Monthly Archives: February 2023

Movie Review – The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022)

War! Spies! Beer!

BQB here with a review of The Greatest Beer Run Ever.

I’ve got streaming services, 3.5 readers. I’ve got streaming services out the wazoo. No, seriously. Check my wazoo and you’ll see nothing but services streaming out of it.

Apple TV is one of those streaming services and for the most part, I wonder why I bothered to sign up for it in the first place, though occasionally, I find a rare gem like this flick that makes the expense worthwhile.

The premise? It’s the 1960s and merchant marine John “Chickie” Donahue is a wayward bum. Yes, he does work on commercial shipping vessels, but then does nothing but sleep and drink all day during the months between voyages. He and his father disagree on this. Dad calls it sloth. Chickie calls it his downtime, like a professor’s sabbatical.

The Vietnam War is in full swing and every day, there’s news of one of Chickie’s high school friends who died in action. Upset by protesters (his sister is one of them) and negative news coverage, Chickie and his fellow barflies at a dive run by an old WW2 colonel simply called “The Colonel,” (an almost unrecognizable Bill Murray in terms of haircut, voice and demeanor), lament over booze that US soldiers aren’t getting enough support. Press and protesters suck, in their point of view, and while people are lining up to criticize America’s fighting men, no one is doing anything to thank them.

And so, a scheme developed in the mind of a bunch of boozehounds is hatched. The Colonel donates a giant gym bag full of brewskis that Chickie will take to Vietnam, where he will then seek out every one of his enlisted high school classmates and give them a beer and a thank you.

At first, it sounds ridiculous. But then when you realize Chickie has access to commercial shipping vessels, it sounds less ridiculous. Chickie takes a job aboard a cargo ship hauling ammo for the military and for a brief moment you wonder if he can pull it off only to realize there’s an enormous difference between bringing supplies to a port controlled by the US Military and a civilian traipsing around a war zone.

Personally, I wondered why Chickie just didn’t pop the gym bag full of brews down on an ammo crate, shake the hand of one of the soldiers who came to pick it up and tell him to pass the beer out to as many boys as he could. But when it comes to beer, Chickie does nothing half-assed.

I won’t spoil the rest other than to say from thereon, Chickie goes on a whirlwind adventure as a civilian traipsing around wartorn Vietnam. Attacking Vietcong, shady CIA spies, and US military appalled by how stupid anyone could be to come here if they don’t have to are among the many threats that Chickie has to contend with.

At times, the movie feels silly and one wonders how much of it is real and how much of it is embellished for film. Chickie survives by the skin of his teeth through a series of lucky breaks, miracles and misunderstandings (many soldiers help him move around under the false assumption that Chicky and his truthful story of being on a beer run is just a wink, wink, nudge, nudge cover story because the truth, that some idiot from New York thought it would be a good idea to run around a war ravaged country handing out beers, is too unbelievable.

Bonus points for the movie bringing home some serious points about war. On one hand, as the Colonel points out, television has ruined America’s chances of ever winning a war again, for, as he argues, if America had received daily live reports showing the carnage of the Battle of the Bulge, Americans would have demanded an immediate end to WW2 and the Nazis would reign supreme all over the globe today.

On the other hand, Chickie, aided by a warzone correspondent played by Russell Crowe, comes to learn that press and protestors have valid concerns about the war, that there’s no way to win it so to continue to let US soldiers die in a hopeless quagmire is wrong and those who make this argument aren’t trying to hurt the soldiers but rather help them.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. A great performance by Zac Efron as Chickie. There is a book this movie is based on but I haven’t read it yet. I would be curious to know how much of the film is real and what was fictional just to make the movie watchable. If it is all real, then Chickie must have had a guardian angel watching over him during his epic beer run.

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Healthy Eating

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

So, the past several months I have really gotten into healthy eating, such that I have seen a good amount of weight lost. My pants are actually loose and I’m at the point where I’m going to have to buy one size down. Hooray for healthy eating

It’s been a long learning process, and I’m still learning. My entire life, I was a dude who despised vegetables. I can’t say that I love them more than pizza, but I am becoming an adultier adult who understands pizza is bad and all foods like it must be verboten.

I have been trying new things. I bought a spiralizer, a device that you can stick a vegetable into it and it spits out “veggie noodles.” These aren’t really noodles, but a little bit of sauce…well I’d say it tricks you into thinking you’re eating spaghetti but it really doesn’t but cooked in noodle-like strips with a little light sauce is an easier way to get said veggies down.

I also bought a juicer. It’s a small, cheap one and did well for the low price. The good news is I made three little bottles of juice to drink throughout the week. The bad news is it took me all morning and by the time I was done my kitchen looked like a war zone. I am debating whether or not it is worth it and reading that good and bad things about juicing. The good is that it is a way to get those vegetables down. The bad is that it removes the fiber and while veggies don’t have sugar, they do have some, so you’re putting sugar into your body without the fiber that slows it down.

Speaking of sugar, I have learned to treat sugar and carbs as though they were those twin villains, Hitler and Stalin. Whenever I go into a grocery store, I hiss like a vampire when I see the bread aisle and walk away. Whenever I walk past the ice cream section, I entertain a fantasy in my mind to run around and karate punch every single last pint of these evil frozen sugar death traps.

Meanwhile, there was a time, and honestly, that time is still fairly recent, where I was a fast food junkie, such that when I pulled up to the drive-thru, the low paid minimum wage slaves would already know my order and knew me by name and shared their friggin life stories with me cuz holy shit I was at the fast food joints so much they all considered me their fat BFF. Hell, I probably put their kids through college…well, discount community college annex anyway because it’s not the 1970s anymore and a McD’s salary ain’t going to pay for higher education.

BTW, if sugar = Stalin and carbs = Hitler, then soda is definitely Pol Pot. Never heard of him? Oh sorry, your history teacher was probably one of those too hard to fire due to union rules types who just played movies for the class while he napped and fumed about how his wife ran away with the mail man and so cruel was she that she even took the remote, the cuisinart and the dog, Fido.

Pol Pot was a Cambodian psycho who became a commie dictator and convinced his devotees that in order to implement communism, they had to murder everyone who thought earning an honest buck via honest work was a rad idea…but then as violent regimes go, that moved from murdering capitalists to murdering everyone who looked at Pol Pot cock eyed, to anyone who might have thought about doing so, to murdering the guy who keeps leaving the seat up on the toilet, to murdering the guy who put a tin can in the paper only recycling bin, to murdering Grandma for baking stale cookies, and so on. But I’m not here to educate you on the evils of the Khmer Rouge. That’s what that movie “The Killing Fields” is for.

I’m here to tell you why soda is Pol Pot.

According to data I gleamed from the internet but am going to pretend like I figured it all on my own in a science lab, ladies should only eat 24 grams of sugar a day and men should only eat 36 grams of sugar a day. I don’t know the science of how much sugar you should eat if you are a dude who identifies as a lady or a lady who identifies as a dude other than to say that if your bodies don’t allow you to consume the requisite amount of sugar of the gender you identify as then your bodies are bigoted AF.

Long story short, I was in a store the other day and saw a display for, get this, Marshmallow Peep Flavored Pepsi.

Not gonna lie. The old me would have injected that shit straight into my veins. You think I’m joking but I’m serious, y’all. I would have taken that bottle home, spiked it up, then passed out with a record playing that “Hello Darkness My Old Friend” song in the background.

What? No it can’t be played on a phone. It has to be played on an old, scratchy AF record player that was made in 1935 for ambience. I know no questions are stupid, but damn.

OK here’s the kicker. That bottle of Peep Pepsi contain 68 GRAMS OF SUGAR!

And thus it all made sense, like I had suddenly become Neo and learned how to defeat the fat matrix by flipping the fat script and turning the fat rules against its fat self.

Seriously. Sugar = Stalin. Carbs = Hitler. Soda = Pol Pot. Don’t even get me started on Sodium. Sodium is Chairman Mao and if you think I’m being hard on communism and bad food, I am because both only survive on the back of the lie that everyone can do stupid shit forever and everything will be ok, whether it be thinking that people will work and do a good job for no profit or that you can consume a beverage that has 32 more grams of sugar that a dude should be drinking in a day. Ladies, I’m sorry, I didn’t do that math for you because I’m not sexist and I know you can work a calculator like an MF.

Anyway, such has been my journey and I am giving some serious thought to starting a second blog. What? No, I would continue to run this fine blog you’re reading right now. I’m just saying my second blog would be all about healthy eating but with my humorous take on it all.

Let me know what you think in the comments of this fine blog.


Other things I have done in the past few months I never thought I would ever do:

#1 – Eggplant steaks and eggplant fries

#2 – Veggie burgers

#3 – Saying and using the word “Keto” regularly for real and not as a goof.

#4 – Salads, to the point where I bought plastic salad bowls and dressing on the side cups and I make my own to take with me. Yes, always dressing that is low carb and low sugar.

#5 – Veggie burgers…which weren’t horrible.

#6 – Quinoa burgers…which weren’t horrible.

#7 – Quinoa itself which was the worst and I’m rethinking it because I believe it has lots of carbs.

#8 – Kale. So much kale. And spinach.

#9 – Cauliflower. Yeah, I know everyone is trying to pretend it is pizza and mac and cheese but it is not but that’s ok. Keto Ninjas like myself understand the ways of the keto force.

#10 – Not buying a bottle of that Peep Pepsi then using it to wash down a pizza. I used to do crap like that all the time. Imagine how much Stalin/Hitler/Pol Pot/Mao evil was mixed into all of that.

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Movie Review: Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Ants! Wasps! Tiny tomfoolery!

BQB here with a review of Marvel’s latest joint.

The good news is that this flick is a special effects extravaganza, a veritable CGI fest for the senses.

The bad news is that only works if you like that sort of thing. Otherwise, it’s a giant, expensive, computer-generated cartoon with people spliced into it. Roger Rabbit on acid, if you prefer.

The plot? The titular Ant-Man aka Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is finally in a good place in life. His ex-con days are behind him. He’s gotten over trauma incurred from past adventures. He’s living his best life with his family, including daughter Cassie (now a teenager) (Kathryn Newton), girlfriend Hope aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), and in-laws Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Alas, things go awry when budding young scientist Cassie accidentally opens a door to the uber mysterious and creepy Quantum Realm, a world so tiny that it exists right under our proverbial noses but it is so inexplicably tiny that we can’t see it. Can you imagine that? Sub-atomic beings living in a society so small that it is invisible to the naked eye. And yes, opening doors to alternate realms is something that teenage scientists can totally do in the Marvel-verse, so shut up.

Ah, but the Lang/Pym/VanDyne family have mastered the art of shrinking and enlarging themselves, thus simply by shrinking they are able to navigate this treacherous world.

It’s all a matter of perspective. :::pa rum pum pum:::

Upon arrival to the Quantum Realm, the LPVs (boy what a modern blended family with so many different surnames), are tasked with the missions of finding each other, finding a way out and most importantly, defeating Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a villain who has, as his name suggests, conquered the Quantum Realm, ruling over its inhabitants with an iron fist and bending their will to his dictatorial reign. Oppressed inhabitants are a hodgepodge of humans and wacky creatures. If Kang escapes, he will wreak havoc across the multiverse.

Some random thoughts:

#1 – We first saw Kang the Conqueror in Disney’s Loki and TBH, I felt that series was so confusing that its good parts were lost on me. Here, things start to make sense. Majors nails the role and is shaping up to be the most formidable villain since Thanos.

#2 – The MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing) character is stupid and an example of something that might work in a comic book but just looks very dumb on the big screen. To the film’s credit, the characters opine on how dumb it is early and often. I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to have just left it out, though that might have enraged true comic book nerds.

#3 – Fun as the CGI adventure is, one of the coolest parts of the Ant-Man series is Ant-Man and company using their shrinking/growing tech to make random objects big or small. In past films, they have carried around a shrunken building on wheels with a suit-case like handle, kept a tank on a keychain just in case they need to make it big and use it against baddies and who could forget the scene where a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser is lobbed at villains during a car chase and grown to a crushing size?

To be fair, there is a lot of growing and shrinking and you need to take a minute to wrap your head around it. The fam were human sized in human world. They shrunk to visit tiny world. In tiny world, everything and everyone is tiny such that everything (because of perspective) seems normal sized. Ergo Ant-Man can shrink or grow and it still looks like he is getting smaller or enormous (even though enormous Ant Man in tiny world would be tiny subatomic not even as big as bacteria to us.)

#4 – It was nice to see everyone come together as a family in this film. We have seen the various characters work together but they really are a fun, fighting family unit in this film.

#5 – I might be the millionth person to offer an opinion on this but I’m not a fan of Evangeline Lilly’s haircut. Actually, I take that back. In one of the Ant-Man promos she was rocking a weird, short yet curly, almost hobbit-like do that should have gotten her hairdresser fired for malpractice, even if Lilly asked for it. There are just some cuts that should be straight up verboten. Here in the movie the short look is fine and I get it. She’s a scientist and a superhero and doesn’t have time to style and blow-dry a long do.

#6 – Has Michelle Pfeiffer made a deal with the devil to look more or less like she looked when she was early 90s Catwoman? Some aging actresses try to fight Father Time with plastic surgery but I don’t see any traces of that here. I don’t know if it’s good genes, a healthy lifestyle or what have you but dayum girl.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It’s funny how sometimes the most unlikely and humorous characters can carry a series during its downtimes. With Marvel, we come for Captain America and Iron Man and the main Avengers but sometimes the lesser knowns like Ant-Man can be developed into a franchise of their own. I mean, Ant-Man did come up with the solution to save the day in the last Avengers film, after all. Similarly, many of the DC films have been crap, yet Shazam! always seems to leave audiences happy.

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Movie Review – A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

You’ll laugh! You’ll cry!

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s A Futile and Stupid Gesture.

Brace yourself, noble reader.

What if I were to tell you that the man most responsible for the modern state of comedy is a man you most likely have never heard of?

Heck, I’m a comedy lover from way back and I had never heard of the late, great Doug Kenney. As a 1980s kid, I had a vague notion that National Lampoon was a company that made funny movies like Chevy Chase’s Vacation series but until I saw this film I had very little knowledge about how National Lampoon really started it all.

It’s the tale of Doug (Will Forte, perhaps in a role he was born to play) and Henry Beard (Domhnall Gleeson), two 1960s Harvard buddies who had a lot of fun when they were writers/editors for the Harvard Lampoon, Harvard University’s long-running comedy magazine.

When graduation threatens to tear the dynamic duo apart, wacky Doug talks straightlaced Henry into ditching law school (he has been accepted at several top schools) to run to New York to start a comedy magazine, “The National Lampoon” (done by leasing the name rights from Harvard.)

Numerous publishers tell the duo to eat dirt and/or pound sand but all it took was one yes and away they went. After struggling to get the publication off the ground, soon anyone interested in comedy is knocking on their door and their office becomes a veritable who’s who of the 1970s comedy scene, with pretty much every big name you can think of from that era getting their start in those hallowed halls.

Bill Murray. Chevy Chase. Gilda Radner. John Belushi. Christopher Guest. PJ O’Rourke. Harold Ramis. Anne Beatts. Michael O’Donaghue. The list goes on and on, many you have heard of, others you might not have but who were instrumental behind the comedic scenes. All got their start, not at Saturday Night Live as you (and even I) always thought but at National Lampoon.

Doug and Henry become big time successful dudes. While Henry maintains a level-head and handles the business side of things (sadly might be why you might not have heard of him until this movie and don’t worry I hadn’t either), Doug cracks under the pressure. All the deadlines, the demands from the publishing company, having to deal with the talent, working on a magazine and a radio show plus the need to continuously top his last project (always be funnier than your last project or else you lose fans) lead to Doug becoming an emotional wreck.

Alas, Doug falls victim to the twin vices of cocaine and women. He indulges in the white powder liberally, stuffing enough up his nose to kill a horse throughout the film. Though lucky to have a wonderful wife, Alex, he can’t control himself around women. Technically, most men can’t but most men never get the temptation. A comedy all star raking in the dough on the other hand? Too many babes to count. He loses his wife through cheating. He finds a loving girlfriend and just when you think he might have learned the error of his ways, alas, more cheating.

While Doug’s personal life is a wreck, his comedy success is non-stop. Becoming a millionaire from writing jokes would satisfy most people, but Doug is understandably irked when legendary comedy producer Lorne Michaels hires away all of his talent – his writers, his actors, pretty much everyone, to staff a new show you might have heard of, Saturday Night Live, Doug is bummed. To be fair, the movie claims that NBC pitched the idea of a National Lampoon comedy TV show to Doug’s publisher first and said publisher turned it down without Doug’s knowledge.

At any rate, Doug is forlorn from missing out his own opportunity to create TV gold and worse, that someone else spun gold from his yarn. While many would take their money and run at this point, Doug is motivated to go Hollywood and produces Animal House, what was at that time the highest grossing comedy movie ever made, ushering in a new era of raunchy comedy – all basically Doug’s revenge for SNL hiring his talent away.

I could go on but to do so would be a spoiler. Needless to say, the drugs wreck his brain. The loneliness of the cheating on and losing good women lifestyle takes its toll. Ultimately, he is his own worst enemy. While he has plenty to be proud of, he feels constant pressure to always top his last project. If his next project isn’t as funny, then he feels he has failed. Sadly, some family trauma from his youth comes into play, as he strives to be a success in the eyes of his parents but feels he can never please them.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy and I’m surprised it has taken me this long to see it. The film is mostly an homage to Kenny, but also a love letter from today’s comedians to the 1970s heavy hitters who started it all. Various comedic actors play those 1970s legends but to be honest, the film doesn’t really go out of its way to hire actors who look like those legends or at least try to make them up so they look like them. The film makes fun of this and of itself often. The story of an underdog who took a very unlikely project, turned it into a multi-million dollar empire, become filthy rich before he hit 30, got screwed by a greedy corporation only to come out on top with a hit movie of his own, all while dealing with drug and sex addiction…this is the stuff that Oscar films are made of and while the cast does great, I can’t help but think that if Netflix had invested a bit more money into this, they might have won some gold statues and been able to give Doug more of the recognition he deserved.

BONUS POINTS: Doug also made Caddyshack, which he thought was a lackluster sell-out movie, which is sad because I always thought it was very funny. Joel McHale, who starred alongside Chevy Chase in Community, does a decent Chevy Chase impression, though none of the actors really go out of their way to mimic their alter egos and you just have to pay attention to when the movie says who they are.

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TV Review – Yellowstone (2018 – Present) (And the Prequels!)

Stay away from the train station, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Yellowstone.

I’d heard rumors and mumblings that this show was good but avoided it for a long time. I started watching the first season in drips and drabs in late October/early November, somewhere around there, and at first I was a little bored with it but boy howdy if you stick with it, it really hits its stride by season 2.

The plot? Imagine Bonanza but with lots of murder and guns! My late baby boomer parents were huge fans of Westerns and always had their TV tuned to the Bravo Western channel, so I’m sad they missed out on this series because it is one of the best Westerns Hollywood has cranked out in awhile.

If you have never heard of Bonanza, it was the story of a family, the Cartwrights, who pretty much spent every episode protecting their vast ranch from being raided and stolen by a whole host of evildoers. But that show came out when, the 60s? So it was rather tame compared to today’s television.

Yellowstone follows the Dutton family and their multigenerational, longstanding quest to stop a constant onslaught from a seemingly neverending enemies from absconding with their cattle ranch. Seedy developers, crooked gas station casino operators, evil corporations and assorted criminals all want to get their mitts on the land.

In the villains’ defense, the Dutton ranch is said to be enormous, taking up a large part of the state of Montana and is so big it could be considered a state all by itself. Occasionally one of the so-called villains makes a legit point, i.e. why should one family control that much land when no one else is making anymore? The very future of Montana is at stake in that some want the land developed to build houses and businesses and bring more income and housing to the state. Others argue the last is best preserved in the Duttons’ hands as Montana is one of the last few bastions of undeveloped wilderness America has left.

John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is the defiant, stone-faced, tough as nails patriarch of the clan, the latest in a long line of Dutton patriarchs who have been tasked with the job of defending the ranch from villains who want it. Perhaps time is the greatest villain of all, for as we learn, privately owned family ranches and farms are becoming less and less profitable whereas the quickest path toward boku buckaroos is to sell and or develop land.

Hell, John’s adult kids even think maybe the best way to preserve the family legacy isn’t to hold onto the land but to liquidate it so as to preserve the family cash. If you thought your family was dysfunctional, the Dutton family includes Beth (Kelly Reilly) a constantly drunk, openly promiscuous, foul mouthed trainwreck yet somehow still functional to be a stock broker/corporate raider who knows how to use finance as a weapon to wield against the family enemies.

Her nemesis is brother Jamie (Wes Bentley), a Harvard educated lawyer who is highly skilled at using the law to thwart those who want the ranch.

Ah but while Beth and Jamie use finance and the law as weapons, John’s other son Kayce (Luke Grimes), a battle hardened army veteran and John’s ranch foreman/practically adopted son/eventual son in law/Beth’s love interest turned husband Rip (Cole Hauser) use actual weapons to dispatch of the various would be land grabbers who can’t be easily gotten rid of through Beth’s stock manipulations or Jamie’s lawsuits.

Sounds like a large ensemble cast? But wait…there’s more!

Gil Birmingham plays Chief Rainwater, one of the Dutton clan’s most admirable rivals and make no mistake, while there are a lot of scumbags who want the land, there are just as many decent folk with a good argument that the Duttons are, in fact, the ones who are the scumbags. At the top of the list is the Chief and his tribe, who once owned the land now known as the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. While his ancestors tried but failed to keep the land with bows and arrows, Rainwater is on a quest to take back the ranch using his own lawyers, financiers, casino revenue and his Harvard business education. Rainwater is a sometimes frenemy of John Dutton because on occasion, they team up against a scumbag who wants to turn the ranch into an airport or housing or shopping or other developments and Rainwater at least knows that Dutton shares his belief in keeping the land preserved and pristine, though Rainwater does want it back in the hands of the tribe. Rainwater finds help in a whole cast of tribal members as well as challenges from tribesmen and women who want to take over his post because they think they can do a better job of fighting the Duttons.

I could go on and on because the show really is that epic, grand and sweeping in size. Various subplots ensue, each as intriguing as the main plots. The Dutton ranch is run by a large contingent of cowboys (and some cowgirls), many of whom have taken a mafia-esque oath (and literal branding) of loyalty i.e. that they agree to do any dirty job, no matter how evil or illegal, to protect the ranch and in exchange, the Duttons promise they will always have a roof over their heads and a job.

Wow. That’s a lot, right?

But wait! There’s even more!

There are two prequel shows and honestly, the first, 1883, is one of the best Westerns (taking place in the old west and not today) that I have seen in many years.

1883 is all about the Oregon Trail and on the off chance you get to travel back in time and are offered the opportunity to ride the Oregon Trail, please decline, for it was the absolute worst. No other book, show, movie, or yes even the popular video game from my youth has convinced me more that the Oregon Trail sucked so, so much dirty ass.

This prequel follows a very early branch of the Dutton family tree as they make their way west on the trail in the hopes of claiming free land, the thought that the land already belonged to the natives being oblivious to the white pioneers at the time.

Real life married couple/country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill play James and Margaret Dutton who go west with children Elsa and John (Isabel May and Audie Rick.) The show is largely Elsa-centric as she narrates and comes of age on the trail, makes decisions, falls in love, drives cattle, fights off bandits, befriends some natives and fights others. When I watched, I made the joke that Elsa is the 1800s equivalent of the modern college kid who goes off to college then comes home for Thanksgiving freshmen year to inform his/her parents that they know more than the parents do. Elsa falls for a cowboy and suddenly becomes a cattle driver. She falls of a native and is suddenly a native clothing wearing, bow and arrow shooting warrior princess. You get the picture.

Sam Elliot and Lamonica Garrett star as Shea and Thomas, a civil war captain and one of his soldiers, now in the Pinkerton business. A group of German refugees hire them to guide them across the trail and the Duttons tag along. Sam steals the show, lamenting how ill suited the Germans are for the mission (yet somehow this doesn’t stop him from taking the money) and sure enough, sadness, hardship and death are constant companions. In this undeveloped wild country, the body count gets higher and higher with each episode as pioneers fall victim to bandit attacks, native attacks, snake bites, critter bites, some become large animal lunch, disease, bad water, weather, tornados, cold, I mean seriously, holy shit, the Oregon trail really was the worst.

But if 1883 is the story of how the Duttons found the Yellowstone Ranch (found being a misnomer because as the show explains, the natives were already there), then 1923 is the story of an early brutal war to defend it. Harrison Ford and Ellen Mirren star as Jacob and Cara Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the early 1900s Duttons. This one just began around the holiday season so I wont give too much away other than to say it pits the Duttons against Timothy Dalton and Jerome Flynn (the first of James Bond fame, the second of Game of Thrones fame), a rival rancher and a rich tycoon who want the land and frankly, like many throughout history, think the Duttons are totally bogarting way too much land. There’s a whole cast of adult Duttons in this generation but the most interesting thus far is Spencer (Brandon Sklenar), a WWI veteran who travels Africa as a big game hunter, too haunted by his war memories to come home but must to help the family protect the ranch.

STATUS: Shelfworthy. So very shelfworthy. Creator Taylor Sheridan (he has a part in the modern Yellowstone as a horse trainer) is the behind the camera star of the series. You might remember him as the police chief on Sons of Anarchy. He really created a whole world here. You wouldn’t think a show about Montana land rights and politics would be that interesting but it is.

Admittedly, at times the show is “a bit much.” Especially in the modern version, it is hard to believe that if so many body bags were being filled in all out war and bloody gunfights over a ranch, that the President wouldn’t declare martial law and take the land over but like many shows, suspension of disbelief is required. You’ll also need to suspend a lot of disbelief over Beth, who literally smokes and drinks enough to bring down a bull elephant every day, yet somehow is able to be a high functioning business woman.

But if you can get past the “bit muchness,” the show is a real hoot and very bingeable. If you have cable, then you should be able to get a free Peacock subscription which will let you watch the first four seasons. At this time, and at least in my understanding, you’ll need the Paramount Network to watch season 5. Not sure of other routes to the prequels though I watched them on Paramount Plus.

SIDENOTE: A year ago I thought Paramount Plus was very silly. Today I’m glad I bought a subscription because with Yellowstone, Tulsa King and a few other shows (there’s a werewolf show with Buffy actress Sarah Michelle Gellar I want to watch but haven’t yet), I think PP is poised to become what Netflix was 10 years ago and HBO was 20 years ago. Netflix and HBO Max, IMO are getting too deep into that hyper woke, devise a movie/show by committee to make everyone happy but skimp on the plot trend while Paramount is making shows for adults who want gritty drama.

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