Home » Top Secret » The Watched List – Dec 20 2016

The Watched List – Dec 20 2016

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Star Wars Rogue One

Last weekend – Thanks to Stanley Kirdey for his generosity, I got to see Star Wars: Rogue One.

Now any one who knows I’m a science fiction fan and lover of what’s possible. And while the last Star Wars had it’s awesome moments, all I can really say about this update to the Star Wars franchise was…


Now before I get into what was wrong with the movie – I’ll get into what was done right.

From a visual and sound perspective it was beautiful. Graphically, Disney did an amazing job.

But there’s some massive problems with the movie, and from what I understand – the production was harried in order to get it out in time and it showed.

Now don’t get me wrong. What these beings are capable of technically is amazing and far far far above the level of anything I could produce. But that doesn’t mean they can’t do better.

First, there’s General Tarkin. He’s CGI. And not just CGI. But CGI that’s done so poorly it reminded me of video game quality characters made 10 years ago. Unrealistic movement, and just totally pulled me out of the moment and had me focusing on ‘dang he just doesn’t look human’.

Second. There’s the two primary characters – the leads. Now Stanley and I discussed this afterwards, and while I agree – Disney MAY have chosen these two actors because their lives were sacrificed ‘for the greater good’ (such a novel concept) – that to me did NOT mean these characters shouldn’t have life, personality, and heck – a presence.

But no. The two lead characters are barely recognizable in a crowd. Their personalities – weak and without flavor – and in the end – where normally your two favorite characters might find their end, there wasn’t one single heartstrings that was touched. No tears were shed. The believability of these characters just wasn’t there.

For the pisspoor character and character development. I dont know whether to fault the script writing – which just seemed to drone on and on at times pointlessly, or the actors choices – the casting director – who to me had chosen two dead fish who had just jumped on board the boat. It’s a little bit of both.

In any case. Both were totally devoid of something called charisma  or screen presence. Nil. Zero. Zilch.

Now I would be in agreement that new name actors were best to choose.

But these two?

My cat could have made better choices for the lead.

(I’m homeless and a stray cat who eats what I don’t comes by my tent all the time).

Now again. I appreciate the entertainment. Don’t go thinking I don’t, please. But in the case of a franchise like this, I personally would rather have waited the year or 18 months for this to have matured as a production. Not only could the storyline have been tested on audiences and been refined. But it could also have the CGI reworked.

As for the casting director. Fire them. With the exception of the interesting choice of Forest Whitaker, I personally think this film could have been SO much more than it was and am sad it had to turn out like this.

Oldie But Goodie: Friday Night Lights

I listen to recommendations from all over all the time, and have thoroughly enjoyed shows such as Sense8, Westworld, and other science fiction fare on a regular basis.

But it’s rare for me to really enjoy something ‘grounded in the modern day’.

I thought I had found a gem like that with Fleabag, but I fell out of amusement with the droll humor after a couple episodes and promptly fell out of like with that one.

But on a recommendation from Adam here at Starbuck’s I started watching Friday Night Lights – and I gotta tell ya.

AS a reformed nerd and most definitely excluded from the “in crowd” jocks I knew in high school, this show has provided me some fantastic insight onto the life I didn’t have in that crowd.

It’s delightful. Painful at times. Reminds me of times I had in boot camp in the military, and surprises me at the things I saw but dismissed not understanding that everyone in high school in all crowds were experiencing peer pressure in different ways and it wasnt just me.

The show focuses on a small high school in Dillon, Texas, where the only hope for those in the town to escape the town seems to revolve around football and the high school football team known as the Panthers.

The show focuses magnificently on the characters, the people involved and the periphery characters as well, and is as much a wonderful story about channeling energy as it is a story about why communities develop the culture they do and how fragile that culture may appear at face value but how truly resilient it is because it’s more than a tale of a football team, it’s a tale of the people who comprise that football team.

For me, I’d long regarded football as a Quarterback dominated sport, until I played Fantasy Football a few years ago and found out about the constituent players who can individually make or break an entire team.

This show takes all that just a step further and shows the journey of the community and coaches who breathe life into the teams and player’s lives.

In any case. It’s magnificent. Awesome. Deep. Inspired. And a fun watch.

Other shows and movies.

I’m going to make it a habit of documenting the shows and movies I watch as I watch them.

But for now, I’ll recap some of the recent watches.

First, there’s the amazing Westworld. An amazing story set an in an alternate reality where tourists can visit an authentically recreated old west town and have gunfights with lifelike looking androids.

Now I’m convinced they’re all androids. And this is the society they’ve constructed to teach androids to teach themselves and free their own minds.

In any case.I highly recommend it. Awesome and beautiful show.  Albeit on the dark side feel wise.

Second, there’s a few shows I’ve watched recently which I dumped. Travelers and Frequency – while I LOVE the premise of these shows – it’s just the same ole same ole cops versus robbers crap which just so happens to span time and space. Boring as fuck and lifeless characters who are already dead they just don’t know it yet.

I also just picked up Incorporated, and watched one episode so far. It’s the type of story – I dont know why the trend is so dark lately – but it’s right up that line again. I’ll watch it for the visuals. but the story and universe depicted is just plain.. not nice. Not sure where they’re going with this one but I’ll watch at least one more episode for the visuals.

I’m still barely clinging to Lucifer and Supergirl. Supergirl I like as a person and character. And Lucifer, oddly enough, has some magnetism too. But both try so hard to be character driven shows without real life outside the character that both shows suffer from the repetitive nature of the things these characters endure.

Take Lucifer for instance. While there’s a great backstory about his mom and his brother, that’s secondary to the primary story of solving yet another murder for and with a woman who just plain confuses him because he can’t control her.

Supergirl isn’t that much different. She’s always beating the crap out of someone for god knows what purpose she’s trying to prove herself and her magnificent strength. But her life – it’s like she acts like a 13 year old in a 24 year old’s body. There’s no depth. She’s like a child even considering her practically nonexistent sexuality and her dating. It’s a difficult watch at times. But because I like her – Supergirl – I’m bearing with it and hoping it goes somewhere.

Now I stopped watching Agents of Shield, Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow because of the 13 year old feel to the shows which always had the characters with horrible dialogue and everyone’s always fighting or shooting someone.

I mean. To me. When I read comic books and still do – I tend to gloss over the fighting which seems more prevalent in today’s comic books than it did for me growing up. I LOVED the fantastic story telling in Dr Strange, Rom, And Kazar, and the more violent X Men and Fantastic Four – but it was the story for me that I enjoyed more than the…

This interpretation of those comics. Supergirl – which isn’t that much better than the three I’ve already dropped from my watch list because I’m so ready to see Superpowers and the minds of these people to use their abilities for for something other than combat.

But that’s just me I suppose.

Speaking of Doctor Strange. An exception to the rule. Tell me a story like that that absolutely reeks of character and personality with amazing visuals and you’ll lure me in for a couple hours.

Doctor Strange is easily the best science fiction movie since the Matrix in my opinion.

The OA. Another interesting story and character, especially the last 20 minutes of that pilot. Deep. Gripping. Engaging. Now I am not sure if I’ll be able to stick to it given the darkness of it, but we’ll see.

I’m watching Timeless faithfully, and while it’s doing a decent job with it’s story, I like the way it’s dealing with trying to understand time and time travel and the influence on alternate realities which is keeping me engaged. The main characters are struggling with the ethical questions of whether to change history or not to, which is fascinating to watch and listen to,  particularly since their influence has already irreparably changed their timeline and a lead character has found herself going back in time and then forward again to no longer have a sister, and in another timeline she gains a husband out of a man she doesn’t even know.

I like the idea of a show like this having more levity and becoming less naive and more blatant about the sexuality of their characters. I mean, she’s got the ability to have sex with a man she doesn’t know and clearly enjoys and is acting like a child on a first date with the man. Jump him, jump him! lol.

For me. I suppose I like time travel being looked at and regarded with less dramaticism and more… hope. I mean. if it’s been changed unfavorably, then what’s to say it can’t be changed favorably, and more – to alternative possibilities so you can experience anything you want?

It feels naive from a time travel perspective. But is still a wonderful stroll down time travel memory lane for me introducing some new ideas and concepts such as having a wardrobe stocked with period clothes for those unexpected moments you have to visit! Wonderful idea.

I am still watching Supernatural, too. Dean and Sam, and the angel Castiel. It’s interesting watching these guys, two strong characters who I enjoy. And Castiel – he cracks me up. While he’s no Lucifer or Amenadiel from the other show Lucifer, he’s still got such a relaxed demeanor and interesting presence that he brings clout and strength to the show. Lucifer as depicted in this show is definitely interesting. And the show. Awesome visuals with generally speaking interesting stories. Especially now with the inclusion of the British influence.

Other shows such as Scorpion, Walking Dead, The Grand Tour, Arrow, The Man IN the High Castle, Game of Thrones I have watched a few episodes of, but I just didn’t like them. This doesn’t make them not respectable shows. I just don’t feel the love for them, not in the sleightest. Even Fleabag, with a genuinely speaking wonderful presence – just felt too… blah to continue watching. Not worth my time.

Especially when I could be playing Assassin’s Creed Black Flag or Everquest 2.

Or programming in Visual Basic 6.0 and working on my OpenGL skills.

What’s a homeless man to do with with his spare time?

On that note.

I cannot WAIT for Doctor Who’s Christmas special. It would be most amazing to hear or see a nod my way on the show, a shout out in their own way in a way that only I would recognize.

I mean, I am one of the most avid fans of this amazing series.  I think I deserve a little breadcrumb!

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