Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Watching Things Other than Doctor Who Pt. 3: TRASH! SMUT! BETTY WHITE!

Pink Flamingos
Say what you will about John Waters but this film has aged quite well. I wasn't sure it would. Anything about "the most shocking person alive" seems doomed on paper. A 14 year old cracked jokes about scat porn at me the other day. Last time I partied with a college kid, the "highlight" discussing the most obscure fetishes we knew of then scouring the Internet for video. Yet, Pink Flamingos presents its world well enough to still be dirty and shocking. Give it another ten years, though, and I figure people will say "Huh. She's eating dog shit! It's so weird to eat non-human feces!"

Mommie Dearest
This one is nowhere near as bad as people have assured me over the years. Yeah, there are bits that go way over the top. However, most of it is a competently made bio-pic with a couple great performances from the leads. According to the commentary track, the studio heard people were laughing at the really extreme bits and planted drag queens in the audience to scream along. Decades later, they continued trying to position the film as campy trash by having John Waters record a commentary track. It's like they really, really want something that isn't wretched to be god awful in the quest for more money. Ah well. Hollywood.

Rochard PS3
It's weird. The Dig is a notorious turd. It helped accelerate the death of point and click adventures. Yet, Rochard seems to hark to it in art style and plot. Gameplay wise, it's a different animal though. One must fight off enemies while solving puzzles using a variety of tools and skills. It's enjoyable enough right up until the crashes start. Maybe it's my copy but if I screw up and die a lot, the thing keeps hanging on a load screen. Shame, really. I was enjoying it but now seem to have forcibly quit the thing once per room.

Surrender the Pink Carrie Fisher
I liked Postcards From the Edge well enough but found myself skimming this one a bit. It felt like more of a typical romance novel for most of the book. The "twist" was that the female lead grew as a person instead of simply remarrying and lording it over her ex. Had some nice turns of phrase and Carrie Fisher-isms throughout.

Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters John Waters
This one feels a bit like a series of magazine articles whose only real connection is the author. Which it is. I much prefer the unity of Role Models  but this one isn't crap by any stretch.

If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) Betty White
Pretty much what you'd expect from a Betty White memoir: high levels of likability, no cynicism, and a nice dash of humor. Not sure I'd pay cover price for this but it's pretty enjoyable.

The Loved One Evelyn Waugh
Take the average author to Hollywood to discuss an ill-advised movie adaptation and you get a shit movie. Do it with Evelyn Waugh, however, and there's a downright hysterical mockery of American culture. I laughed. I cried (mostly because the particular copy I acquired as full of printing errors with lines getting cut off by the right margin and letters near the left being partially cropped). A delightful romp!


89 The Face of Evil
Leela's introductory story wasn't too bad. Baker shattering the fourth wall to talk at the camera explained a bit why they forced a new companion on him. Just wish it was someone with a bit more style and pinache than Leela. Things moved along, characters  interacted in realistic fashions, and a bunch of grown men had to wear tea cosies. I've seen worse.

96 Underworld
That "seen worse" comment above? It refers to this. Clunky. Boring to the point of nausea. What a mess. Fell asleep by 7:00 pm with this turkey. I mean really the dudes pull back their goofy black sack full of grommets to reveal hideous gold foam domes? Gah. Fuck this show.

147 Dragonfire
This one made me kind of okay with having missed a good 1.75 series due to slowness in the library ordering system. Ace was fun. Mel needed to be shot. Production values and horrid puns finally hit a point where I flinched. I mean the ice statue of that gorgeous woman who melted the heart of the ice king? Looked like some sort of poorly molded popsicle. And a cliffhanger that was literally The Doctor hanging on a cliff for no real reason? Ouch. Ah well. Guess if the BBC is pushing to kill your show you should try to maximize the amount of hind wind you suck?

148 Remembrance of the Daleks
Much more like it! Some actual character development. References for the fan-boys. Daleks as a fairly credible threat again. I mean yeah the cobblestone work was a bit goofy but hey... THEY LEVITATED! Also really liked McCoy's performance. Gave the Doctor enough of a dark edge to counteract that wonky costume.

150 Silver Nemesis
Fun show. Jacobite satanists! Nazis! Cybermen! Not sure I agree with the whole "let's hint The Doctor is God for the 25th anniversary" thing that went on but there were some great lines, fab performances, and only a couple cringe-worthy moments.

151 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
CLOWNS! CLOOOOOWNS! CLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWNS! And some really awkward rap. Could do without that latter bit but otherwise, nicely paced engaging story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Doing Things Other Than Watching Doctor Who Pt. 2: Wrath of Khan

John Gardner Grendel
Years ago, I heard Neil Gaiman worked on the script for Beowulf  and immediately invested in tickets to witness this cinematic triumph in IMAX 3D. Surely, someone that imaginative must have riffed on the original story in some seriously exciting ways. While he failed me miserably, John Gardner didn't. Grendel is a triumph. Beautiful, mad, tragic, triumphant, human, monstrous, complicated, witty, and all in all a delightful read.

John Waters Role Models
Some folks write about influences and worry entirely too much about being cool. Waters, however, shares his views on pornographers, Johnny Mathis, releasing a member of the Manson family, Baltimore bars, fashion, modern art, and everything else without fear. The man comes across as intensely comfortable in his own skin and provides wit, wisdom, and humor in spades.

Carrie Fisher Postcards From the Edge
I grabbed this book as part of my "anjoyable guest on Craig Fegurson" reading series. Postcards . . . has always been on the peripheral of my pop-culture awareness but never sounded appealing. People always told me it was the story of a mother and daughter tandem in Hollywood. That may well be true of the movie but the book is more the story of a likable young woman who tries to come to terms with her life after hitting bottom before age 30. That might sound a bit shit but Carrie Fisher is as engaging an author as she is guest on a talk show. There are some great turns of phrase and an easily read pace.

A delightfully depraved satire of suburbia chock full of fantastic lines, disgusting people, and a (sadly near-death) Scratch N Sniff card. I love John Waters. Well, his work. Don't personally know the man. Got to cuddle him a bit at a really awkward meet and greet but that doesn't count for much. Of course, I'm told that getting a re-tweet from a celeb is somehow equivalent to being buddies with a person so by that standard, maybe me and John are a couple? Shit. Now I remember why I enjoy being a crazy cat-lady/recluse so much.

Shakespeare Retold - Taming of the Shrew
Sometimes, the BBC depresses me. This adaptation is pretty great with fantastic casting. However, I just sat through another round of trailers for the epic television movie event Liz & Dick. I get that the BBC can go down to the Royal Shakespeare Company and say "sup?" far more easily but really... Lindsay Lohan as Liz Taylor vs the actress who played Moaning Myrtle as Kate in a fun take on Taming of the Shrew? Gah. Fuck it. I feel a beer review coming on. Possibly some bourbon.

Carrie Fisher Wishful Drinking
Facebook pisses me off. People feel obliged to overshare their piddling little problems. That's one thing but why can't they at least do it with the panache of Carrie Fisher? Sure, Cary Grant never called them to talk about hallucinogens but even the more mundane stuff in her life is addressed with style. Not that there's much mundane stuff in here. That's one lovably messed up lady.

Desperate Living
I came into the cult of Waters with Serial Mom then followed it up with Hairspray. So, the whole "pope of filth" thing didn't really make much sense to me. I mean both movies showed a fairly ugly world, sure, but neither was that dirty. Then there's this one. Very raw, very dirty with some memorable lines and characters.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Story 136 The Twin Dilemma
Yeah that show killing thing... I was kidding. However, I think JNT heard me and comissioned this mess. The core plot was utter shite. That baddie looked cuter than the catepillar in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. Then there's the awful downright pathetic "writing" to bring Colin Baker on board. He's so unstable after regeneration that he STRANGLES PERI! He's so different than Peter Davison that he BASHES HIS PREDECESSOR AT EVERY CHANCE! Shit. I think I'll just stop listing what's wrong with this episode and do something that goes quicker like reading War and Peace.

Story 137 Attack of the Cybermen
The last Dalek story was a triumph! So on top of unecesairily bringing back the Cybermen LET'S BRING BACK A RANDOM CHARACTER FROM THAT! Oh and the TARDIS has a working chameleon circuit! So the most iconic image of the series is going away in favor of random, awful prop jokes. And that time The Doctor accused Ice Warriors of being evil then had to eat major crow then quietly learned his lesson with a bit of unstated chagrin? Yeah. That never happened because thinking Litton is evil just because he is a double agent and implies he robs banks is stated as much, much worse. Gah. Writing. Please let some occur soon!

Story 138 Vengeance on Varos
Thank you for surprising me! Here's some of that writing! Score! YES! YES! YES! I'm so happy I will just go roll in some mana of joy! Yay!

Story 139 The Mark of the Rani
Yeah. That thing  I said about misuse of The Master... it gets worse. There's this new time lady. She can't work on her own, despite being written as more than strong enough to do so. So The Master gets the privilege of cackling a lot and serving no apparent purpose. She's pretty awesome though. Shame her debut was screwed up by overpopulation.

Story 140 The Two Doctors
Yay. I love Troughton. And Baker isn't given anything really vile or over-stated to do! I mean the worst of it is Elton John as a baddie. Hmm this stuff was written and not just phoned in. Why? Robert Holmes! Instead of some guy! Yay! Robert! When Colin Baker episodes aren't utter shit, they're kind of awesome.

Story 141 Timelash
The Doctor meets H. G. Wells! What a great concept! Oh shit. It was written by some random clueless newbie. Nooooooooooo! Good concept mediocre execution. Damn it. BE AWESOME MORE THAN ONE EPISODE AT A TIME!

Story 142 Revelation of the Daleks
The last episode was crap so this one must be... is it based on a book by Evelyn Waugh or something? NEAT! Oh! Fun! Nice! I like this! Nice! Nice baby! Word to your mother, I'm going to crank it up!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Doing Things Other Than Watching Doctor Who Pt. 1: Wrath of Khan

Beer blogging was cool for but simply cost too much. Thanks to my local library, Who Watch 2012 is much cheaper. However, it also makes for extremely repetitive entries. So here we go with round 1 of quick reviews of things other than Who I experienced in the past week.

A John Waters Christmas @ Lupo's 
John Pinette ruined stand-up comedy for me. He's a good, oftentimes funny, guy. However, I grew up next door to members of his extended family. They'd talk about their amazingly talented  cousin and put on Simon Sez or the third Revenge of the Nerds movieThis forged a link in my head between painfully horrid films and his real job during my formative years. I've found over the years that the solution to learning to appreciate something in my extreme-discomfort zone is to look at it through a lens controlled by John Waters. I mean Serial Mom made Barry Manilow awesome. His Christmas show continued that streak and made stand-up-as well as the holiday itself- downright magical.
Only part of it that sucked as much as Junior was the venue-side of the meet and greet. For more than double the cost of a regular ticket, you got to get yelled at about having the right class of stub to be herded into a line. Then someone bellowed at us about making damn sure our cameras were ready or we would get NOTHING. By the time I got the phrase "thank you for your work" out of my mouth, security had me 3/4 of the way through the door. It was like a book signing run by illiterate people who were hell-bent on punishing anyone who could read.

Cabin in the Woods Blu-Ray
I remember being a teenager and getting told how Scream was this staggering work of genius which totally reinvented the wheel then seeing it and wondering if the film was intended as a parody. Similar things occur when I watch most modern horror movies. Things generally seem to be done to some sort of formula which renders it all fairly un-horrific in my eyes. Leave it to Joss Whedon to play with that and co-create a pithy little romp of a film. This is one of two movies I liked enough in the theater to purchase later in 2012.

Stephen Fry Making History
I always loved the What If... comicbook series from Marvel. Some creepy dude with a huge head called The Watcher peered through the curtains of established continuity and asked what if certain key events happened differently. Yet, alternative history novels aren't my thing. I have the attention span of a kitten and they tend to be a bit dull. So I decided to take a chance on Stephen Fry, figuring he would at least break any potential monotony with some humor. Wound up devouring this one whole over two days. Engaging characters, engrossing universe, good read.

Tree House Brewing Co. Snowtober
It's rare for me to do a joyful jig over beer. However, the pour on this badboy was that damned exciting. A perfect head. Beautiful toasty aroma. Astoundingly rich flavor profile. Felt like perfection on every surface as it went down. These guys make me glad I'm broke because I could see myself drinking my liver to death damn quick just because the beers are that damned enjoyable.

THQ WWE '13 (Wii)
Why I keep playing these is beyond me. They've been the same basic title since the N64 days. Yet, I get giddy for about a week then realize the redundancy and give up. Not total  shit but also far from unique.

A Boy and his Blob (Wii)
Nice modernization of one of my more beloved NES titles. Not sure why I liked the original so much. Rarely made it past the first couple of screens without dying. Guess it was something in the premise. Feed a blob jellybeans to solve puzzles. Worked for me then and works for me now. Only real issue lies with the fact my copy keeps crashing and glitching out. Ah well. 

Rayman Origins (Wii)
Nice to see a solid 2D platformer once in awhile. Actually has some difficulty to it. Intuitive controls. Nothing that new going on here but it's quite playable.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Who Watch Part 15: Screw you, John Nathan Turner

Story 127 Enlightenment
Ham! Ham! Ham everywhere! Ham on pirate ships! Ham on yachts! Not so much with the guardians. They held back as much as the script allowed. How, I do not know. If I saw the White Guardian's headpiece, I'd either turn into a Vriginia Backed Ham to pretend it was okay or die laughing. Fun story about him... there's a fanclub out this way called Knights of the White Guardian. It's happened on multiple ocassions that outsider think "white dragon" and thus mistake a Doctor Who fanclub for a KKK orginization.

Story 128 The King's Demons
If I was into drugs, I'd do some research as to what John Nathan Turner was on when he decided that Kamelion would be a good idea. Okay maybe for one episode but a barely mobile mess joining the TARDIS crew? And The Master wanting to stop the Magna Carta? What's next? The Master steals sugar from a supermarket on Christmas Eve? Shit. It just keeps getting worse.

Story 131 The Awakening
Crap. Just crap. I mean... crap. At least the lovable little urchin you want to strangle didn't get to ride along.

Story 132 Frontios
Not a bad oncept I guess. Execution though. Yeah. Production value cesspool. I am apparently reviewing drunk and angry or something. Everything is pissing me off.

Story 133 Resurrection of the Daleks
Now this I can get behind. The Daleks, even riddled by disease, are a viable threat. Davros is a suitably evil scumbag. There's the right amount of inexcusable wholesale slaughter. Plus Teagan goes away. Great story!

Story 134 Planet of Fire
JNT-era Master + Kamelion in a single story? Yeah. This hurts. Oh and Peri makes me miss Teagan. The voice. The senseless T&A. The complete and utter uselessness and reliance upon The Doctor. She needs to be drowned or something. Hey at least no one would be stupid enough to keep her around for more than a couple episodes, right?

Story 135 The Caves of Androzani
I dig Davison as The Doctor. Just wish he got some better material to work with. More time passes, more shitty ideas, awful companions, bad scripts. I get that there was a whole lot of pressure and very little money. However, I don't get why funds can be sunk into crap like Kamelion and not walking more than five feet to find a companion superior to Peri. At least she's useless against an interesting baddie this time. Ah well. GO JNT GO! KILL THE SHOW SLOWLY! Also, not so sure about Colin Baker he looked a bit ... arch for the role. 

Who Watch Part 14: Davison Davison everywhere! And a bit of Baker I, too

Story 80 Terror of the Zygons
The costumes look pretty cool. However, it's pretty clear the actors can't move in them. Nice to see the Brig again. Much prefer his interactions with Troughton and Pertwee. Of course, I prefer them to Tom Baker in some ways. The others are aware that they're superior but not so bloody nasty about it. Interesting explanation of Loch Ness, though.

Story 121 Earthshock
Dear Cybermen,
As you seem to be granting my fondest wishes, do you think maybe you could release Teagan into space and persuade Sarah Jane to return to the TARDIS for a couple weeks while someone other than John Nathan Turner picks a companion? He did a great job with Nyssa and Teagan does have some moments here and there. However, I don't trust him. 
Thankfully yours,

Story 122 Time-Flight
Yeah. The more Ainley-as-Master I see, the less I like it. Delgado was ultimately inept and I'm hard pressed to think of a plan that didn't bite him in the ass. However, the way this regeneration is written The Master comes across as a bloody idiot. He throws on a crappy mask, tosses it off to gloat over the easily tricked fool of a Doctor, then is seemingly killed or stranded. I think it's less Ainley and more the writers not having a clue how to handle more than one developed character at a time. Oh and this episode... it's a bit shit.

Story 123 Arc of Infinity
Omega was a great, effective villain in The Three Doctors. Here, he's far from terrible and written far more effectively than The Master of this period. Actually quite liked the story. Made me a bit excited for the rest of the season.

Story 124 Snakedance
Ah. The Kinda. They are an argument for going against JNT's trend of senselessly recycling old favorites. Legitimately frightening in concept and execution. Don't have a physical form to explode and must be defeated in new ways. So naturally, they were utterly destroyed on their second outing. I mean this is Doctor Who. The Cybermen are defeated forever on every outing. Same with the Daleks. Part of me just vomitted a bit when I pictured Moffat's regime bringing back The Kinda. The trvilization of history into harmless myth that society partakes in within the episode? Yeah. The show would do the same. I mean come on... the new avacado Silurians. Anyhow, it was nice to see them have a real use for Teagan other than shouting a lot and stressing that the episode was made in  the 80's. 

Story 125 Mawdryn Undead
Interesting afaptation of the ole Flying Dutchman myth to a sci-fi context. Nice to see the Brig again. Less than nice to see Nyssa be a dumbass and mistake Mawdryn for a regeneration. Teagan looking stupid at this point in JNT's quest for T&A is inevitable. Nyssa though... they almost write for her! Oh great. They can't leave things trimmed for any length of time! A new third wheel! Doesn't JNT ever learn? Oh man and that headdress on the Black Guardian! IT'S THE EVIL LIBERACE!

Story 126 Terminus
This one ruined Black Metal for me. Garm of Ulver was named after the same Norse pantheon member as the large scottie dog thing. That aside, I miss Nyssa already but it all seemed okay. Except the young male space pirate. Dear lord. Scream overly much? Ouch. 

Who Watch Pt. 13: Davison ist... not that bad really.

Story 118 Kinda
Nice to see them going scary after years of overly goofy repetition. There was some actual malevolence. Slight bonus over the earlier Davison episodes I've seen of late wherein higher concept stuff is actually pulled off. Not really sure WTF they were doing with the companions though. It was as though the producers felt this immense sense of relief at having an actor who could work well with others and just piled them into the TARDIS. Then for this episode someone realized there were too many around, had one go off camera for a flimsy reason, another pass out, and the last of them get trapped. Rather than go the logical route and have The Doctor strike out on his own a 4th companion- who only sticks around for this story- comes in. Otherwise, far fewer glaring issues than the rest. Hoping they kill off or otherwise remove a companion soon. They clearly overstuffed the TARDIS and need to resolve it. Really awesome supporting cast here. Managed to portray madness convincingly instead of just chewing scenery loudly. Already don't miss Baker!

Story 120 Black Orchid
Nice to see a historically set story that doesn't need an alien to maintain interest. Got a fairly simple but engaging murder mystery/mistaken identity thing going on. Very refreshing after seeing Bidmead's overly convoluted messes recently.

Story 56 The Mind of Evil
I'm sort of glad that the BBC lost the color version of this episode. Somehow, a machine with a blinky light on top seems much more effective in black and white. I mean the idea of something storing then releasing ultimate evil and subsequent anarchy is scary. However, it looks to be housed in a rather tacky 70's lamp. Ah well. If one wants high production values, seeking them on Classic Who is beyond stupid. Loved the story but that's a given when Delgado is involved.

Story 59 The Dæmons
Dig the concept, daddio. Mankind is an experiment run by what we came to call demons, who have given us sporadic assistance to progress the species. The Master calls them back to demand power as the clearly superior being. Lucifer is a lie. The priest is fake. The Witch has it wrong too. Religion is stupid! SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE. Sorry, the story is honestly a bit more subtle than all that.  I just woke up. This is one of the goodies.

Story 61 The Curse of Peladon
Interesting to see The Doctor be an idiot. Ice Warriors cannot change! They are remorseless warriors! They... just saved his ass. Nice story, deftly told and well acted.

Story ??? Shada
I got my hands on the VHS edition with linking narraration by Tom Baker. What's left is pretty middle of the road. There's an egomanical genius seeking ultimate power. He does so in a convoluted, mildly confusing way. It's got some nice bits. Particularly dug the ship that fell in love with The Doctor. Also nice to see someone else who went on to be a part of Waiting for God. Sadly, he's no Saldeen and just flounces around being confused. 

Story 117  Four to Doomsday
The Doctor saves the day from a megalomaniac who wishes to do us all the favor of ending our lives since flesh is ever so flawed by TOSSING A CRICKET BALL! Yeah. I get that Davison's Doctor wore a stylized cricket outfit but Black Orchid had enough of the game to convince me I can't care about the sport. No fault of their's really. Now Adric being an annoying brat... that I can blame them for. Sure the kid is an idealist but nearly getting Nyssa killed because he can't see through an extremely transparent villain? I HEREBY SENTENCE ADRIC TO DEATH!