Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ian McKellan as Holmes

Summer TV is so awful. I used to care about the TCA press tour and follow all the news announcements, but now I'm not interested in each network trying to shill and create buzz for their shows. Not many of the pilots excited me, and I'm waiting on midseason for anything creative and different.

So I went to see the Mr. Holmes movie after all. I read the book years ago and hated it, so I wasn't planning to see this adaptation. However, I read a review from someone else who did read the book, and they told me that things had been changed, which explained why they made the title change; it's not exactly faithful. So I went to see it, since it came to a movie theatre that was convenient to me. It was an okay movie, if you like retired, beekeeping Holmes. I personally don't enjoy Holmes as a hermit without Watson. Audiences seem to connect to it, though, with Holmes struggling through his senility and connecting with the boy Roger. The movie is doing relatively well for its small release.

I hated the book for some annoying writing conventions that the author insisted on foisting upon readers. He would start a flashback scene, show half of it, stop it to digress to another plot, then return to the exact same scene a long time later, repeating pages upon pages of stuff I ALREADY READ and DIDN'T NEED REMINDING OF, then finally show me the other half of the flashback. However, that was a lie; there's actually a third or fourth part of the scene which he has withheld from us, and will return us to later, while unnecessarily REPEATING EVERYTHING ELSE AGAIN! Fuck him and his editor who let that get published that way. Thankfully, the movie doesn't try to visually replicate that insane repetition, so that's was a relief. The characters had funny moments, and the ending was much improved, so those problems were fixed too.

Also, there's a scene where Holmes attends a fictional movie based on one of his cases, and Nicholas Rowe plays the fictional Holmes in that film. It's not that Hollywood rewrote the case, though; Watson was responsible for the inaccuracy because he deliberately changed the mystery to make Holmes into a hero instead of a failure. To save his reputation (and to hell with what the real client thought?) and perhaps help Holmes get over the tragedy. One of the themes of the movie is that people tell well meaning lies to protect other people and soothe their pain. It's interesting for me to see that Watson lies so much in the movie, almost constructing a false Holmes persona like in Without a Clue. I have often asserted that Watson lies in the stories myself.

Summer Blues

We're in for triple-digit heat all this week, and it's making me miserable. I've also been down about all the bad news lately, including the horrific arson attack in Israel, where terrorists burned down a house full of people and killed a baby. I don't know when will be enough for Israel to really change.

But today I read that a federal appeals court struck down the voter ID law in Texas, so that's good for the next election. We still have horrible politicians in Texas, though, and we're so gerrymandered it's not funny. I really hope Hillary Clinton means it when she says she's pursuing a 50-state strategy to improve Democratic chances even in red states like Texas.

Comedians love to snark, but I haven't really been amused by Trump's antics nor do I care to watch the Republican candidates debate anything. I'm apathetic and tired of the circus atmosphere. It's bad enough we need to defend Planned Parenthood from these anti-abortion zealots, but they keep threatening to shut down the government like they haven't learned a thing. Lately, Daily Kos has turned into a nonstop Bernie Sanders cheerleading site, having stupid pie fights constantly about him and Clinton. Even yelling at the founder Kos for not supporting Bernie. I hate those navel-gazing progressives who can't stop flaming each other over every damn thing, and yet it's hard to find any other political news site that's worth following. Liberals are supposed to be big tent, include everybody, but they're so divisive.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

History Lesson

All the pontificating about the Iran deal is so much bullshit. I read Juan Cole's recent article about Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal, and am freshly appalled. At the time, I was just a kid living in blissful ignorance and watching TV sitcoms. I found all news boring, and briefly was brainwashed by Texas's red atmosphere into liking George Bush, Sr. when he ran for President; thank God I grew out of that.

When I grew older I heard about the Iran-Contra affair vaguely as being something awful like Watergate; but I never realized just how diabolical and criminal it was. The President was playing so many countries against each other as if he were a dictator with unilateral powers. I can't believe that Reagan and his cronies got away with this stuff, and that Israel used to love making deals with Iran in the 1980s. So Netanyahu shouting about how evil Iran is now, and how they're so dangerous like ISIS, is such a crock. Israel has nukes already which it won't admit to; why don't they agree to be inspected by the UN? Why don't they disarm, to keep us from sanctioning them? Hypocrites. I definitely prefer Obama and Kerry's diplomacy to the illegal, villainous schemes that constituted Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. You're damn right I'm still boycotting Israel.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Unfulfilled Potential

The last two episodes of The Millers aired tonight. The first one was a Christmas episode, and it was awful. I was indifferent to Kip for a while, but they went too far with him. It's bad enough that Kip hangs around with Carol and her whole family, pushing to be included in an unhealthy way, but he appears to have no other friends at all. Apparently, when he divorced his husband Leon, he did not have any other friends or his own family to fall back on. So instead he's trying to steal Nathan's family in a really creepy and needy way. Strange is that only Nathan is bothered by this, not his other family members or even Ray. Plus the writers chose to have Nathan and Kip childishly fight, as if the fights were supposed to be funny. But they aren't; they're just cringe-inducing. I'd rather have seen an episode devoted to Nathan and Ray adjusting to being roommates, but no, we have to have Kip hanging around for all the holidays. What a crap episode.

The last episode was slightly better, but Kip still dominated way too much in his plot. I preferred the plot where Nathan was dating a teacher to try to help Mikayla get into a good school. He found out that his niece didn't want to attend that school or be a hippie, and he helped her tell her parents. (It might even have been a callback to when she discovered that she didn't want to be a vegetarian last season.) That was actually somewhat nice. I still liked the earlier episodes with the Pope and the scifi convention better. So I guess I do agree with CBS about cancelling the show. If it was going to continue in this vein, Kip would continue to throw the balance off and prevent me from seeing plots I actually cared about, like Nathan and Ray living together, or Debbie working and Adam being a house husband. Oh well.

In other news, I heard that Michael Cera is cast as Robin in Will's Lego Batman movie. That will be fun when it comes out. Season 2 of Bojack Horseman is out now, but I haven't watched it yet. I'm really missing Gob more than Bojack, and I'm getting tired of satirical shows that skewer Hollywood. (Or Hollywoo.) I'll save it for when I'm in the mood I guess.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Peace and equality

What a week it's been so far! I'm glad that the Iran deal was done, and I'm only pissed at so many Congresspeople acting outraged and licking Netanyahu's boots by pretending that it's a diplomatic disaster. As I understand it, five other countries, not just the US, also agreed to make the deal with Iran. I read some of the details on Vox and other sites, and they do seem like reasonable terms to me, given all the inspections. Some people will never be satisfied until Iran has zero nuclear stuff, even though the tiny amount they're allowed to keep can only be used for power; there is no way they'll be able to enrich it enough to weaponize it. (And meanwhile we let Israel have unknown amounts of nukes, despite their war crimes and human rights violations! Why don't we sanction them, huh?) I really hope Congress won't grandstand and try to reject the Iran deal.

In other good news, the Boys Scouts finally lifted their ban on gay adults and scout leaders, though it seems to be optional from troop to troop. Oh well. Baby steps I guess, and at least this will solve the problem for gay scouts who want to stay in the troop as they get older. I heard that the Pentagon will allow transgender people to serve as well, so things are looking up overall.

Anyway, I signed up for new insurance in the Marketplace (since I lost my previous coverage at my old job), and hopefully nothing will happen until my coverage starts. I'm going to a job fair later, and if I get hired and get benefits there (big maybe), I'll have to make changes afterward. But it's better to be safe than sorry. Gosh, it's so hot in Texas in July. No rain in sight either. That's what bothers me more than idiots panicking about Jade Helm conspiracies.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

TV blahs

Last night's episodes of The Millers weren't good. There was no mention of Ray moving in, so maybe the episodes were out of order. The Thanksgiving episode was silly, notable only for an attempt at a father-son love triangle. The other episode had Cloris Leachman guest starring as doddering Aunt Louise. There are two more episodes left this coming Saturday, and I hope they are better.

I'm getting kind of fed up with Masterpiece showing only period dramas that I'm not interested in. The only mysteries they've got scheduled now are repeats of past seasons of Sherlock through summer and September. PBS is going to air Arthur & George this year, but no dates are given yet. I hope they bring Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries back soon.

Today I also tried a new recipe for Panda Express's Mushroom Chicken, and I only realized too late that I didn't have any balsamic vinegar. It didn't turn out bad, though.