Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 25, 2022
Riverdale, my beloved.

They cancelled my show, y'all.

When I first started watching Riverdale... I don't remember what I thought of it. I think I was mostly confused: those comics were so wholesome and inoffensive, yet here Archie was having sex with his high school music teacher; Jughead was living on the streets because his dad was an abusive alcoholic gang member; Veronica was the ambitious daughter of a ruthless mob boss; and Betty was the resident Nancy Drew and mostly clean... until we met Dark Betty, a sadistic second personality that would assert herself during stressful moments.

Then I went through a period of hate-watching the show -- things got ever more seedy and convoluted, and I delighted in railing at the ridiculous twists the show took. Betty's father was revealed to be a serial killer, and Betty was revealed to have the "serial killer gene." Now dating Veronica, Archie began doing criminal errands to impress her father. Jughead reconciled with his own father and assumed leadership of the local gang. And I developed an especially deep hatred of Cheryl Blossom -- also from the comics, though I'd never heard of her -- who got WAY more screentime and focus than that character deserves. (I maintain that Cheryl is the true main character of Riverdale: while she's rarely the focus of events, a) she is spectacularly awful to everyone and is never held accountable for it, and b) that universe consistently bends to shield her from lasting harm and gift her unwarranted influence over unfolding events. Much like Sabrina on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, she's The Worst. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 8:00 pm | Comments (0)
August 27, 2021
Thoughts on Candyman (2021)

So I saw the new Candyman last night. Brief thoughts: I was disappointed. While I suppose it's a valid take on the mythos, it was neither the direction I would have taken nor the film I wanted to see. But then, I have really strong feelings about Candyman! Keep reading for more totally not spoiler-free commentary. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 5:18 pm | Comments (0)
November 9, 2020
Two sightings as I walked.
Category: Travels

A couple things I saw on an afternoon walk yesterday that I wanted to record:

The first: I saw a man getting a haircut in a green space. (I hesitate to call it a yard, though that's probably right -- I have this idea of yards as more deliberately enclosed areas, and these are hilly, grassy areas only bounded by the sidewalk and not obviously yoked to the adjacent town houses.) Notable details about the scene: one, as I encountered them during twilight and they were not using lamps, this seemed rather poor illumination for cutting hair. The other was the cape that barbers drape over clients to shield them from the falling hair -- which, in this instance, was a worn and dingy American flag. The style of haircut the "client" was receiving made me think he might be military, and if that is so I imagine he intended the use of the cape to be a patriotic gesture. It struck me, however, as somehow unseemly. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 9:11 pm | Comments (0)
April 14, 2020
Bumblebee: A failure of a toy commercial.

So I finally watched the Bumblebee Transformers movie... and no surprise, I didn't like it. Much like the first Transformers flick (and much of the second) from Michael Bay, it wasn't *really* a Transformers movie -- it was a movie about a girl coming to terms with her father's death and some alien robots just kinda happened to be there to help her along with that. None of the Cybertronians had any character or personality: heck, Bumblebee himself spent most of the movie with his memory erased, so what should have been a capable Autobot soldier spent much of it doing stupid things like transforming in public (none of the 'bots actually seemed to utilize that mechanism for actual DISGUISE purposes) and stumbling around breaking things (at one point, despite his massive size, he sits down on a couch, with predictable results).

(There's one particularly objectionable scene where the human protagonists want to get back at a local mean girl, so they enlist Bumblebee's aid to TP her house and egg her car -- which I guess is relatable for lots of folks, but it's not behavior that should be encouraged and it's not a thing I would ever have done and I'd want my teenage protagonists to have more scruples. So that's bad enough, but Bumblebee takes it too far and totally destroys the girl's car. They laugh and drive off, and the incident is never mentioned again.)

As far as the Decepticons go -- I was going to call them stock cartoon bad guys, but they're not even that cool. They speak almost exclusively in single sentences along the lines of "DID YOU THINK YOU COULD HIDE FROM ME?" "YOU WILL DIE SCREAMING!" "FIRST I KILL YOU, THEN I KILL HER!" Basically the kinds of things a kid (or grown adult YouTuber) would shout while waving toys around and making them crash into each other. And when they kill, they do so not because it makes sense for them to do so, but because they're bad guys. (And when Bumblebee ultimately kills them, he does so because they're bad guys? I'm super sick of heroes killing villains without a shred of remorse or regret. I miss the moral grounding of Transformers Animated.) (more...)

-posted by Wes | 6:30 pm | Comments (0)
April 6, 2020
Maleficent: Mistress of Gratuitous Homicide

So I just finished watching Maleficent: Mistress of Evil... and yeah, fuck that movie. Terrible. Terrible for no goddamned reason. First off -- for a movie *named* for Maleficent, the character has surprisingly little agency; she basically just stands around (and sometimes sits attentively) while other characters relay exposition to her. But one of the few things she does is KILL PEOPLE. She's the titular heroine of a Disney movie and she kills *at least* several dozen people. Shit, the first thing she does -- even before the movie title appears onscreen! -- is murder two dudes as they scream "NO PLEASE PLEASE NO" and then are apparently ripped the fuck apart offscreen. How is this okay?

I mean, sure, the murdered dudes were kidnapping fairies for use in horrific laboratory experiments (whether they knew precisely what was happening with the fairies is unclear; they just knew a shady dude was paying cash for fairies; in any case Maleficent didn't know that fact), but Maleficent still didn't have to kill them. In fact, considering that apparently nobody in the Fey community knew what had happened to or where to find the missing fairies, it would have been objectively better to keep the kidnappers alive: Maleficent could have interrogated them, or she could have had Aurora raise the issue with Prince Philip, or taken any number of actions that didn't involve murdering dudes in the night and abandoning their mutilated corpses on the riverbank. Later there's a big war between the humans and the Fey, and the humans kill a BUNCH of Fey, and then Maleficent acquires the Phoenix Force and swoops in and kills a BUNCH of (but not as many) humans, and that's perhaps a little less objectionable given the heat of battle (though even there Maleficent's been depicted as powerful enough to have subdued the humans *without* killing them). (more...)

-posted by Wes | 4:29 pm | Comments (0)