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Entertainment Rex: Stewart’s June 2021 Entertainment Ratings

June 29, 2021 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Loki

My wife wants us to paint our bathroom.

I sometimes worry that she has forgotten who she married. There is nothing in the world I would rather do than nothing. Every so often she has grand designs on some project or another. She’ll ask “Do you want to [do a thing I don’t want to do] today?” as if she doesn’t know the answer.

(The answer is that I don’t)

She argues that every single wall in our house is the same shade of gray. There is no variation anywhere. There is gray, and that’s it. We bought a house that was painted on one can of paint, I think.

I had never noticed this before because who really acknowledges paint that much? Probably everyone but me.

I tried to negotiate.

“We can paint the rooms if we can make each room a different garish color. Cyan here, red there, Seahawks green elsewhere. Some orange and lavender, too”.

She said no.

(I figure if I’m going to change something I don’t notice, I should change it to something I WILL notice)

Our compromise is that we are painting the bathroom. Like she wanted.

I did get to pick cyan as the color, though!

Kind of. I liked a cyan leaning more towards powder blue. She liked one that hints more at turquoise.

We chose (“we” chose) the latter.

Anyway, as I write this, she is up putting glitter wallpaper on the wall of her poledance room. My favorite home projects are the ones she does without me while I pretend not to notice she is doing them.


MOVIES

5/31 – 6/12:

Obviously A Quiet Place Part 2 was my welcome back moment to the movies, which was a HUGE relief when the last movie I had seen in cinemas was… Bloodshot.

For something like fifteen months, my last movie experience was Bloodshot.

That was no good.

Imagine having THAT taste in your mouth for over a year.

The entirely unnecessary and unneeded sequel to the brilliant A Quiet Place was, just like the first, gorgeously made and put together. I kind of want the folks in production behind the AQP movies to make everything. Let John Krasinski direct every movie from here out.

That said, the story was full of forced drama and characters doing relatively dumb things just because. It was still a really good movie, don’t get me wrong… but its predecessor never had me thinking “Wait, why is this happening?”; it just had me on the edge of my seat. This movie sometimes sends a character off to investigate shit that they have no realistic business having a desire to investigate, and I sat there thinking, “Movie, this is very much a ‘JUST BECAUSE’ scene, come on”.

Crank, man. I was at least somewhat excited to watch that; I had heard good things about how frantic and fun it is. Sorry, though; I thought it was trash. Even when I went to grade it, I thought initially it was a full star, but then… I couldn’t even give it that. I’m not going to ignore the homophobic slurs and the god awful rape scene that has aged as poorly as Matthew Perry, but even putting those aside for a moment: this wasn’t even fun. Statham’s character had a strange amount of down time for a guy who was NEVER SUPPOSED TO STOP GOING. He spends a lot of time sitting down or just walking about. THIS IS NOT WHAT I WAS PROMISED, MOVIE.

And then, oh yeah. That rape scene. So… half a star.

I’ve seen Clue a bunch in my life. I decided to rewatch it because I wanted some dependable joy. It’s FINALLY hitting the point where I don’t think it is unquestioned brilliance, but if it takes me 5 or 6 viewings to figure that out? It’s still a 5 star flick. Some of the best lines in moviedom live here; I’ll never not love stuff like “Why is the car stopped” / “It’s frightened”.

In that same vein, a lot of my more highly reviewed flicks here were re-watches. 21 Jump St, Ready or Not, Cape Fear; I’ve seen these all before. Ready Or Not and Cape Fear were watched with friends who’d never seen them before and wanted to get in on them; 21 Jump St was because it was alphabetically at the top of my Plex Playlist and sometimes scrolling is hard.

And, look, sometimes when you venture into new territory, you get Crank or Scooby-Doo.

That’s not fair. Scooby Doo is a high 2 stars. I mean, it does exactly what it sets out to do; I’m just not the target audience. Take out the really undesirable extended farting scene and make the visual effects somewhat less abhorrently horrendous, and this is an easy 2.5, the Average Film by my ratings.

Maggie is a serviceable indie flick that stars ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER for some reason and has an original spin on zombies. It feels a bit empty, but the story and the sight of ARNOLD in a low-budget indie flick are worthwhile. Bumblebee would have been much higher if it didn’t resort to big robots having a smashy fight, but really? What did I expect from it? The rest of it was so much better than that, though.

6/13 – 6/27:

I had a fantastic run of movies dating back to having seen A Quiet Place in the first half of the month (6/12) through the original Dawn of the Dead on 6/17. This was halted dead in its track when John from Pint O Comics asked me to watch SpaceHunter for a video review.

I always get a kick out of my viewing patterns. From 6/18 to 6/25? One movie. Over the next two days? Four. Maybe more! I might watch the third Naked Gun movie after I write this!

(EDIT: I did not)

The Naked Guns still mostly hold up, even if they seem as juvenile as they are when you watch them as a full-fledged adult. There is a bit of respect to be shown for a movie that doesn’t say no to any joke. Those flicks are just gag after gag after gag, and more land than miss. Honsestly? The whole baseball game that makes up the climax to the first flick is GOLD.

Three stars is probably a bit high for The Conjuring 3 considering that franchise has jumped the shark to the tune of including an evil human who has magical dust… but it was under two hours and kept me engaged. And Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga just work SO DAMN HARD to lift that franchise up to their level. You have to respect that.

Django Unchained became my second Quentin Tarantino movie to score a 4.5 (Inglourious Basterds was the first). QT remains the most uneven filmmaker on the planet as far as I am concerned. My scores for his flicks are all over the map (I’ve only seen six of his pictures so far, but I have two 1.0’s, two 4.5’s, a 2.5, and a 3.5). I might as well get the last four in someday and see where they fall.

Both Dawns of the Dead are so damn good for entirely different reasons. One has a mood that disarms you by how rapidly it shifts from hopeful to hopeless and back; the other is just a crazy zombie horror-action flick. And it’s funny that aside from being inside a mall, they are entirely different movies. I really like the James Gunn and Zack Snyder took just the barest bones of the original, made an entirely new product, and still honored the predecessor by calling their movie a remake.

As for the rest: The Nice Guys made me laugh out loud several times, which is a great way to disarm the viewer for the surprisingly good neo-noir tale it spins. Homewrecker was very amateurishly made, but it was okay, I guess. There were parts I really didn’t like, but the acting was on point for an indie thriller.

READING

I finally followed through on my long-stewing desire to get back into manga in a very head-on way, so I went to Barnes & Noble and dropped some coin on several volume #1’s that looked promising.

Taking the picture on my comic cover game table was probably not ideal, but…

I know, I know… I never read Fullmetal Alchemist yet! What the hell is my problem? Well, I had enough faith in it that I bought the first 6 volumes (the 3-in-1’s are $15 bucks each, and you can’t pass that up). I know it’s one of the more highly regarded series in the genre; I just never got around to it.

These were all recent purchases–within the last five days–so I’ll confess to having only read two so far. The first being Komi Can’t Communicate. It’s the story of a young high school girl who has such crippling social anxiety about talking to people that everyone assumes she is cool and aloof. A new classmate figures her out, though, and they strike up a friendship whereupon he promises he’ll help her meet her goal: to make 100 friends.

It’s the kind of book that works for me because it’s funny and relies a good bit on facial gags. The story can be a bit simplistic at times–and there is a a trans character for whom I need to read more to see if her transness is going to just be a joke since the main character has a few moments of being really confused about how she used to be a boy–but I did genuinely laugh out loud a few times.

The other I’ve gotten through has been Spy x Family, and I have no earthly idea if I’m supposed to call that book Spy Family or Spy And Family or Spy Ex Family or what.

Maybe Spy By Family?

Spy Times Family?

I have no clue.

I’ve been going with Spy and Family in my head.

ANYWAY, it’s about as master spy (who frequently comes across as an amateur goof) who has to pretend to have a family to get close to his next target… and prevent a war from breaking out. Unbeknownst to him, the girl he adopts can read minds, and the woman he brings in as a pseudo-wife is a professional assassin who is also using him for her own cover identity.

It’s a pretty typical Shonen Jump kind of title. Action and humor and weird circumstances. I could see myself getting into it because I am a god damn basic manga fan.

REVIEW: “The Promised Neverland” has one of the best stories of a modern  anime – UNIVERSITY PRESS

The Promised Neverland‘s first volume really caught me. It’s weird to me that I have a relatively hard time accepting modern independent comic books because I can’t get the idea out of my head that if I am reading a COMIC BOOK, I want SUPERHEROES. But I love manga like this, which is outside of that genre. I really can’t explain it. I feel like I look at modern indie comics and just think “this is a rip-off of what manga has been doing for decades”.

And then I feel like a hipster.

The premise here is that there is an orphanage and three central protagonists who accidentally discover their home and their “mom” are not what they’ve been led to believe.

TPN joined Komi Can’t Communicate as books I enjoyed enough that I went right out today and bought volumes 2 through 4 of each. I’m definitely sticking with those series for the time being.

Nichijou - My Ordinary Life (TV) - Anime News Network

Nichijou suffered for the same reason I initially went in on it: similarities to Azumanga Daioh. I could never get that series out of my head as I read Nichijou, and the latter was just nowhere near as good. It LOOKED so much like it, but the heart and wit weren’t up to what I wanted from it. Of the books I purchased, that’s the one I most definitively am backing out on right away. Too bad.

I should just read Ken Azuma’s other book sometime instead.

So that’s four down, with Blue Exorcist and Full Metal Alchemist still unread by the end of the month.

I also did a couple of batches of comics for an old Wizard Top 100 list, and but they got their own article HERE and here.

TELEVISION

Loki (TV series) - Wikipedia

I caught the first episode of Loki on Disney Plus, and… we will see. You can’t argue with the performances and capabilities of Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston, but at the same time… The MCU gave us three “phases” of movies to build up to a final two-part cinematic conclusion regarding the Infinity Gauntlet. And then this show made the Infinity Stones literally as useful as paperweights in the first episode. I just am uneasy with the idea that the TVA has as much power as they do that they can effortlessly nullify Infinity Stones.

Not that the MCU has been amazingly grounded in a while. Carol Danvers has godlike power. Thor bathed in neutron star. I get it. But this power creep suddenly feels like a bridge too far. Twenty-three films worth of plot for a “Oh, we all have those; we use them as paperweights” joke.

I will say that episodes two and three did more for me than the first. It all comes down to watching Tom Hiddleston play the role he was born to own. He is so effortlessly charming and fun. And he mystery the show is building is working for me, making me forget the aspects I didn’t care for initially.

Hell's Kitchen on Twitter: "Surpriiiiise shawtayyy! 🥳 Yup, we're returning  for season 20 with #HellsKitchen: Young Guns May 31 on @FOXTV.… "

Holy shit, Hell’s Kitchen is back already?! What is this show on, like three times a year?

It must be. Regardless, we will watch it. We’re two episodes in so far on this season, themed for having competitors all under the age of 25.

I also gave the first episode of MODOK on Hulu a spin, but I didn’t even get through the premiere. It just didn’t seem that great. I didn’t laugh or chuckle or really feel anything at all. I was hoping for something on the level of other animated comics-based shows like Harley Quinn or Invincible, but nope… pretty bland.


And that is it for June. According to Letterboxd, I am at 98 movies on the year, putting me at JUST UNDER the pace for 200 by year’s end. I imagine the second half of the year will be harder to stay on target for than the first, so I’ll adjust my expectations. Can I get to 180?

Anyway, also feel free to check out my podcast, the Stew World Order. We have a new guest on every month and we review a randomly drawn comic book movie every episode. We’re on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and most other podcasty places. Our upcoming 7/1/21 episode is Captain America: Civil War!

Until next time… take care!