Category Archives: Snap *censored* Pop Culture

Welcome Back?

Introduction

A few days ago, as we tend to do every now and then, Chris and I were talking about comics. This is only newsworthy because I haven’t been reading them for the last 6 months or so. You may remember last year that I had a 50 dollar a week habit that I had to quit because it was becoming financially untenable. I tried to go the same route as Chris and order from Midtown Comics, but I have been trained by Amazon to not pay anything for shipping and they charge. I then tried an alternate way of getting and reading them, but I didn’t have a good way to do that.

As a result, I have been out of the loop for quite a while. It’s not that I don’t like comics. In fact, I had been enjoying comics more than I had in a long time and more than many other fans seemed to have been enjoying them, Chris included. Oh, he’s solidly in DC’s corner, but has nothing but contempt for Marvel right now. I actually enjoyed most of the books from both companies when I was reading.

I was even in their corner through Secret Empire and Legacy. I may be faltering with their latest reboot of their most recent reboot of their reimagining of their lineup.

While we were talking, he mentioned that the final issue of the Dark Nights Metal series was imminent. I went into the series 100% on board, enjoyed all of the one shot tie in issues, and gave it a chance. However, as you will hear either in the “bonus” section of the podcast, we both got a bit tired of the series and the fact that it seemed to be getting a little out of hand. It isn’t explicitly why I stopped reading, but I did stop reading comics in the middle of the series. Chris assures me that it has gotten better and that I should give it another shot. As a result, in my words to Chris, “I’m acknowledging the existence of comics again.”

Marvel

Being an unabashed Marvel zombie for life (and it appears afterlife), I first checked out a couple of Marvel books. I went with two comics that I had really been enjoying in my most recent comics life, Dr. Strange and Old Man Logan. I don’t remember any of the other titles, but I think that there might have been a Spider-Man title in there and perhaps The Avengers (which Chris says is good). I looked into The Avengers, because I remember it being good before when Mark Waid was writing it and he still is, so it’s probably still a good title.

These guys. Perhaps not so much…

Dr. Strange was, as I said to Chris, Dr. Strange. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad, either. It was what Dr. Strange is supposed to be, I guess, and perhaps speaks to the holding pattern that Marvel comics is, and has been, for a few years now. They have not been able to translate the success of their movies and some of their TV shows into their comics. They keep trying things, but nothing is working.

The reason for this is obvious and both Chris and I have said it several times. It’s easy to get people into the movie theater. Every geek who’s ever gotten a girlfriend and had kids is an automatic audience. I speak from experience. I have taken my girlfriend, now my wife, to many Marvel movies. Now that my kids are getting older, I generally spare her and take them. She wants nothing to do with comic books other than for a while, she was reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Now, she just rewatches the shows with the kids.

All three kids did show an interest in the comics and they would read them after I was finished with them. Though, to be honest, Liam was only reading Secret Empire because he overheard me flippantly saying that Captain America is a Nazi and he’s at the age when he starts to learn about that part of history and was intrigued. Aiden only read Flash comics and much of what I got was too far above Quinn with the violence. But, and this is important, I only ever bought one copy of the books and rarely went out of my way to buy other books that I didn’t want to read.

Are we really going to discuss cover price again? You betcha!

Because, the fact of the matter is that the rate at which I was spending money on comics was absurd. I could not continue to drop that much money every week and I was at a minimum of books that I actually wanted to read. Truth of the matter is that I could have spent twice as much with all of the good content out there. Again, Chris had the idea of Midtown, which I probably should, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet. So, I just stopped buying.

I’m not completely back into comics, but I have taken that first step, so to speak. I think that’s usually in the context of quitting an addiction, but this is one from which I won’t ever be completely free. The other book that I read was Old Man Logan. Chris recommended it through his friend’s words, so I checked it out. This one was better than Dr. Strange and more in line with what I remember from last year when I was reading it. I’m not sure where the story is going, but it has an interesting take on the nature of reality and if it is just planned with no true free will. It’s always a question that has interested me, so I’m willing to keep giving it a read.

DC/Independent

After talking to Chris, I found the archives of one of my now defunct web pages. One of the articles was an article that I could have copied, done a fine and replace of “DC” with “Marvel” and released it as new content. It was during the time of the New 52 content and DC seemed just as rudderless and without direction as Marvel does now. I made the joke that in 3 years, if comics are still around, maybe Marvel will be good again.

Chris contends, and sales figures back him up, that DC is far superior to Marvel right now. I won’t argue that point. I will simply state that as I ease back into comics, I have not read a single DC title over the past two weeks. That is neither an endorsement nor a indictment. It simply is and I want to be intellectually honest about that. I haven’t read any independent books, either, but I hadn’t read nearly as many of them as DC and Marvel before the break.

What Does it all Mean?

Who knows? I should, but I don’t. I don’t have the money for comics. I don’t have the time for comics. I really enjoy comics and want to read them, but when? And, who is paying? I thought I found a way to solve both of those problems, but so far, it hasn’t worked as planned. I guess stay tuned to see if more review are forthcoming.

That, folks, it what we call a teaser.

In Support of Cloverfield Paradox

Introduction

When discussing this article with Chris, I initially told him that I was going to write a defense of Cloverfield Paradox.  After thinking about it for a minute, I amended that to support.  First, I’m sick of defending things that I like from people who don’t like them.  You don’t like something?  Fine, but at least come up with a reasonable defense of why you don’t like it.  We live in a culture that has glorified hate simply for the sport of it.

It has most recently coalesced around the release of Black Panther.  I knew from the beginning that the release of the movie was going to be an epic crap storm of racists posting, tweeting, and outright lying about both the movie and the events surrounding the movie.  True to form and the human condition (of which I am both amazingly inspired and terrifyingly suspect), things were much worse that I could ever have expected.

The fact that these idiots had to go to Twitter and YouTube to backlash with their “Wakanda isn’t real” nonsense proves just how running scared they really are.

But, this article isn’t about Black Panther.  There will be an article about Black Panther once I get around to seeing it.  I’ve been so busy with my 3 jobs that I haven’t had a chance.  This article is about Cloverfield Paradox specifically and the Cloverfield “franchise” in general.  I put franchise in quotes because nobody is entirely sure if these movies actually share anything in common other than the fact that JJ Abrams has chosen to take movies, insert out of context plot elements into them, and let people argue over what those out of context elements might mean.

“Okay,” some of you are saying, “you are making our argument for us.  I thought you said this was going to be an article supporting the movie.”  Well, you can interpret that last statement as a negative if you want.  I think that says more about you than I ever could.  I was simply stating a fact.  As of right now, there is no judgement in that statement.  The judgement comes next.

The Good

Marketing:  If there’s been one consistent in the three movies that can loosely be called a franchise, it is that they have mastered marketing.  The first one was involved in a ridiculously intricate viral web campaign back when that was a thing that led people chasing wild goose after wild goose.  Not being one to be in the loop on these things, I had no idea about any of it until after I saw the movie and went searching for some background information.  For some reason, I don’t care all that much about the origins of Godzilla or King Kong.  But, this movie left just enough unsaid that I wanted to know more.

Plus, they technically didn’t lie and they showed the monster, but just enough to leave you wanting more. Such teases.

The second movie was so under the radar that I only peripherally knew about it because it used the word Cloverfield in the title.  Huh, I thought, that’s weird that it is called 10 Cloverfield Lane.  For some reason, though, this curiosity didn’t lead me to explore further.  Probably because they marketed it as a completely different movie.  It was a closed house thriller along the lines of Panic Room.  Or, so I thought.

It wasn’t until the third movie that I realized that there were three.  Netflix released this movie after the Super Bowl ended, showing that they can basically just beam stuff into your brain, or they will be able to once they figure out the technology, truly on demand.  Well, at least on me (someone who isn’t often affected by ridiculous gimmicks), it worked and I stayed up until almost 2 o’clock in the morning watching the movie even though I had to be up at 7 for work.  Furthermore, I wasn’t upset that I had given up sleep.

Science?:  For a science fiction movie, the science of the movie wasn’t the focus.  While that isn’t unusual, this seemed like the type of science fiction movie that wanted to focus on the science and have the option for fiction due to the science.  Does that make sense?  Probably not, so I’ll try to explain.

Sure, but what does the purple button have to say?

I don’t go into Star Wars expecting exact, or even accurate, science.  Nerds are constantly trying to point to the fact that hyperspace can’t possibly be real and that lightsabers are physically impossible, but I simply don’t care.  The latest nerd rage came when (spoiler alert), the ship jumped to lightspeed and blew up the other ship.  That’s not why I’m at Star Wars.  I’m there for the pew, pew, the vwoom, vwoom, and the music mostly.  The plot is basic and some of the characters are cool, but for me Star Wars is just the comfy blankie from when I was younger.

Other science fiction stories try to get it right.  They mostly fail, but at least they put some science stuff in there to make it seem like they know what the hell they’re talking about.  I’m referring to the disaster movies like Twister or Armageddon.  They throw all kinds of smart stuff out there for what they believe is the benefit of the audience to keep them in the fiction.  Ultimately, though, they just end up sounding foolish and like theater people that failed science in high school.

At the beginning of the movie, I thought that the Cloverfield Paradox was going to be like the second type of movie.  Because JJ Abrams made Star Trek more like that type of movie with the dark matter explanation.  I should have known better.  JJ Abrams likes to think that he’s one step ahead of people and zig when they expect him to zag.  I wasn’t exactly zigged or zagged.  Just a bit surprised.

Mostly, I just Zug.

The movie starts with some discussion of physics and the physics of alternate realities.  Past, present, future, distorted time and space, that sort of thing.  Then, it gets real quiet about it and just lets the science sort of tell the story.  There is some mention later in the movie, but they don’t keep hitting you over the head with what is happening.  Really, in my opinion, this is the best way to do things.  Give the science and then just get the hell out of the way.

Weird:  As a result of the introduction of quantum physics into the movie, they can make it weird and have a reason for it being weird.  Because people, including those like me who only study it as a hobby, don’t completely understand the science behind it, you can do almost anything and it becomes plausible in the fiction.

While this kind of story can make some people uncomfortable, I absolutely love it.  It gets my brain moving and causes me to think.  Since most entertainment is just about turning off our brains and marveling (pun fully intended) at the two freaks of nature punching each other, I find it refreshing when something comes along and challenges me to be a little more active in the process.

This movie kept me up until 1:40 am watching and then another 20 minutes to a half an hour falling into a Google trap. Well played.

Just Dumb Fun:  I had a conversation with a friend on Facebook about the movie.  See, I posted there that I had watched it the night of the Super Bowl and then suddenly, I started seeing posts about it in my feed.  It’s built into Facebook’s mind reading…er, algorithms.  You get stuff that they think you want to see.  It’s not that I didn’t want to see other opinions.  It’s just a little unsettling anytime that Facebook gets that far into your brain.

He was one of the people who didn’t particularly care for the movie.  I had no idea that there was such a backlash to it until I noticed that he didn’t like the movie, so I went in search of other opinions counter to my own.  I saw that there were, in fact, people who didn’t like the movie.  And, it wasn’t just that they didn’t like the movie.  They really didn’t like the movie.  That was how his post came across.  He really didn’t like this movie.

Well, armed with this new information, I decided to show my support.  I responded, “I liked it.  It was just dumb fun.”  He replied, “Is that what we’ve come to expect from this franchise?”  I was dumbfounded.  Suddenly Cloverfield is a venerated franchise that we’ve come to expect things from?  I mean, it was ultimately revealed that the first one was about a giant baby monster destroying Manhattan in a temper tantrum because he missed his mommy.  That’s a fairly ridiculous premise.  I know what you’re probably thinking right now.  This movie both made you think and was just dumb fun?  What the hell?

Well, they did say the movie was a paradox. Perhaps that’s what they meant. I’m also starting to understand why my students hate me so much.

The Bad

Note:  I’m going to change the format a bit for this article.  I couldn’t argue anything negative about the movie.  That’s not to say that it is a perfect movie.  I wouldn’t even argue that it’s a great movie.  But, it was a good movie and that’s how I want to remember it.  Since I am mostly a positive person, instead of arguing my own bad, I will argue against the negatives that I’ve seen online and elsewhere.  Besides, the article is supposed to be in support of the movie.

Not related to the other movies:  I have seen and heard this argument made more and more in the weeks since the movie was released.  Most recently, I’ve heard it argued as being a movie that was another movie that got bought out by JJ Abrams production company, slapped some Cloverfield paint on it, and released it straight to Netflix.  This argument goes on to say that the “Netflix Exclusive” label is starting to lose some of its shine and starting to become this generation’s “Straight to cable/DVD”.  I won’t argue with that.  Netflix has had some strong original programming, but they are starting to get a little lazy with their originals lately.

This movie might be an extension of that and the fact that JJ Abrams seems to have created this “world” in which he can just drop some monsters or aliens, put the “Cloverfield” label on the movie, market it with some intrigue, and people will watch.  I certainly did.  But, I will argue that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve had a discussion with a few people, including those who are involved in creative careers and they all agree that every now and then you just have to shut off your brain and have fun.  Not everything needs to be a life changing experience.  So what if Abrams has demystified the Cloverfield mystique?  Honestly, if it could be taken away that quickly, was it really even there to begin with?

The Blair Witch made 3 (?) movies from something that they never even showed on screen. Surely, ol’ Clovie has a few more in him.

Confusing:  The other argument that I’ve heard against the movie is that it is confusing.  Honestly, if this is a complaint that you have about the movie, I can’t really help you.  As I mentioned earlier, it is weird (even campy), but that weirdness gets an explanation almost as soon as the movie starts.  Again, some have pointed to this explanation as evidence of the previous point.  Again, I won’t argue against that.  Clearly, Cloverfield isn’t a franchise in the traditional sense of the word.  Instead, every few years, we will get another “Cloverfield” movie.

Back to the explanation.  Donal Logue, who I know as the stoner guy from VH1’s “I Love the….” series, is a paranoid YouTube personality (Maybe? It was very late/early in the morning when I watched it) that explains that by doing what they are about to do, they can affect multiple dimension, past, present, future.  Call it lazy.  Call it irresponsible.  Call it whatever else you want to call it.  I call it genius.  In one reshoot, they explained the whole damn thing and set it up for whatever the hell they want to do going forward.

Jolly good show, old chaps. Here, here!

The Ugly

I’ve written several times of the toxic influence of the internet and how quickly things can spread.  I had always hoped, perhaps naively, that would mean that information could become so ubiquitous as to make it irrelevant in the constant power struggle that we seem to have set up for ourselves and our species.  I never considered that it is just as easy to spread misinformation and disinformation and lead to an increase in that struggle.  I suppose I should have.  I also suppose that I should be grateful.  As an educator, I am a professional mythbusters, so the more myths, the more busting I have to do.

As a result of the ease with which information travels over this superhighway, fringe elements have become just as “reliable” as the general consensus for a lot of things.  People who shout that they are mad about a black stormtrooper in Star Wars might only be a couple of dudes in their mom’s basement posting the same message over and over on message boards and social media.  Due to the overly reactionary news cycle, someone picks it up, and then it becomes a platform upon which people are willing to fight and die.

I don’t know if this Cloverfield Paradox reaction is indicative of the majority or simply a fringe element.  I do know that it hasn’t been met with the same vitriol as some of the other movies that have become a target recently.  People are mostly just disappointed, which makes me think that it is a genuine reaction.  However, the fact that there were such high expectations going into the movie that those expectations would not be met is puzzling to me.

Note:  A visit to Rotten Tomatoes shows that it has a 17% with critics and a 48% (with a 3.1 out of 5 star average, so not sure how that works) score with fans, so it appears to be more or less not great by most standards.

I find it interesting that a Feminazi and racist against whites George Soros funded project would give such a diverse cast a bad rating like that.

The Verdict

Is Cloverfield Paradox a great movie?  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Is Cloverfield Paradox a good movie?  Not by many traditional measures, no.  Is Cloverfield Paradox an entertaining movie?  Yes, I can confirm that my sleep deprived brain got full entertainment from the movie.

And, honestly, that’s all I’ve come to expect from the movies.  The first one was silly, dumb fun.  I never saw the second one, but it sounds like it might have been the one to set expectations so high for this one.  Although, from the sounds of it, the ending should have drawn the battle lines pretty clear for people.  There are no rules in these universes.  Anything goes.  Be prepared for good, bad, ugly, and the just plain silly.  Have some fun with it.  Or don’t.  We’ll keep on doing our thing.

Comics Books: How Marvel is Killing the Industry One Gimmick at a Time

For the last few months, I’ve been in denial. In denial of the slow decline of comics. There, I said it: Comics are declining. Shawn had texted me a couple of times in the past saying as much once he left the hobby behind. I didn’t want to believe it, and in those cases agreed with his observations but not necessarily that the entire industry was in trouble. After all, DC Comics was still putting out quality books. Well folks, the industry is in trouble. DC Comics is still chugging along producing really great stuff (Batman, Batman: White Knight, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Dark Nights Metal), but Marvel Comics has stopped pulling its weight.

If you remember it was only last August that Marvel announced their “Legacy” initiative after Secret Empire concluded, which was essentially just a fancy term for going back to original numbering on their line of books and “bringing the fun back to comics”.

I gritted my teeth and said, “Ok, it feels like a reboot-ish thing but I’ll try a few titles out.”

I fell under the spell of the Lenticular covers, fully aware that it felt all too familiar. It felt like the same mistakes that were made back in ’96, when the industry essentially collapsed and Marvel declared bankruptcy. Gimmick covers, reboots, character deaths,..etc, it turned off both the casual reader and the collector. Cripes, I still remember standing in line just to pick up Superman #75 because it was the end of Superman. At that point we were not yet conditioned to the fact that a death isn’t a death in comics. A little while later after enduring the painfully crappy “Funeral for a Friend” crossover and the god-awful Four Supermen crossover, Superman was alive and well and the industry was, well, not.

So what happened this fall? Marvel puts out their fancy little covers and we all flock to buy them. Wrong. We actually didn’t all run out and buy them. I mean, I did because I’m an idiot but a majority of people realized that a cover doesn’t matter. It’s what’s between the covers that matters. And what was between those covers was of the same quality that existed before Legacy, and that quality wasn’t great in comparison to what DC was putting out. Sure, there were a few good storylines, but as a whole Marvel was in trouble.

One of their most talented writers, Brian Michael Bendis, decided to jump ship and joined the competition. He later revealed that Marvel tried to convince him to stay by offering him a Deadpool or Wolverine book. Typical Marvel. This brings me to my next point: riding the hype wave of a popular character until people stop caring. How many Deadpool books can they pump out? Again, sins of the past..Do you remember how many Wolverine books were around in the 90’s? How many cameos he had in other books? It was mind-boggling. Deadpool is being treated the same way. You can’t base an entire company off of one frickin’ character. I’ll be honest with you, DC is starting to fall into the same trap with Batman. Since Scott Snyder wrote the hell out of the “New 52” series and sold a ton of books, there has been a real focus on Bats in the DC Universe. Are the books good? Absolutely. Just yesterday, I told Shawn to give White Knight a try. However this doesn’t mean that every month there should be a new Bats series, and its starting to be that way. DC just released Brave and Bold: Batman & The Wonder Woman #1 as well as Batman: Sins of the Father #1. That’s two new titles in the same month. So while DC is putting out better quality, I do get worried that they will fall into the same traps that Marvel has.

One thing they haven’t done is raise their cover prices, which in the end is what most people care about. They even lowered the price on their Dark Nights Metal books once they saw that the sales were so great for the first two one-shots a dollar. Maybe it’s just me but that shows that they listen to and appreciate their audience. I read an interview with Marvel chief Joe Quesada where he takes the exact opposite approach and defends the $4-$5 cover prices essentially saying that the fans have enjoyed underpriced books for too long and Marvel charges what they think the creativity in their books is really worth. My guess is that he feels untouchable because Marvel Studios is an absolute juggernaut in the box office, and soundly kicks the bajeezus out of DC. Fun fact: Did you know that Black Panther has already surpassed Justice League in total domestic sales in its first week?! So while, Quesada might feel untouchable in that aspect of the business, he, unfortunately for him, only runs the comic side. The lesson that is being learned as we speak is that movie viewers do not turn into comic readers.

So how does Marvel try to remedy this problem? By rebooting. Over and over again. Y’know to give any new readers a “jumping on point”. So in May, coincidentally when Avengers: Infinity War is due to release, Marvel is going to, yup, reboot again! All that Legacy “bringing the fun back to comics” stuff? Gone! Long-term readers? Eh, go screw! I don’t understand the mentality of this decision. Do they really think that because a gazillion Avengers tickets will be sold that it will translate into a gazillion issues of Avengers #1 being sold? What happens when the second Avengers: Infinity War flick is released? Another reboot? This logic alienates current readers in order to possibly attract new ones, which obviously hasn’t worked.

They are calling this upcoming reboot their “Fresh Start” initiative. (Shakes head)

After many conversations with Shawn combined with the points I’ve made above, I believe that your buddies at 2 Guys has a solution to save the industry, or at the very least, save Marvel Comics.

-Drop cover prices to $2.99 to be even with DC. Your books currently suffer from low quality writing and art, so the excuse of us having to pay for their creative value holds no water.
-For the love of ****ing God stop rebooting.
-Hire some new talent, get some unknown pencillers, some unknown writers, colorists,..etc, who knows? You might discover the next Scott Snyder or David Finch.
-No more Lenticular covers, no more shiny covers, hell, I wouldn’t be sad to see variants go away in general.
-No more cheap gimmicks like mish-mashing ****ing characters like “Weapon H” or “Red Goblin”. Do we really need another Wolverine-like character? No. No, we don’t.

Well, that’s my two cents as far as the comic industry goes, agree? Disagree? Let me know. I think that one thing we can all agree on as comic fans is that our hobby needs to be protected from cash grabby schemes and we deserve better than what Marvel is selling us. DC? Well you’re doing fine, but watch those Bat books and the foil covers, we’ve got our eyes on you….

Rapid Fire!..Random Thoughts 2/19

-To buy a box of M25 or not? I wish the spoilers were flowing a little more freely since the boxes are below $200 at the moment and while the thought of possibly pulling a Jace, the Mind Sculptor out of a pack is dancing in my head, it’s not quite enough to make me jump and preorder. My prediction for the big ticket cards in the set: Enemy fetches, Tarmogoyf, Aether Vial, Liliana of the Veil, Wurmcoil Engine, Force of Will, Mana Drain and Crucible of the Worlds.

-The first DLC characters for Dragonball FighterZ have been announced; Borly and Bardoc. Bardoc is Goku’s pops so it’s essentially another Saiyan which is a little disappointing. While I have gushed uncontrollably about the game, I do wish they would bring in some more non-Saiyan characters. On the other hand Borly should be the largest character in the game so it’ll be interesting to see how powerful the character actually is.

-A Japanese bike company (Khodaa-Bloom) designed a really cool Megaman themed bike. It can be yours for the low, low price of $2700 USD. For that price, it better come with a friggin’ Buster Shot on the front.

-Not sure where I’ve been, but somehow I missed the fact that Gamestop managed to swing a deal to have a Secret of Mana remake for the PS4 be a Gamestop exclusive. Interesting to see if this becomes a thing, (i.e. Target gets exclusive games, Walmart gets exclusive games,..).

-Only 59 more days until God of War 4 is released. But who’s counting?

-For all of my Star Wars fans out there, you can preorder the largest Star Wars toy that Hasbro has ever made, Jabba’s Sail Barge, for a mere $499.99! This monstrosity is 4 feet long, a little over a foot wide, and a 1 ½ feet tall, and comes with either divorce papers or a letter from your child expressing their undying love and gratitude. There is a catch, Hasbro will only start production if they get 5,000 preorders by 4/3 (currently, as of this post, they have 1,259 orders). You can place your preorder at www.hasbrolab.com.

-Finally, I want to thank everyone who follows us on Twitter and/or Instagram!

Super Bowl Post Mortem

Introduction

I spent the better part of two weeks convincing people (and maybe even myself) that I wasn’t going to watch the Super Bowl this year.  I haven’t watched an entire Super Bowl (not even when the Steelers were in it) in over a decade, so why start this year.  Then, I was actually invited to a Super Bowl party.  It wasn’t one of those, “maybe” invites either.  It was from the same friend that I’ve made a tradition of watching the CFP Championship with and might even try to make some time this year to watch some of the March Madness tournament.

We said yes.  I say “we” because our wives are friends, too, and Aiden expressed interest in watching the game this year.  We were going to make a family event of it.  Liam was a bit upset that we weren’t going to do our annual movie marathon, but everyone else seemed to be on board.  Then, the big day came, and some of our family wasn’t feeling well, so we didn’t want to spread germs.  Cue up “Night at the Museum” trilogy!

I did watch the Gamecast at the end of the first half and then the end of the game.  Because, let’s be fair.  The NFL (and college to some extent) has become a league where you don’t actually have to watch the whole game.  If something exciting is going to happen, it’s going to be in the last few minutes of either half.  Sure enough, that’s exactly how this game went down.  Well, in conversation with Chris, he said it was a good game, but I’m okay being in the dark except for highlights.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I work nights at a school and it gets spooky as heck in the dark.

What Exactly Are We Watching?

NFL ratings have been down.  I’m sure you’ve heard that at least once during the season.  Everyone has a theory as to why.  People are disrespecting the flag and the anthem!  The product is too diluted by being on so many times during the week!  Parents are horrified to let their kids watch what ultimately is the slow suicide of 106 large men who crash into each other at full speed!

I think that what many people are not considering is that ratings everywhere are going down.  As more and more realize that everything is much better on demand and often sports are much better consumed as highlights, the old model of television is becoming obsolete.  Sure cable companies are holding on for dear life, bolstered primarily by ESPN’s Disney money, but the end is extremely effing nigh as 28 Day Later told us.

I would, for a moment, like to return to the concussion issue.  The flag and anthem are non starters for me, so don’t even start.  If you want to have an intelligent discussion about it, fine.  As I said in a previous article, if you want to shout generalities and memes at me, I’m just going to conclude that you don’t have the intellectual capacity to hold a conversation and I’m going to walk away.  However, after listening to Hang Up and Listen this week, I do think there might be something to the concussion theory.

Football good. Concussion bad.

They were talking about how Patriots super tight end (yikes, those words in that order sound really weird) Rob Gronkowski, referred semi-affectionately by me as “Gronkenstein”, sounded almost contemplative during his post game interview.  I was intrigued by this because (a) I just assumed that Gronk would Gronk as long as his body allowed him to Gronk and (b) he’s not exactly the most contemplative individual.  It was a bit of a shock to hear that Gronk maybe didn’t want to Gronk as hard and maybe not at all anymore.

Sure, there have been other players who have decided that the game wasn’t for them and have retired early.  Especially as more evidence is coming out that the NFL kept research from the public and, more importantly, the players, some guy are deciding that going on playing a game that might leave them so brain damaged as to eventually hurt somebody else or themselves might not be the best idea.  Gronkenstein is the perfect specimen for playing football.  It’s like he was selected by a casting director for a football movie.  Hearing that even he was considering his own mortality has me a bit shook.

“I’m Rooting for the Meteor”

In spite of my insistence that I wasn’t watching the game (at this point because I was convinced more than ever that it would just be another typical Patriots victory), I kept getting drawn into conversations about the game.  I finally just responded to one conversation with Craig (the guy who I was supposed to be ignoring the game at his Super Bowl party), “I’m rooting for the meteor.”  I also said to Chris after the game, “Know that this is one of the few ways that the Patriots would lose the Super Bowl and I wouldn’t be dancing on their graves.”  For a Steelers fan, this game was a lose-lose proposition.

Did the meteor win?

If I Had Any Money, I’d Probably Develop a Gambling Problem

During one of my conversations with Craig, he mentioned that he bought one of those squares for the game this year.  That got me thinking, so I went and I checked out some betting sites to see what odds you could have gotten on various scenarios.  The Eagles won, which was unexpected, and Nick Foles won MVP, which was very unlikely.  I figured that if you were going to bet one then you’d probably have taken the other, so I figured out parlay odds for those things happening.  It was over 10 to 1.  I also figured that if you hedged with Tom Brady as MVP, you’d only have lost only 10 dollars on that hedge.  I ended several conversations with the conclusion that I’d have to put some money away so that I could throw it at Vegas next year.

Sorry, Kids, you can’t go to college. Daddy really liked Jimmy G-sus and the 49ers to win Super Bowl LIII.

Wither Defense in the NFL?

Chris insists that this was an exciting game.  I have heard that assessment from others as well.  I was riveted by the last 5 minutes or so as I watched the GameCast on NFL.com.  I asked him if the defenses were as bad as they seemed or if it was just an illusion of the high scoring game.  He replied, “Oh, no.  It wasn’t an illusion. The defenses were that bad.”  So, I checked out the highlights and all I can say is, “Wow.”  It wasn’t a surprise that the Patriots defense was terrible, they’ve been suspect all year.  The Eagles, on the other hand, were supposed to live on defense this year.  This is not my father’s NFL.

Some people complain about college football and the fact that many teams don’t bother with defense much other than maybe Alabama.  On the other hand, I enjoy the college game and the quick strike offenses that rule the day there.  It seems as if some of the more progressive coaches in the NFL (maybe spearheaded by Chip Kelly’s somewhat failed experiment) have noticed that if they want to win, they might have to go the college route.  Then again, perhaps this game is an aberration and we’ll be back to ugly 3 and out football next season.

Perhaps it won’t be as bad as this, but NFL coaches too often coach not to lose instead of coaching to win.

“Inch by Inch”

Perhaps influenced by the Madden video game series and their hero worship of players, I didn’t give much thought to coaching in the NFL.  Sure, people make the argument that a good coach makes a difference, but really, how much of a difference?  These are grown men who have fought tooth and nail all of their lives to rise to the epitome of their profession.  And, they need a guy to motivate them to do well at that profession?  It’s an absurd proposition.

Well, I’m here to say that I was wrong about all of that.  One of the main reasons that Philadelphia made it to the Super Bowl is that they have a good coach who is willing to do what it takes to win the game.  Most of the time, when faced with the Patriots “unbeatable aura”, coaches and teams shrink.  Not so with the Eagles in this game.  They stood toe to toe with the Pats and barely blinked.

There ain’t gonna be no rematch.

I’m Impressed By Philadelphia’s Marbles

Speaking of coaching, not only did Philly not blink, but they took it right to the Patriots.  They went for it on fourth down more than once.  One time, they went for it on 4th and goal from the Patriots 1 and showed them how a trick play throw to your quarterback is supposed to work.  I was impressed and jealous all at once.  Both Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher have withered in the face of the great Belichick and Brady in the playoffs.  I want a coach that will throw the hammer down on the accelerator and never let up.

Granted, they played a little too safe at the end of the game and I was convinced that it would come back to bite them eventually.  They gave Brady way too many chances.  If we’ve learned one thing it is that you do not give Tom Brady any chance at the end of the game.  I guess I can understand them becoming a bit more conservative at the end of the game because you don’t want to happen to you what happened to Brady.  I didn’t like it, though.

Tanaka approves of those huge marbles, Philadelphia.

That Old Patriots Magic

Right up until the end of the game, I was convinced that the Patriots will win.  Heck, even about a week later, I’m convinced that the NFL will somehow review the tape of the failed Hail Mary and determine that the pass was actually complete and then the Patriots used some obscure rule to complete a three point conversion so that they actually won the game.  The Patriots winning close Super Bowls, sometimes in unexpected fashion has become a part of the NFL mythos.  Years later, we are going to tell our grandkids about 28-3 and the Tuck Rule just the same as our parents and grandparents told us about the Heidi game and the Immaculate Reception.

Nearly everyone I have spoken to agrees with me.  They are astounded that the Patriots did not win the game.  Not only did they not win the game, but they were scrambling at the end in much the same way that other teams do against them.  On the first potential game winning drive, Brady was stripped of the ball while being sacked.  Then, when Philly went a bit conservative as I mentioned above, he still had a chance to potentially tie it with the Hail Mary that harmlessly fell to the ground.  In any other normal Super Bowl, the first drive would have ended in a touchdown and then the following drive, the Patriots would have stripped Foles of the ball and won the game.  That didn’t happen this time.  Is that old Patriots magic dead at last?  Did it just take an evil of equal magnitude to end their reign?  Only time will tell.

Either way, ding dong mofos…

The Last Word

It all hit me yesterday afternoon as I listened to the final Simmons and Sal podcast of the NFL season.  It’s all over.  I’m not as big a fan of football as I once was, but I’ve grown fond of my little rituals during the season.  I paid attention to and cared a little bit about the Super Bowl for the first time in years.  I don’t know how long this will last or if it will grow into a new fandom in my later years, but it is possible.

At the very least, writing for the web page will keep me interested.  A couple of years ago, I did a preview with plans of doing picks every week and keeping track like the talking heads do.  This was a weird season, though, as evidenced by my 5-6 record in the playoffs and the Patriots losing the Super Bowl in a way that they normally win them, so who knows.  If it goes back to being the No Fun League again next year, I could quickly lose interest.

Though, evidence is starting to mount that we collided with an alternate timeline like in The Cloverfield Paradox and things will only get weirder.

Comic Haul! #3

This haul from the middle of December strays from my usual ordering habits as I usually don’t order runs of one title. Last summer Shawn had mentioned that the Aquaman series was pretty entertaining. Being the comic nut that I am I made a mental note to give it a shot once my pull list thinned out a bit. Once Secret Empire ended, I had the room but then those godamn Marvel Lenticular covers came out and I was suckered. Needless to say Aquaman was an afterthought until a coworker mentioned how he really liked the series. About a month ago I finally ordered the first seven issues since they were all on sale.

Note: I’m slightly tweaking the way I’m writing these posts to include the official solicitation for each comic followed by my thoughts about it. The reason being that I’m self critical and don’t believe that my previous overviews of the plot were giving you guys enough information.

Aquaman vol.6 #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, Rebirth)

THE DROWNING’ Chapter one Black Manta returns, and as Aquaman attempts to broker lasting peace between Atlantis and the surface world, his greatest foe engineers a plan to destroy everything and everyone the undersea hero loves.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting too much to begin with as I’ve never been a big Aquaman fan, so my expectations were set low. Fortunately, this issue was fantastic. The Black Manta terrorism angle added a serious overtone to this otherwise fun issue. The art of Brad Walker really impressed me and the story was a solid start to the series. I’m hooked. Get it? Because it’s Aquaman…fish?..hooked? Eh, I’m not proud of that one either. 8/10

Aquaman vol.6 #2 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

THE DROWNING,’ Chapter Two: In issue #2, unity between land and sea is Arthur Curry’s greatest dream. But Black Manta has a dream too: to destroy everything Aquaman stands for, starting with the sea king’s Atlantean embassy and everyone in it.

Again, another solid issue. The Drowning storyline is really good so far. *****SPOILER ALERT***** After the Black Mantis blows up the Atlantean Embassy (issue #1), Aquaman finds himself at odds with the United States military. 8/10

Aquaman vol.6 #3 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

THE DROWNING,’ Chapter Three: In issue #3, Aquaman’s mission of peace is dealt a devastating blow when Atlantean terrorists attack the surface world in retribution for Black Manta’s deadly assault on their embassy.

****SPOILER ALERT**** The “twist” in this book was very predictable..clearly it wasn’t “Atlantean terrorists” that took out a navy ship. I mean, we just got through 2 issues where the Black Manta made it perfectly clear that he wanted to destroy Aquaman by any means necessary and we all know that he isn’t the only one who shares that sentiment. What better way to take Aquaman down? Frame the guy and let him get locked up or killed. 7/10

Aquaman vol.6 #4 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

The Drowning’ part four. Aquaman is arrested for a war crime he didn’t commit: ordering an Atlantean terrorist attack on the surface, killing hundreds! The young king is willing to sit behind bars if it means peace between two worlds, but one ally is determined to break Aquaman out, no matter the cost: his girlfriend Mera!

I was really loving this Aquaman series until I hit this book. Pet peeve: switching artists in the middle of a storyline. The art fell flat in this issue, good thing the story is definitely pulling the weight. 7/10

Aquaman vol.6 #5 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

The Drowning’ part five. Unjustly branded a murderer and a fugitive, Aquaman’s forced to defend himself against the might of America’s military. Meanwhile, Black Manta and the deadly underwater crime cabal known as N.E.M.O. advance their plan for revenge on Aquaman.

This one is basically one long action scene with Aquaman and Mera fighting the military to get back to the water. Also Black Mantis reminds us why he is not one you want to screw with after coming across fairly weak at the end of #2. No real surprises in the issue besides Black Mantis meeting the head of N.E.M.O. 7/10

Aquaman vol.6 #6 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

THE DROWNING’ conclusion! As this first epic concludes, Aquaman and Mera are on the run for a crime they didn’t commit. They’ve fought through every kind of firepower the U.S. military has thrown. Now all that’s left between them and Atlantis is the Man of Steel.

This was a crazy issue! Who would win in a fight? Supes or Fishguy? It’s not as one-sided as you might think as Aquaman can hold his own. Right when he throws the first punch my jaw dropped and it stayed that way until the end. It didn’t feel like the usual superhero kind of fight though, more of a fight you would have with your brother in the backyard. It was really, really interesting to see how Aquaman views himself within the Justice League as his frustration bubbles to the surface (I swear I didn’t mean that pun). The ending was decent but didn’t feel like the true ending of the story, more of a direct bridge to the next arc. 9.5/10

Aquaman vol.6 #7 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

‘Who framed Aquaman?’ The investigation into the Atlantean attack on American forces kicks off a mystery as the criminal collective N.E.M.O. unleashes a new and terrible weapon that threatens the existence of Atlantis itself.

This is the beginning of the next arc, where Mantis and N.E.M.O wake up a giant unstoppable creature to tear through Atlantis. Right when the creature wakes up it has a “Doomsday” feel to it as it smashes the Atlantean army flat. Entertaining issue and spoke to the B-monster movie guy in me. 8/10.

Ok, that’s it for the Aquaman portion of my order, I did grab a couple of other comics:

Hawkman Found#1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, Metal tie-in, foil cover)

One of DC’S greatest heroes is missing! No one has seen or heard from Carter Hall-a.k.a. Hawkman-in years. Reincarnated repeatedly since the dawn of humanity, Hawkman has spent his many lives uncovering history’s most fantastic mysteries, and now he has become one himself! Take a journey into the one of the darkest corners of the DC Universe as a mysterious man tries to piece together what happened to Hawkman, and how it all connects to the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL!

I mentioned in one of my previous comic hauls that I felt “Metal” was kinda going off the rails and becoming convoluted. Thankfully, this book is more straightforward than the main Metal books. One of the main plot lines of Metal has been that Hawkman is incredibly important as he is the guardian of “The Forge” of the universe but he is awol. This one shot is focused on reintroducing Carter Hall as he fights to rediscover who he is in order to escape a psychic prison. It’s entertaining and worthwhile to check out but I didn’t feel like it added a ton to the overall story. It did make me think that there should be a Hawkman series though. 8/10

Avengers vol.6 #672 (Marvel Comics, Lenticular cover)

WORLDS COLLIDE Part 1 
Following the events of GENERATIONS comes the long-promised clash between the Avengers and the Champions! The countdown has started as the High Evolutionary, a twisted scientist determined to create a better world at all costs, sets the Earth on a collision course with destruction! The Avengers and the Champions are ready to meet this threat – but will their first cataclysmic clash deter them from changing the world?

Wow! Just look at the synopsis! Looks entertaining doesn’t it? Yeah, I liked the cover. Haven’t read this one yet. N/A

That’s it for this haul, as always thanks for reading!

Kong: Skull Island Review

The Synopsis: Kong: Skull Island reimagines the origin of the mythic Kong in an updated CGI fest full of giant monsters. In this remake, a diverse team of explorers is brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific unaware that they’re crossing into the Kong country.

The Review: I really wanted to love this movie. I mean, I love all B-sci-fi movies and this one has an all star cast. I mean you can’t go wrong with Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman and John C. O’Reilly right? Well, turns out you can when the story doesn’t have a lot of substance to it. The film seems to go from action scene to action scene leaving no room for actual character development. When there is a death, I found myself not really caring (I’m not a sociopath) because the script doesn’t give the viewer a reason to care. Other than the shallow script, the rest of the film is eye-popping. Kong has never looked better and the other prehistoric creatures are really cool and imaginative. In the end, I guess that’s why people would want to see this movie: the giant-sized creatures fighting. You don’t necessarily walk into a King Kong movie thinking, “this story is going to be amazing and full of twists and turns.” No, it’s more like, “I can’t wait to see this giant-ass monkey punch a giant squid in the ol’ food hole!” I get it. And for the most part, I’m with that crowd, hence my undying love for all things sci-fi and cheesy. It’s just that there were too many weak jokes and “witty” one liners that fell flat for me. The action and the visuals do save the movie and the post credit scene sets up a showdown with Godzilla which had me sufficiently geeked. All said, it’s worth renting if you just want to watch a fun movie where you can switch off the brain a bit.

Kong: Skull Island: 6.5/10

Completely Ignorant Super Bowl Extravaganza

Introduction

Yeah, I said Super Bowl.  Whatchoo gonna do about it NFL?  Sue me?  Go ahead, do it, and I’ll bring your whole stupid farce of a league down around your heads.  The Immaculate Reception and The Tuck Rule both just happened to be against the Raiders?  Two franchise altering and ultimately dynasty launching plays in the playoffs against the exact same team?  And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Once I’m done Alex Jonesing you, my cadre of minions will boycott everything that contains an N, and F, or an L, including your fraudulent product.  I’ve already gotten 4 other people to join me in my anti-Super Bowl party and there’s many more just waiting for a ridiculous cult leader to rise from the population and lead them away from your web of lies.

Okay, did I scare them off?  Yes?  Whew.  It was tough keeping up that insane prattling just to throw them off the scent.  I just wanted them to go away so that I can freely use the word Super Bowl without fear of being sued by the league.  Normally, I wouldn’t be worried, but with all of this talk of tanking ratings, concussion protocol, and terrible product on the field, I wouldn’t doubt that they’d come after some tiny web page in the corner of the internet.  They might actually need the money.

As people tell us, if you misrespect ol’ Glory, she gonna get her revenge! Sad!

Okay, now that the silliness is over, let’s get to the game.  We will have time for silliness after.  It is a serious and solemn occasion after all.  There’s no time for silliness in a child’s game!

What Philadelphia brings to the game

Good cheese steaks that have somehow been elevated to the status of national icon.  The cradle of American democracy even though the revolution started in Massachusetts.  Rioting fans that somehow caused the police there to rub Crisco on light poles.  At least, that’s the official story.  Maybe some rogue cop there just likes rubbing Crisco on light poles.  Some dude did still ascend a light pole smothered in Crisco.

Oh, I’m supposed to talk about the football team here.  Apparently, Philadelphia has a great defense.  They said that about Minnesota and Jacksonville, too.  The former did what Minnesota does and broke their fan’s hearts by rolling over in an NFC Championship in which they could have played in the Super Bowl in their home stadium.  The latter played right into script by folding in the second half and letting the Patriots dance all over our broken hearts once again.  So, I don’t know what to make of the Eagles defense.

Could these guys electric slide all over Brady (boogie oogie oggie)? Sure. Sh’yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

We’ve seen that the way to get to Brady is the way you get to all quarterbacks.  You pressure him up the middle and take away his ability to step up out of your pressure on the ends.  Everyone knows the formula.  So far, only a select few teams have been able to execute the strategy in the playoffs and only one has been able to in the Super Bowl.  So, pardon me if I’m not overwhelmed by your ridiculous discussions of the Eagles defense.

Speaking of recency bias, how about Nick Foles!  I was guilty of the same thing last week in my pick of the Vikings.  Now, it seems like all of America, clinging to some faint hope of a Patriots loss, is using that logic to elevate Nick Foles to Doug Williams status.  Again, I’m not going to say that he can’t do what he did against the Vikings.  I’m just saying that it is highly unlikely.  He’s playing against Negan Belichick and his version of Lucille, Tom Brady.

This picture redacted due to depictions of eye related mishaps. Just know that the Patriots will give us all the Glenn treatment tomorrow.

Other than those two talking points that have saturated popular culture enough to even make it into a brain that has tried to avoid all discussion of the Super Bowl these last two weeks, I think the Eagles might have a decent running back, maybe two.  Their coach is apparently a guy who knows how to do football things and tell other guys how to do football things.  What does it all add up to?  The Eagles will use all of that to build a 10+ point lead in the first three quarters.  Congratulations, guys, but a football game is 4 quarters long.  That’s how math works.

What New England brings to the game

Fans that think that the NFL was founded in 2001 when football Jesus descended from the football heavens above with a football shirt and pants on his body, and a football hat on his head.  Fans that used to be known for rioting and occasionally urinating on one another in drunken fits of drunkeness, but are now much more sophisticated and refined in their drunken behavior.  Stephen King, though he’s more of a baseball fan and I think he might have somehow avoided Patriots fever.  Probably his experience with Captain Tripps.  Clam chowder that has rightly been elevated to national icon status.

I’m biased here. I can’t talk bad about the region or people. I may hate the Patriots, but I love New England. That’s why my snark might be dialed down a bit. Apologies.

And, again, here we are at the place where I have to talk about football.  Everyone tells me that this Patriots defense is not as good as Patriots defenses of the past.  I hear that Tom Brady is 40 years old and that father time is undefeated.  There have been reports that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Robert Kraft had a little fight a couple of weeks ago over Jimmy G-sus and Brady’s role on the team going forward.  Gronkenstein went out last game with a concussion.  Edleman has been hurt for much of the season.  I’m here to tell you that none of this means a damn thing.

You can cling to whatever sliver of hope speaks to your stupid little heart.  I’ve seen this story in some form or another many times over the past decade.  I don’t suffer entertainment that becomes so predictable as to be boring.  And, I don’t suffer false hope.  Do not.  I repeat.  Do not hate watch this game thinking that the Eagles will win.  You will waste 4 hours of your life.

The zombies will always breach the perimeter in the last 2 minutes of the show. Joffrey will Joffrey even harder just when you think that he couldn’t be any more Joffrey. And, the Patriots will win this damn game.

The Gordian Aiden

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned in this article that I haven’t watched the Super Bowl in over a decade.  I’ve had to say it so much to so many people that it doesn’t even sound like real words to me anymore.  Well, I haven’t.  I took an assessment of my life, a la my Skyrim days and I decided that I didn’t like the person I was becoming in regards to the NFL.  There were other triggers, as well, and I didn’t like how other people in my life were falling into the gravitational pull of the league either.  We’d be on vacation and people would disappear into a bar to watch the Patriots game instead of doing vacation things.  It’s almost a disorder.

Instead of the Super Bowl, our family has thrown an anti-Super Bowl party.  We watch a marathon of movies or TV shows together and I still cook food as if we were watching the Super Bowl.  Potato skins, chicken fingers, nachos, pizza, etc.  We just don’t watch the game.  Well, it got out that Aiden wants to watch the game this year.  It’s most likely because his friends are talking about it.  That brings up a bit of a dilemma.  Christine hates football.  I’ve gotten used to not watching the game.  But, we also don’t want to dictate what he does with his life.

Okay, it’s not Gordian Knot level, but both of us have expressed our deep displeasure at having to break our tradition for this silly game.

Well, my friend Craig, who I’ve mentioned a few times on the page, invited us over. He was very careful with his words because he knows that the only one in the family who wants to watch the game is Aiden.  I told him in no uncertain terms that I have no interest in the game.  I’m not playing that up to make this article seem more intellectually honest as being “completely ignorant”.  I don’t want to watch a single minute of this game.  I don’t want to see highlights.  I don’t want to know stats or the score.  It will be impossible to do so, of course, but the longer I can stem the tide of Patriots revulsion, the better I will be for it.

So, I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but I think we might end up at his place.  He’s got a big place and I can avoid the game without seeming too antisocial.  Christine likes to hang out and talk with his wife and he says the only other people that are there are Patriots haters.  I wish them well in their hate watch, but I’m not falling for it this time.

The Pick

I’m 5-5 so far in these playoffs.  I don’t know if my crystal ball is just foggy.  I’ve gone 8-2 in my ignorant picks as recently as three years ago.  Maybe this NFL season was just especially wacky.  I have to admit that I never thought at the beginning of the season that I’d be picking between the Vikings and Eagles in the NFC Championship or that the Jaguars would beat my Steelers in a game in which the two teams scored 87 points combined.

But, here we are.  I mentioned last week that choosing this game is like choosing between sawing off my leg and bleeding to death vs. letting the rot slowly spread through my body.  It’s an apt metaphor and the main reason that I can’t hate watch this game.  I hate the Patriots.  That’s been established.  I hate the Eagles just as much, if not more.  That’s in the DNA of every red blooded Pittsburgher.

Though, to be honest, my true hatred of Philly sports teams lies with the Flyers. They can go straight to hell.

Who do I want to win?  The answer in any Patriots Super Bowl is always “not the Patriots”.  Who are “not the Patriots” this year?  Well, fate being the cruel mistress she is, they are the Eagles.  So, the true answer is, “I don’t care.  Just end this stupid spectacle already.”  Well, what about the commercials, you may think.  I feel like the commercials peaked about 5 or 6 years ago just before they started releasing them online before the game.  Huh, I guess I am somewhat affected by spoilers.  The halftime show?  Justin Timberlake?  Eh, sure, I guess.  What’s he gonna do, dress as a troll and sing with Anna Kendrick?  I’d tune in for that.  Maybe.  Prop bets?  Not a gambler.

Who do I think will win?  Crazy things can happen.  Somehow in the recent past, we went sideways in time and now exist in the universe where Donald Trump is president of the USA.  However, I don’t see any way that the Eagles win this one.  Heck, I’ll take the loss and go 5-6 in these playoffs to be wrong.  But, even if they did, so what?

I just hope that it doesn’t take very long to bleed to death.

Rapid Fire! Random Thoughts 1/29

-C’mon UPS, bring me my copy of Dragonball FighterZ. I’m tired of watching all of the gameplay videos on Youtube, I just want to play the friggin’ game!

-Scott Snyder is taking over Justice League after the next Justice League event. How the heck are they going to fit all of the those character in that book with all of those text boxes?! Hah! I kid, I’m sure it’s going to be really good. I’m definitely adding it to my pull list. I am a little confused as he and Greg Capullo kept teasing fans on Twitter about working on a Swamp Thing series. Hopefully that’s something that’s still in the works. I personally think his cerebral style of writing would fit Swamp Thing much better than Justice League but hey, what do I know?

-Speaking of the next Justice League event, it starts up after Dark Nights Metal concludes and during the event the title will be going weekly. Much like the Avengers: No Surrender storyline. Hey, I’m all for more comics and competition is healthy but how about a price break? I would have to think that having an expedited deadline on each book would cause the quality to suffer a bit. Do you really want to spend $20 a month on just The Avengers or even $12 for just the Justice League? I know I don’t.

-Looks like Rivals of Ixalan has lit the fire of 2 Guys Gaming again. This weekend we will have a sealed draft and I’m pretty excited for it. Quite a few cards in the set have my brain churning out some deck lists.

-I know that my random thoughts are supposed to be rapid but something has really bothered me today. Usually I listen to Boston sports radio station WEEI maybe once a day for an hour or so just to see what the topics of the day are. I tuned in this morning just in time for Tom Brady to call in and, in a really restrained way, tell them that he felt disrespected and that he was going to evaluate whether he wanted to continue his weekly interview with them. This was apparently due to a comment that a host, Alex Reimer, had said about his 5 year old daughter. Last Thursday night, after watching the Brady Facebook documentary series, he decided that he would call Brady’s little girl an “annoying little pissant”. Dude. Really? A 5 year old who is just excited about playing a soccer game? What the hell is wrong with you? Of all the things he could have talked about pertaining to the first episode that’s what he came up with? That’s his hot take? No, that’s his cry for attention and notoriety in the world of sports media. My guess is that he wanted to go for “funny” shock value but it ended up ruining his career. Or at least it should. He has since been indefinitely suspended as the big dogs of WEEI tear out their hair since Tom Brady basically flipped them the verbal bird this morning and hung up. Tom Brady is a public figure so he is under the media’s microscope at all times, but to sink to insulting his kid? That crosses a line.

I don’t blame the guy at all, to be honest he probably should have done so a long time ago. The morning guys he talks to are two of the biggest idiots in radio with one of them, Minihane, always going for the hot controversial take in order to keep his name in the papers, keep the ratings up and foster this new culture of shock value that is becoming more pervasive in the halls of WEEI. At this point, the morning show doesn’t even talk about sports, they talk about other journalists, politics, and most of all other hosts of the station. WEEI has turned into nothing more than childish in-fighting between shows with younger hosts saying dumb crap in an attempt to emulate Kirk Minihane. I’m essentially done with the station at this point, let me know when it gets back to sports instead of hosts calling each names and criticizing each other. It reminds me of my days working in a warehouse with each shift claiming to be better than the one before it.

This is the reason why I stopped watching ESPN. I can’t stand Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, both of which personify all that I can’t stand about sports media. Mindlessly shouting “hot takes” at each other and arguing over each other for an entire show and collecting a paycheck for it doesn’t take talent, it takes the masses approving of this kind of “reporting”. “Hey! Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless like to yell and say dumb stuff too! Let’s give them a show!” Good idea Fox! Not that I should expect anything less from you.

Aren’t we better than this people? Do you think these hosts really believe half of the garbage they are spouting? You don’t think it’s fabricated?! Is watching Stephen A. Smith/Max Kellerman trying to form words to eloquently debate their points and shouting them at each other really entertaining? Whatever happened to just reporting the news and reporting it accurately in order to make a name for yourself instead of always going for the hot take that will get your name out there? It seems like having journalistic integrity is no longer important in our society as all of these shows have decent ratings. Apparently I just need to stay away from sports media all together.

Logan Blu Ray Review

******Contains Spoilers******

After comparing notes and realizing that I had never seen Logan and Shawn had yet to see Deadpool, we decided to have Marvel movie night. He had endorsed Logan as being one of the best Marvel movies he had seen so I was curious to how good it really was. After all The Wolverine was a big steaming pile of rat crap so I had my doubts about a Wolverine movie being decent. I’m happy to report that he was not wrong, this movie is fantastic. Right from the opening scene you know that this isn’t a Wolverine/X-men movie, it’s more raw, more real, and more gritty. I believe the first words out of my mouth were “Oh !!” . I didn’t expect the violence or the “F-bombs” being dropped. With that said this movie isn’t just Logan running around shanking people like they owe him money. The story is about as far as you can get from a Marvel movie as it’s more focused on the characters as opposed to the typical rock ’em sock ’em action packed super battles. It completely makes you forget that you are watching a “superhero” movie and that’s not a bad thing.

I’ll give you the quick and dirty: It’s 2029 and (Old Man) Logan, far removed from his spandex-wearin’ ,Magneto- punchin’ days, lives near the Mexican border with Caliban and a dementia riddled Professor X. A mysterious woman pleads with Logan to watch over a kid, Laura. Of course, he is not on board with taking care of her but circumstances leave him no choice. Soon, it becomes clear that a secret agency is trying to capture Laura and he is forced to protect her.

Each character is a tragic figure that you can’t help but feel sorry for. Logan, for his addiction problems, Professor X for his brain degrading due to dementia, Caliban for being unable to be in sunlight and living a sheltered existence, and finally Laura for being a kid, losing her initial caretaker and finding herself surrounded by bloodshed. Professor X was particularly sad for me to watch. My grandfather suffered from dementia and towards the end of his life didn’t recognize me. Patrick Stewart did an amazing job with the character, and it was shocking to see this frail version of the Professor. To be honest, it was also shocking to see Logan taking on the role of his caretaker since I’ve always found their relationship to be more on the tense side.

If this indeed was Hugh Jackman’s last ride as Wolverine, it was a good one, as this was hands down the best film out of all the “X” universe movies to date. I cannot recommend this enough. If you haven’t seen it, pick it up at your nearest Redbox or better yet, buy it, it’s worth owning. I recently purchased the blu ray for $10 at Best Buy. It came with the blu ray, the dvd, and a special “noir” edition which is black and white.

Speaking of the Noir edition, I watched it a couple of nights ago out of curiosity. Strangely enough, it works for the most part. There are some interior scenes where it feels too dark and it’s hard to make out what’s happening. It also creates a different feeling for other scenes, namely the farmhouse massacre, which changes the movie to almost a horror flick during that shot. The original film feels like a western due to the “orange-ish” camera filter used, but even without the filter, the old western vibe really comes out in the black and white version. It’s absolutely worth checking out.

Logan: 9.5/10
Logan (noir): 7.5/10