Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

The Peripheral on Prime was interesting and ambitious. I thought the production design was out of this world and concept quite intriguing.   It got a lot of buzz and did well for it initially but then that wore off and it probably didn't scale to a more general audience.  Unfortunately, it got canceled as a result given how expensive it must have been.

I never stuck with La Brea but want to.  It feels a little like sliders as a network sci-fi show with a interesting concept though I guess it's trying to be more like Lost, I don't know.  Network sci-fi usually fails so I want to try to support stuff that isn't doctor or ambulance or lawyer procedurals.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

I was recently watching the 2021 movie SHIVA BABY, which is a pretty funny comedy of awkwardness. There is a plot point that involves the main character misplacing her smartphone which someone else finds and accesses. The smartphone has no password protection, no fingerprint scan, and not so much as a PIN or pattern lock. Anyone can pick it up and read everything on it in order to forward the plot.

This reminds me of a TV show that I follow, YOU, about a twisted stalker and his deranged campaigns of intrusion and depravity. The first season in 2018 has him obsessing over a female target and infiltrating her life by stealing her phone and accessing her personal information. This is possible because the phone has no password protection, no fingerprint scan, and not so much as a PIN or pattern lock.

I simply cannot imagine this. My first cell phone was a talk and text device, the very cool Samsung SPH-A500 which flipped open to review the screen and keypad and had a silver, rounded, sleek design, and I didn't lock it because I only used it for calls. I didn't start texting until I bought the Samsung Link phone in 2009 which was a cheap imitation of the Blackberry Bold 9000, and I still didn't lock this phone either because I texted so little.

However, my first truly smartphone-esque device was an iPod Touch in 2009 that had access to my email, and this I locked with a PIN. My first Android smartphone was the Nexus S in 2011 with access to all of my instant messages and emails and chats, which I also locked with a PIN. My Samsung Galaxy S3 in 2013 was also PIN-locked, but eventually got upgraded to pattern unlock. I remember getting my Samsung Galaxy S7 in 2019 and being delighted by the center button being a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone.

I have serious trouble believing that anybody would ever have a pocketable device with personal email and messages and fail to lock it.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Awhile ago, Temporal Flux recommended this 2020 series called ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST, a musical series set in San Francisco featuring one of my favourite actresses, the assertive and sardonic Jane Levy. I watched the first episode and... refused to watch more. Mainly because it was such a lavishly shot, high budget series that I did not want to watch it on my little 10.4 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 tablet at the time, the screen on which I was watching most TV shows. Something as elaborate and visually sumptuous as ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST needed to be watched on a full-size television.

I'm trying to find some time to watch it now, over two years since it was cancelled on a cliffhanger and resolved in a movie length special.

I have the exact same feeling about Season 3 of SUPERMAN AND LOIS. I have not seen it yet because it deserves to be watched on a bigger screen. My 55 inch TV isn't even that big my modern standards, and my Android TV box can't even muster 4K and is at 1080p... but I still think it's better suited to high intensity visual storytelling than a tablet.

I tend to watch things on my Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 12.4 inch Android tablet now. I don't always have the time or inclination to plant myself in front of the living room TV. And tablet is good enough for my low key sitcoms and setbound space shows and simple DC Universe Original Animated Features, but Jane Levy in San Francisco and Superman deserve scale.

544 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2024-01-20 14:43:45)

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

I always thought it was nice that the powers that be gave that show a end movie, the way Timeless got that too.  Most of the times the studios or distributors can be rather tough with decisions (and I suspect it's more that way again now) but at that time, at least they tried to address how fans felt.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

This is interesting:

https://variety.com/2024/tv/news/george … 235895233/

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Mehhh, this is far more prescient.  Studios are retreating into a zone of crud. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/a … VINER.html

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

I don't play a ton of video games, but I love the Arkham games.  I've played all of them, which makes them essentially the only games I've finished in the last couple of decades.

Spoilers for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.  Like ending-spoiling spoilers.

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So I haven't played these games, and it's unlikely that I will anytime soon.  But Suicide Squad is a giant mess.  Considering that it's Rocksteady, I had high hopes that it would be fun.  But their whole slate of games is weird now.

1. WB Games Montreal (which created the fairly solid Arkham Origins) created a game called Gotham Knights.  It takes place in a world where Batman is dead, but it's unrelated to the Arkham games.  Which is weird because the last Arkham game ended with Batman "dying".  This is an unrelated game.

2. Now they've released Suicide Squad, which has Batman coming out of retirement to just be Batman again.  It's a direct sequel to Arkham and makes numerous references to being related to Arkham.

Okay so that's fine I guess.  Batman has died in many universes and Rocksteady is making the Suicide Squad game, right? 

Well, it's a little disingenuous to just have Bruce back as Batman.  It would be like making a Nolan movie sequel where Bruce is just Batman again with no other explanation than "I mean I guess he missed being Batman so he came back".  But then not only does Batman come back with very little explanation, but they kill Batman.

And again, this is the same Batman that people have played dozens of hours as.  Unceremoniously killed.  While being brainwashed.  Just literally shot in the head.

And I mean, at the end of the day, I don't really care.  I'm not going to play this game.  But the Arkham games do mean something to me, and it's insane that they took their protagonist, brainwashed him, and then killed him.  After all Bruce did in those games, he dies a puppet villain.

To quote the Angry Video Game Nerd....."what were they thinking???"

Apparently the game is also terrible.  But I'm just blown away with that decision making.  They also introduce the concept of a multiverse, but again, there are tons of references to this being the same universe as Arkham.  It does feature Brainiac so maybe the Justice Leaguers that you kill are clones.  Or maybe this is an identical universe to Arkham but not Arkham.  But man, what a terrible thing to do IMO.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

I don't know very much of anything about the ARKHAM ASYLUM games or the latest SUICIDE SQUAD game. I am not a gamer and I have many PS3 games in my closet that have never been loaded. However, I know that the ARKHAM series means a lot to you and I am sorry that it has disappointed you.

I did look over a plot summary of SUICIDE SQUAD: KILL THE JUSTICE LEAGUE. It is peculiar to me that the developers, Rocksteady, has made so many Batman games in their own video game continuity, the Arkhamverse, a Batman video game universe in which Batman is the lead character, only to then treat the character like a supporting player who is then killed off.

One would think that such a story could be presented in a Suicide Squad-centered continuity rather than the main Arkhamverse continuity. It is also strange to me that a licensor would make a game where the player kills the heroes, although I am hardly the final arbiter of taste.

I would note that the director of the original ARKHAM ASYLUM game, Sefton Hill, is credited as director on SUICIDE SQUAD: KILL THE JUSTICE LEAGUE but in fact left Rocksteady in December 2022 and the game was reportedly completed by others. I don't know enough about this to offer any real assessment, but it is always difficult when a creator comes up with ideas that are unconventional and but then other people without the some unconventionality are the ones to execute them.

Demoting Batman and killing him off is a choice where maybe the person who came up with the idea needs to be the one to shepherd it to completion. Maybe Hill would have carried it out more satisfyingly and compellingly. It seems like what's most upsetting to fans: this was reportedly Kevin Conroy's final performance as Batman in the games before he died. Conroy was a definitive Batman, and complaints declare that his final appearance didn't capture the appeal and enjoyment of his Batman but was instead insulting towards him.

It looks like the game will have a sequel, an additional year's worth of gameplay in downloadable content. It's entirely possible that Batman's death in the game is a temporary situation. Batman has died in the comics at least 10 times only to return via magic or time travel or Fourth World technology or voodoo or whatnot. However, even if the Arkhamverse Batman returns, Kevin Conroy (probably) won't.

I do not know enough about these video games to say whether or not Batman's death should be taken seriously; in comics, Batman's death is at most an extended coffee break.

I do not know enough about these games to say whether or not it would be upsetting if the resurrected Arkhamverse Batman were voiced by Roger Craig Smith (I read that Smith voiced the younger Arkhamverse Batman in ARKHAM ORIGINS while Conroy voiced the present day version in the other games).


DC has had some curious attitudes to licensing Batman over the years. I understand why a studio would think Zack Snyder and Batman are a great match, but then there was Batman's deeply unflattering portrayal in TITANS. That bizarre presentation of Batman as a mentally fragile figure was also crippled by Warner Bros. refusing to let Batman wear the Batsuit in the show. Batman is absent in BATWOMAN and GOTHAM KNIGHTS, but his absences make him seem either incompetent or uncaring (intentionally or not).

What's behind this? Well, to me, the whole DARK KNIGHT RETURNS storyline is one of the most abrasively insulting Batman stories ever written, and yet, it's viewed as character-defining by most Batman fans and most of DC. Maybe the Warner Bros. licensing office sees downbeat cynicism as on brand for Batman.

I would prefer that the caretakers of Batman insist that Batman be a heroic figure who, even if he is to be killed off, is given a death scene that reflects what makes Batman an iconic and powerful character. Something like flying a nuclear bomb away from the city or stopping the embodiment of evil or dying in bed after solving 15 murder mysteries based on nothing but casefiles and with his dying words bequeathing his favourite quick Bat-Disguise Kit to Alfred, his favourite Bat-Glider to Dick, his favourite Bat-Decrypter to Barbara, his favourite Batarang to Jason, his favourite Bat-Sonar Lenses to Cassandra, his favourite Bat Signal Jammer to Stephanie, his favourite Bat-Claw to Kate, and all the Bat-Computers to Tim.

There is one Batman death story that I really like but still find questionable: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH. Spoiler warning: it features Bruce Wayne waking up to find that Earth is a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by a supervillain named Omega who killed all the other heroes and villains. Bruce is baffled by how he has no memory of how the world came to be in this state and in addition, he notices that even though he should be in his 70s given the span of time, he is somehow in his early 30s. Bruce seeks to unravel the mystery of the past while evading the ruling supervillain of this world, Omega.

Bruce comes to a disturbing revelation: he isn't Bruce Wayne at all. He is a clone, a backup plan established by the original Bruce who wanted to ensure that upon his death, a cloned replacement with all the training would take over as Batman. Bruce is further horrified to learn that the original Bruce Wayne survived the supervillain war by becoming Omega and has become embittered, twisted and ruthless. The ending has Bruce defeating Omega and beginning the work of rebuilding the world, hoping to carry on all that was good in Bruce Wayne while leaving behind the bad.

I am not sure I like the idea of Batman becoming a supervillain who is defeated by his clone, but LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH is still engaging with what it means to be Batman and declares that Batman is such a planner that he would, deliberately or not, plan for his own defeat should he ever become a supervillain. In contrast, Batman's demise in the Arkhamverse, based on a summary, doesn't seem to really tap into what makes Batman special.

However, I have never and will probably never play the game, so I can't claim to have any real opinion of it beyond saying it sounds like a strange choice.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

ireactions wrote:

I don't know very much of anything about the ARKHAM ASYLUM games or the latest SUICIDE SQUAD game. I am not a gamer and I have many PS3 games in my closet that have never been loaded. However, I know that the ARKHAM series means a lot to you and I am sorry that it has disappointed you.

It's just really bizarre to me.  When you play a game like that, you're spending dozens of hours as that character.  There are cutscenes that make the characters come to life.  You're there, making decisions with them, for such a long time.  And it's just a little crazy that they treated him this way.  No attempt to save.  No attempt to cure.  Just killed.

And it's just a little sad I guess because it's such a bummer of an ending for this character.  If Bruce snapped and went crazy, whatever.  Take him down.  That's basically what happened with Injustice, and we're all cool with that.  But Bruce (and the rest of the Justice League) are literally brainwashed by a villain.  They're victims, and from what I've seen, there's no attempt to save them.  Maybe the game specifically says that it's not reversable, but I haven't seen anything or read anything that says that.

And I get that villains are the protagonists so they're going to make different decisions than heroes would.  But, like you said, make it a separate universe.  Don't take a character we've spent hours with, inside their head, and end him so unceremoniously.  I'm probably never going to play this game, mostly because I don't have time for games (or a system to play it on), but it does bother me.  Probably more than it should (which would be none haha)

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Like ireactions, I haven't touched a game newer than the PS3/360 generation, and even those were scant.  I'm not surprised that a story-based IP-heavy game stinks though.  I did see quite the anger over the treatment of the character, especially given that this was the final performance as Batman.  I think the shift to a "Suicide Squad" title led to what was devised.  Batman was not the only major DC character splattered during that game, it's simply the M.O. of that universe.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Grizzlor wrote:

Like ireactions, I haven't touched a game newer than the PS3/360 generation, and even those were scant.  I'm not surprised that a story-based IP-heavy game stinks though.  I did see quite the anger over the treatment of the character, especially given that this was the final performance as Batman.  I think the shift to a "Suicide Squad" title led to what was devised.  Batman was not the only major DC character splattered during that game, it's simply the M.O. of that universe.

I'm not sure. The Arkhamverse was, at least until the SUICIDE SQUAD game, a Batman-centric universe in the same way the Nolan trilogy was a Batman-centric universe.

Slider_Quinn21 seized on something else: when you play ARKHAM ASYLUM, ARKHAM CITY, ARKHAM ORIGINS, and ARKHAM KNIGHT, you are playing as Batman. You are Batman. Which means SUICIDE SQUAD: KILL THE JUSTICE LEAGUE shooting Batman in the head was shooting you in the head.

... why would a video game studio license DC superheroes to make a game where you kill the DC superheroes?

Surely League fans would want to play as the League, not fight against them. Making KILL THE JUSTICE LEAGUE was like making a SLIDERS game where you play as Colonel Rickman trying to hunt victims and evade the sliders.

My purely speculative speculation is that Rocksteady paid a sizable fee for the license to use the Justice League and a more modest fee to use the Suicide Squad, thinking they could do something with these properties to build on the success of the ARKHAM series... only to realize they'd made a mistake.

Mark Millar once remarked that a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie was a great way to lose $200 million, and that was before Snyder made it and Whedon reshot it. (I read that the movie lost $60 million.) Millar pointed out: the Justice League's powers meant the effects budget for each character alone could be like a movie unto itself.

I suspect a Justice League game is also difficult. Superman and Wonder Woman would quickly hit the limits of an ARKHAM-style open world. The Flash would require a very intricate and difficult level of gameplay design. I don't know how a game developer in the present day could design any sort of control for the player to create Green Lantern light constructs.

I wonder if the game developers soon realized it was beyond their technology and ability to make a Justice League game. But they had to do something with the license to recoup their cost. They made a third person shooter and made the Justice League the targets.

Hopefully, the DLC content will bring Batman back to life and offer a more graceful story for the lead character of the Arkhamverse. There are already rumours that the DLC sequels for the SUICIDE SQUAD game will be resurrecting the Justice League.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Yeah, I don't have a problem with the Suicide Squad killing the Justice League.  As a separate project, it's a fun concept.  They're inherently bad guys so they shouldn't have any issue killing heroes.  They're brainwashed so you're not necessarily doing bad things.  It's a way to incorporate super heroics without figuring out how to do super heroics as the hero (every attempt at doing Superman has failed).  It's a cool concept.

But like ireactions said, you killed me!  And you showed enough of my adventures to prove that it's definitely me and not someone random.  It's just a weird concept to do.

And I get it.  The hope, after there were tons of Superman references in Arkham Knight, was that Rocksteady could finally figure out the Superman dilemma.  And I get that maybe that's still just not possible with our modern gaming.  You can make Superman look great - there are plenty of Unreal engines that show what it could look like.  But how do you make a gamer feel like Superman without weakening him or juicing up villains to the point where it just feels like any other video game?

And I can assume they didn't want to do another Batman game.  And since they'd already done tons of DLC for the Bat-Family, not wanting to do a game like that.  But it might've been fun for them to do that SuperMax concept that was going to be a movie all those years ago.  You use Green Arrow who's been arrested and thrown into a superhuman SuperMax and have him fight his way across this prison.  No superpowers - a similar fighting system to Batman - and a ton of fun cameos for villains and heroes.

It is crazy that the game was in development long enough for there to be two separate failed Suicide Squad movies (failing for two different reasons).  The concept of the game seemed fun, and I guess they delivered on the promise of the title.  It just seems like the game itself is a mess, and narratively, it just feels cheap.  Not only did they kill Batman, but they also undid the emotional ending of the last game with a cheap two line idea.  It's just bad.

And I guess one more thing.  The Arkham games would be terrifying if you were one of the villains.  He hides in the shadows and picks off people one by one.  Imagine if that was a boss battle.  It would be a treat to Arkham fans to have to figure out how to beat an advanced AI version of the player you've been all these years.  Instead, you fight a bunch of visions and then a Scarecrow toxin - induced giant version of Batman.  It's silly.

They did do something cool - early in the game, if you look across the city, Batman is constantly stalking you.  You look around and he's watching you.  If you shoot at him, he disappears.  That's cool.  Everything else is super lame, and that sucks.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

I'm probably never going to play this game, mostly because I don't have time for games (or a system to play it on), but it does bother me.  Probably more than it should (which would be none haha)

The brain will often manifest the same neural activity for fictional characters that it does for real life friends. I don't think there is anything untoward about feeling emotionally invested in fiction. It's strange to me: the ARKHAM KNIGHT summary I read ends on a bit of a cliffhanger that seems to set up a fourth ARKHAM game.

I wonder why they didn't make one, but the gaming industry strikes me as being in disarray. Regardless, I would simply say: SUICIDE SQUAD - KILL THE JUSTICE LEAGUE is simply not canon. It was made after the original director quit the company, it isn't part of the ARKHAM line of games, and it can be discarded.

However, there are certainly times when people care too much about fiction and lose the distinction between fiction and reality. To offer a Grizzlor adjacent opinion on Wil Wheaton:

Wheaton recently blogged, expressing outrage at comedian Larry David (creator of SEINFELD and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM). David had been waiting to appear on a segment of THE TODAY SHOW, with the preceding segment featuring the Seasme Street muppet Elmo speaking about mental health after Elmo's Twitter had been inundated with messages of grief and despair in response to Elmo tweeting, "Elmo is just checking in. How is everyone doing?"

Elmo appeared on THE TODAY SHOW to talk about the response. After Elmo delivered his cheery thoughts on self-awareness and communication, David suddenly charged onto the stage, grabbed Elmo by the mouth and shook him and mimed punching Elmo in the face before walking back the way he came. The hosts exclaimed, "Oh my God!" "Larry, you've gone too far this time." Elmo said, "Mr. Larry, Elmo liked you before! Let's come back to the couch and talk about how you're feeling." David later delivered a laughing apology.

Wheaton, as a viewer, was furious. Wheaton said that David assaulting Elmo reflected how Wheaton's father would beat him. Wheaton said that David has no respect for a segment on mental health and deliberately sabotaged it because his ego couldn't stand Elmo being onscreen while David waited.

Wil Wheaton wrote:

What the fuck is wrong with that guy? Elmo is, like, the best friend to multiple generations of children. In the Sesame Street universe, ELMO IS A CHILD, who is currently putting mental health and caring for others in the spotlight.

And Larry Fucking David ... did ... that? And thought it was going to be ... funny? What?

What an asshole. What a stupid, self-centered, tone deaf asshole.

Full disclosure: all the time, when I was growing up, my dad would grab me by the shoulders and shake me while he screamed in my face. He choked me more than once. He was always out of control, always in a furious rage, and always terrifying. I'm a 51 year-old man and my heart is pounding right now, recalling how I felt when I was a little boy who loved Grover the way today's kids love Elmo.

So this appalling, unforgivable, despicable act hits more than one raw nerve for me, and I'm going to say what I wish I'd been able to say when this sort of thing happened to me.

Larry David, this was not okay, and your obviously insincere "apology" clearly communicates that you don't get that.
First of all, you aren't even in the segment, but you just decided to barge in and draw focus because ... why? You couldn't stand that a puppet brought people together in a meaningful way that you can't? You couldn't stand that your appearance on national television to promote your wildly successful series was delayed for a few seconds while the adults talked about mental health? You wanted to manufacture a viral moment where everyone gets to see what an asshole you are, so they'll tune in and watch you portray an asshole in the last season of your show that celebrates how great it is to be an asshole without ever experiencing the consequences of being an asshole?

I really want to know what raced through his tiny little mind, and why there was no voice or person who spoke up to stop him from expressing violence towards a children's puppet WHO WAS THERE TO TALK ABOUT HOW HIS LOVE AND EMPATHY FOR PEOPLE HAVING A TOUGH TIME MATTERED AND MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Elmo and his dad were there to talk about empathy, love, kindness, and caring for each other.

Larry David was there to promote the final (thank god, maybe he'll go away now) season of a television series.

Like, read the room, dickhead. It isn't always about you being the center of attention. And understand what's happening in the moment, fucko. Understand that there are larger things in the world than you and your garbage ego.
You know who is watching the Today show with their parents? Kids who also watch Sesame Street. Elmo is an avatar for children all over the world. Children who are too small to understand Elmo is a puppet will know that a man attacked someone they love for no reason, and that will frighten and confuse them.

Elmo inspired a deeply meaningful and important moment of collective support among disparate people who have been struggling through the traumas of a pandemic, daily mass shootings, the rise of fascism and everything associated with Trump's violence and cruelty.

And shitty idiot Larry David couldn't leave it alone, for some reason. He had to indirectly tell everyone who opened their hearts to a Muppet that they were stupid, and he thought it was a good joke to physically attack and choke this character who is beloved by children and adults alike. You know what that tells impressionable young people about sharing their feelings?

Larry David strikes me as a person who mocks and belittles people who are vulnerable and sensitive, and enjoys being cruel, because he feels untouchable. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's who I see whenever I can't find the remote and he's on my television.

By contrast, Elmo and the Muppets teach and model to children all over the world that kindness and empathy aren't weak or stupid or any of the things people like Larry David and my dad think they are. Elmo and the Muppets teach children to be gentle and kind, to celebrate our different cultures and to embrace all of our complicated feelings. Elmo and the Muppets offer comfort and friendship and support to a world that is starving for it.

I hope that, when the dust settles, Larry David's appalling behavior will be a footnote to a larger story about how, for just one day, a Muppet made a difference and helped millions of people who are struggling to feel a little less alone. With one question, Elmo got lots and lots of people speaking openly and honestly about their mental health. A nontrivial number of people who none of us will ever know were inspired by it, and that was the last little nudge they needed to make the call or send the email to being healing. Elmo probably saved lives and relationships by opening that conversation.

A man who would belittle and mock that isn't much of a man at all. Shame on you, Larry David.

While I don't disagree that Larry David was small and petty and ridiculous... I do not believe that children are unaware that Elmo is a muppet.

I don't believe that children are unaware that 'Elmo' is a complex construction of foam and fake fur and plastic eyes and felt, stitched together with performer Ryan Dillon just under the shot and outside the view of the camera.

Dillon is performing the voice of Elmo, moving his thumb inside Elmo's mouth to drop Elmo's jaw for each syllable, using a rod to control Elmo's hands and body movements, and observing the environment around Elmo in a monitor outside the camera frame so that Dillon can have the muppet react to the humans interacting with Elmo. 'Elmo' does not actually post on social media; the SESAME STREET social media manager writes those messages.

David grabbed Ryan Dillon's hand and squeezed Ryan Dillon's wrist. David did not actually assault Elmo because there is no Elmo. At most, David damaged one of many Elmo puppets, and there are undoubtedly 10 - 20 ready to go at any time with more being made; the Elmo puppets are likely damaged or suffer from normal wear and tear throughout production and public appearances.

On a tangent, Elmo doesn't actually pick things up; the props have magnets attached to them and there are magnets under the fur of Elmo's hands.

Larry David is absurd and insecure to be jealous of a muppet. Wheaton, however, isn't being insincere or disingenous. He is a deeply traumatized man and David's behaviour shook Wheaton severely.  But much of Wheaton's argument is based in Elmo being real and... Elmo is not real. Elmo is a performance of puppetry and engineering and craftsmanship and vocal performance and writing and improvisation.

It's important to address how we are upset when our fictional friend Batman dies in a video game, but it's also important to remember that Elmo is actually Ryan Dillon with one hand in Elmo's mouth and his other hand on the Elmo muppet's control rod.

This post is dedicated to Grizzlor.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

One of my favourite sitcoms is WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU (2002 - 2006), featuring the brilliant Amanda Bynes and the incandescent Jennie Garth as two sisters who adore each other and drive each other crazy. The first episode is one of the funniest pieces of television ever made, where teenaged Holly (Amanda Bynes) attends a launch event for a new cologne from pro skateboarder Tony Hawk. The event is organized by Holly's adult sister, Val (Jennie Garth), a public relations manager. Holly's clumsy eagerness promptly brings disaster when:

1. Holly, playing with Tony Hawk's skateboard when no one is looking, accidentally knocks the skateboard off the roof and onto a balcony on a lower floor. She retrieves the skateboard, only to find the roof access door is locked and she cannot get back into the event. She finds a ladder that goes to the roof, only to reach the roof and discover:

2. Tony Hawk has already started performing on the halfpipe ramp using a different skateboard borrowed from a fan who brought the board for an autograph.

3. The ladder that Val climbed to reach the roof led to a floor-positioned hatch, and this hatch door opens directly in the middle of the floor of the halfpipe ramp.

4. Holly opens the hatch door on the halfpipe ramp in the middle of Tony performing his skateboard tricks, and Tony, surprised that a teenaged girl has suddenly popped up in the middle of the ramp, swerves to avoid hitting her on his skateboard and falls off his skateboard face first into a table of desserts and snacks, humiliating Tony and Val, who was organizing the event.

5. The final shot of this scene is a terrified Holly standing in the hatch door as Tony Hawk's borrowed skateboard without Tony rolls past Holly.

As a kid in 2002, this was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. As an adult in 2024, I'm seeing some serious lapses of logic and reason here.

As this is a rooftop event filled with people, food, equipment and cologne samples. It does not make sense that entry to the roof is locked; how did those guests get into the event and how would they leave to use restrooms and return?

The halfpipe ramp is positioned on the roof and has a hatch door at the center of its floor that opens to a ladder between the roof and the floor directly below. This presents the halfpipe as a permanent rooftop fixture and a point of entry and exit to the roof.

This is unlikely: halfpipe ramps at events are temporary structures that are assembled and disassembled. Permanent halfpipes in skate parks and arenas are built out of concrete; a roof with a permanent halfpipe would need to be built specifically to support the weight of the ramp and the roof would need strident fall-prevention mechanisms; there are no readily available examples of rooftop skateboarding ramps because the reinforcement and barriers would be needlessly expensive for something as esoteric as rooftop skateboarding.

In addition, there is no halfpipe design that would ever position a hatch at the center of the ramp floor. There is no reason for a hatch door to be present as a halfpipe requires a smooth surface for skateboarding and there is nothing below the ramp that requires access nor would there be any reason to access the top of the ramp from underneath it. A halfpipe with a floor-installed door in the center is a pointless addition that would serve no purpose while being an obvious safety hazard for the skateboarder.

Watching the 2002 WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU pilot episode now as an adult in 2024, the skateboarding accident is utterly irrational in its staging and occurrence, offering a chain of nonsensical plot points in building construction and sporting equipment. It is absurdly illogical.

It is also absurdly hilarious and that shot of Amanda Bynes cringing as Tony Hawk's skateboard rolls past her remains one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Larry definitely crossed a line, but it was much more a line of common theatrical integrity.  Larry has no affiliation with Elmo, and was appearing on Today as a guest.  I realize it's a puppet, but it's incredibly disrespectful for another performer to basically unscripted trash someone else's for no good reason.  He's a huge star who will get away with it.  Look, I revere Larry David, the main is a comic genius, and that's what drove his impulsiveness in that moment.  But that was highly unprofessional, in that setting.

I actually agreed completely with Wheaton, about Larry's ego and lack of control, and to an extent how children could have been frightened by what happened to Elmo.  Granted most children are not watching Today Show if they can help it.  All right up until the point where he once again made it about HIM.  Wil once more is unrealistically theatrical, in comparing Larry's behavior to that of his abusive father's.  Larry KNEW he was screwing with a fake puppet/unreal character performed by another adult, on television.  This was not Dan Schneider screaming at a 12 year old actress on set.  It's completely exhausting that any sort of thing that happens must be completely abhorred and attacked because it "triggers" someone.  Or that one's opinions are unassailable because "I'm a victim."  We get it, you feel you were grossly abused by trusted family, it's terrible.  Clearly Wil has not moved on at all, and his entire world view is shaped by who does or does not remind him of his parents.  He's miserable, it's very sad.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

As I said in my alternate history essay, I watched Rebel Moon part 2.  It was definitely better than part one, but I still do not get this.  I actually think he took more chances and did more interesting things with Army of the Dead, and I think that should've been the project he hooked onto.  Robot zombies and time loops and all that is interesting (if we ever get those movies).

Rebel Moon is a very cheap knockoff of Star Wars that adds nothing.  It's just bad Star Wars with more cursing.  Part One is boring.  Part Two is more interesting (because it's the part of the story where things happen) but it's just Seven Samurai.  Nothing about it is original.

He has ambitious stories, but the problem with Snyder is twofold:

- He likes to tease things rather than actually get there.  He doesn't make a movie about Robot Zombies and Time Loops.  He makes a movie that teases those things.

- His execution when he actually does the thing he's teasing is underwhelming.  BvS is one huge tease for Batman to fight Superman, but when he gets there, it's just nothing.

If I were advising Snyder, I'd abandon Rebel Moon.  If he really loves the universe, give it to someone else to try.  Lucas only made one Star Wars movie in the original trilogy.  Own the story if you want but let someone else do the directing.  Focus on Planet of the Dead and that universe.  It might not be great but at least it's something new.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

I am not a Zack Snyder fan and did not watch REBEL MOON... but did it really look cheap? I always thought of Zack Snyder as only doing projects with lavish spending.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

ireactions wrote:

I am not a Zack Snyder fan and did not watch REBEL MOON... but did it really look cheap? I always thought of Zack Snyder as only doing projects with lavish spending.

It didn't look cheap.  I thought the movie looked really nice, especially for the price that it apparently cost.  Cheap in the sense that it wasn't really even trying to be its own thing.  You can see the seams of an attempted Star Wars movie with some simple alterations to make it the minimum legal requirement for it not to be Star Wars.  One person uses lightsabers but not really.  The bad guy uses a Star Destroyer but not really.

If you think about it, you can see how it would've worked if it was a Star Wars movie.  There's some stuff he obviously added after it was no longer Star Wars involving a royal family.  But I think even that stuff probably could work depending on when the movie is set.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Does an announced DEXTER prequel make Slider_Quinn21 happy?

https://variety.com/2024/tv/news/dexter … 236014330/

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

Hmmm, it's hard for me to say.  So much of Dexter was Michael C Hall's performance.  He was able to capture a serial killer and make him cheerful and charming and funny while also being terrifying.  The show was funny but also very dark.  Even if the writing is good, I think the actors have to sell it.

I'm interested, but I guess I'd have to see what people think.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

As a huge fan of Christopher McQuarrie's MISSION IMPOSSIBLE series and the Ethan Hunt character (but not Tom Cruise) -- I am astonished that MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: DEAD RECKONING was not a profitable film. I thought it was really great, but creative success isn't always financial success.

However, the previous M:I movies had been critically acclaimed and successful, so this one only earning $567 million on a $291 budget surprised me. I would have expected this film to easily earn at least $873 million and be a success on the general view that a film needs to earn triple its budget to turn a profit. A lot of franchises did poorly in 2023: TRANSFORMERS, INDIANA JONES.

MI7 apparently lost $100 million and MI8 is still filming and delayed, and it has to be released. But the studio wants to remove the DEAD RECKONING: PART 2 title and change it to something else to try to detach it from the underperforming MI7.

There are all these theories as to why MI7 wasn't more successful: that BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER dominated the news, that the PART ONE label on MI7 was alienating to people who weren't inclined to go to the movies for a cliffhanger ending. Another theory that I don't think is likely is that there have been too many MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies, but MI4 was in 2011, MI5 was 2015, MI6 was 2018, MI7 was 2023. A gap of five years since MI6 is hardly short.

I don't go to a lot of movies in theatres, but I was so excited to see MI7 that I made sure to see in IMAX the first week.

A part of me wonders if Ethan Hunt's resurgence under Christopher McQuarrie has had its time. I'm not sure. Ethan Hunt since McQuarrie took over has been revised into a counter-establishment, anti-establishment figure, a figure of mistrust, paranoia, whose movies induce anxiety and are navigated with a panicked methodicism. Hunt has been a rogue operative in five of his seven movies. Ethan's improvisational brilliance and physicality reminds me of who Quinn Mallory would be in his 40s and 50s.

To me, an Ethan Hunt movie with Christopher McQuarrie is a distillation and realization of Quinn Mallory's character, and a validation that SLIDERS and Quinn were both something really special.

I've always thought of Jerry O'Connell as the less cult-obsessed, less-egotistical, less-expensive version Tom Cruise. I've written a lot of Quinn Mallory fanfic, and it's pretty clear to me that my Quinn is Jerry O'Connell playing Ethan Hunt, except where Cruise exudes frantic confidence and panicked certainty, my Quinn conveys unsteady alarm and is a little astonished when his improvised solutions work.

I wonder, given how terrifying the world can seem these days, if people looking for some comfort and relief at the movies look at BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER and elect to see BARBIE.

I wonder if people looking for high art look at MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, a pulpy thriller, and OPPENHEIMER, a Christopher Nolan film, and go with Nolan.

Ethan Hunt is a character I adore played by a problematic actor. He is like a child's vision of improvisational hypercompetence. He is a valuable and special character, but he may not be a character who can justify a $291 million dollar movie that needs to earn $873 million at box office to turn a profit.

I wonder if Ethan Hunt can exist in a $120 million dollar movie and I genuinely don't know if he can, because at this point, Hunt is defined by crazy physical stunts like skydiving over Paris or driving a motorcycle off a mountain onto a moving train, and you can't do that kind of thing on the budget of SUPERNATURAL or even SUPERMAN AND LOIS money.

Re: Random Thoughts about TV, Film and Media

https://i.ibb.co/kMzyCRG/the-slider.jpg

I kind of want to see this movie.

https://www.amazon.ca/Slider-Bruce-Davi … 072ZM74YW/