Welcome to our newest feature here at SWO Productions: Entertainment Rex! Twice a month, I will look back on what I’ve read, watched, and experienced and let you know if it can be recommended or not (is that… semi-monthly? Bi-monthly is every other month, right? What means “twice a month”? Semi… Bi-sometimesly? Anyone have any help here?).
I’ll be honest with you… mostly I am experiencing a bad back. My wife and I bought our new house back in April, and whole I have always been kind of a yutzy dude, I’ve not often been dangerously uncoordinated. Well since we have moved here, I have fallen down stairs no fewer than FOUR TIMES! Where has my ability to climb steps gone? The most recent fall was in early December, and it involved my heel just slipping out from under me when I started down the stairs from our second floor. I thunked down the stairs on my ass, and ever since then, I’ve just been waiting around for my back to stop hurting.
Probably I am seriously, direly injured. If these articles cease without warning, it is safe for you to assume that my back pain has grown in ferocity and power and claimed me as a victim. Perhaps I will be paralyzed. Maybe I’ll have passed on from the anguish. But know that in my last moments, I was thinking of you.
I don’t know, I have a lot on my mind. I’m sure you were all in the periphery.
This is all very dramatic! Mostly my back just hurts when I am sitting upright. Ibuprofen helps.
I’ll probably be okay.
This was… a pretty cut-and-dried case of quantity over quality to start 2021, BUT I did sneak in my first ever viewing of The Shawshank Redemption, believe it or not! It’s apparently one of my wife’s favorite movies ever, and she was aghast at finding out I had never watched it. It took her several days of getting on my case to watch it, but we finally did.
She was right. I was really prepared to be underwhelmed by this (as I had been with Alien), but it is just fantastically acted. And while narration in a movie is usually a crutch and a detriment, it worked perfectly here to remind you that this was drawn from a book. It’s weird to me because… what is the STORY of Shawshank? It’s not a plot driven movie by any stretch, and to go almost two-and-a-half full hours with just a minimal story… how does that succeed? It works because everyone involved is putting in an A+ effort into their performances, and the writing makes you care.
And that is my quick review of a twenty-six year old film that is regarded as MAYBE the greatest ever made, and everyone on Earth but me had already seen. MOVING ON…
Yeah, nothing else here was even in the same stadium. Pumpkinhead was probably the second best flick I saw, and that was part of the Connecticut Cult Classics watch parties where we just heckled it. I REALLY THOUGHT I remembered Batman Forever being better than it was.
I am notoriously not much of a TV watcher, so this is likely to be my thinnest category most times, but I did watch a few things!
First up: the first two rounds of the NFL playoffs!
Here’s a secret about me: I believe in almost nothing fantastical. I don’t believe there are aliens to any degree that we can ever encounter or resemble life like anything we know. I don’t have any faith in ghosts or any kind of afterlife. I don’t think people that claim to be psychics or have extraordinary gifts are for real.
I am HEAVILY sports superstitious.
So when I wore a Seahawks jersey for the FIRST TIME ALL SEASON in a year in which they went 12-4, AND I had to watch the game at my sister-in-law’s house instead of my own… OF COURSE they lost. How could they not? I double-whammy’d them. Aliens aren’t real, but if I watch a game from a few miles away from where I have watched other games, that affects the Seahawks’ ability. Obviously.
The Seahawks may have lost, breaking my heart, but the Steelers also shit the bed against Cleveland (CLEVELAND!), and that was as good as a salve as possible.
It looks like the championship games are KC/BUF and GB/TB. I am fine with any of those teams winning, I guess. I’ll probably pull for Tampa Bay because seeing Tom Brady get ANOTHER ring would be hilarious. They should just rename the Super Bowl in his honor after he retires.
I also caught the first two episodes of WandaVision, as, it seems, did the entire rest of the world. It’s… hard to describe. I am fully engaged in the show and its mysteries (who was calling out to Wanda on the radio? Who is watching her on TV? Who is the Beekeeper?), but I didn’t really love the first two offerings. They were fine. Weird, as they were supposed to be, but all establishment in a way that makes it feel like nothing that has happened yet is “important”. The show has just set up the universe from which Wanda needs to break free (inevitably leading to a “Do I stay here in a false reality with the man I love, or break free and lose him again” scenario), and future episodes will more assuredly focus on who is constructing that universe. Wow, I remember when that was a single episode of Supernatural. For the MCU, it gets a whole season of a show.
Additionally, I watched the first two episodes of Hell’s Kitchen season whatever, the All-Star season. My wife really likes cooking competition shows, and this is apparently as far as she had made it into Hell’s Kitchen, so I watched the first two episodes with her. Gordon Ramsey must live in a pocket dimension where he has time to do HK, MasterChef, MasterChef Jr, the other show where he yells at restaurant owners, and run his several establishments he owns.
Meanwhile, it’s taking me all day to write this article.
As an aside: Gordon and I share a birthday. You’d think we could share motivation and talent.
So I read, for the most part, the entirety of Young Justice, the Peter David and Todd Nauck DC book from around the turn of the century (which is a fun phrase to say to make 20 year old things feel especially old timey). I have always been a huge fan of this series, but I spent a few months in recent history scouring local comic shops for the back issues I still needed. I still don’t have the ENTIRE run–for whatever reason, I haven’t found issues #14-19, 21, 27, 30, or 38–but I will continue poking around until I complete it.
This series mostly holds up because Nauck is an absolute top-tier artist, and David is a very entertaining writer who can so effortlessly blend humor and depth, even if there are far more dated references in this title than I’d like (the first issue makes a joke about the 90’s teen band HANSON, for god’s sake).
I also finished up two Spider-Man comics, the first being Full Circle, an ensemble creative team venture where one pair of writer and artist would tell part of a story before handing it off to others. It was… fine. I like the talent involved, but I almost wish it had been even weirder than it was (and I say that about a book with a werewolf Aunt May and a future Spider-Man who been turned into a pig). The second Spidey book was a re-read of the “Torment” storyline, Todd McFarlane’s first arc on the Spider-Man title that was created just for him after his rampant popularity from Amazing Spider-Man. The art is still gloriously beautiful because this wasn’t just Todd, but Todd at his BEST because he was working his tuchas off to impress new fans, but the story is so-so. McFarlane’s writing is pretty one-note, but… who cares? Look at the way he draws the Lizard!
I am one of the worst types of gamers. The kind who just buys games and barely ever plays then, if I play them at all. The immensely popular The Witcher 3? I bought that over a year ago, and I think I’m about a two hours into it. It just never held my interest, and there were too many controls. I played the whole tutorial part of the game, and then when I picked it back up a month later, I’d forgotten how to do anything, and these swamp creatures–essentially the first enemies I have found!–keep murderdeathkilling me. Pfft.
So of course when the PlayStation store had their Holiday sale, I stocked up on games I may to may not actually play because apparently I am just independently wealthy like that.
I grabbed Madden ’21 because I seemingly buy Madden once every three years now (my most previous Madden purchases were ’18, ’15, and ’12). Eventually I will work up the bravery to play online so kids can destroy me, but I’ve been periodically playing a Franchise with Seattle. The nice thing about Madden is that it is MADDEN, and if I stop playing for a few months, I’ll always remember how. It’s just muscle memory.
Part of my holiday sale purchase also included the second game in the Dark Pictures Anthology series, Little Hope. Having played through both the last game in the series, Man of Medan, and the series’ spiritual predecessor, Until Dawn, I was happy to see a new game had been released!
Little Hope is… not as good as its older brothers.
The game is fine, and it takes a twist on what you need to do to survive that is slightly different than the others, but the ending is an ENORMOUS let down! When my wife and I made it to the end and got the final pieces of everything… it makes the vast majority of the story before it feel pointless. Obviously I’m hedging against spoilers here, but we were disappointed in the conclusion. Hopefully the next game in the series rebounds!
The third game from the sale I purchased was the Final Fantasy 7 remake for 50% off.
Hey, remember the 90’s? When the actual FF7 came out? And the idea was “Wow, this game is HUGE and expansive! We better put in on three separate discs! But it’s one game, so it costs what one game costs!”. Well, it’s the 2020’s now, and the FF remake is just a remake of PART of FF7 that costs full price. The rest of the remake will be released in subsequent portions that will, undoubtedly, ALSO cost full price.
Still, am I complaining? Not that much. Because it’s still Final Fantasy 7! People will tell you FF7 is an overrated game, but those people are awful and I hate them. FF7 is deservedly one of the most beloved video games of all time, and I’m thrilled to get to experience it again, except with, like, voice acting.
So, sure, guys. I’ll buy it 3 or 4 times. Why not? I’m a sucker.
And that is it for the first half of the first month of 2021! What about you all? What have you been enjoying? Let us know in the comments. Hopefully I have as much to comment on for the end of January as I did today.
Until next time… takes care!