Exhibit A (Try Not To Stare)

Mel Rook & The 3 Higher Trainings

I am on exhibit at a Zoo

Children stop and stare
Wishing they could grow up
But not grow old.

Adults pass by quickly
Knowing what it’s like to grow old
But not grow up.

I wait to be fed.

I am on exhibit at an Art Gallery

The guide calls me an important work.
Signed, Certified and Numbered.
A Limited Edition.

The plaque reads:
Unknown Subject Number 3,471,955,134.
Unremarkable.

I am on exhibit at a Theme Park.

I am an animatronics display
Showing the perils of drug use,
Not staying in school
And not taking life seriously
While playing with fire.
On a track and on an endless loop
Until it closes for repair.

I am a ride with no line and no ticket
And only room for one
A ride that is at times
Thrilling,
Romantic
And fun
And at other times
A straight flat slow trip
From one side…

View original post 264 more words

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Photos From Around The Block: Village Halloween Parade (No Fear 2017)

I took a wrong turn and ended up in the Village Halloween Parade.

Took some pictures.

Suffice to say, everyone was smoking lovely out there.

Seriously. I got buzzed from the contact.

To the pics…

A cat, 2 mice, a flash, a Mario and a runaway bride

Wonder Woman and The Punisher. (because that makes a lick of sense)

Three Witches and An Unfamiliar.

That’s a great pumpkin. (just not THE great pumpkin)

“Yeah Yeah. Somebody stop me from posting to Instagram. I heard it.”

Damn, Grandma. You scary.

This Guy.

Dino Roar.

Empire State.

The stuff that dreams are made of. (Nightmares)

“Excuse me. May I eat your child?”

He’s right behind you.

Don’t mess with this gang. They will fuck your shit up.

“I can’t believe that guy let me eat his kid.”

Faerie Magic.

There was some politics out there. Gun Violence, Trump, The Usual.

Gun Violence IS preventable

This little cutie.

The Dump Trump Balcony

Now that’s a party.

Old Man Sam (is nobody’s uncle)

Heavy police presence after the incident downtown.

There were some Jedi mucking about with lightsabers.

Light vs Dark

No Blasters! No Blasters!

The Jedi Council

The Sith (There is always two)

There were some weird demonic pics I don’t remember taking.

The moon’s reflection.

Ghosts in the trees.

The most demonic house I’ve ever seen.

there were a couple of Neon Warriors.

Light Armor (get it?)

These guys looked cool. And they were very tall. Like really tall.

DSC_0673

DSC_0674

DSC_0676

And of course there was this guy.

With the lonely evil eyes.

That’s all I got.

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween.

-Mel

Maybe?

Maybe
Really maybe
There is only
A finite quantity
Of souls.

Far fewer still
Than bodies
And yet none
Not one without
Would go alone.

Maybe
Thick rich souls
Are spread wide
Across the worlds
Like jam.

Shared
Then shared again
Dealt like cards
Split in two
Into four
Or more.

Maybe then
The truth
Of soul searching
Is not a search
For the soul
In ourselves

But a search
For ourself

…in others.

Maybe?

-Mel

My Younger Self

I feel so much younger than my younger self.

He struggles with tensions and tenses and stresses and angst. While I breathe easily. Enjoying the natural in and out. Needing only to remember to smile.

He was always older than he seemed.

He is fifteen, ordering whiskey in a dive bar. No I.D. No need. “Get this man a drink.”

We clock the time together. Uncertain of the duration in a single second. Relative or inconstant. A breath. I go in as he goes out from anger to sadness in an exhale. While I smile between the ex and the in. Between the ins and the outs. Between the heartbeats and the seconds. We clock the time together.

I know less now than when I knew nothing. No pride. No prejudice. No expectation.

Less impossible futures with many more possible pasts.

Less impossible futures with many more possible pasts with pose-able parts and indispensable lessons. Flights of fancy rerouted and stories re-watched rewound rewritten or simply reinterpreted.

I can remember more than he has ever lived.

And not just the time between him and I. The clock we watched together. But the space before him. Behind him. Flushed with memories that he could not recount. More stories in the blank spaces. More experiences. More lessons. And more lives beneath those. And more lives beneath those. And beneath those and those and those.

We run through tales at bedtime (his bed not mine). My bottom to the cushion (his head not mine). His fear subsides as I re-tell him the stories that make our pain seem more subtle. And our dreams seem more accessible.

Because in every dream and every story in every life, in every book I’ve read, written or heard, he is every character on every page.

My younger self is everyone I’ve ever been or dreamed of being.

He is every character.

And I am every word.

– Mel

Blade Runner 2049 (is it better than the original?) SPOILER FREE

Is Blade Runner 2049 better than the original Blade Runner?

Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Blade Runner 2049 poster

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Written by Hampton Fancher & Michael Green  Based on Characters from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Starring Ryan GoslingHarrison FordAna de ArmasSylvia HoeksRobin WrightMackenzie DavisCarla JuriLennie JamesDave Bautista & Jared Leto

Blade Runner Joi

Is Blade Runner 2049 better than the original Blade Runner?

As a huge fan of the first movie, this is an honest question because part of me thinks Blade Runner 2049 might be better and the other part of me thinks that it absolutely is.

Ryan Gosling is Blade Runner

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner has been at the top of my all-time favorite movie list for most of my adult life. (My childhood favorite film was Raiders of the Lost Ark)

All of the things that made the original movie amazing are in the sequel… plus so much more. It is not a remake (I’m looking at you Force Awakens), It is not a reboot (Star Trek or Fury Road). It is an upgrade in so many ways.

And Blade Runner 2049 is also a sequel in the classic sense… no spoilers but this is an actual sequel to the first movie not just a new story told in that same world.

Blade Runner prometheus nod

Blade Runner 2049 is fantastic. The music is perfect. The visuals are perfect. The writing is better than the original with dialogue that is infinitely quotable. The acting is a major step up from the original with Jared Leto and Robin Wright both deserving Oscar consideration.

And the characters, replicants and humans alike, are four-dimensional beings that inhabit that unmistakable Blade Runner dystopian/utopian future, gliding softly and purposefully from shot to shot, from edit to edit, slowly but surely into my dreams. Straight into my dreams.

And don’t get me started on the casting and the wardrobe and the cinematography and the effects and the tech and the nods to the original and to the other works of Philip K Dick and to the other works of Ridley Scott and to my favorite book by Vladimir Nabokov Pale Fire… It’s like they made this movie JUST FOR ME!!!

Blade Runner 2049 Mackenzie Davis

If I had to make one complaint, and it’s a weird complaint because I never wanted the movie to end but, it’s that the movie was a little too long. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, it’s an endurance test, but it is a sensational one. Train for it. Prepare for it. Bring snacks.

Blade Runner 2049 is an epic detective story, much like the first one was. So beware of spoilers online. This is one where you do not want to know a damn thing before going in. So you’re not going to hear shit from me except the fact that it is amazing and everyone should go see it.

EVERYONE!!!!!!

Blade Runner 2049 Robin Wright

“Well answer the question, is it better? Answer.”

Blade Runner is my favorite movie of all-time and you want a quick answer.

“I WANT THE TRUTH.”

You can’t handle the truth!!

“Is Blade Runner 2049 better? Yes or no?”

Oh you’re some kind of a hotshot, aren’t you? Forcing me to make a decision after just seeing the movie yesterday, seeing it once. Having seen the original a million times. I’M NOT EXAGGERATING!!!

“Is it better?”

I don’t understand the question. Can you repeat it?

“Stop playing games, Mel. IS IT BETTER OR NOT??”

You’re goddamn right it is. Yes… (sobbing) Yes it is. It’s better. It’s a better movie than Blade Runner. My god I feel so ashamed.

“And you call yourself a movie buff. You disgust me. No further questions, your honor. The prosecution rests.”

Blade Runner 2049 Harrison Ford

You guys remember how much I loved Arrival? Well, the only thing that could have made Blade Runner 2049 any better is if Amy Adams were in it. The director of Arrival, Denis Villeneuve is on fire. This makes two amazing movies in a row. (One more and he gets a free sub)

Also make sure to watch the three short prequel films on YouTube. They are all really good. But watch them in chronological order. They were released out-of-order for some reason. So watch the animated one first Black Out 2022 then Nexus Dawn 2036 and last Nowhere to Run 2048 which leads right into the main movie seamlessly.

Jared Leto Blade Runner 2049

So I guess the rest is basic math. If Blade Runner is my favorite movie AND Blade Runner 2049 is better than the original Blade Runner THEN… (Ipso facto) Blade Runner 2049 must be my favori-

Nope.

Blade Runner 2049 is as good as it is because Blade Runner was that good. Without the original, 2049 is still an amazing movie but not the monumental earth-shattering squee-fest that it turns out to be. (It’s like saying Empire Strikes Back is your favorite movie but not acknowledging that without Star Wars it doesn’t exist)

Blade Runner 2049

Hold off on re-writing my top ten and putting Blade Runner 2049 at the top just yet.

At least let me see it another hundred and fifty more times.

I’m not kidding.

– Mel

Top Ten Sexiest Bisexual TV Characters 2017 (The Recently Cancelled Edition)

We regret to inform you that Top Ten Sexiest Bisexual TV Characters has been cancelled due to a lack of interest.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Are they kidding?

This is the most popular thing on my blog by far.

“Nice.” “Awesome.”

We’ve had a good run here at Mel Rook & the 7 Deadly Sins with our Bisexual TV posts…

In the first edition we not only gave you a Top Ten Bisexual TV characters list but we threw a couple of fan fiction favorites in at the end just for you shippers. You’re welcome.

“I bet you did.”

The rules back then were simple.

“1) The character should be seen having sex with both men and women on the show (or at least it’s strongly implied).

2) I have to like the show they’re on. and

3) The character has to be sexy.”

And a good time was had by all.

In the second one we hit our stride with Top Ten Bisexual TV Characters 2015 Edition. Ahhhh. The good old days. We wrote…

“In 2014 there was an influx of clever and well-written bi characters on some really good shows. Some of them were even the lead. Not every one was the bad guy. Not every one was a cheater. Those seem to be the go-to clichés when it comes to bisexual characters. But there were some fairly well-written bisexual characters in 2014.”

The writing on this blog was pretty bad back then.

“The rules were virtually the same as the first time around:

a) The character’s bisexuality has to be strongly implied or actually shown. (Fantasies included) So if they’re dating someone of the same-sex and then later they’re dating someone of the opposite sex or vice-versa then I label them as Bi.

b) The character must be on a good show (a show I like). And it must be current. (last time out I did a “best ever” list but since there are more Bi characters now than at any time in TV history, let’s just keep it current)

c) The actor or the character must be sexy. (Or at least I have to think they are)”

“Old black guy thinks you’re sexy.”

However our third edition was a little less spectacular.

It started out too political and preachy… with a powerful, surprise ending but it had a big finish. Top Ten Bisexual TV Characters ALL NEW. 

We wrote this little ranty piece of garbage right here…

“So here when I say a character is Bisexual, I mean at some point in the show they were dating, fucking or stating an attraction to a man, and to a woman at one point. It is as simple as that. And I know that it isn’t always as simple as that. But in a quest for individuality, we’ve made things less inclusive and maybe even less accepting. When I can look at a list of the hundreds of words used to define gender identity and sexual identity and check off forty or fifty of them that apply to me and not feel unique but just feel alone…

…there’s something wrong with this system. While what is more accurate is the less defined fact that I am attracted to people. I find male parts attractive. I find female parts attractive. But I find hearts and minds even more so. I belong to that group. That all-inclusive, hugely accepting group that thinks human beings are sexy. My generation called them Bisexual, called us Bisexual… And you know what? I still like the name.”

“That’s enough out of you, preachy.”

And here we come to the very last one. It’s been cancelled. We’ve come to the end of the road. No tears… No tears but you still might need some tissues. Get it?

Tissues?

“We get it.”

THAT WAS A JOKE ABOUT MASTURBATION!!!!

“He didn’t just explain it?” “Yes, he did.” “Wow.”

To the Last,

(to the) Lust,

(to the) List…

Top Ten Sexiest Bisexual TV Characters (The Recently Cancelled Edition)

10. Mason (The Hipster) from The Great Indoors (CBS cancelled)

Portrayed by Shaun Brown

This guy was a positive portrayal of a bisexual black man before the show was cancelled. A rare find these days; the positive portrayal of the bisexual black man.. But surprisingly I found two of them this year. Two bisexual black male characters… wow.

Mason is not exactly my type but he’s hot enough to make this year’s list.

9. Quenton (The Fan) from The Magicians (SYFY)

Portrayed by Jason Ralph

I say it a lot but I love this fucking show. I want to have this show’s children. The Magician’s is one of my favorite things on television now.

Again Quenton, like Mason, is not really my type either but he’s had sex with all of my favorite characters on the show and that makes his character sexy enough for this list… by associative properties and osmosis)

8. Mistress West (The Wicked) from Emerald City (NBC cancelled)

I loved this show. Another cancellation from this list (It’s a theme. If you haven’t figured it out yet) This is why people hate television.

Portrayed by Ana Ularu

Mistress West was a  smoking hot villain from Emerald City (in a devilishly broken but awesomely powerful sort of way). I know why they cancelled the show. It was too rich a tapestry to maintain past one season and without Tarsem Singh at the helm (for every episode) it would not have been worth financing.

7. Svetlana (The Russian) from Shameless (SHO)

Svetlana ia a take charge bad-ass bisexual woman. And you guys know how much I love that. And good god those breasts.

Portrayed by Isidora (“Izzy”) Goreshter

Svetlana grew on me in season after season and soon became my favorite thing on a really good show. Shameless is very entertaining… and really messed up. She’s my new favorite thing… or favorite two things.

6. Chanel #3 (The Earmuffs) from Scream Queens (FOX cancelled)

Portrayed by Billie Lourd

Chanel #3 Identifies as Pan-Sexual. For the last time. Hetero means different sex. Homo means same-sex. Bi doesn’t mean two sexes. It means you like people who are the same-sex as you and people who are a different sex than you. You wanna call yourself pan that’s fine but it’s just Bi with a different label. (that’s right I said it)

I loved this show (also cancelled). And Chanel #3’s dialogue and deadpan delivery were two of the best things about it. I also loved the earmuffs tribute to her mother (Carrie Fisher)’s most iconic character Princess Leia. (RIP)

5. Victor Strand (The Grifter) from Fear: The Walking Dead (AMC)

I love a smooth talker and Strand is good-looking and a smooth talker.

Portrayed by Colman Domingo

Right now, I think Fear: TWD is better than the original Walking Dead series (too much Negan). It took a while for the audience to get to know Strand. But his story was romantic and tragic. Still, it’s hard to like this character because he seems so sinister and so selfish so often but he’s hot as fuck.

4. Eleanor Shellstrop (Fake Eleanor) from The Good Place (NBC)

Eleanor has the hots for the tall Indian chick and that’s enough of an excuse to include Kristen Bell on any list of the sexiest anythings.

Portrayed by Kristen Bell

The Good Place is only in its second season but it is one of the most original sitcoms in recent years. (It won’t last) In the first season, Eleanor (played by Kristen Bell) admits to being, what she calls, “a little gay.”

Okay any excuse to include Kristen Bell. And even if the character is only mildly bisexual, there was no way she was going to be any lower than the top five. It’s Kristen Bell.

Come on.

3. Eliot (The King/The Bartender) from The Magicians (SYFY)

Portrayed by Hale Appleman

I don’t have to tell you guys how much I love this show again… do I? I love this show.

I read someone say that Eliot is a caricature of the gay best friend and that he’s offensive. But if they would just watch the damn show they would find out that he’s not really like that. He’s really a farm boy who is trying to be something he’s not.

And he’s the hottest thing on a show with an amazingly hot cast. He would have been at number one but even though Eliot is really hot, he describes his bisexuality as akin to occasionally liking Tai food… whatevs man.

2. Lagertha (The Shieldmaiden/The Queen) from Vikings (History)

Portrayed by Katheryn Winnick

I love smart girls and I love total bad-ass chicks. So this year it was hard to decide on number one because the top two women on this list are both really smart and really bad-ass. So in the end I went with the bad-ass Viking chick at number two because… because… I don’t have to justify myself to you.

Vikings has been consistently enjoyable from the first season. And this seriously kick-ass Viking shield maiden, Lagertha, completely steals the show early on and she totally deserves her own spin-off.

Make it happen History Channel.

And the number one sexiest bisexual TV character for 2017 is…

(drum roll please)

1. Portia Lin/Two/Rebecca (The Captain) from Dark Matter (SYFY cancelled)

Portrayed by Melissa O’Neil

Portia (or Two, if you watch the show) is a kick-ass bad-ass space pirate captain with one hell of a body. Feared throughout the galaxy. She’s the leader of the most ruthless team of outlaws in open space… until they all get their memories wiped.

Syfy cancelled this amazing series recently for some strange reason. (While keeping other shows that are pure garbage but less expensive to make… I hate television) If you haven’t seen Dark Matter, check it out on Netflix (I love Netflix).

We (the Dark Matter fandom) are still trying to save the show.

We need all the help we can get. #SaveDarkMatter

—————————————-

Most of these shows got cancelled while I was compiling this list. Actually there were two other characters from two other cancelled shows that barely missed the list.

How can I write about TV when they keep cancelling my favorite shit?

So this will not just be my last bisexual TV post but will probably be my last blog post about TV for a while period. I’ll still blog about movies. But TV is not worth the effort.

Consider this my retirement. But more like Jay Z, Michael Jordan, and Mohammed Ali retiring. Not like Johnny Carson retiring. You know I’ll be back if there’s something to say. Something I really got to get off my chest.

But for now…

On television…

I got nothing.

– Mel

What’s Good? (End of Summer… Spring 2017) Mega Post

Hello, dear readers.

I’ve been away. But I’m back now. Sorry about the wait.

“We missed you soooo much.”

Okay. Yeah. So I haven’t been on social media a bunch of late. I’ve been working on the way I relate to it. I’m addicted in a bad way. Addicted to likes. Addicted to views. And while it’s now no longer my only connection to the outside world, it serves an important purpose in my life and I’ve grown to like a lot of the people I’ve met on here.

You had me at hello, Tom?  “No.”

Especially people who follow and interact with my blog (you know who you are). And while I haven’t quite figured out how I will reconcile this, I have found that the people I meet in the real world (now that I go outside more often) aren’t really as interested in talking about movies and TV shows and books and games as you guys. So I think I’m here to stay. I just have to curb my attachment and stay away from politics.

“Did you get to the part where he says he’s gonna stay away from politics online? Isn’t that the cutest thing? Bless his heart.” “There’s no way.” “No fucking way.” “So cute with his little plans.”

While I’ve been offline, I’ve been watching a lot of good TV. And I also saw a lot of movies (good and bad). Thinking about it though, I haven’t read a book in years. (I don’t know what the fuck’s up with that). And as far as video games go… shit, I’m still trying to finish the first Bioshock (don’t judge me).

“No judgement. You suck at video games. Not a judgement. Just a fact.”

But anyway, there is so much good stuff to talk about from the Spring and the Summer just from TV and movies. So let’s get right to it.

But why don’t we get the bad stuff out of the way first this time around shall we?.

“You mean… that?”

Here’s a top ten list of the movies that I saw on my break that were pure shit.

THE WORST

Counting down…

10. Spider-man: Homecoming

Okay. That wasn’t Spider-man. Spider-man was in Captain America: Civil War. Russo Brothers gave us Spider-man. Whatever that was in Homecoming, I don’t know. Trying to start over with the web head learning how to use his powers is one thing. Having him hold his own against Captain America, Bucky, Falcon, et al and then having him go back to being inept is just confusing. Nope. Did not like what they did to my friendly neighborhood Spider-man.

9. Assasssin’s Creed

Ass-Ass-In’s Creed is fucking awful (double ass in). How could they not have known? Great action sequences and cool fights but little else. Confusing and infuriating and disappointing. (I absolutely love the video game series though even though I suck)

8. Sing

Let’s call this one Ringtones: The Movie (they cut off every song before they would have had to pay for it). This movie is annoyingly bad. And for a music lover, frustratingly music-less. Three second clips don’t make a musical. They make a medley.

7. Personal Shopper

Kristen Stewart is decent but the movie is boring as fuck. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. A thriller? A supernatural tear-jerker? A mystery? A stalker drama? A supernatural murder psycho stalker drama? Personal Shopper spends way too much time texting itself and not enough time making love to Kristen Stewart. This is like if Brian De Palma made a movie while he was asleep. Just directed the whole thing from bed. Never bothering to wake up at all. Personal Shopper was booed at film festivals and it’s easy to tell why. The main character spends most of the movie on her phone. Booooooooo.

6. The Dark Tower

Here is another perfect example of a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be and just ends up being nothing. Is it sci-fi… horror? Is it for kids? Is it not? Make up your damn mind. The film-makers have forgotten the faces of their fathers. (Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, Stanley Kubrick… [The paterFILMilias])

5. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter vs Underworld: Blood Wars

I was going to do a film comparison game show of these two films because they are essentially the same movie. But I got bored because they both sucked ass… equally. If they don’t do a crossover then they have no idea how completely similar these franchises have become to each other.

4. Colossal

Great idea but horrible ending. Anne Hathaway is fantastic as always but the ending of Colossal is so damn sloppy. It ruins what was good about it in the first place. Worth a look but prepare to be let down by the end.

3. Silence

Long, boring, confusing and racist as hell. I appreciate the artistry of Martin Scorcese but every time he does a movie about religion he seems to lose his fucking mind. Silence is so fucking racist. And there is not a character in it who has a basic understanding of either religion. I hate the movie Silence. And I wish it didn’t exist. I’m angry with everyone responsible for making me sit through it. The film-makers, the actors and the historical figures. Fuck em all.

Missionaries are awful racist people with awful racist agendas in places they should not be. Awful. To call the evil that these awful people encountered as being done by Buddhists is a new kind of evil. Those Buddhists are as much Buddhists as these racist missionaries are Christians. I hope they all burn in the hell of the other’s religion. That would be Karma. If you don’t understand what Karma is, Marty, Google it. That would also be irony. And if you… you know what, just look it up. Look everything up.

2. XXX: The Return of Xander Cage

XXX The Return of Vin Diesel is an international mess. Culminating in an appearance by Ice Cube at the end where he’s not even in the same country as the other actors who are in the same shot as him and it’s so annoyingly obvious and bad. The writing is bad. The acting is bad. The stunts are unnecessary and the fight choreography is impractical. XXX is fucking awful.

And the number one worst movie I saw this Spring and Summer was…

1. The Mummy (2017)

Swing and a miss. Honestly. How do you have Tom Cruise in your film and then not give him a character to play. Who the fuck is he? Also, is he comic relief? Is he anti-hero? Is he romantic lead? What the fuck? There is nothing good about The Mummy. It is confusing and over-simplified. How can a movie be this boring while at the same time being non-stop mindless action sequences. How did they even accomplish that?

Okay that’s over with. You can breathe now. The worst part is done.

Those movies were bad. Just set them all on fire and start over.

Burn Bitches

Moving over to the small screen for a second…

There was a lot of good TV this Spring & Summer. Here are a few honorable mentions.

Doctor Who came back with a new companion and although this was the weakest season of the new series, it was still ambitious and entertaining. I enjoyed Peter Capaldi’s Doctor even though he “petered out” toward the end. And I am really excited about the gender switch. I hope that’s why this season was so weak. They were saving the best stories to introduce the new Doctor.

The Leftovers ended its run just as strong as it started. This was a hugely satisfying series that took on some major taboo religious subjects and didn’t get all holy and preachy and in fact was always amazingly non-denominational and spiritually trippy. Very good show.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD gets a bad rap. I love this show. I enjoy the way every half season of this show has a different feel and theme. Drastically different from anything they’d done before. I love the characters and I love the quality of the writing. And of course the Fitz-Simmons love story is still getting the full Joss Whedon treatment. Meaning it’s FUCKING BRUTAL.

Fargo was sensational yet again. Here is an anthology series that keeps it tight while still being fucking insane. There were no performances this year like Kirsten Dunst in season two or Billy Bob in season one. but it was still thrilling and immensely entertaining. One of the best shows on TV.

The Americans is consistently good and in my opinion hasn’t lost a step. Things are coming to a head and this season mostly set up the end game but it was still great. Some of the best acting and writing on television.

Gotham is crazy. Crazy good. It wants to be ALL Batman versions at the same time and it does a great job. I really enjoyed the Penguin & Riddler story line this past season. I really liked the actress who played the young Poison Ivy but I’m fine with her having “sprouted” so to speak.

Sense 8 wasn’t as good as the first season and then it lost its Netflix funding. It’s an expensive show. Shot on location in several countries at once. Still one of the coolest concepts around but we can expect a finale movie and that’s it for Sense 8 (single tear). Season two was still quite enjoyable. Even if it had no chance to live up to the amazing first season of this sci-fi action drama.

Preacher is frustrating. I have to say, the first season of Preacher, the supernatural comic based crazy fest, really pissed me off. I couldn’t stop watching but it annoyed me, while still being intriguing and annoying and cool and annoying. The second season is a thousand times better, keeps the cool, drops the annoying. Well done guys.

Bosch continued its quality storytelling. This is a gritty procedural and murder mystery detective show with fantastic performances. If you haven’t seen it. Check it out. It’s very good. High on the cool factor. Like Justified meets True Detective.

Dark Matter wasn’t at its best this season either. There were a little too many running story lines and very little character development. But I still love these characters. Still love this show. And the character Porsche Lynn (or Number Two if you will) is a straight up goddess. Definitely wifey material. Just hot as all hell.

*And I just learned that they’ve cancelled it. YOU BASTARDS!!!

But anyway, that’s not why we came.

Those TV shows were entertaining but not the best. That’s not what’s good.

Here comes the best stuff now. I’m just gonna need for you to ask me the question before we get started… You know the one.

“What’s Good, Motherfucker?”

Don’t be shy. Say it out loud.

What’s Good?

I’m glad you asked.

Bring on the good shit.

THE BEST MOVIES

Zootopia (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Directed by Byron Howard & Rich Moore

Written by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, Jim Reardon, Josie Trinidad, Phil Johnston & Jennifer Lee

Starring Ginnifer GoodwinJason BatemanIdris ElbaJenny SlateNate TorrenceBonnie HuntDon LakeTommy ChongJ. K. SimmonsOctavia SpencerAlan Tudyk & Shakira

Zootopia is a very good movie about racism and prejudice using cartoon animals to make its poignant points. We do a meditation in my Tibetan Buddhist class that imagines all sentient beings living in peace and compassion. By all sentient beings we mean animals too. It’s a difficult thing to imagine soberly. So for me I always default to cartoon animals in movies like this where different species live and work together and don’t eat each other. Something that really shouldn’t be that hard to contemplate seriously.

If humans had spent their time solving problems for peace on the planet instead of making problems for profit these last few thousand years, we could have created the very balance that I have to imagine as a cartoon. Oh my god. I’ve really gotten off on a tangent, haven’t I? Zootopia is a good movie. If you haven’t seen it… do.

Office Christmas Party (Paramount Pictures)

Directed by Will Speck & Josh Gordon

Written by Jon LucasScott MooreTimothy Dowling and Justin Malen, Laura Solon, & Dan Mazer

Starring Jason BatemanOlivia MunnT. J. MillerJillian BellVanessa BayerCourtney B. VanceRob CorddryKate McKinnon & Jennifer Aniston

Office Christmas party is a funny movie with a talented and very funny cast. I usually don’t like your basic make it up as you go improvisational comedy but this one has a great cast, like I said, and they keep it fun and funny and really enjoyable. They’re all extremely likable and good at their jobs.

Kate McKinnon (from Saturday Night Live) is really coming into her own comically. (She’s the best thing about the horrible Rough Night and probably the only reason it doesn’t make the worst list). Olivia Munn, Jason Bateman (more from him later. HINT [It’s Ozark. Ozark is so good. I can’t keep a secret]) T.J. Miller (from Silicon Valley) and Jennifer Aniston are in their respective wheelhouses here and they make the movie surprisingly good. Rent it.

Paterson (Amazon Studios)

Written & Directed by Jim Jarmusch

Starring Adam DriverGolshifteh FarahaniBarry Shabaka HenleyCliff Smith, Chasten Harmon, William Jackson Harper & Masatoshi Nagase

Paterson is actually pretty good for a movie where nothing much really happens. Jim Jarmusch has created a little slice of a man’s life. Paterson is likable and affable and creative and his girlfriend is really creative and they are a fun couple to watch. Paterson drives a bus in Paterson New Jersey and he writes poetry in his notebook. He’s very Zen and very nice and while there are things that happen around him, he stays centered and it is enjoyable to watch.

His girlfriend, however, is a different kind of creative. She is a painter and a fashion designer and… I don’t know, a country music singer or something. They are an interesting pair. Paterson is a good movie. If you like James Joyce, you’ll like Paterson. It is a week in the life of an everyday creative, bar patron, dog-owning, bus driving romantic. Jim Jarmusch has done it again.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Summit Entertainment)

Directed by Chad Stahelski

Written by Derek Kolstad

Starring Keanu Reeves, CommonLaurence FishburneRiccardo ScamarcioRuby RoseJohn Leguizamo & Ian McShane

Same old John Wick. This time the movie is a little light on substance. Not that the first one was deep or anything but I think I liked his motivation in the first movie more. They took his dog. However we don’t watch John Wick for the story. Do we? We watch it for the amazing Gun-Fu and John Wick Chapter 2 does not disappoint.

There are some epic battles in this movie. John Wick is wall to wall fight choreography much like the Raid martial arts movies (especially Raid Redemption). If you liked the first John Wick for the story. You may not like the second one. But also… what?

CHiPs (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Written & Directed by Dax Shepard  Based on CHiPs by Rick Rosner

Starring Dax Shepard, Michael PeñaRosa SalazarAdam BrodyRichard T. JonesKristen Bell & Vincent D’Onofrio

I read on the net that no one liked this movie. I don’t see why. It is what it is. And what it is… turns out to be very fucking funny. CHiPs is a lot of fun. It’s a little silly but with a really good heart. It is a direct reflection of its writer & director. Big, silly, good-natured, a little dumb, a little goofy (and married to one of the hottest women on the planet).

I enjoyed CHiPs because of the two stars; the amazing Michael Pena, who made Ant-man so funny, and the writer, director and star, Dax Shepherd. The two leads make the movie immensely enjoyable. And even though a few plot points are monumentally stupid, they are easily forgiven because of how good-natured and fun CHiPs turns out to be. I recommend it. It’s a fun and funny movie.

If someone told you that a movie based on the incredibly stupid TV show CHiPs was not going to be dumb, they lied to you. This is exactly what a CHiPs movie should be.

Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Written by Dan GilroyMax BorensteinDerek Connolly, and John Gatins  Based on King Kong by Merian C. Cooper & Edgar Wallace

Starring Tom HiddlestonSamuel L. JacksonJohn GoodmanBrie LarsonJing TianToby KebbellJohn OrtizCorey HawkinsJason MitchellShea WhighamThomas MannTerry NotaryJohn C. Reilly

Wow what a great movie. Kong is a popcorn adventure with a great cast and story and some kick ass action. One of the best movies of the year. The soundtrack is phenomenal. The cinematography is gorgeous. It’s a throwback to the old monster movies and war films. One of the best over-sized monster flicks in a long long time.

Kong: Skull Island is like a cross between Apocalypse Now and Godzilla v Megalon. Skull Island is sensational. I was not expecting it to be as good as it is. And it plays itself down by not taking itself too seriously but that just adds to how good it is.

Kong: Skull Island is a sensationally fucking good movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Written & Directed by James Gunn  Based on Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

Starring Chris PrattZoe SaldanaDave BautistaVin DieselBradley CooperMichael RookerKaren GillanPom KlementieffElizabeth DebickiChris SullivanSean GunnSylvester Stallone & Kurt Russell

I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. This is not your older brothers Guardians of the Galaxy. There was no godly way they could ever match the first film. This is the sophomore jinx at its worst. But it’s still a good movie. A lot more character development than you’d expect from a big budget blockbuster. And a lot of heart.

Volume 2 of the franchise is primarily about family. Fathers and Sons, Sisters, and Brothers in Arms. It’s a good movie considering that it will always be the lesser of the two cinematic siblings. But don’t talk to me about the music. There were a lot better 70s songs to choose from and the only stand out this time is Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain which is over-used. Still it’s good. Really it is.

Atomic Blonde (Focus Features)

Directed by David Leitch

Written by Kurt Johnstad  Based on The Coldest City by Antony Johnston & Sam Hart

Starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy & John Goodman

Atomic Blonde is an epic spy thriller with some of the best fight sequences since The Bourne Identity. Charlize Theron is amazing. Like with John Wick, there isn’t a lot here except the kick-ass action. But that’s all you need.

Atomic Blonde fucks shit up. It also has one of the best 80s soundtracks around. The music plays a major role in the movie that takes place around the falling of the Berlin wall between the two halves of Germany at the end of the cold war.

As with all (good) spy thrillers, there’s a lot of twists and turns and intrigue and double and triple crosses and sexy sexiness and it is far from perfect but still pretty fucking good. And again, the fight scenes are amazing. Truly truly spectacular.

Wonder Woman (Warner Bros. Pictures)

What? You think I wasn’t gonna talk about it.

Directed by Patty Jenkins

Written by Allan Heinberg  and Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs  Based on Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston

Starring Gal GadotChris PineRobin WrightDanny HustonDavid ThewlisConnie Nielsen & Elena Anaya

Yes yes yes. Wonder Woman is the best thing since sliced bread… if sliced bread made you shit money the next morning. The bar was lowered by what came before it but honestly it didn’t have to be. I’ve seen the movie several times and it’s just a really good movie. Crowd-pleasing and exciting and fun and it doesn’t talk down to its audience. And yes it also had to make a lot of money to make sure that we get more like this and it has. It continues to break records. Do not hate it because it’s beautiful.

Wonder Woman did very well. So the Amazonians had to be more sexy than fierce. It had to have a big superhero ending. And if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, I think this may save Warner Bros from itself and its massive “bro” attitude. I think they’re going to try to be a little more women friendly with their comic book movies.

Maybe they’ll give Lois Lane a bigger role next time around. I hear they’re making a Harley Quinn & The Joker movie. (The Sid and Nancy of comic book villains will get their own title). And they’re allowing Joss Whedon to do some character based re-shoots of Justice League to add more heart and give Wonder Woman a more central and leading role. These are all good things. because you know 300 boy, Zack Snyder, isn’t known for anything but testosterone based action. So Joss is the best thing to ever happen to DC and Warner. And I’m excited.

And yes yes yes, Wonder Woman is a very good movie. But at this point you really didn’t need me to tell you that. Do you?

Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets (STX Entertainment)

Written & Directed by Luc Besson  Based on Valérian and Laureline
by Pierre Christin & Jean-Claude Mézières

Starring Dane DeHaanCara DelevingneClive OwenRihannaEthan HawkeHerbie HancockKris Wu & Rutger Hauer

Okay this is a tough one. Valerian and Laureline (what the movie should actually be called) is a well written and beautifully cinematic and picturesque space adventure. It reminds me of Fifth Element in a lot of ways. And it would be just as good if not for the bad casting. The casting is bad. They went for youth over experience this time around and the movie suffers because of it. The two stars have ZERO chemistry in their original language, Though they are fun to look at.

But I’m including it with my good movies because it can still be good with a little work on your part. Yes I’m talking to you.  I’m going to let you in on a little trade secret. All it takes to make this movie go from crappy to pretty fucking good is to watch a foreign language dub (preferably French)… with English subtitles. You’re welcome.

You see, sometimes when a director is working in a language that is his second or third, they can, while paying attention to stunts and marks and effects, let bad performances and crappy line readings slip through. A lot of it is left up to the performer. This isn’t Gary Oldman and Bruce Willis. This is two kids who made really bad decisions. So turn off their voices. Listen to the French (better line readings) and read the English subtitles. Now these two have gone from whiny little brats to cool young prodigies with just a flip of the switch. Again… you’re welcome.

Now somebody hand me the fucking remote…

“There it is again.”

This is where the good shit lives.

THE BEST TELEVISION

Turn: Washington’s Spies (AMC)

Based on Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose

Developed by Craig Silverstein

This brilliant show only lasted four seasons but we knew it wouldn’t be around long. it was about the American Revolutionary war. We know how that ended. We know when that ended. They didn’t drag it out. Four seasons. It was perfect.

I talk about TURN a lot because it’s really that fucking good. Turn: Washington’s Spies might have a strange name but it is one of the best shows in TV history. Fantastic from start to finish. This is one to binge and dive into head first, feet first, ass first, whatever.

The characters are amazing. The situations are suspenseful. This is some early American spy craft, thriller, drama, espionage shit. And some of the best writing and coolest story telling around.

American Gods (STARZ)

Based on American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Developed by Bryan Fuller & Michael Green

American Gods is sensational. I don’t know if you know this about me but I am a polytheist from way back. My step-father (I refer to him most of the time as my father) was a worshiper of the old gods. The Egyptian gods and also the gods of the east. He knew them all. And he knew what they wanted from us in order to make them dance. I always respected that. There was a lot of power in the old gods. They made themselves known. Most people I meet are still waiting for Allah to say something. Still waiting for Jehovah to open his mouth. The so-called ONE gods. You don’t have to wait for them.

In fact I believe there are more gods than there are humans. Let me repeat that. I firmly believe that there are more gods NOW than there were ever human beings on the planet. But anyway. That’s not why you come here. (or is it?)

Do you guys like it when I start talking about spiritual stuff? Or am I just making you uncomfortable? I guess it doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t stop me either way.

But seriously, I love this show. I love Neil Gaiman. He’s responsible for several of my favorite fictional worlds. And responsible for some of my favorite TV shows (and Doctor Who episodes and comic books).

But American Gods is so fucking good, it’s like… It’s like… Well it’s like it was made by the gods. I would not be surprised if Neil Gaiman were a demi-god himself.

The Tick (Amazon)

Based on The Tick by Ben Edlund

Created by Ben Edlund

The Tick is one of my favorite absurdist comic superheroes. He’s an indestructible good guy with not much in the way of brains but the purest heart one can have. Ben Edlund created a character and a world that is and has been the source of hours and hours of amusement for me. The animated series was amazing. The first live action series was amazing. And this too is amazing.

However Ben has pulled a fast one on us and only released half of the first season. he doesn’t like binge watching and well he’s done something about it. FUCK YOU BEN!!! Please put out the second half of the first season, you incredibly talented pain-in-the-ass. No seriously I love you. I love you madly.

Now stop being such a dick.

Fleabag (Amazon)

Created by and Starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Fleabag is sensational and heartbreaking and funny and not funny and well-acted and well-written and so fucking good it hurts. And it also hurts because it hurts. It hurts.

First you fall in love with the character and then… and then you get to know her. And Fuck. You’re already in love with her. Fuck. What a great show. I swear I went to High School with this girl. You know who I’m talking about.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Based on The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Created by Bruce Miller

I get that it’s not as good as the book. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my favorite books. A bit dated now. So if you’re reading it now you might ask now how is this so different from what we have now. And I might answer by screaming until my voice went out and then silently screaming until my jaw locked up and then quietly crying until my eyes went blind. And then banging my head until I passed out.

These fuckers made reading uncool. Nobody reads anymore. And now we’re stuck in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984 and slowly sliding into Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 because nobody reads those fucking books.

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Created by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss

This season of Game of Thrones was satisfying as all hell. So good. You know what I’m talking about. I started watching reaction videos on YouTube just to see other people see what I saw when I saw that awesome shit. So incredibly satisfying.

Game of Thrones has gotten so good since they caught up with the books and they don’t have to wait for George to write. Hell…  you want to know what’s taking him so long. He’s sitting in a dark room crying to himself. Realizing they made something better than he could ever do. Sorry Martin fans.

And it is my understanding that most of what happens in the last two books will be different than what we see on the small screen. But really why bother George. Why bother. The show is amazing.

Book fans, hate me all you want. But really I don’t give a fuck. I probably won’t read the books anyway. Reading is for suckers. You heard me. (and yes I heard myself).

The Defenders (Netflix)

Based on  Daredevil by Stan Lee & Bill Everett  Jessica Jones by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos  Luke Cage by Archie GoodwinGeorge TuskaRoy Thomas & John Romita Sr.  Iron Fist by Roy Thomas & Gil Kane

Created by Douglas Petrie & Marco Ramirez

One of the best things I’ve seen this year so far. The Defenders did not disappoint.

I especially loved Jessica Jones and the way she made fun of Danny and Daredevil. The Defenders was the right amount of light-hearted fun and action. Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, the Netflix Marvel shows are pretty heavy on the heaviness.

I’m hoping The Defenders will be the occasional respite from all the drama, plus some kick-ass team-up action. Now bring on Jessica 2 and Daredevil 3… and Luke 2 and believe it or not I wouldn’t mind seeing Fist 2. The Defenders even made Iron Fist better.

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

Created by Christopher Cantwell & Christopher C. Rogers

One of the best shows on currently, in its fourth season (but honestly you can start any where) with some of my favorite characters on TV. Like Mad Men for the computer age, Halt and Catch Fire is some of the best drama on TV.

I love these characters. Joe and Cameron especially are amazing but so are the other three. AMC makes good TV. Like HBO good but without the fee. I love this show.

Ozark (Netflix)

Created by Bill Dubuque & Mark Williams

These next two shows are the best things I’ve seen in ages. Artistry level in the brilliant spectrum. Ozark is like if Breaking Bad started in the middle. You know. When shit was already crazy. Jason Bateman has created an amazing crime drama.

Ozark is phenomenal. Great acting. Great writing. Superb directing. Start lining up the awards. Ozark is going to sweep. I kid you not. It is as good as Breaking Bad (of course Breaking Bad was consistently good and this is just Ozark’s first season) and Breaking Bad was the best thing to ever appear on a television set since its invention.

Don’t sleep on Ozark. It’s pretty damn good. That’s an under-statement. Jason Bateman launders money for the Mexican mob and… It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. Watch Ozark before it wins all the awards and everybody’s pretending they been watching it from the start.

I Love Dick (Amazon)

Based on I Love Dick by Chris Kraus

Created by Sarah Gubbins & Jill Soloway

I Love Dick is not a TV show. It is an art installation. It is a sexual and sensual performance that is hard to watch and at the same time makes you hard while you watch it. It is juicy. I’m sorry if that word offends your sensibilities.

Juicy like a ripe melon. Juicy like a plucked peach being slowly peeled. (Do we peel peaches or am I mixing metaphors?). Juicy like the first bite. The first damn bite of anything. The first bite of fucking ANYTHING. But it’s not a TV show. So it doesn’t belong on this list. Ozark is the best TV show. I Love Dick is something else entirely.

I need you to force yourself to watch I Love Dick. I need you to tie yourself to the bed and watch it all. Take it all. I Love Dick. Say it. I Love Dick. Take it all.

You can thank me later.

Or don’t.

I don’t care.

Do what you want.

———————————————-

And that’s it. That’s all for the Summer (and Spring)

Fall TV shows are back. But of course they’re not just Fall shows. They’re Fall Winter Spring TV shows. The CW heroes are back. Dirk Gently is starting up again. FOX has got a couple of sci-fi and comic book shows that they will undoubtedly cancel before it’s even next year. It’s god damn FOX.

And before you know it, the Christmas movies will open and just you try to keep me from blogging about them. Go ahead. No wait. Don’t. That won’t end well for anyone.

Right, Jess?

Just click the like button and we’ll call it even.

I’m so addicted.

– Mel

 

“Y’all got any more of them likes?”