I’m rewatching SMALLVILLE

Aiight so hey, Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling started a podcast, because that’s what part-time celebrity actors do these days, especially if they were on a successful TV show more than a decade ago.

Admittedly I’ve been following it because it takes me back to some of the fun that I had whilst watching Smallville in my teens. It’s also a hilarious look at the absolute kitsch and schmalz that formed a huge part of my identity at age 17. I laugh so that I do not cringe.

Anyway, this week I showed my wife the first two episodes. It just validates what Tanner Guzy said, about how a present version of yourself should always be able to beat up on a past version of yourself.

I want to go find 17 year-old Graham, running on the treadmill at 24Hr Fitness with his Discman, playing CDs that he burned off of WinMX, listening to teenage emotional rage music, and tell him what an absolutely unqualified P***Y HE IS so that he will look back at those workouts 20 years later, in his house with his wife and kids and dog and Hemi Durango, and just laugh.

Though I supposed I’m already there, so thanks, Present Graham.

Channing Tatum is the gayest straight dude alive

And I say that with all affection.

Legitimately, I like the dude. I have yet to see a movie where he wasn’t likeable. Granted I haven’t seen all his movies, so who knows.

The wife and I watched The Lost City last week and it was really funny. Movies about writers tend to really exaggerate the headaches we deal with, but they do it for dramatic and comedic chops, which is kind of the point of the format.

What I didn’t know is that cover models are a huge deal in romance, and they have their own cultish followings. Tatum plays a cover model for Sandra Bullock’s character, Loretta.

There’s some raunchy humor in it here and there, but overall it’s pretty clever for its genre, and a lot of fun. Channing Tatum, who IRL got his start modeling and dancing, basically spends the whole movie playing Channing Tatum, just a little bit dumber. At the same time you can tell he’s playing it straight and taking it seriously, and the effort makes the movie watchable. Plus the dude is jacked, and I respect that.

He was in the running to play Captain America before Marvel handed it to Evans. He was supposed to be Gambit years ago, but Fox is morally opposed to making good X-Men movies since Days of Future Past, so who knows what will happen. But I liked him in this one and you should watch it.

Why Marvel Phase Five Will Suck

Quantumania is a sequel to the Ant-Man movies that will continue to milk a dry horse. My guess is it will take us down some road where Scott and Hope get to do a Science(TM) version of the multiverse so Disney can sell more toy variants of the same crap.

Secret Invasion is a huge confusing mess in the comics, and it’ll be simplified into something that gives YouTubers easy fodder for critique videos. At least those guys will cover their rent for the year.

Guardians Vol. 3 still has the appeal that the first movie earned it, so I’m not going to curse it outright. Gunn is back in the director’s chair, we’ll see what happens. I’ll give it a fair shot. The Guardians movies continue to be the best Star Wars movies Disney has made.

Echo. DOA. A deaf version of Daredevil that will probably not have a whole lot going on. Like Jessica Jones with more karate.

Loki 2. DOA. Didn’t even finish the first one.

The Marvels. Only thing I’m looking forward to here is dunking on the idiots who look at Captain Marvel’s box office returns as if they weren’t insanely propped up by Infinity War and Endgame.

Blade. Zero hope here, that saga ended in 2004 with Snipes. Disney can’t do this character right any more than they can do Deadpool. It’ll be too soft and clean and he’s not that character.

Ironheart. This story was dead in print before it even hit shelves, it’ll be deader than that on the screen.

Agatha. Bro. This was a dead meme five minutes after WandaVision ended.

Daredevil Born Again. No. They’ll never make it as good as it was when Netflix had it. This will make Cox and D’Onofrio regret signing on.

Blacktain America: Great Reset. Couldn’t just…make a Falcon movie, could ya

Thunderbolts. Because we want more Dancing Zemo, and we need him to lead his own Suicide Squad.

Are you tired yet?

I’m tired.

Cinema on Life Support

Took the wife to see Maverick last night, and it was awesome the second time–despite being stuck between a cussy meathead on my left, and a Latino couple on the right, the woman of whom had never seen Top Gun, and was asking her boyfriend in Spanish the whole time WTF was going on.

Anyway, I’ve griped about this before and I will yet gripe about it in the future. SDCC is going on this week so Disney is blasting out its ongoing comic book desecration project known as Marvel Phases Four Through Six.

Pretty much everything else coming out this year is a sequel or spinoff of something that was good before and is just tired now. Top Gun is of course a 1980s American staple, but it’s the rare exception that got a late sequel which didn’t suck. The Mission: Impossible movies are adding a two-part finale that starts next year, and I’ll probably see it because those movies are predictably exciting. But by the time that series wraps, it will have been in cinemas off and on for 28 years. 0_0

I’m not even wasting time on superhero movies on streaming services anymore. I could watch them for free in my car on the way to work and I still won’t do it. I’m just done. And that’s increasingly the case with movie theaters in general. It’s all too corporate, too calculated, too much of the same thing digested and discarded over and over again.

What’s some older stuff I should watch? Drop me some recs. Hopefully American cinema gets its act together.

Buy physical media: ‘Merican DVD edition

It’s only natural that we watch one of the most important American documentaries ever on an annual basis. But there are others, too.

I’m always partial to these classic Schulz cartoons as long as Frank Welker is in there somewhere doing a voice.

Haven’t seen either of these. I’m curious about Saints and Strangers, and I’ve heard good things about Sons of Liberty.

And hey, speaking of the Sons, check out this Disney classic. It’s pro-America so they won’t put it on their streaming service, because NO BALLS.

Check out this song from the movie. It SLAAAAAAAAAPS.

What else do you watch leading up to ID4?

TOP GUN: MAVERICK

Really freaking good movie. Why?

Lots of reasons.

–It’s a 36-year sequel to a classic from the 80s that neither negates, retcons, or destablizes its predecessor.

–While we don’t find out what happened with Pete and Charlie, we get enough context on Pete and Penny to know that she’s one of his other frequent flames from the intervening years.

–Tom Cruise is still a fun actor to watch

–The action scenes were incredible, and full of tension.

–Jeez, Miles Teller can act? Never saw that before.

–The respect for Val Kilmer and the way they worked him into the movie was superb. Bro has throat cancer IRL and apparently has to feed himself with a tube these days.

–I’m a sucker for multigenerational stories, especially when they’re done well. Rooster’s similarities to Goose were a little on-the-nose at times, but they had to be, I think; this is a dude who was a little kid in the first movie, lost his dad as a child, and now his mother’s gone. He’s clinging to what’s most important to him (his family) and that comes through beautifully over and over.

–Maverick and Rooster teaming up to overcome their greatest interpersonal obstacles in the third act is a thing of beauty. I’m so starved for good, masculine characters in popular entertainment these days. This was a bro movie for bros and bro-ettes alike.

–Zero postmodern politics is an absolute plus in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two. Kudos to them for keeping it out of the film.

I’ll leave you with Drinker’s video, with the usual content warning for strong language.

I’m hearing excellent things about the new TOP GUN…

Haven’t seen it yet, but The Drinker couldn’t say enough good things about it. Language warning right off the bat.

I’m thrilled to hear that this movie’s so good. I’m going to see it this week. It’s not often in this day and age that we get a thirty-year sequel in the “win” column, so enjoy it.

If you liked it and don’t want to spoil it, sound off in the comments.

Is there anything to look forward to in entertainment?

Definitely not an invalid question. I used to have several books per year on pre-order, but so many series have let me down that I stopped sinking money into it. Lockwood? Fifth book sucked. Arc of a Scythe? Third book was ass. Red Rising? Ignore everything after the original trilogy.

So what am I looking forward to? Well, in books, there are a couple of things:

THE NEW EDITION OF THE SILMARILLION

This will match the Illustrated LOTR that I got this year. Beautiful book. The illustrations were done by Tolkien himself. Legend. Comes out in November, mine’s preordered.

DAVE BUTLER WROTE A TIME TRAVEL BOOK WITH MIKE ROTHMAN

Dave tweeted out the pic this weekend. Excellent cover art, and I have enjoyed books by both of these men, so I expect that a collaboration between the two of their sizeable brains will be very engaging. Dunno when it comes out so stay tuned.

LARRY CORREIA HAS TONS OF STUFF COMING OUT

He always does. He’s Larry. There will be more Forgotten Warrior, more MHI, all that stuff. He’s the one author that I trust to constantly provide me with good fiction.

CRITICAL DRINKER HAS A STANDALONE BOOK THIS AUGUST

I love the Drinker. I tried his other series and didn’t care for it due to content issues. This one sounds awesome though. I’ve got the audio on preorder.

I mean, that all right there is pretty cool.

Are there any good movies coming out?

Short answer is no. I’ve got zero hype for the new Doctor Strange. I don’t trust Disney at all. I’m already hearing that it’s been banned in China so they either included Tibet or gay people in it, two things China hates almost as much as it hates black people. Disney will bravely tell Americans what their education laws have to be, but they’ll bend over and take it for Chinese dollars. They don’t get mine.

Disney’s also making a live-action Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, but it has Seth Rogen in it, and he’s a giant piece of manure, so yeah, no dollars for him either.

There’s that Top Gun sequel, but it’s a thirty-year sequel. It’s just going to be a rehash of the first one with Maverick as the instructor instead of the student. The cinematography will be cool, I don’t trust the story though.

Jurassic World: Dominion…man, Fallen Kingdom was fun but stupid as hell and full of holes. I have no expectations for this to be any better. But I did just show my kids the first movie so if we catch up on the series, we’ll see.

Lightyear? More openly homosexual propaganda. I understand that this isn’t the fault of the animators or the people who worked on it outside of the writer’s room…so maybe turning this movie into a bomb will make them push back against said writer’s room. Stop. Pushing. Sexuality. On. Kids.

(Then again most of Disney’s customers are childless millennials who spend half their paycheck on cat food? Who knows.)

Thor Four: More Thor. Ha. Ha, ha ha ha. No. Just no. Stop.

Black Adam. Hey, everyone’s tired of superhero movies AND everyone’s tired of The Rock, so if we make The Rock a superhero, maybe that’ll cancel out?

Hocus Pocus 2. Up yours, Disney. This movie didn’t need a sequel. The Sanderson sisters are dead, they can’t come back, otherwise the first movie was pointless. And it’s just gonna be woke anyway. The main present-day characters are all chicks.

Black Panther 2 STAAAAAAAAHP

Shazam 2 STAAAAAAAAAAAAHP

Avatar 2 STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHP

Enchanted 2 STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHP

Okay you know what, YOU KNOW WHAT, I OFFICIALLY CAN’T ANYMORE. YOU LOOK THROUGH THIS LIST AND FIND SOMETHING THAT WASN’T PUSHED OUT OF THE BACK END OF A DOG. I’M DONE.

GO READ BOOKS.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 was pretty good

I know it’s been out for a few weeks and the time for Hot Takes and Clickbait Reviews is gone, but as I’ve stressed this week, I do not care. I’m going to do things when it is good for me to do them.

Last week I took the family to see Sonic 2. Plenty of fun, just as good as the first one, with new characters and a new adventure. The whole “Tom’s sister-in-law gets married” thing was dragged out just a little too much but there were funny parts in it, and that’s what a movie like that is supposed to do.

I mentioned in the first one that Ben Schwartz voicing Sonic was a good idea because it didn’t distract me, I didn’t know who he was or what he looked like. Sonic 2 made me feel validated because Idris Elba was the voice of Knuckles, and that was a little too much. He’s too famous for that, I think. But I’m just a late-30s dad, nobody cares as long as I cough up the money, lol.

Anyway, here’s to the big studios hopefully pulling their heads out of their butts and making more family-friendly stuff with good plots and actual character development in them.

Channel Recommendation: Valliant Renegade

I follow a couple of pop culture channels on YT, specifically ones that report on movie industry news. One such is Valliant Renegade, run by a guy who’s worked in said industry for the last twenty years or so, and knows a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff going on with the major studios.

In his most recent episode he teamed up with a writer called WDW Pro, who runs a website covering the Disney parks in California and Florida. Not really my forte, but with the recent developments in Florida, I appreciated his expertise.

Basically this video covers why the FL government decided to strip Disney’s special status as a borderline independent state within Florida’s borders, how that special status came to be in the first place, and what Disney had been doing with it. Give it a watch.