What I'm Watching: Disenchantment

The new Matt Groening cartoon, at long last! Surely after 4000 years of the Simpsons, and a few seasons of Futurama over the 30-some years it was on and off and on and off, has taught him how to craft a tightly-wound, kickass cartoon!

Imagine the Dark Ages. Imagine plague, filth, terrible rulership by inbred aristocrats, superstition, religious lunatics praying to gods who aren't there, conquest by savage barbarians… Oh, what fun. Well, it could be. If anyone wrote "jokes" for this.

There's a princess Bean, who apparently you're supposed to sympathize with, but she's loathsome, the kind of shitty inbred mass-murdering spoiled aristocrat you'd hate in real life. An Elf named Elfo, because why even bother trying to make a joke (they did name an elf who left Elfland "Leavo", which was almost funny… Then beat it into the ground with "Returno"). And a shadow demon "Luci"… ugh… which everyone agrees is her cat. Nobody has a personality, just a one-beat repetitive routine. Bean wants to get drunk. Elfo is a goody-goody who wants to date the princess, but of course never will. Luci says "evil" things like "get drunk". It's like a world made of the NPCs from a CRPG. They walk in circles saying one of a few recorded lines.

The plots are tedious and unoriginal, even by the standards of extruded cartoon product like Simpsons. There's an occasional fight, which would at least change this from boring to some kind of adventure show? But they're short, slow-paced, lot of talking in between the occasional axe swing.

In comparison, watch an episode of Berserk, and you'll see great art, giant swords cleaving people apart, a fairy sidekick who's not awful, in a world far darker than this but far funnier, too. I'm fairly eager to see Castlevania S2 on Oct 26. I'm still watching thru the Godzilla anime, which is dumb as hell but amuses me at least half the time.

With anything Groening touches, of course, we need to talk about sexism and racism, see the Problem With Apu. In this case, the boring fantasy kingdom shows male honkies in charge, a few black (or blue & froglike) people off to the side. Women other than Bean are entirely subservient, medieval European gender roles followed 100% up through S1E5. The black vizier is of course evil and perverted; like, how could you expect otherwise from Matt?

I'm disenchanted with Disenchantment. It might be the dullest thing I have ever seen. I would ask Netflix for my money back, but, you know, watching other stuff.

★☆☆☆☆

What I'm Watching: Extinction

What I'm Watching: Extinction

Extraordinarily dull first 20 minutes of a working stiff having bad dreams of war against space invaders. Then a pretty solid chase/urban combat arc. Then the plot flips, which I did not see coming, a rare pleasure.

Go watch this on Netflix and come back so we can talk about it.

SPOILERS: Please see the movie first. So copy this text and view it in advanced rot13 encryption

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But the reveal and resolution is great, this is a perfectly fine actual-science fiction movie.

★★★★½

The Wolf

These are amazing. The most overwrought, insane, semi-plausible haxxoring through shitty wireless printers. Great production values, reasonably well scripted. I'm always inclined to favor Slater's side in a movie, especially as a prankster/villain. ★★★★½ and I'm excited to watch more of these ads.

Their previous "The Fixer" series with Mike from Breaking Bad was awful, he can't even pronounce half the technology.

Obviously, no sane person would run a wireless printer and expect it to be safe. Also no sane person would run an immune-deficiency Windows box, HP or not, and expect it to be safe. Get a Mac, or install FreeBSD, OpenBSD, or OpenIndiana in lieu of Solaris, or if you really hate yourself, Linux (inevitable comment: "well, actually, it's GNU/Linux ahem may I show you my fedora collection"). At one time HP-UX was good, but that was a long time ago.

Liberation in Art but not in Your Stupid Life: 2112, Real Genius, TRON, and Ready Player One

In which art is not blamed for the problems of the world:

2112

A man in a controlled, music-less dystopia finds a guitar, learns to play, and feels joy. The priests of Syrinx who rule the system in the name of "average" (a la Harrison Bergeron) crush him. The ancients of rock who created the guitar return and liberate the system with a prog rock concert.

Our world could use this beauty
Just think what we might do
Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There's something here that's as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

Don't annoy us further!
Oh, we have our work to do
Just think about the average
What use have they for you?
Another toy that helped destroy
The elder race of man
Forget about your silly whim
It doesn't fit the plan!

TRON

A game designer dude lives in exile above his arcade, robbed by evil AI & corporate suit. His ex and her dork boyfriend let him into the building, and he goes into the computer world, which the evil AI & corporate suit rule as well. The ancient soul of the machine gives the dork's program access and lets it play Breakout against the AI, and the game designer sacrifices himself, liberating the inner world, deleting the evil AI & firing the corporate suit, restoring the game designer to power in the real world.

Greetings, programs!

Real Genius

A too-young, too-uptight student works for an evil professor, but makes friends with other weirdo students and loosens up. The evil professor and the military trick the weirdos and make a death ray from their work. The ancient student in the closet emerges and the weirdos hack the death ray and turn the evil professor's house into popcorn.

All for freedom and for pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

Ready Player One

A boy in a crapsack world, literally in a trailer home on top of trailer homes, finds solace in ancient movies and games from a book by an ancient nerd. The corporation which rules the world and the virtual world crushes him and his friends. The ancient nerd's program runs, and gives the boy power and he liberates the virtual world and the real one.

After a long silence she asked, "So what happens now?"

Just Stories

These stories, they're just stories of their time.

2112 didn't end the "Moral Majority" or censors. The PMRC of Syrinx was founded 6 years later to destroy rock 'n roll and rap; the PMRC is gone but Tipper Gore still lives and hates, and music is still censored; remember Fuck You, by CeeLo Green? You probably only heard the censored radio version "Forget You".

TRON didn't end centralized computing, AI, or thieving corporate assholes. Today EA has ruined large gaming, and Google & Amazon make AIs that will probably kill us all.

Real Genius didn't end all CIA/military weapons. Today the babykillers have unmanned drones that can fly anywhere and assassinate anyone (and any bystanders/witnesses).

Ready Player One didn't make the real Internet a "safe space". Facebook, Twitter, or Google can still track you, filter what you see, and give Nazis access to harass you.

This is not a failing of art, it exists for fun or catharsis, and to give you coping strategies. It is not a magic spell to fix everything.

So, you can do something inspired by art; make art yourself; or, if you are completely useless, just whine unreasonably about art and be held in contempt.

'80s Movie Bundles on iTunes

Just saw iTunes has a bunch of $19.99 bundles. Not all the films are my thing, but the rest fill out a library well, might be worth the few extra bucks over just the "good" movies.

Last one with Angel Heart, Ran, and Manhunter (the good Red Dragon movie) at the artsy end, and fucking Kickboxer and Earth Girls are Easy at the trash end, whiplash. First Blood is not what the uneducated think of as "Rambo", it's a shithead-sheriff vs. PTSD Vietnam vet story.

  • Iconic Films of the '80s
    • Naked Gun
    • Airplane!
    • Footloose
    • Urban Cowboy
    • Clue
    • Pretty in Pink
    • Some Kind of Wonderful
    • Terms of Endearment
    • Crocodile Dundee
    • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Best of the '80s
    • Big
    • Raising Arizona
    • Wall Street
    • Romancing the Stone
    • Big Trouble in Little China
    • 9 to 5
    • Commando
    • Working Girl
    • The Fly
    • The Man From Snowy River
  • Classic '80s Collection
    • Karate Kid
    • Steel Magnolias
    • Gandhi
    • Ghostbusters
    • The Natural
    • Stripes
    • Tootsie
    • The Blue Lagoon
    • Fright Night
    • School Daze
  • 10 Iconic Films of the '80s
    • Endless Love
    • Manhunter
    • Dirty Dancing
    • Earth Girls are Easy
    • Evil Dead 2
    • Drugstore Cowboy
    • Angel Heart
    • Kickboxer
    • Rambo: First Blood
    • Ran

'80s All Sunday Every Sunday Music

Oh look time has reversed itself and we are now back in the '80s! Forget about 2018, that's some dystopian Blade Runner bullshit, we'll all be long dead from nuclear war before that happens! Time to hit the mall to chat up hot chicks with big hair, and buy that new Van Halen album. Then later go see Real Genius and The Goonies, in theatre.

Sleep and dream is all I crave
I travel far across the Milky Way
'Til we meet again some other day
Where silence speaks as loud as words
And the Earth returns to what it was before

What I'm Watching: Pi

One of my favorite movies, mainly for that Clint Mansell, Orbital, Autechre, Gus Gus, etc. soundtrack. Really should just set up a CRT and VCR, find the videotape, and play it on loop like I did when I was younger (along with Hardware, The Crow, and the Tim Burton Batman movie; don't judge me, I judge myself).

"Life isn't just mathematics, Max."

Tromeo & Juliet

Written by James Gunn & Lloyd Kaufman. Narrated by Lemmy. More sex & violence than you really deserve, but Troma's there to give it to you.

Disney is shocked, SHOCKED I say, that James Gunn made dirty jokes; some Nazi motherfucker calls him out and Disney bends over for it? Fuck Disney right in the mousehole. Now the only theatre movies I have left are Deadpool.

What I'm Watching: Burn Before Reading

Burn Before Reading: Oddly a Cohen Bros movie I've never seen. And no great loss. Stupid people do stupid things, with no motivation, no interest, and no consequences as their crimes are covered up by bored CIA functionaries. I had genuinely maybe two laughs in the entire film, and neither are "comical" moments. ★★☆☆☆ if that.

Why was this film made? Were the Cohens contractually obliged to deliver something and so they mad-libbed or cut-up to make a script, and then somehow filmed it, without anyone noticing it wasn't really anything?

What I'm Watching: The Cloverfield Paradox

Cloverfield Paradox: I was bored and drunk and saw this while queue-cleaning. So buckle up, this is gonna be a rough ride. This makes the Lost in Space movie look like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Earth is "out of power", whatever that means: They still have gasoline, if in long traffic lines, and electricity and computers and lights everywhere, but somehow they're starving because no power. The Sun hasn't gone out, but they don't know about solar, wind, or hydro power? They can't bring nuclear reactors online?

But now there's a MAGIC particle accelerator IN SPACE, which starts up with the sound of a '57 Chevy turning over, visualized by purple neon tubes on a spinny disk, and it'll fix everything if it ever works. Which is not what particle accelerators are for at all.

So, multi-racial, multi-national crew, many from countries that have no manned space program, speaking their own languages instead of Russian-English pidgin real astronauts use. Station's gigantic, with artificial gravity and weird spinning bits attached to a spinning core—whee like a carnival ride!—heavy bulkheads, but no seatbelts on any chair, and they have a fucking foosball table. It's completely outside our ability to build in the next few decades, and yet Earth tech looks like the present. The writer clearly has no goddamned idea what our tin-can & duct-tape space programs are like, never spent 10 minutes watching NASA TV.

Spoiler times, as if anyone cares.

The MAGIC particle accelerator is some kind of FTL star drive (so double MAGIC), and they're so fucking stupid they say "did we destroy Earth? Kill billions of people?" Do you see the Sun, Moon, planets, familiar constellations, and a debris cloud? NO, you fucking moron? Then you didn't blow up the Earth! No "astronaut" would think that for a second in this situation! Take angles to distant pulsars and figure out where you actually are. Goddamn I want to shove a sextant up the writer's ass. Later: The writer thinks a constellation will be "upside down" if you're 2 AU away; does he think the stars are a geocentric shell and the station's now on the other side of it?

Oh no the gyroscope is missing, possibly because the moron writer thinks it'd vanish if you move FTL or something. The woman in the wall is not that weird by comparison.

Remember when I complained that Lost in Space 3D printer wouldn't make a gun until the Robot overrode it? You shouldn't make a gun on a space station. But that's OK, guy's full of worms. MAGIC severed arm like Thing Addams or the Night Gallery "Return of the Sorcerer".

Nothing here makes any sense. The bullshit excuse of a "paradox" from particles being in two "dimensions" (parallel universes is the au currant term for the last century, dumbass writer) wouldn't allow MAGIC to fucking happen. Someone being in the wrong place and phasing over, maybe, lot of conservation of mass/energy violation there. "Spooky MAGIC shit" is not a symptom of parallel universes.

Cut to Earth and half-assed tie-in to Groverfield. Asshole husband doctor drives while texting on his phone. He serves no purpose in the film and could be replaced with a framed photo. Giant monsters are also not present on any parallel universe Earth, because they'd require MAGIC to stand up.

Reality: Water in space is interesting stuff. In low-G, it makes a bubble because surface tension is higher than internal pressure. Space is "cold" but because there's nothing to conduct heat, just like a vacuum thermos, nothing loses heat rapidly. This fucking movie: Water exposed to vacuum instantly freezes into jagged ice spears and cryogenic ice cubes! Where did all the heat go? What's splitting the surface tension? FUCK.

Reality: Space station supply ships are minimally-fueled, barely able to be lifted to orbit and maneuver to dock, then return mostly by gravity. This fucking movie: "Pods" can fly across the Solar System in short enough time a passenger wouldn't die. Inconceivable with any drive that wouldn't also solve the "power crisis".

Reality: Debris blasted from a station would move steadily away in a parallel orbit. This fucking movie: Debris orbits around a pole like a stripper. "We can activate the thing remotely!" "No, I must heroically die and get out of this fucking movie!"

Jensen's awful sprightly and Terminator-like for someone who just had major surgery and blood loss a few hours ago. Continuity, right? Who fucking needs it.

Sending the plans for the MAGIC device to the second parallel is an extra stupid idea, since it'll fuck up reality every time it's used. Having it on the first parallel is bad enough, but at least it can't destroy or merge with the other station again. With two of them working, each parallel would fuck up the other. So stupid.

"Tell them not to come back (to a theatre showing a JJ Abrams film)! Tell them not to come back! AM I SHOUTING LOUD ENOUGH FOR AN OSCAR?!"

☆☆☆☆☆ and everyone is now dumber