What’s Good? (Late Summer)

Hello again and welcome to this the fourth What’s Good? installment. A top ten list (without numbers) of things I’m enjoying or have enjoyed recently. In TV, Movies and life and junk. You get the picture. I wish I could do one of these every month but some months, I’m telling ya, ain’t much good. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t want to fight about it. My EmotionsIf you haven’t heard yet, I had a run-in with my local launder/dry cleaner dude and put my foot through two of the panels on his doors. He had me arrested and the whole thing has sent me into a depressive funk. I hadn’t had an incident in more than a decade and I was getting out more. Hitting the museums and stuff. I felt like I was improving. But he said something to me. I said something back and then he said something else and I did what I did. In the past I would’ve punched him. So maybe it should feel like progress. But police, court dates and the fact he’s right on the corner and I’m not allowed to walk that way anymore has sent me to self-pity city (population one). And it goes without saying that self-pity city is pretty shitty. (the reason it goes without saying is… well you try to say it)

StrangeloveAnyway, I don’t want to get you all down too. So I’m gonna talk about the good stuff

We got mostly TV this time around. And the Mets. The Mets are looking really good. And if all goes well I may even talk about Donald Trump. Everybody else in the world is.

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Brink Poster

The Brink on HBO was really good. It was a half hour comedy about the U.S. and Pakistan almost starting world war three. I love Tim Robbins and this has Tim Robbins written all over it. His film Bob Roberts is one of my all time favorites.

Tim Robbins

The Brink stars Jack Black as a government official who gets caught up in an international incident. It’s zany and silly but the messages resonate in our modern society. The fragile state of international diplomacy in the digital world. Very funny and eerily possible. Except the real thing wouldn’t be as comical. Think Dr. Strangelove meets…well  Dr. Strangelove. The Brink is the modern-day Dr. Strangelove. And I loved every minute of it.

Strike Back: Legacy was pretty good. Strike Back is a show that airs on Cinemax in the US. In its fifth season it’s still exciting and they still don’t mind killing off any character at any time. One of the best things about the show is that the main characters get killed off all the time. Nobody is safe. Espionage and military action with the occasional sexiness thrown in for good measure. I mean, it is Cinemax.

Two men playing chess

Chess w/ Friends app is good because I live alone, so I usually play chess against the computer but I’m good, so I’ve burned a few CPU’s. You never realize how hard a good game of chess pushes a processor until you start smelling the smoke. So it’s good to play humans who don’t overheat. And I get beat on occasion which is good because as long as I play mistake free (huge caveat) I can beat or stalemate (usually stalemate) any chess program. But I’m no Carlsen Magnus. Plus I can’t play a speed game. That’s why I love this app. You’ve got six days to make your move before it forfeits for you. The one thing I don’t like about Chess w/ Friends, because I play 10 to 15 games at a time, is sometimes I get weaker opponents and it weakens my game then some novice beats me and gloats. I hate that. I usually beat them on the rematch then put ’em on ignore.

Netflix Originals are very good and get better with repeat viewings. Daredevil, Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange is the New Black are four of my favorite TV shows. I watched Sense8 again and it was better the second time. Then I re-watched Daredevil and it was better for the second time as well. Netflix is making some good TV.

Catastrophe

Amazon Prime (not anywhere near Netflix level) has a few good shows and a couple of promising ones coming soon. Catastrophe is very funny and original. The soft insults between the two lead characters are so funny. And I can’t wait for The Man in The High Castle and the return of Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Plus, you know, free shipping and music and movies and stuff. And it goes well with my Kindle Fire.

Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares in Colorado

New York Mets Trade Deadline Moves and storming into first place is good. I said a couple of months ago that all we needed was a right-hander with some power and they went out and got Yeonis Cespedes (somebody reads my blog) and since they got him they have gone from the worst offense in the league to the best offense in the league. A really good power hitter in the middle of the line-up makes everybody around them better because they all see more fastballs. They also picked up Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and called up Michael Conforto; a young player with some pop. They were five games behind before the trades and now the Mets are in first place and have an eight game lead. And then… David Wright, the captain, came back. Woo Hoo!

Daily Show with Jon Stewart Finale was very good. By the end, the Daily Show was a shadow of its former self. But the last episode was a trip down correspondent memory lane with a touching tribute from Stephen Colbert, a great last rant from Jon, and Bruce Springsteen sent the show off with a couple of songs. It was a nice finish for one of my all-time favorite talk shows.

humans-amc

Humans on AMC was creepy good. Here is an intriguing and interesting show but it kind of got bogged down in the second half of the season. I liked it though, and hope it comes back for a second season. It reminds me of that zombie show that I eventually had to give up on except swap robots for zombies. In The Flesh. AMC is doing fine work. They have several of my favorite shows including my absolute favorite, the amazing Halt & Catch Fire and the promising Fear (The Walking Dead) which wasn’t amazing but could get there if it can distant itself from the main show while still keeping its audience.

mr-robot-banner

Mr. Robot stayed good the entire way through. I know I mentioned this in my Early Summer What’s Good? but it needs a re-mentioning. Mr. Robot is fantastic. I read a bad review that said the thing they didn’t like was that they thought it would be impossible for them to keep up this level. That was a bad review. If “I don’t think they can stay this good for very long” is the worst thing you can say about a show, it’s got to be good. Truly amazing. With more than a few episodes in the first season that make you want to watch again from the beginning to see what you missed. They delayed the finale because it was disturbingly similar to something that happened here at a news station (more gun violence what else). But judging just by that, it will probably be disturbingly amazing.

And since I’m mentioning shows I talked about last time.

Halle Berry Extant

I need to apologize to Extant on CBS (also on Amazon Prime). The reboot in the second season is really working for me now. The whole robots versus aliens thing is awesome. The show is sort of about the extinction of the human race but you don’t know from which way it’s coming. There are aliens and there are robots and neither group likes humans very much. Extant can be light and fluffy and sometimes it takes itself too seriously but it’s actually pretty good. I really like the direction they’ve taken the story.

This is where I usually put up a new song that has me playing it on repeat. I’m waiting for Chris Cornell’s new one (also Puscifer) in September but what I can’t stop listening to right now is this shit right here. But it just came out a couple of days ago.

Dr. Dre – Compton (A Soundtrack)

Compton A Soundtrack

There is so much good on this soundtrack. Anderson .Paak. I can’t even begin to… Anderson .Paak. Kendrick Lamar is all over it. Anderson .Paak As well as all the usual suspects. Snoop, Eminem, Cube. Anderson .Paak

But honestly, the album serves as Anderson .Paak’s coming out party. Anderson is a drummer from Cali that raps and sings and makes hella weird videos. I love the guy. This is something he did with Knxwledge that is nasty as all hell called Suede…

My boy is fittin’ ta blow up.

And now… for everything there is a dark side.

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

Or 5 things that really disappointed me.

Let’s get right into the suck…

harvey_birdman

My Day in Court… sucked. even though they let me go home. They made me wait all day to find out if I signed in for a community service job from 23 years ago. TWENTY THREE YEARS!! It made my stomach ache. I brought money with me thinking I would just pay my fine and get on with my life but they wanted to first find out how much the door panels cost before they figured out what my fine would be or if I had to do jail time. And after making me wait a month and a half in anxiety and paranoia, they tell me I have to wait another month and a half while they get their shit together and find out what the damage is. Meanwhile I’m going through all the scenarios by which I end up in prison and I lose my apartment and all of my stuff gets ransacked by whoever puts it in storage. And they’re making me come back for more humiliation. Because the ADA just has to point out that the argument was about my underwear while stifling a giggle. She’s quite literally a child.

Airing my Dirty Laundry

On a related note… After my run in with Mr. Huang, my local launder, I haven’t left the house at all and that sucks. I’m back to being afraid to interact with people and I feel like everybody in the neighborhood thinks I shit my pants. It wasn’t feces. It was blood. And the fact that I have to explain that to anyone causes me pain. (I know I just posted it here but at this point it’s part of the public record) It was black underwear and it was dried blood. And what really annoyed me is that he had to discuss it with the whole laundry.

“Your honor, there’s a reason ‘to air ones dirty laundry’ is synonymous with indiscretion. It is the very definition of indiscretion. Hasn’t he been humiliated enough? Your honor, I move that all charges be dropped and my client be allowed to leave the courtroom with what’s left of his dignity.” (thunderous applause)

This Man Is A Fool

Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for president of the United States, surprisingly, doesn’t suck. This is what the Republican party has become. This is what the election of Barack Obama has done to them. 30 million Donald Trumps without a clue. And they can’t deny it. He shares all of their traits. Anger, Racism, a weak grasp of reality, an entitled attitude based on skin color alone, the lies and the Insults about the government, the rampant misogyny… the list goes on. But I’m enjoying this. Truly I am. It serves as a last chance for the few sane Republicans to abandon their party and their hateful ideology. When you see yourself bigger than life, this giant ugly version of yourself, it should serve as a wake-up call. The party of lies and hate has found their mascot. But what really sucks is how it makes us look to the world. We were just getting over the image George Bush created. Now we’re not just stupid, we’re angry racists as well.

Wet Hot American Netflix

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix was not so good. I think I just expected more. I’m not saying there wasn’t some funny moments but the entire thing played like a series of cameos. It was nice seeing Janeanne Garofalo on my screen again. (I had the biggest crush on her back in the day) but I wasn’t amused by this star-studded prequel to the cult classic about counselors at a summer camp. I wanted more. Even though the entire series taking place in one day is pretty fucking funny.

Hannibal

Hannibal finally returned to form after going way off course with its European excursion. But it’s too late to save the series. Not good Hannibal. You should have never ended last season with total carnage and then basically took it all back. Like saying, we apologize. No one died. I loved the second season. I just hated the way it ended and coming back like nothing happened made me hate it all the more.

Coming Soon to What’s Good:

Minority Report

New Fall Show Leaked Pilots are good. And these are the ones I liked: The best of them was Minority Report which looked cool but had a lot of effects and we all know those shows never last on the major networks. But I also liked Lucifer which looked good because of the title character being unbelievably awesome and sexy. And there was Supergirl which looked super cute and fun even though the pilot needed work. But what I’m also looking forward to is the return of my doctor. That’s right I called him MY doctor. Peter Capaldi is my favorite doctor on Doctor Who. And one day, if I ever get out of this funk, I will do a post about why Peter is my favorite doctor. It will be amazing.

Coming Soon to What’s NOT so Good:

Chance_go_to_jail

But seriously I wish I could get out of this Funk. In the old days I would just buy some Cocaine and that would do it (I wouldn’t even know who to ask… and I don’t want to know). Coffee just doesn’t work on it. It’s a coffee proof funk. Alcohol doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it darker and more creative. Which is fine temporarily, I guess. Hopefully the day after I find out my punishment I’ll be back to normal… for me. And my new court date isn’t helping. So if there’s no Jail Time, I’ll see you guys in September.

Speaking of funky… and so as not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. I will leave you with this great song from my boy Anderson .Paak (the dot goes there). This song is about every relationship I ever had when I was on drugs. It’s called Drugs. Enjoy.

Nice. But the video is weird right?

Later Gators,

– Mel

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What’s Good? (Early Summer)

Early Summer Edition

This installment of What’s Good? (my top ten things I’m enjoying at the moment) is mostly summer television with a few real life stuff thrown in for good measure. (Ha – for GOOD measure – get it?. Ha ha. GET IT?)

Orson Welles

I want to apologize to the regular readers of my blog. I’ve phoned it in this summer. My head and my heart have been elsewhere. I’ve written. I added Jimi Hendrix to my book. (Can I do that? I hope I don’t get sued) It’s literally a long story (I’m on a roll) but one of the characters keeps a skull on her desk. She calls it the skull of the last musician. (It’s a post apocalyptic future) And (long story short) she gains access to an alien regeneration facility and she clones the skull. (It’s less a clone as we know it and more of a recreation of the man before he died. Again long story) But I’ve been researching his interviews and trying to get his voice right. And I’ve been a little obsessed with it. It’s not a big part of the story. It’s just something that happens still I’ve tried to get it right. It’s a mad world.

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The 100

The 100 is pretty good. The first season is very exciting but I really enjoyed the second season of this post apocalyptic, young adult, action-drama about the survivors of a global nuclear apocalypse who have lived for generations on an orbiting space station before falling to earth. The first season moves so fast and the changes are drastic and quick and nobody is safe. It’s crazy. But during the second season, a more down-to-earth season, The 100 settles in for lots of political intrigue and survival action and coolness. A bunch of cool characters doing a lot of cool shit. It’s not sensational but it’s loads of fun and the cast is all good-looking and the main character is a serious bad-ass. I love her.

jonathan strange and mr norell

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is weirdly good. I like to think of Strange and Norrell as a prequel to the world of Harry Potter. It is about the return of magic to Great Britain. Very interesting. Very atmospheric. Some pretty cool effects and creepy mysticism and magic. A period piece where magic is accepted by the government and the society. A very dark and funny show. Six, creatively dense and magical episodes. Creepy good.

Museum-Entrance-photo-by-American-Museum-of-Natural-History

Museum Trips are really good. My next museum trip will probably be to the Natural History Museum on the west side of the park. I really enjoyed my trip to The Cloisters and my trip to The Met. I finally got out of the house for more than a quick excursion to the movies (from my home to a dark theater and back really shouldn’t count as leaving the house). I took a lot of pictures (see I have proof that I left the house). I’m keeping my promise to spend more time outside my comfort zone this year. Wish me luck.

mets-pitchers

The Mets Pitching is astonishingly good. I can’t believe the Mets are doing as well as they are with the line-up they have but they’re solidly in the race. It’s been too long since we’ve had a good team in Queens. So long I’ve forgotten what one looks like. And make no mistake, this is not a good Mets team but the Mets pitching staff is Amazin’ (I’m talking Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman good). All of their starters can hit like sluggers as well as pitch like aces. They have a pretty decent bullpen and one of the best closers in the game. All they need to do now is pick up a veteran right-handed power hitter and these Metsies will be a force with which to be reckoned.

Let’s Go Mets!

mr-robot

Mr. Robot is sensationally good. I fucking love this show. If you haven’t seen it yet, try to catch up quick. This is pure cyberpunk. The smartest computer hacking ANYTHING, TV, movie whatever, I have ever seen. Smart, funny, cool, very fucking cool. Fantastic direction that feels like a 70’s hacker thriller about the future. Except the future is today. So everything is just state of the art but with this futuristic cyberpunk feel. I hope I’m not explaining this badly because it is incredible. There is nothing sci-fi about this show (so far). There is nothing futuristic yet the direction and camera work are retro. Making it feel like you’re watching some future shit but it’s in the present day.

Mr Robot

The story is good. The lead character has a hard time interacting with people so he hacks anyone with which he has to talk. He data-mines people’s lives and social media to understand them and gain the upper hand. The acting is good (except for Christian Slater. I’ve never liked that guy) There’s cool tech and all that good stuff. But just based on the way it is shot, this retro-future-present feel, that I’m doing a bad job of explaining, just based on that, it is my favorite thing on TV now. My absolute favorite. (with Halt and Catch Fire a close second)

The Last Ship

The Last Ship is satisfying-ly good. I loved the first season of this (yet another) post-apocalyptic drama. This one takes place after a disease outbreak that kills half the world’s population. One American battleship survives the outbreak and so the show is very Naval and military. I enjoy military shows when they’re done well. And this one is done very well. Not the best acting but a lot of great action and suspense. (It’s Michael Bay) It reminds me of Star Trek except the ship is a boat and not a star-ship. That’s how I look at it. The Last Ship is Star Trek for the ocean. And each season, so far, has had a kick-ass big bad. Last year it was a Russian destroyer. This year it’s a hijacked British submarine. If you’re not totally turned off by military or nautical adventures, The Last Ship is pretty damn good.

Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful is dark and sickly good. I love this show. I loved the second season more than the first. And I really loved the first season. I like the evolution of Billie Piper’s character a lot. If you don’t know, Penny Dreadful is the story of all the classic literary monsters in one place and at one time solving crimes or something. The show is a period piece. It’s very sexy. It’s very creepy. And dark. With Victor Frankenstein and his family (the monster, the bride), Vampires, Dorian Gray. But it ain’t hokey. It takes itself very seriously while being the story of all these campy movie monsters. And I love that.

Episode 101

But my favorite thing about it was when I realized that Josh Hartnett (minor spoiler but not really) wasn’t playing a werewolf. He’s the Wolfman. He’s the motherfucking Wolfman. That made me so happy. So please please please have Abbott and Costello show up in season three. PLEEEEEEEEEASE. Just a cameo. I’m completely serious. They are the glue that would tie it all together. Please. Pretty please. Abbott & Costello.

Marriage Equality is all kinds of good. This is old news now but finally America joined the 21st century when it comes to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. It’s about damn time. And except for a couple of bigots in the south digging in it’s going well.

True Detective Season Two

True Detective Season Two is actually pretty good. Say what you want, I’m liking this season of True Detective better than the first season. Honestly. I like the cast better this time around. I like the story better. I like the setting better. It feels like the old L.A. detective stories and it hasn’t put me to sleep. The first season with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson was really good but I had to watch every episode twice because I would usually fall asleep somewhere in the middle. Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell are amazing. And even Vince Vaughn is growing on me. Loving it. And this last episode was off the hook. Action packed. Wow.

dark-matter-header

Dark Matter is a very good deep space drama based on a comic book. I love the sci-fi. I grew up on the sci-fi. But I can’t stand bad sci-fi. Most of the shows that embrace the genre are pretty damn bad. (More on that in a moment) But there are pleasant exceptions. I love Defiance. I still love Falling Skies. And after four episodes, I’m getting into Humans but I’m not quite sold yet. However, my favorite summer sci-fi show this year is a little show out of Canada called Dark Matter (on the SyFy channel). It’s a space adventure about six people and one android who wake up in deep space with no memory of their pasts. They assign numbers to themselves in the order they woke up. They pretty quickly identify each crew members strengths and fall into their obvious roles. Never really trusting, but needing each other to survive. It’s a nice story.

Dark Matter

And they don’t drag out the secret too long. They discover who they are pretty early on but they don’t know “those” people. Their real selves. They have no memory of them. Just strangers with their faces. So they decide to continue as One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and the android. I really like this show. Please watch it. It’s like what you’d get if Firefly and the A-team had a baby with amnesia. Check it out.

Also check out this Suicide Squad teaser trailer with Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Jared Leto. I think it looks promising.

And now… for everything there is a dark side.

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

Summer Sci-fi Shows are traditionally not so good. (Extant, Killjoys, Dominion, Hannibal) Honestly guys It’s not enough to have some special effects and pretty actors and to air your show on date nights (when all the nerds are home). You have to have a story to tell and not just a premise to slowly roll out. And a mystery to tease.

Halle Berry Extant

Extant was actually pretty interesting the first season but instead of expounding on that, they fired half the cast and changed the whole damn thing. Like saying, all we need is Halle Berry. The nerds will keep watching. No. No we won’t. It looks to me like they’re trying to change a sci-fi mystery show about a woman giving birth to an alien into a futuristic procedural.

Killjoys

Killjoys is a horribly cheesy premise with a mediocre cast that benefits from being sandwiched between two good Friday SyFy shows. But it sucks. Most of all the acting. And the writing. And everything else about it. It just sucks. Something about bounty hunters or contract killers. Whatever. I just hope its stench doesn’t rub off on Dark Matter. Dark Matter is really fucking good.

Dominion SyFy

With Dominion I’m trying. I really am. I sort of liked the first season but I think I liked the sexiness of the angel Michael and also the general’s daughter. She’s a hottie too. So maybe it was the hotness of the cast that got me. But the story and the acting and the accents (I love you Anthony Stewart Head but your American accent is so very bad) make me want to give up on it. I’m pretty close to giving up on this show. Pretty close.

Hannibal

And lastly Hannibal. Listen. The reason I mention these shows is because I can’t help but watch them. These shows are made for me and my ilk. And I want them to be good. I want to like them because I want the powers that be to make more shows like this. Like Hannibal. I want to like Hannibal but that show is so far up its own ass it can see what it had for dinner last night. Honestly, the food is the best part of this convoluted and pretentious piece of crap. And I know the food is suppose to creep us out because he’s a cannibal or whatever. But it just makes me hungry. It looks so good. I’ve mentioned this before but I wanted Hannibal to be the anti-hero if not the hero proper. They make him completely unlikable. And it’s because in the first book he is the bad guy. And this series is based on the first book. I wanted something else. Hannibal is not enjoyable for me but I keep watching anyway. I heard they cancelled it. I’m not too sad about that.

I keep watching these crappy sci-fi shows but I can’t just watch them in silence. Mostly I yell at the screen saying, “Oh my god. That’s horrible. That’s so bad. Why am I watching this crap? Why, Mel? Why?”

I’ll tell you why. Because…

Summer DVDs

Summer DVDs are also notoriously not so good. I have a bunch of mini reviews in a folder. So I think I’ll throw them up here soon. I haven’t seen a good movie on home video yet this summer. I was waiting for a good one to come along before posting a 5 Quick Reviews of 5 New Releases for summer (yeah I was going to bring that back) but I’m up to six with nothing good in sight. I think I’ll post that next. They might be bad movies but a few were at least interesting (Slow West, The Voices)

And that’s all I got.

Quick Note. I really like getting nominated for those blog awards but I am the absolute worst at talking about myself without something to hide behind. Some device. Some gimmick. So it’s not like I ignore them. I actually try to write something and just get frustrated. I thought about doing one with just music. Ten songs that define or describe me. I found a good ten. But that wasn’t going well. So I whittled the list down. I had a seven and a five and I still may post one of those but at one point I cut it down to one song. I’m gonna post that here.

It’s Mayonaise by Smashing Pumpkins.

Fool enough to almost be it
Cool enough to not quite see it
Doomed
Pick your pockets full of sorrow
And run away with me tomorrow, June?
We’ll try and ease the pain
But somehow we’ll feel the same.
Well, no one knows
Where our secrets go.

I send a heart to all my dearies
When your life is oh, so dreary… dream.

I’m rumored to the straight and narrow
While the harlots of my perils SCREAM.
 

And I fail.
But when I can, I will.
Try to understand
That when I can, I will.

Mother’s weep the years I’m missing
All our time can’t be given back.

Shut my mouth and strike the demons
That cursed you and your reasons.
Out of hand and out of season
Out of love and out of feeling SO BAD.
When I can, I will
Words defy the plans.
When I can, I will

Fool enough to almost be it
And cool enough to not quite see it.
And old enough to always feel this
Always old, I’ll always feel this!

No more promise no more sorrow
No longer will I follow
Can anybody hear me?
I JUST WANT TO BE me.
When I can, I will.
Try to understand
That when I can,

I will.

If I don’t say it enough,

I love you guys.

Until next time,

– Mel