Category: Weekly Reviews

 

 

Many years ago, when I was a lowly college student, I was walking with my roommate to a bar in downtown St. Cloud, Minnesota. As we progressed, we approached a group of people, two men and their two female dates.

As we passed the foursome, I was suddenly stopped in my tracks. My glasses went flying. Without halting and without any exchange of words, one of the dudes had punched me in the nose.

To say I was stunned would be an understatement.

So, I can relate to the women being randomly punched on city streets.

However, aside from our gender, there is one key difference between my random assault and theirs: I didn’t vote for it.

These young women, living in New York City and most likely liberal, probably voted for policies like sanctuary cities and jail reform. Now they are learning the consequences of their votes.

 

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Like much of America, I got caught up in the hype over Caitlin Clark and wound up watching not one, but two women’s college basketball games.

It was entertaining.

Because I am an avowed dirty old man, I couldn’t help but notice Clark teammate Gabbie Marshall and a former player named Kelsey Plum, who was watching one game from the stands.

Marshall and Plum might not have Clark’s star power, but I discovered that they do have Instagram pages:

 

Gabbie Marshall

 

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Kelsey Plum watching the game

 

When a girl poses for a photo like the one above, she does realize that the focus of attention is her bum, does she not?

 

April must be camel-toe month at The Weekly Review (see last week).

 

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Israel versus Everyone Else in the Middle East

 

Like most people on the Internet, I like to have opinions on current events.

But as for Israel and its enemies in the Middle East … I don’t have a clue.

I give up. You tell me.

 

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For most of my life, I’ve wondered about the good fortune of living in America. How could we have it so good, when so many parts of the world were so miserable? I always thought that the solution — or at least some semblance of a solution — depended on a combination of two things: charity to those countries most in need of it, and determined, results-driven diplomacy. In other words, raise the rest of the world up to the West’s standard of living.

Never in my wildest dreams did I suspect that there was such a powerful force, the global elites, plotting to achieve world parity by lowering the West’s standard of living to match the rest of the world. But that seems to be where we are.

 

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Ranking The Traitors

 

I haven’t gotten this addicted to a TV show since I discovered Pawn Stars 12 years ago. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I have now watched all available (on Peacock) episodes of the first two seasons of The Traitors — British, United States, and Australia versions. I am currently immersed in season one of Traitors New Zealand.

For the uninitiated, all versions of this global phenomenon follow a similar formula. The format is basically Clue mixed with courtroom drama. Each night, one player is murdered; each evening, the Faithfuls attempt to unmask and banish Traitors at a contentious round-table meeting.

This is how I rank the versions:

 

 

Best — the U.K. version. I realize that many viewers love their reality-TV stars, but there is nothing quite like the genuine emotions expressed by the cast of “normies” on England’s Traitors. The potential prize money affects them more; their fellow contestants affect them more. They are not jaded celebrities playing the game just to get airtime. The result is television gold.

 

 

 

Second Best — United States version. If you’re unfamiliar with the “real housewives” on Bravo, or the stars of shows like Survivor or Big Brother, you might be underwhelmed by the cast. But the setting (a Scottish castle) and challenges are near-identical to its British cousin, which is a good thing. Host Alan Cumming has a large fan base, but to me he’s second to the U.K.’s Claudia Winkleman, who is Morticia Addams come to life.

 

 

 

Third Best — Australia version. The setting is different (an elegant, country hotel), but the host, players, and challenges are consistently amusing. What sets it apart the most, in my opinion, is that Australia’s Faithfuls are often mind-numbingly stupid — but endearingly so.

 

 

 

Worst — New Zealand’s version. The setting, a country lodge, is unimpressive. The players, who all seem to be radio hosts who know each other, are uninteresting. I dislike the pompous host. Everything seems to be a cheap knockoff of the shows from England, U.S., and Australia.

 

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No question about which version of The Traitors has the hottest winner. (Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Australia’s season one.)

Twenty-six-year-old Alexandra Duggan (above), a lesbian, took home the grand prize in Australia’s first season by, in part, charming the pants off her male castmates.

 

 

In the videos below, Alex charms the pants off The Grouchy Editor by sporting a string bikini and … oh, my. That looks like a camel toe in the first video, does it not?

 

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Perhaps J.K. Rowling could avoid social-media squabbles with progressives if she would simply sign off on her posts with her initials.

For example: “You people are nothing but a motley collection of boobs and arses — JK!”

 

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I glanced back at last week’s “Review,” and it struck me that the whole post was essentially a parade of horrors.

Let’s take a break from that unceasing misery and enjoy something that hasn’t really changed that much: celebrity T&A.

 

 

Above, Donald Trump’s pal looking fetching on a Caribbean beach. The girl, Trump attorney Alina Habba, looks good, too.

 

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I’ve never thought Taylor Swift was particularly attractive, but she does nicely fill out (almost) a bikini.

 

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This is Amandla Stenberg, who stars in Bodies Bodies Bodies and, I hear, an upcoming Disney+ show called The Acolyte:

 

 

Posting pictures like the ones above has always been a not-so guilty pleasure here at The Grouchy Editor.

It’s a bummer to realize that with the increasing prevalence of A.I. and “deep fakes,” soon we won’t be able to tell whether these kinds of pics are the real deal … or fake.

 

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“Civil War”

 

The early reviews are in for this much-anticipated film, and most of them are glowing.

I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a crackerjack thriller, and this sounds like a good one.

On the other hand, the movie’s protagonists are reportedly … members of the media.

If there is one profession that decidedly does not deserve the hero-treatment in 2024, it’s the media.

 

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“We’re on the verge of insanity” — Victor Davis Hanson

 

If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that the Democrats, sensing a November election loss to Donald Trump, are doubling down on the insanity, hoping to inflict as much permanent damage as possible to the country in the months they have left in power. Some recent outrages:

 

Outrage 1

 

 

Terrorists, for sure. But don’t forget the child sex-traffickers.

 

Outrage 2

 

 

More evidence that whatever Joe Biden touches turns to shit — including Supreme Court appointments. This one believes, apparently, that government should rule with an iron fist over its citizens. You know, because the citizens work for government, not the other way around.

 

Outrage 3

 

 

Yeah, Biden, this one’s on you, too.

 

Outrage 4

 

 

Biden’s America. Sorry if that sounds like a broken record, but there it is.

 

Outrage 5

 

 

 

I live in Minnesota, which has a friendly rivalry with neighboring Iowa. But hats off to you on this one, Iowa.

 

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Overrated Movies

 

Typically, when I see “click-bait” articles like this one, I just roll my eyes and move on. But I read this one about overrated movies and, to my surprise, I agreed with most of its conclusions. 

 

 

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Who was it that said, “Women acquire wisdom when, as they age, they realize the importance of logic; men acquire wisdom when, as they age, they realize the importance of compassion”?

Wait … that was me.

Aren’t I smart?

 

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Some pundits on the political right also seem to have gone crazy:

 

 

Or does Candace Owens know something about the First Lady of France that we do not?

 

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Too much doom and gloom. Let’s end this week on a more pleasant note. Like this picture of bathing beauty Riley Gaines.

 

 

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I don’t know a whole lot of Gen Z people. I work with some of them. That’s about it.

But from what I have read about members of Gen Z, I suspect they might be a bit like Gen X.

Both groups followed flamboyant, frequently self-centered generations. Gen X came of age in the shadow of Boomers, and Gen Z is trailing the Millennials.

Gen Z and Gen X don’t get all the attention, but they don’t seem to mind. They appear more grounded to me, more level-headed than Boomers and Millennials. Also, some of my best friends are Gen X.

My heart goes out to Gen Z. It’s hard for them to buy a house or start a family. Society is crumbling. Institutions are untrustworthy. The so-called government “safety nets” are either gone or going to other people (or countries).

Of course, there is always the possibility that I am full of shit.

Let’s hope so, for Gen Z’s sake.

 

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Oh, goodie. Can’t wait to see this.

Just kidding. The last time I watched a special Halloween broadcast involving ghosts and such, it was Britain’s “legendary” (100% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes) Ghostwatch — which has not aged well and wasn’t remotely scary.

But can the esteemed critics at Rotten Tomatoes all be mistaken? The short answer: yes.

 

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(British) TV Tidbits

 

Sad news:  I watched the series finale of Doc Martin (above) a few weeks ago. If there was an Andy Griffith Show for the 21st Century, this was it. I will miss the curmudgeonly doctor and everyone else in the picturesque village of Portwenn.

 

Good news:  Peacock is finally showing the second season of The Traitors, British version. I continue to believe that this is superior to the American show because, instead of spoiled, camera-hungry reality-TV stars, we get regular folk (who could really use the cash prize) competing and displaying genuine emotion.

 

U.K. Traitors

 

Bad news:  If the final “mission” on season two of the American Traitors is any indication, the physical competitions are clearly rigged.

The challenges nearly always come down to the final seconds, with our heroes emerging triumphant. The final mission of season two, in which contestants amazingly rappelled down a steep cliffside and swam through a water-filled cavern — all of this, according to the clock, in less than 15 minutes — was ridiculously unrealistic. If the missions are staged, what else about the show is fake?

 

Uncertain news:  The return of Downton Abbey. Could be a welcome thing, could be a colossal mistake.

 

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“Deadnaming”

 

What are we to call Elliot Page in his old movies? Because Page identified as, looked like, and played female characters in films like Inception, the logical thing to do is to use “Ellen Page” when talking or writing about those older movies.

If that makes certain people unhappy, tough shit.

 

IMDB rewriting history for us

 

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Maher the Mockster

 

The venerable host prides himself on calling out conservative bullshit. So why does he so often become the butt of his own jokes? You know, like laughing at Ann Coulter when she (correctly) predicted that the Super Bowl shooter would not turn out to be a white male. Or mocking guest Dennis Prager for (correctly) stating that progressives insist that men can menstruate. Or generating big laughs from his audience when Maher failed to recognize the satire in Jack Prosobiec’s speech about “the end of democracy” at CPAC.

Maher clearly needs to drop politics and do what he really wants to do: get stoned on Club Random and shoot the breeze with his celebrity pals.

 

 

 

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OK, I’ll swallow that. Because The Washington Post “fact checkers” are about as reliable as Bill Maher.

 

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I decided it was time to finally learn what the fuss was about regarding Game of Thrones, so I’ve been binge-watching it. I am halfway through season four. My initial impressions:

 

1.  There are a lot of plot threads to follow. Too many plot threads. Unless you do a rewatch of the episodes, I don’t think it’s possible to keep in mind all the tribes, kingdoms, characters, cities, families, names, grudges, villains, and heroes. 

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2.  I recall the controversy over the amount of gratuitous female nudity in the show. But there is also more male nudity and gay sex than I expected (or wanted).

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3.  Individual scenes are very, very good. It’s well-written and handsomely produced. But overall, the tone of the show is depressing. It might accurately depict life in the Middle Ages, but there is very little sunshine in that world.

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4.  Usually, I grow weary of stories with magic and dragons and witches and giants and ghosts and other fantasy staples. But in Thrones, at least they are used sparingly.

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5.  Is there an actor on Earth who plays compelling villains better than Charles Dance (above)? I doubt it.

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6.  I roll my eyes whenever the show focuses on “the mother of dragons” (Emilia Clarke, below). It seems like every male on the show instantly shows fealty to her and cannot wait to become one of her foot soldiers. I assume this is because she’s so cute.

 

 

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Remember when we had a thing they called “a slow news day”?

Yeah, I don’t either.

 

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According to Google’s A.I. feature, this is the father of our country:

 

 

There’s nothing “woke” about the world’s largest search engine, is there?

Can’t wait to see how Google handles our upcoming presidential election.

 

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I keep harping on this subject, but to little avail.

To the average voter, the “economy” has nothing to do with job reports, or projections, or Wall Street. The economy has everything to do with skyrocketing costs for gas and groceries that cut into their disposable income. We’re talking about thousands of dollars, annually, for a middle-class family.

But to rich liberals like Bill Maher, inflation is nothing more than the cost of a Mars bar going up twenty-five cents.

 

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I had to read the above Daily Mail headline three times before I got an inkling of what it was trying to say.

 

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Whenever I begin to despair about the wokeness takeover in America, I remember that things could be worse. I could live in England (or Canada).

 

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An Example of Fine Investigative Reporting:

 

 

There is a debate about whether the derriere on display in a scene from the slasher flick Thanksgiving belongs to actress Shailyn Griffin (above). We’re trying to get to, uh, the bottom of it.

AZ Nude seems to believe the butt belongs to a body double:

 

 

 

 

Mr. Skin also suspects the rear end does not belong to Ms. Griffin:

 

 

But on Reddit, there is a raging debate:

 

 

In pursuit of journalistic truth, we have examined the scene in question. Below is a video clip. If you watch it carefully, there is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it profile shot of the actress at the eight-second mark. Is that Ms. Griffin’s face?

 

 

Because we are so intrepid, we sent a query to Ms. Griffin on her Instagram page:

 

 

That was a week ago. We haven’t heard back.

We are not holding our collective breath for a reply.

 

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Movie Thoughts

 

I sat down to view Ghostwatch, Britain’s 1992 answer to The War of the Worlds, Orson Welles’s infamous 1938 radio prank on the American public.

The premise of Ghostwatch is clever. Using real talent from BBC’s presenter pool, the 90-minute production purports to be a live Halloween special documenting a poltergeist event in a West London household.

The coverage ping-pongs from man-on-the-street “interviews,” to sit-downs with supposed experts on the paranormal, to creepy incidents in the allegedly haunted house.

What the BBC did not anticipate:  Thousands of alarmed viewers inundated the station with phone calls, most of the callers taken in by the elaborate hoax. It was a repeat of the hysteria Welles created in 1938.

 

After I watched this controversial movie, I checked out Chris Stuckmann’s review of it, then read his comments section.

What’s interesting is the defensiveness expressed by many commenters. They begin with the caveat, “What you have to understand is –” or “The reason this show was so –.”

 

 

I think the commenters, many of whom were children when first exposed to the prank show, are defensive because at some level they realize that as a TV movie, Ghostwatch simply doesn’t hold up.

My 2024 perspective: Although the production is interesting as a sort of time-capsule, it hasn’t aged well as a drama. Too many incidents stretch credibility. The “news coverage” comes off as fake. “Pipes,” the ghost at the center of the story, isn’t particularly scary.

 

After its initial showing, BBC declined to air Ghostwatch again. Ever. Too controversial, I guess. For years it was difficult to find the movie.

No more. If you want to form your own opinion, you can now rent it or purchase it on Amazon.

 

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I suppose that if I were inclined to do the research, I could find out how Rotten Tomatoes defines its “rotten” and “fresh” ratings. I am not inclined to do that.

But doesn’t it seem odd that a grade of D-minus warrants a “fresh” rating?

 

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Wonder woman Taylor Swift keeps hooking up with losers like man-child Travis Kelce (above).

Isn’t it high time that Swift wrote fewer songs about these guys, and more songs about her personal failings? She is clearly doing something wrong.

 

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If it were up to me, Kansas City and San Francisco would both lose in the Super Bowl.

Alas, it is not up to me.

What tips the scale for me, in favor of San Francisco, is the nonstop hullaballoo over those two boneheaded lovebirds, Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.

I cannot stomach more media coverage of them. San Francisco must win.

 

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Speaking of stomach issues … lots of Internet jokes about Wolf Blitzer apparently stifling an upchuck while listening to a politician.

To be fair, there have been times when I struggled not to upchuck while listening to Wolf Blitzer.

 

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Democrats are finally acknowledging what’s been obvious to anyone with a television set: Biden’s a doddering, senile coot.

The question is, do they consider this bad news? Or is it a good excuse to give Biden the boot and replace him with some other presidential contender?

 

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Biggest red flag of the past few years for anyone who votes Republican:

 

This fist-bump between Lindsey Graham and Kamala Harris.

 

 

It was a clear sign that Republicans don’t care about their voters. They are sharing a cushy bed of power with their real friends, the Democrats.

 

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