on blinders and refuse to consider any and all evidence that it might be Y.
In this case, Russ Faria has a room full of fellow dungeons and dragons nerds who all testify they were pretending to be elves and orcs with Russ until 9. A late night stop at Arby’s provides a time stamped receipt indicating that Russ would have to have driven like Mario Andretti on steroids to have returned home and stabbed his wife all in time for the 911 call.
Other evidence against Russ’ involvement abounds, while evidence against Pam emerges. I mean, holy crap, Betsy switched her insurance beneficiary from Russ to Pam, ostensibly because she trusted Pam would give the money to her daughters upon her death…but no one in law enforcement thinks to look more into this.
The DA’s office, the police, they all agree – Russ fits the profile. He kinda looks like a mean guy, he and his wife argued a lot (because no other couple ever argued before) and so obviously he must have done it. Big city attorney Joel Schwartz is astounded as he comes down to the close knit community where all the police and DA lawyers know each other, went to school with each other, have each others’ backs and form a wall against any and all common sense i.e. why will no one even consider Pam as a suspect?
Meanwhile, Pam plays the role of sweet, middle aged and caring Betsy friend well.
We haven’t gotten there yet, but my understanding is Russ does go to jail for a crime he didn’t commit while Pam gets emboldened by her first murder that she got away with that she kills again, first her elderly mother for more insurance money and then some random guy who she tried to pose as a hitman in a sad attempt to try to frame Russ again.
Rene Zellwigger is heavily made up to look like a frumpy old lady, yet another role where someone beautiful plays someone ugly. Oh well. That’s hollywood for you.
The show goes by quick and has some typical network TV formulaic stuff. But ultimately, it really is scary how so called professionals in the legal system can get so convinced of x’s guilt that they refuse to look at y evidence staring directly at them.
What’s only going to be read by 3.5 readers and full of SPOILERS?
(SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS ABOUND)
This isn’t the worst Batman film ever made. I doubt the late 1990s’ Batman and Robin, what with its bat nipple suit on George Clooney, will ever be unseated from that distinction.
It’s far from the best either. 2008’s The Dark Knight has some big shoes that may never be filled while 1989’s Batman, though silly by today’s standards, paved the way for Hollywood to start thinking there might be gold in them thar superhero flicks, so I doubt you’d have any of the Marvel success today without it.
This movie is somewhere in the middle. It’s worth the price of admission, there are some fun twists and turns. However, it’s not something I want to rush to watch for a second time and at 3 freaking hours long, it’s a time commitment. Seriously, the movie is so long that when I walked out of the theater I wondered if so much time had passed that the world had been conquered by damn dirty apes.
My best description? Imagine a noir detective Batman. Like so many 1930s fedora clad private dicks, Batsy narrates the film, explaining to the audience what he’s up to.
It’s also, God help us, millennial Batman. The Caped Crusader fights for social justice and against white privilege (including his own) with his mighty Bat-Fu skills.
There’s even a twist of emo Batman – Robert Pattinson broods with long hair in his face and dark eyeliner.
To the film’s credit, it’s not an origin story. I think Hollywood is finally grasping that we don’t need to see origins of superheroes that we’ve seen a hundred times before. No need to see Mr and Mrs Wayne murdered. No need to see baby Superman’s little spaceship crash in the Kents’ backyard. No need to see Spidey’s Uncle Ben shot by a mugger again.
Yet (SPOILER), the Waynes’ untimely demise(s) feature prominently in the film as part of a larger mystery, so there’s still at least one Hollywood suit out there who is worried there might be one viewer left in the world who doesn’t know Batman became Batman because he’s sad about his dead parents.
Paul Dano brings The Riddle to life in a major creepy way heretofore unseen on film. Past incarnations of the human question mark have always just been a wacky version of The Joker (Jim Carrey’s career making goofball performance in Batman Forever, for example.) Here, Paul Dano plays every millennial’s worst nightmare, the unloved, socially inept incel who broods behind a screen all day, exposing big time dirt on Gotham’s elite with a side of murder and violence to increase online viewer counts. (Gee whiz, even the Riddler gets more readers for his blog.)
Zoe Kravitz is Catwoman though is never called Catwoman, yet she becomes a sidekick/love interest for Batsy as she searches for justice for her deceased friend caught up in the madness. Meanwhile, Colin Farrell is completely unrecognizable as crime boss henchman The Penguin. I literally did not know it was Farrell until I googled it at home. Good performance, yet another handsome guy robbing an ugly guy of an ugly role with the aid of prosthetics and make up. Sigh. If only prosthetics and make up could make an ugly guy handsome, then again who has that much time to sit in the makeup chair every day?
A lot of weirdness. A lot of heavy handed exposition. A lot of telling instead of showing. At times we are spoon fed helpings of backstory and while many films have been able to pull off a three hour run time by keeping you on the edge of your seat, this one doesn’t. By the two hour mark, I wanted to go already.
Though it avoids origin story silliness, it’s still new, early in his career Batman. He makes mistakes. Literally falls on his face at one point. If you came for super awesome grappling hook, zipline, flying around while making it look easy Batman, you came to the wrong place and ultimately…yeah while there’s a decent amount of action but there’s more talking than action.
Andy Serkis plays a believable Alfred. Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) plays buddy cop to Bats, but it almost reminded me of the cheesy 1960s Batman where Batman would work directly with the police while in full costume and no one thought it odd a mystery man in cape and cowl was consulting with the police. Here, everyone does think it is odd, but its like the writers felt there needed to be some obligatory lines like “Hey why are we working with this costumed guy” and so on.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It’s acceptable but not great. It builds a world that I’m not, at this time, really chomping at the bit to see and it’s not just because I’ve seen it a hundred times before. And I’ll admit, I’m old, and comic book movies are for the young, so maybe the younguns will enjoy Millennial Batman fighting for truth, justice and wokeness.
I would point out though that back in the day, I thought 2005’s Batman Begins was great but at the time, I thought it would just be a one and done. That film paved the way for 2008’s powerhouse the Dark Knight so you never know, with a little tweaking this franchise might (I’ll believe it when I see it) but might just have a masterpiece sequel on the way if everyone plays their cards right.
Ryan Reynolds stars as himself, traveling to the past to join forces with…his younger self.
BQB here with a review.
This movie is fun but somewhat basic. It’s typical Ryan Reynolds fast talking funny guy schtick, mixed with some great special effects. Not the most captivating backstory, one of those films you’ll munch popcorn to while it happens but the next day you’ll forget all about it. In other words, it’s standard Netflix fare.
RR stars as middle aged Adam from the future, who travels to the past to evade evildoers of the future who want to abuse the time travel tech his father Louis (Mark Ruffalo) invented. Along the way, he joins forces with his 12 year old self (Walker Scobell doing a pretty funny kid version impression of Reynolds). Jennifer Garner rounds out the cast as mother to the Adams.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but not a lot more to say about it.
BQB here with a review of this Netflix documentary. SPOILERS ABOUND!!!
Stories abound of men doing dumb, stupid, even horrible things for a beautiful woman. Smitten men have lost their lives, their fortunes, their reputations, careers, livelihoods, even committed crimes and gone to jail, all in the name of a pretty face.
As my 3.5 readers know, I am absurdly ugly, such that I could describe myself as a bad DNA mix of Ron Pearlman, Steve Buscemi, Willem Defoe and a bulldog and still not begin to describe the depths of my hideousness. While this has led to many crappy aspects of life, I can tell you the one and only good thing is it has prevented me from being hoodwinked by women. A beautiful woman tells me she’ll love me forever if I do X stupid thing? “Ha!” I cry. “That’ll be the day!” I already know no woman could ever love my gargoylish Quasimodo self and thus it would be pointless to jump through her hoops.
Long story short, this documentary posits the hypothesis that rich men are to women what beautiful women are to men. While we should never get bogged down in absolutes as I’m sure there are many women who wouldn’t be foolish enough to lose their wits at the sight of a dude with a big bankroll, there are some members of the fairer sex who throw common sense out the window in the name of a man with a fat bank account.
Think back to all those Disney movies. Does the Princess ever go for a commoner, or does she long to be rescued by…yes, a Prince with a lot of dough? Take away The Beast’s big bottomline and that movie is just a horrid tale about an ugly dog monster man who kidnaps French beauty Belle and holds her hostage. Take away Christian Gray’s fat stacks and 50 Shades of Gray is just a horror show about a weirdo who likes to spank female fannies.
Ultimately, for…not all women but some women…a man with money is their kryptonite. Perhaps this brings us back to our primal caveman days when prehistoric cavewomen would flock to the strongest caveman who could protect them from saber tooth tigers and wooly mammoths. Today, strength and protection take the form of cold, hard cash.
And thus, here is a tale about women who met a man claiming to be the son of a fabulously wealthy Israeli diamond merchant. Simon, as he calls himself, pops up on the Tinder apps of many a lonely lady and when they see his wealth, his fancy clothes, his expensive cars, his personal private jet, his cadre of servants, bodyguards and flunkies, and his globetrotting lifestyle that lets him go from one swanky hotel to the next, they truly believe they have become modern day Cinderellas who have met their Prince Charmings.
Alas, if only these women had consulted a human gargoyle like me, for like the person who sits in the back of a theater showing a horror movie shouting out warnings to the victim about what the baddie is about to do, I found myself shouting at the TV, “No girl! Don’t do that! He’s going to….ugh!”
First, so many of these women get on this dude’s private jet and fly away with him on the first date. My initial reaction is why are these women so dumb to not realize that getting on a stranger’s plane after a first meeting a bad idea? Don’t they know he could very easily fly them to a shitty country where laws don’t apply and they could end up being drugged up, internationally trafficked sex slaves for the rest of their lives? Have these women never seen Taken? Egads.
Luckily, none of them are turned into sex slaves. But they are taken for big bucks. Once Simon woos them, he bombards his lady marks with tales of peril, various reasons why he has lost access to his cash and great dangers that will befall him if the women don’t fork over their dough. These ladies end up not only handing over their life savings, they also take out massive loans, racking up insane credit card debt that they have no hope of repaying, all in the name of…well they think they are saving Simon from peril but in reality, are funding his lavish lifestyle.
The key lie in Simon’s repertoire is to claim that he has “enemies” i.e. he is a rich diamond merchant and various evildoers want to do him in because…I don’t know, he has a lot of money and they want it I guess? At any rate, the S man simply tells his befuddled babes that very bad, naughty men are tracking him through his credit cards, so he has to use theirs but don’t worry…he’ll pay them back.
So, don’t get me wrong. I get that at the end of the day, the con man is responsible for the con. No matter how dumb you think the conned might be, the conner is the one in the wrong who has done a terrible thing.
Even so…yeah, as an ugly gargoyle whose only credit as an ugly gargoyle is an immunity to being conned by a pretty face, I found myself shouting at the TV. “Really, girl? A man that rich claims bad guys are tracking him through his credit cards and so…he needs YOUR credit card? That doesn’t set off a red flag for you? There’s no other alternative for a man that rich? There isn’t like a secure banking service or a security expert or some sort of banking method a man with that much money can use in this type of situation? Borrowing his girlfriend’s credit card and racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt is the only thing he can do? Give me a break.”
I will say part of me gets why the women are duped. Simon appears to have so much freaking money that it seems like it would be easy enough for him to pay the loans back to the ladies. Still, the cynic in me wonders why these women never asked why a man that rich doesn’t have say, the resources necessary to access secure, untrackable credit and ultimately, if that money is a lot to these women, enough to cripple them financially for life, why take the risk? The documentary’s answer is that they do it for love, that they genuinely care for Simon and worry about his safety but…there’s a part of me that wonders if these women saw Simon as their Prince Charming, their lifelong meal ticket who could give them a fabulous lifestyle, so they’d best not question it and do whatever he says, throwing all common sense out of the window.
In other words, if Simon looked like gargoyle old me and had my shitty lifestyle, they probably wouldn’t let me borrow five bucks if I gave them a promissory note signed by the Pope, let alone throw me a life preserver if I were drowning, but they’ll be duped into committing credit card fraud and get stuck with the bill for a handsome man posing as a wealthy adventurer.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. You know, the strongest among us has their kryptonite, the chink in their armor, their Achilles heel, so I am sympathetic to what happened to these ladies. I just…I don’t know. It was hard not to watch this movie and think if I only had like, a tenth of Simon’s looks, if I had a tenth of his fast talking abilities, if I had just a bit of money…I could have some hotties in my life and wouldn’t be so lonely . I would use those powers for good and treat the hotties right but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Que sera, sera.
Check this out, 3.5 readers. I called it way back on March 31, 2016:
Oh sure, they say they want to be our friends but then as soon as we aren’t looking they kick the Ukraine in the balls and give East Europe a wedgie.
See that? Ahh, if only the head muckety mucks over at NATO HQ had bothered to read my fine blog, we could have avoided Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine and be putting our focus where it needs to be, namely, why the hell does the Academy keep nominating movies we have never seen for the Oscars?