Telly

Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling

Max Landis is back with an amazing love letter to the WWE, specifically, Triple H. Max and crew reenact some of the WWE’s most iconic moments as we follow Hunter’s journey from his debut as Connecticut Blueblood to his current status as part of the Authority.

The wrestlers are all gender bent which will probably make this more appealing for wrestling news. Chloe Dykstra channels all of Hunter’s pettiness and insecurity that make him one of the best heels in the business. Actually, she’s a lot more interesting than Hunter. Honestly, these days Triple H bores the shit out of me. Anna Akana‘s Batista is my favorite of the bunch. I kinda want to see her do Batista as Drax.

Wresting Isn’t Wrestling perfectly distills just what it is about wrestling that keeps me watching to this day. If you’re one of those people who gets super dizzy by how fast your eyes roll when someone talks about the wrasslin, you might see it in a different light after you see this short.

I mean, you still think it’s stupid. But you might grow appreciate it for what it truly is. Cause it’s not really wrestling.

 

Attack on Yellow Washing

A very brief glimpse of footage from the upcoming Attack on Titan live action film debuted on Japanese television and my very first though was, “Where are the white people?”

Now, Japan has never eeeeeever pretended to be a “post racial” society. And diversity isn’t exactly something I’d normally expect from a mostly homogeneous society. I’m also not against casting different races when ethnicity has little to do with the story. Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin never bothered me because, well, he’s Michael Clark Duncan, but also because Wilson Fisk’s ethnicity has very little to do with his character. I also don’t mind Scarlett Johansson as Mokoto Kusanagi because the Major could choose to be anybody. That’s kind of the point.

In this case however, I honestly feel like the cast could have benefited from some good ol’ Hollywood whitewashing. I’ve watched the anime, haven’t read the manga. But the fact that Mikasa Ackerman is the last known Asian is kind of a major plot point. Some of the her friends suspect that’s why she’s so scary good at Titan killing, that Super Asian blood. Or the story takes place in a town that’s waaaay far away from other Asians. The rest of the cast is entirely European. Who speak perfect Japanese.

Although now that I think about it, Mikasa being the Asian with the scary good neck choppy skills makes her a little problematic. She’s a token who’s justification for her presence in the story is her Asianess. She’s the ninja chick because of course she is.

Of course, I completely understand why there appear to be almost no white people on screen. Japan has so few non-Japanese that I bet the white acting pool is extremely shallow. That should probably give this movie a pass, but I’d feel like hypocrite for not pointing out the glaring yellow washing of this cast.

Thoughts on “Fresh Off the Boat”

Friends have been asking me. It’s been out for a while. I finally had time to watch a few episodes. So it’s time to weigh in on Fresh Off the Boat.

I forgot to mention in the vlog that I have terrible taste in sitcoms. I absolutely hated Friends and Seinfeld when they were on with a probably undeserved vitriol that surprises even me sometimes. They are like the two definitive sitcoms of my generation and I absolutely abhor them. There is no Friends or Seinfeld in this dojo!

I also can’t stand Big Bang Theory. I’ve heard some call it “Nerd Blackface” and I think that’s a little too far. I just don’t understand why physics theories are funny. The laugh track doesn’t make sense to me. A theory or a proof isn’t a punchline.

So definitely take all of my opinions on what’s funny with many grains of salt.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesday nights at 8pm on ABC. There’s some weird verification thing on the ABC site to view episodes so just head over to Hulu to check it out. The hell? Don’t you want people to watch things on your main site?

Evangelion, I Just Can’t Quit You

Especially when you’re a live action, CG mech punching things!

I have documented my sick addiction to Hideako Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion. In short, while I think the series is terribly cynical that attempts to break down the tropes of the giant robot genre that I love while somehow establishing new tropes that have poisoned anime since Evangelion debuted, I’m still a sucker for giant robots punching.

Fortunately, with this short you don’t have to sit through hours of Shinji being Shinji to get the punching robots. Clocking in at 6 minutes 23 seconds, Evangelion: Another Impact Confidential (what is it with these titles?) gets right to the punching. This piece was created as part of a weekly animation project that was executive produced by Anno.

Even without Portuguese subtitles, you can pretty much guess what’s happening. But just in case, here’s a description of the short from the website:

Another time, another place.
An activation test of a decisive weapon was underway.
With its development and operational trials shrouded in complete secrecy, the Another Number – Unit Null, suddenly breaks free ofhuman control and goes berserk.

For what purpose was Another Number – Unit Null created?

The story of an Evangelion’s activation, rampage and howling in another world.

Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

Welp, it wouldn’t be Anno without some batshit weirdness. Can’t just have robots punching. Nope, you have to put in some weird bullshit that will never get resolved. Just caaaaaan’t help yourself. And goddammit, I kinda want more!

For more on this and some of the other shorts that premiered in the series, check out the post from the Anime News Network.

With Great Lock Seeds Come Great Responsibility

I try my best not to judge a new Rider show until I actually see a handful of episodes.  But let me tell you, when I heard that this year’s Rider was fruit themed, I almost handed in my Toku card and turned my back.  I’m glad I didn’t because as goofy and saturated as Gaim’s World is, the show is turning in more compelling drama than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

We’re twelve episodes in and it’s taken me a while to warm up to series.  I almost clocked out after the first four episodes.  We got a very surface introduction to a world that I find horribly difficult to relate to.  Gangs of high school kids compete with each other with pokemon to dance on stage? The hell? And when Kouta gets his Rider powers, he uses the suit to play stupid games all for personal gain.

And then episode five happened.  Kouta first encounters Kamen Rider Zangetsu and gets his ass handed to him.  Kouta realizes that there’s more at stake than just dancing on stage and it freaks him the fuck out.  And then it hit me.

This show is really Kamen Rider Spider-Man.

When Peter Parker discovers his spider powers, his first instinct is to cash in.  He hops into a wrestling match to win the big cash prize.  It’s a completely selfish act that results in the death of his uncle.  Peter learns a harsh lesson and dedicates the rest of his life to using his powers responsibly.  Though no one has yet died because of Kouta’s initial selfish uses of his belt, he feels a similar responsibility to those around him to use his new powers for good.

Since episode five, Kouta’s feeling of underlying dread has started to permeate the show.  Though it’s still very playful and colorful and mostly a half hour toy commercial, there’s a real sense that something horribly fucked up is coming down the road.  Episode twelve kind of nails it right on the head.  Michi and Kouta have discovered that Yggdrasil has been using the Beat Riders as guinea pigs for some unknown experiment.  The only way to stop Yggdrasil’s secret plot is to not play the game.  When Michi tells Kouta to throw away the belt, there’s a moment of dead silence and my jaw dropped.  Riders rarely question their fight for justice and here we have Michi and Kouta seriously discussing ending the show right now.

But by now, Kouta is far down the path of great responsibility.  There are creatures invading the town and attacking people and only those with belts have the power to stop them.  Certainly, whatever Yggdrasil is up to can’t be good.  And every time a Beat Rider transforms, Yggdrasil can collect more data from the belt.  But there are monsters and there are innocents and Kouta will save them because it’s the right thing to do.  When the battle is won, the look Kouta gives Michi says, “What else could I do? I have to protect this town.”  The look Michi gives Kouta says, “The only way to win this game is to not play.  Ever.”  The tension between them is palpable.  They understand where the other one is coming from, but they also can’t accept it.  I have a feeling that there’s a powerful rivalry building between them, much more so than Kouta and Baron.

In manner which only seems to work well in tokusatsu, Kamen Rider Gaim is doing a wonderful job of balancing colorful humor with deep drama all while selling toys to the kiddies.  I’m so impressed that they’ve managed to make the fruit theme work.  It’s shaping up to be a really entertaining series and worlds better than Wizard.

Choo Choo Sentai Den-Ogers

I try my best to not judge a Super Sentai or Kamen Rider series on suit photos or intro trailers alone.  I’ve long since learned that just because something may initially look like the worst idea Toei has ever come up with doesn’t mean it won’t absolutely blow me away.  The current Super Sentai, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, is a perfect example.  I initially thought the dancing transformation sequence was the dumbest looking shit in the world, but it’s turned out to be one of my favorite Sentai series!  So I will try my best not to shit on Tokkyuger just from this preview trailer.

However, I can’t help but look at this thing and think that some exec at Toei mandated the train theme for the next Sentai series so that they could bring back Den-O in a crossover movie.  Somehow, Den-O is still one of the most beloved Kamen Riders.  Personally, I can’t stand it.  But he’s had nine theatrical films and that’s without including all his appearances in the various Taisen films.  That’s fucking insane.  So I wouldn’t at all be surprised to hear “ORE SANJOU” in the middle of Tokkyuger’s run.  When that shit happens, you heard it here first, folks!

That’s my one prediction for Tokkyuger.  I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the suits or the helmets, but that’s strictly from a design sense.  The show might turn out to be awesome despite what I feel is an inevitable crossover.

Goodbye Raggedy Man

Goodbye Raggedy Man.

Goodbye Raggedy Man.

The Doctor Who Christmas Special has come and gone.  We’ve bid farewell to Amy’s Raggedy Man and have welcomed the 12th Doctor, his 14th regeneration.

It’s not just the holidays that have prevented me from writing about “The Time of the Doctor.”  I’ve been trying to mull through my thoughts on Matt Smith’s tenure as the Man Who Forgets.  I absolutely adored him as the Doctor and there was something truly magical on screen when he was paired up with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill.  The three of them made it so easy to fall in love with 11 and the Ponds.  And yet, as I looked back over his four years as our madman with a box, I felt wanting.

The Atlantic’s Ted Kissell wrote an excellent analysis of Matt Smith’s tenure putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the writers and ultimately concluding that Matt Smith deserved better.  I think Kissell’s piece is spot on.  In the hands of a lesser actor, Steven Moffat’s version of the Doctor would not have been so lovable.  I mean, how amazing is it that Matt Smith was able to turn a disembodied Cyberman head into one of my favorite companions in the space of a single episode?

doctorWhoHandles

The adventures of the Doctor and Handles. Handles is my new favorite companion!

Jenna Coleman has already fallen victim to the writing.  Clara should be one of the Doctor’s most challenging companions.  She’s super intelligent, quick witted, self assured, a fast talking version of Donna Noble.  Donna was always willing to call the Doctor on his shit forcing him to reexamine himself.  On paper, Clara seems to be cut from a similar cloth.  But thus far in practice, she’s more like an accessory.  If you can replace a companion with a severed Cyberman head, you’ve got a problem.  Handles had more of an impact on the Christmas Special than Clara which makes me very uneasy about her future with 12.

THE FIRST QUESTION

Though the show is called Doctor Who, it’s never really been about the Doctor.  The companions, the alien creatures, the civilizations, the show has always been about exploring high concepts and challenging ideas with the Doctor as our haphazard guide.  The early episodes hardly stand the test of time from a production point of view.  But the themes that they explored still hold up.  I think that’s why Doctor Who has such staying power and what made the Russell T Davies revival so successful.

Steven Moffat’s version of the show is different.  He’s more interested in the Doctor than anyone or anything else, so much so that the entirety of season 7 was about the Doctor’s freaking name!  Certainly, that’s a question that’s been on fans minds for ages.  But because there was so much emphasis on the Doctor, Clara was more like an afterthought than a true companion.

The show is now entirely about the Doctor with seemingly no room for anyone else.

NEW KIDNEYS

A new Doctor’s in the TARDIS with new kidneys and new eyes.  Oh, the eyes!

doctorWho12EYES

If I look hard enough, I can see the color of everyone’s kidneys!!!

I am so conflicted.  The Christmas Special wrapped up a lot of loose threads from Matt Smith’s entire run tying them up into a somewhat wibbly wobbly bow.  In a sense, it was a culmination of Moffat’s study of the Doctor, sort of like his final dissertation on the character.

Now that we’ve new kidneys, does this signal a new direction?  Or will Moffat continue with his exploration of the Doctor with an entire season dedicated to the color of his kidneys?  If Clara was replaced by a lamp, would we know the difference?

I will miss Matt Smith and the way he swung his long arms around the TARDIS like a frantic Muppet.  I will miss his quiet moments like him staring at the cold husk of Handles as its lights blinked for the last time.  I will have fond memories of his time as the Doctor.

Farewell Raggedy Man.  You were absolutely brilliant.  And you deserved better.

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