Gotham

I can’t believe it’s finally here!! I waited all summer for last night. The premiere episode of Gotham was on and it was as glorious as I had hoped.  I am a little biased.  There was no way I was going to think it was anything but amazing.  So, if you’re looking for a review that gives both good and bad sides of the show, go somewhere else.  Because I loved it.  I even wore my super cool Batman shirt to my youngest daughters gymnastics class and to pick up my oldest at preschool yesterday in honor of the debut of the show!

Super cool Batman Shirt

Super cool Batman Shirt

Who wants to see the origin story that no one asked for?!  Okay maybe ONE joke about it.  Because in theory, who wants to see a Batman show with no Batman?  Well, me and eight million other people, that’s who!!  The show opens with, of course, the murder of the Thomas and Martha Wayne.  Bruce is a young boy, who is comforted by the new detective on the Gotham beat, James Gordon (Ben McKenzie).  Gordon and his partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) have the task of catching the killer.  Okay, so I don’t have to go into too much detail.  Everyone knows the backstory.

Throughout the show, we are introduced to most of the main villains from the Batman universe.  While I did like the show, I felt like they rushed through bringing them into the show.  I’m not sure how I would have done it.  A whole episode for each character seems a bit much.  Maybe they have that planned for the future, so we will see where it goes.

The creators of the show did invent a new character in Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).  For some reason, this always bugs me in a comic book movie/show.  I feel like there are plenty of characters that they can use in a show like this, so what’s the need to make up a new one?  We will see where they go with Mooney’s character, but I am hopeful that she is a short term character and the leave the Gotham world of organized crime to Carmine Falcone.  I guess every character was invented somewhere.  Even Falcone was started relatively recently, in Batman: Year One.  Somehow it makes sense to me.

I think the part I am most interested in seeing going forward is how they turn the main villains from the comics from the low level thug nobodies they were portrayed to be in the pilot, to the psychotics they turn out to be later on.  I know that it’s a super long shot, especially since she has already somewhat teased in the CW’s Arrow, but with all the characters they showed, give me a little Harley Quinn!!!  She would be a child as well, but I don’t really care.  More Harley is always a good thing.

I don’t know if Gotham can be as good as Arrow, but if it can be anywhere close, it will be a great show.  There is a problem with knowing the general outcome of the show (Bruce becoming Batman, Gordon becoming Police Commissioner.  SPOILER ALERT if you’ve never seen a Batman movie).  Without giving too much away, at the end of the pilot, Gordon has a moment where his morality is tested, and it’s obvious what he will do.  So there really isn’t any suspense to the moment.  We know what will happen.  I hope the show doesn’t continue to give us scenes like this.  Those could get old.

Hmmm… I swear I really loved it.  But this had more negatives in it than I thought it would.  Sometimes I surprise myself.

 

Vacation

So my vacation wasn’t as wonderful as Phil’s trip to the Camino de Santiago, but when you have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, you have to settle for the next best thing.  Which of course, is Vancouver, Washington!!  Okay so maybe it’s not the NEXT best thing.  But, my good buddy Patrick lives there, and he had never met my daughters so it was a perfect time to go up and see him.  I’ve known him since we were 15 or so.  But other than his wedding 3 years ago, I hadn’t seen him in 10 years.  I tried to find the oldest picture of us I could, but this is the best I could do.  This is from our senior year in HS choir trip.  Yup!  I wrote that.

Eric and Patrick

Eric and Patrick

It is a 10 hour drive and we started with the family leaving at 4am!!  We thought that if we left that early that the girls would go back to sleep.  No dice.  So that was fun.  On the way, we stopped in Sutherlin, Oregon.  My friend Heather is from there and I had to check out this hillbilly backwoods town.  It did not disappoint:

Sutherlin, Or

Sutherlin, Or

 

Okay so a tangent about that stupid f**ked up state known as Oregon.  First of all, why the hell can’t I pump my own gas in your state?  I do like that it’s another job that is available for someone.  That’s awesome.  But it was really awkward.  I had to get out to stretch my back while someone else was standing basically right next to me pumping my gas.  Really wierd.  And hey, can we please drive faster than 50 miles per hour?  This isn’t the 1940’s.  It’s safe to drive faster.  The stupid ass speed limit was seriously 50 miles per hour ON THE FREEWAY through many parts of the state!!  And I get that there are a lot of trucks that drive on I5, but all you drivers who want to pass 10 of them at a time… get the hell out of the way!!  Some of us have places to be!!  We can’t all sit around on the freeway waiting for you to move over!  What a bunch of dicks in Oregon.

Electrcution

Electrcution

Double brat

Double brat

Back off my tangent.  First day we went to OMSI.  This place was really cool.  You can do all kinds of cool stuff.  They had a dinosaur exhibit that my daughter didn’t love.  I thought she would as her favorite show is Dinosaur Train.  They were a little scarier.  But there was this ball room where Patrick found a way to constantly hit me in the face though the tubes running through the room.  The little kids all found it hilarious.  Later, in the physics room I got electrocuted!  Whatever, not the first, or fifth time I’ve been electrocuted.  Afterwards we went to this city block of food trucks  After taking the long walk around to find out what I wanted, I settled on the double brat!  It was delicious!!

Tangent #2.  Here is the shirt I wore that day.  I’m super cool.  Whatever, I like T-Shirts!!  Leave me alone about it.

For dinner we went to this place called Brickhouse  Pros: They have this stage for live music at night.  We weren’t there for that, as we had the girls.  Before the live music they allow kids to run around on the stage and play.  Super cool.  The burger I ate had mozzarella sticks on it.  Oh my god, I don’t really want to ever eat a burger again without mozzarella sticks on it.  Totally the way to go.  Cons: the stage was totally a necessity as it took over an hour to get our food.  We usually order our daughters dinner with our appetizers to get her going. Well, her dinner, our apps and our main course all came together.  After an hour of waiting.  No discount, no free beers, nothing.  I had their pilsner, and it was pretty good, but after all the waiting, we just rushed through everything to get the hell out of there.  So if you’re ever in Vancouver, go for the food, stay because you have no choice.

Burger

Burger

IMG_1830[1] IMG_1831[1]The next day we went to a couple of different falls.  The first was Latourell Falls.  It was raining, and there wasn’t much to see.  But it was really nice and the girls loved it.  It was a super short walk and had it not been super cold, I may have walked out to get under the waterfall.  People were doing that and it looked really fun.  I would have liked to take that picture but I didn’t have a change of clothes and I didn’t want to be wet the rest of the day.  Although I ended up a little wet from the rain, so I should have just done it.  Where was this logic while I was standing there?

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Eric and Patrick

Eric and Patrick

The second set of falls was at Multnomah Falls.  Way way cool.  Here was the problem though.  There was only one way in and one way out.  And apparently it’s a very popular tourist spot and there are like 20 parking spots.  So Patrick tells me to just stop in the middle of the road and wait for someone to come out and leave.  Well after about 2 minutes of that, a park ranger comes walking up and tells me to move!  So I didn’t really want to move because I wanted to stay!  So I turned into the parking lot off the main road and just stopped there!  Luckily we only waited there like 10 min before someone left.  It was totally worth it.  Even if pushing the stroller up the hill almost gave me a hernia.

FOTM

FOTM

Lefty Lager

Lefty Lager

Final day, we played a little golf at Rose City Golf Course.  Patrick made me walk.  I hadn’t walked a golf course in 5-6 years.  I’m incredibly out of shape.  I blame that on my score.  The score that is none of your business.  After golf, we went to Fire on the Mountain for wings and beer with Pat and his brother Sean.  Really cool place.  I love places like this.  Our waitress was on her last shift before she moved to California to start a new life for herself.  So good luck to her!  I had the Lefty Lager.  As a lefty myself, it was only fitting.  Pretty good brew!  The Bourbon Chipotle sauce that they have is amazing.  By far the best that we had.  Cannot recommend it enough.

Shasta

Shasta

Downtown Sacramento

Downtown Sacramento

After having dinner with some family of mine that I hadn’t seen in 20 years, we drove home the next day.  Another 10 hour drive.  We left after breakfast though.  We did not make the same mistake we did a few days earlier.  On the way, we got to see Mount Shasta which is always a nice picture.  Then finally FINALLY back into Sacramento!!  It was a great trip.  Final thoughts, if you ever drive I5 through Oregon, do it at a time when there are no cars.  Screw those people.  And enjoy all the craft beer you can.  There is a ton of it in the Portland area, and it’s all really REALLY good.

 

As Above, So Below

Have you ever wondered what National Treasure would be like if it were a found footage horror movie?!  Well wonder no more, because someone made it!

I am such a hypocrite.  I have talked before about my love of horror movies.  And my hatred for found footage movies that aren’t The Blair Witch.  Anything after that is just trying to be The Blair Witch.  Do I still go spend my hard earned (ok… not HARD earned) dollars at the theater to see them when they come out.  Yet I still feel the need to chastise people for seeing crappy movies.  Then people wonder why studios keep making crappy movies!!  But at the same time, it is something I have in common with my niece, and gives me a chance to spend time with her before she runs off to college and I never see her again.  So I’ve made my peace with it.

I’ve always said my problem with found footage movies is two fold.  One, they’re all the same.  A demon has possessed the house!  Or someone in the house!  Or something in the house!  And two, why the hell doesn’t anyone put down the f**king camera when the house is possessed?  Who cares at that point?!  So these are the two points where As Above, So Below got it RIGHT.

The movie is about Scarlet Marlowe (Perdita Weeks), an alchemy student, who is continuing her father’s search for the Philosopher’s stone.  Which I had never heard of, but turns out was a real thing.  So kudos for putting real history into your movie.  The search takes them to a museum where they (stop me if this sounds familiar) borrow a headstone while no one is looking because she is convinced there is a riddle on the back.  When none can be seen, she takes cleaning products from a near by cart and creates a solution that makes a riddle appear as if from no where.  (cough, National Treasure, cough).  The trail leads them down The Catacombs in Paris where they are forced further and further down until they reach what seems to be the literal gates of Hell.

What I liked about this movie is how different it is than your typical horror movie these days.  There were no demons in someones house.  No possessed dolls that are clear ripoffs of Chucky.  I was happy to see something, ANYTHING that was different.  Was it fantastic?  No, not by any means.  Was it as bad as some other reviews make it out to be?  Not at all.  I also was happy with the fact that they had cameras on their head lamps.  Yes, they had a handheld camera that they carried.  I wish they would get rid of it.  But at least the movie acknowledged me and my totally legitimate arguments for how stupid it is to hold onto a camera while you’re family is about to be killed.  I should totally work for a studio.  If anyone is reading this, I will work for a reduced salary.  I know times are tough down there in Hollywood.  I am rather brilliant.

There were plenty of problems with the film.  In the climactic scene, Scarlet has to run through endless corridors in Hell and she absolutely destroys a couple demons on her way.  Seems like if they are this easy to get rid of, there really isn’t anything to be afraid of right?  Just stiff arm everything in your way until you find the exit!  Am I the only one who thought of this?

Anyway, it was rated R (oh right!  horror movies cannot be rated PG-13!  That’s not horror!  I don’t care what you call it, it’s not horror.  Pet peeve #3) which made me happy.  I am very much over the entire found footage genre.  Every preview I see gets an over the top eye roll like this one, but As Above, So Below certainly could have been worse.  Apparently that’s the nicest thing that’s been said about this movie!

Under the Skin (2013)

Here is my timeline of watching Under the Skin:

10 minutes into the movie – I said “Oh my God.”  Out loud.  To no one, as I was all by myself.  It was not an oh my God, this movie is amazing already.  It was oh my God, what the hell have I gotten myself into?

20 minutes into the movie – I almost turned it off.  Why so soon?  Well, since there hadn’t been a word spoken yet, I figured I wouldn’t be missing anything if I stopped it at this point.  But I have to finish movies.  I have to see how they end.  There have only been two movies that I didn’t finish.  The first was Going Overboard with Adam Sandler.  This one I don’t think I made it 10 minutes into.  The second was Ratatouille.  Why the hell does everyone love Ratatouille?  It blows.

1 hour in – I started reading reviews to find out what I was missing.  Also to stop myself from falling asleep.  There are real life people who actually enjoy this movie.  For reasons other than Scarlett Johansson is in it.  Those people are lying to themselves, are total douches or both.

Johansson plays an alien who seduces men in Scotland and leads them to their death in her apartments watery grave.  She walks on, and the men disappear into the abyss below.  I really wish I could give you more to the plot than that, but there isn’t anything more to the plot than that.

The worst movie I had ever seen, and swore I would ever see was this movie Gerry.  It stars Casey Affleck (not The Batfleck that I love so much) and Matt Damon.  There are parts of the movie where you can fast forward for 10-15 minutes without missing anything because it’s just the two of them walking.  Seriously.  Don’t believe me?  Go ahead.  Watch it.  I dare you.  I described Under the Skin to my two friends who had seen Gerry as “a movie for people who thought Gerry had too much dialogue and was too action packed.”  That joke is pure gold to the 10 people who have seen both of these films.

The reviews online by people who claim it’s full of symbolism and all this crap, are full of sh*t.  I’m sorry, maybe I just don’t get it.  Okay, there’s no maybe about it.  But I discussed the movie with my friend Mike, who was my former editor over at http://www.dvdfile.com (RIP. The site, not Mike.  He is still very much alive.  Or he was on Wednesday).  He is the most artsy movie loving guy I know.  And even HE fast forwarded through 90% of Under the Skin.  Although, he did yell at me for forgetting that we discussed how much he hated this movie at our fantasy football draft.  Excuse me, Mr. Sensitive.  I was a little f**king busy that night!

The reason I wanted to see it was because I heard the Scots they used were real people they picked up on the street and had improvisational conversations with.  The concept was cool.  The execution was horrendous.   If you’re interested in a being from another planet who likes sex, I have a better suggestion for you.  Go rent My Stepmother is an Alien.  It’s a little dated, and to be honest I haven’t seen it in…20 years?  I’m sure it holds up, and I guarantee it’s better than this piece of garbage that I forced myself to sit through.

The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story

I finally had a chance to check out this Lifetime movie. Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. This was an abomination that had no reason to be made. Saved by the Bell was my wife’s favorite show when she was younger. She even owns the entire series (minus The College Years) on DVD. I enjoyed the show, but not like her. If you’re like her, I highly suggest going back and watching an episode as an adult. The show is horrendous. Yes, I get that the show is made for preteens. The documentary (in the LOOSEST meaning of the word) made that abundantly clear. But holy crap it’s terrible.

I really don’t like saying bad things about children actors, or children in general. At the end of the day, they are just children. But it really seems like Lifetime went with the “eh. Close enough” strategy to casting. I cannot imagine them finding any actors who looked LESS like the characters they portrayed.  There is a scene in which they are sitting around reading the reviews of their show.  The critics hate them and say the acting is stiff and awful.  I found this to be incredibly ironic.  This was exactly the way I felt watching last night.

This Lifetime movie is narrarated by the Dustin Diamond character.  When I saw during the opening credits that Diamond was an executive producer, I had a feeling it was going to sway pro-Screech.  And it did.  We were supposed to feel bad for him throughout the entire movie.  He was the geek on and off the set.  He was the youngest of the stars.  And by the end, part of me did feel bad for him.  It’s really no fun being bullied and teased.  I know.  I didn’t deal with it nearly as bad as others, but I had my tormentors all through junior high and high school.  There are people to this day that I can never forgive for what they did to me.  So I get it.  But on the other hand.  Boo-f**kin-hoo.  You were a star on a major TV show.

The biggest problem with this TV movie was there wasn’t anything new that fans of the show didn’t already know!  It was a happy retelling for the most part.  Even the parts that were supposed to be shocking were anything but.  You mean to tell me that high school age boys and girls on one of the most popular TV shows liked to drink and do drugs and get laid?  Well that is just unbelievable!  Actually, the most unbelievable part was that the way they made it seem was that most of the cast was pretty clean.  I find that very hard to believe.  But, who knows.  Maybe they were.  Good for them!!

At the end of the day, I’m super pissed I watched it.  Had I known Diamond had such involvement, I probably never would have recorded it.  He wrote a tell-all book a few years ago, and has since recanted a ton of stories in the book.  Each of the stars of the show has their own memories and stories about how the experience was, and Dustin seems just like a jilted, vindictive d**k.  He never really did anything after SBTB.  He was never able to escape Screech the way the other cast members were able to get away from their characters and he appears bitter.  Well, good for him.  He got his money.  He got me to watch.  And I hate myself for it.

I love Lifetime.  I love their movies.  Throw on a docudrama starring Lori Loughlin and I will be glued to the set.  I even had good things to say about Liz & Dick.  This was the worst thing they’ve ever put out.  I can’t imagine watching their movies for a while.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am about to settle in to watch The Brittany Murphy Story.  If you recall, I can’t get enough of Brittany Murphy.  The circumstances around her death and her crazy ass parents have led to some insane conspiracy theories.  I can’t wait to see what this tells me.  If you’re interested, it’s airing on Lifeti- ah, damn it!!!