Category: Weekly Reviews

 

(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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Administration from Hell

 

War in the Middle East, invasion at our southern border, stratospheric inflation, and endless culture wars.

I can’t decide if Biden and pals are escalating all these nightmares to advance their “great reset,” or to ensure that there are so many monumental crises that future President Trump — or any future president — will never be able to fix them all.

 

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Yeah, the actress pictured above misses the point of criticism of the latest season of Fargo — whether deliberately or through her ignorance, I couldn’t say.

No one is objecting to Fargo’s “strong, independent woman,” in this case the heroine portrayed by Juno Temple. The objections to this season are twofold: Temple’s character isn’t so much strong and independent as she is physically absurd. Small and frail, she routinely bests young, healthy males in physical confrontations. She isn’t human; she is a superhero.

But worse is the depiction of males in the show. Jon Hamm’s villain is so ridiculously heinous that he might as well have a mustache to twirl after his every despicable act. And then there is the heroine’s husband, who is whiny and more helpless than a two-year-old.

And so, we are presented with a god-like woman and utterly worthless males. It’s virtue signaling and political correctness run amok. I stopped watching after the fourth episode, which is a shame because I used to like this show.

 

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Rewriting History

 

I watched this video and realized there is an attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of Christopher Columbus.

I saw the thumbnail below and realized someone is trying to find something good to say about Richard Nixon.

 

 

Could Benedict Arnold be next on the rehab list?

 

 

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Looks like “tough guy” Joe Biden is about to abandon Texas the same way he abandoned Afghanistan, with his tail between his legs.

In this case, let’s hope that’s what he does.

 

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Biden’s position on Supreme Court rulings when it comes to student-loan payments, or contracts between landlords and tenants: Screw the Supreme Court. Find a loophole or just ignore the court’s ruling.

Texas’s position on its border dispute with Biden: Screw the Supreme Court. Just ignore the court’s ruling.

 

So much for the power of the Supreme Court.

 

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It does seem as if Biden is trying to poke, poke, poke the conservative bear, hoping to goad it into doing something rash so that his administration has an excuse to crack down (again) on the civil liberties of the right — before Trump gets back in power.

 

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Chick on the Daily Mail going to town No. 1:

 

 

Callahan’s much too tough on Trump in this column, but otherwise, you go girl.

 

 

Chick on the Daily Mail going to town No. 2:

 

 

Kennedy’s much funnier in print, like in this column, than she is on TV.

 

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Bill Maher’s false equivalences

 

Bill Maher recently topped a “most trusted media personality” list.

I guess that makes sense. Unlike so many progressive pundits, Maher’s a long-time liberal who at least acknowledges leftist lunacies.

But he’s blinded by his hatred of Trump and a desire to maintain his liberal bona fides by continually making false equivalences between the left and the right.

In recent years, on nearly every major issue — border security, inflation, LGBTQ demands, censorship — the madness is generated by the left.

It’s tiresome to hear Maher preface every (correct) criticism of left-wing lunacy by telling us that “both sides” are influenced by extremists. That’s bullshit. Only one side is constantly pushing to change or destroy social norms and laws.

 

One more thing: Jake Tapper is trusted by anyone?

 

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Sean Strickland

 

Mixed-martial-arts champ Sean Strickland doesn’t strike me as the brightest bulb on anyone’s Christmas tree, and some of his recent press-conference comments seemed unduly homophobic. However …

Strickland’s larger point — that liberals in general and the corporate press in particular, are sheep (“weak men”) marching in lockstep to whatever progressive crap is being pushed — is absolutely spot on.

 

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Funny Video 1

 

Click here to watch the video.

 

 

Funny Video 2

 

Click here to watch the video.

 

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Reality TV Bare Ass of the Week

 

Julie Theis of Netflix’s The Trust

 

 

 

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Da’Vine Joy Randolph investigates a murder in the building

 

 

To Woke, or Not to Woke

 

As I (finally) watched season 1 of the acclaimed Hulu show Only Murders in the Building, I thought about “wokeness.” Early in the season, we learn that the investigating detective is a lesbian black woman who is expecting a child with her female partner.

At this point, I had questions: Was this virtue signaling, an attempt by the producers to pre-empt criticism from the left about yet another high-profile show starring two straight white males (Steve Martin and Martin Short)? Or was it organic storytelling? Hmmm.

I was reminded how tired I am of cop shows about grizzled, white, middle-aged men solving crimes and battling the world at large. You know, like Martin’s character-within-a-character in Murders, the TV detective “Brazzos.”

When showrunners finally introduced non-white, non-male actors in these cop roles some years ago, it didn’t feel woke; it came as refreshing, welcome relief from the same-old, same-old.

The problem, it seems to me, arises when non-traditional roles and concepts are paired with heavy-handed preaching, and when the only acceptable villains are straight white males.

It’s a fine line. You succeed when the story feels natural, not woke. I think Only Murders succeeds in walking that line — at least so far.

 

“Brazzos”

 

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As if we needed more evidence about the bottomless greed of the NFL. 

 

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We are starting out the new year by being under the weather. Sicky-poo.

 

Please dry your tears by enjoying these quotes and a picture:

 

 

“Me and Mike, ve vork in mine,

Holy shit, ve have good time.

Vunce a veek ve get our pay,

Holy shit, no vork next day.”

Kurt Vonnegut

 

“And the lips that touch liquor must never touch mine.”

George W. Young

 

 

 

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