Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 30, 2018
Belated thoughts on Roseanne’s Muslim episode

So... Roseanne.

I'd been meaning to post about the Muslim episode that aired on 5/8, since I watched that a few weeks ago -- and I guess this is as good a time as any to comment on it! It was... odd. Like, on the one hand, it presented the Muslim couple in a mostly positive light. Although they were on food stamps (not that there's anything wrong with that, but I imagine many conservative viewers have a different opinion, even though Roseanne's family on the show receives the same assistance), they were friendly and helpful neighbors (despite being woken up by Roseanne and company at 2AM) and loving parents. And they were baseball fans, so hey! VERY AMERICAN!

On the other hand, Roseanne's ignorance in this episode was pronounced, mostly played for laughs, and never truly examined or unequivocally rejected. The episode began with her spying on her neighbors and speculating about their terrorist plots, her every utterance punctuated with a smattering of laughter. Later, when the family's internet service was disconnected (because the Conners couldn't pay the bill), they sat around trying to guess the Muslim neighbors' password: Roseanne cleverly suggested "deathtoamerica123." Cue laugh track! (more...)

-posted by Wes | 6:05 pm | Comments (0)
March 13, 2018
Thoughts on Jessica Jones Season 2

I've finished watching Jessica Jones Season 2. A brief (well, for me), spoiler-free (mostly) review:

The show starts off well. In fact, during the first few episodes, I thought it had the potential to surpass even S1, at least in terms of my enjoyment of it. (And I really, really liked JJ S1, so that's saying something.)

But then -- like most of the Netflix Marvel shows (JJ S1 is probably the only one I wouldn't immediately place in that camp) -- the season falters around the middle. These shows are basically written for 10-episode seasons, so some major reveal or development happens around episodes 6-8 -- something that would effectively lead into an engaging climax and wrapup in the latter two episodes. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 11:42 am | Comments (0)
March 7, 2018
Adaptation dilemma and detective stories?
Category: Books … TV, Film, & DVDs

So I finished rereading Anonymous Rex yesterday and just received Anonymous Rex on dvd in the mail today... but -- despite the film's sharing its title with the first book in the series -- apparently the film is based on the prequel, Casual Rex! And while I've already ordered that book, it's slated to arrive Friday at the earliest and I'd wanted to watch the movie tonight... but I want to read the book before seeing the film. ARGH.

Also, random thing I realized: when it comes to fluff reading (ie, books that aren't established classics or at least lean towards a literary/pretentious style), I think detective stories are my favorites. I'd never recommend Anonymous Rex over Brave New World or 1984 or Frankenstein or Great Mischief (by Josephine Pinckney; it's probably my favorite book you've never heard of), but it's a really fun read despite (or because of) its ridiculous premise. I kinda want to review Anonymous Rex at greater length; it's got some choice quotes I'd love to share -- and I realize that I almost always feel that way about detective narratives. They're delightful.

-posted by Wes | 6:04 pm | Comments (0)
February 23, 2018
NYT: Frederick Douglass vs Scientific Racism

This opinion piece in the New York Times -- "Frederick Douglass's Fight Against Scientific Racism" -- is decidedly worth reading.

Of course, "scientific" racism persists in 2018, as one repeatedly learns after delving into the comments of any of the laudatory articles Trump links on his Twitter feed. The final paragraph, which quotes from one of Douglass's final speeches, also rings true today: on more than one occasion I've heard (well-meaning, I hope/assume) white people of my acquaintance who, in noting the depressed state of many minority communities, have wondered why "they" continue to struggle and asked what should be done about "them."

And for readers who haven't seen the movie yet (note that I'm not attempting to shame you for not having seen it yet; apparently that's a thing happening elsewhere on the interwebs), forgive me for the spoiler -- but Black Panther concludes with an especially relevant quote on that point. In a speech to the United Nations, the titular character remarks, "More connects us than separates us -- but in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one tribe."

It's a sentiment that runs counter to much of our current political discourse, what with "BUILD. THE. WALL!" serving as a rallying cry for our current commander in chief, but it is a sentiment that we would all do well to adopt.

-posted by Wes | 12:44 am | Comments (0)
January 31, 2018
Brief Review: The Disaster Artist

So I saw The Disaster Artist. Not a bad little film -- but if you haven't seen The Room (the movie whose making TDA depicts) yet and plan to watch both movies, I'd recommend starting with TDA. Basically, TDA can't answer its most intriguing questions, so what you're left with is the reveal that these guys made a terrible, terrible movie -- and one who's already seen The Room knows that all too well. Viewed in the reverse order, however, I imagine TDA could heighten one's anticipation of Tommy Wiseau's cinematic abomination.

If you've already seen The Room -- and you were so fascinated that you need to know just how it came into being, including the origin of certain character behaviors and the context for certain takes -- TDA will totally be your jam. For me, it ended up feeling kinda superfluous: like the Star Wars prequels, albeit more competently executed.

Bonus for fans of Nathan For You: Nathan Fielder has a small part in it.

-posted by Wes | 6:08 pm | Comments (0)
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