Welcome to Season Two

Hello readers. Welcome to season two of Growing Up Forty. I hope you all had an amazing summer (or winter for you Aussies and New Zealanders). This season of GU40, we’re gonna start by recapping the “summer” that was 2017.

And if you live near the Toronto, Ontario region, you’d understand why “summer” is in quotes.

Despite the weather woes, we did have some pretty good movies (Wonder Woman, Spider-Man), shows (Game of Thrones) and comics that dropped for our consumption. FanExpo Toronto was attended by yours truly (for one day only though. It’s all I could handle) and some good comics and graphic novels were consumed.

We’re gonna talk about it all this season so thanks for visiting, thanks for reading and don’t forget to participate by commenting. Because, this isn’t a news-breaking site, but rather a place where we talk about pop culture, comics and video games from the perspective of an adult/man-child.

Thanks, all

Rob

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A Problematic Scheduling Conundrum

To Do ListUh Oh.  Huston, we have a problem.  Ok, I may be over exaggerating on this and I do admit that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really a problem, but lets put aside the real issues in our current world and escape into a parallel world for a few minutes, shall we?

I am at a cross-roads, of sorts, when it comes to my “free time” and how best to spend it.  To clarify, its not whether I should do, say, yard work vs. gaming.  No no, my issue is much deeper than that:

I have too many options and not enough time.

This may seem like a nerd’s dream but alas, its a nightmare of epic proportions!  My free time consists of about 2-2.5 hours on weeknights, after my kids are asleep.  Starting this week, two of those nights are down to about 1-1.5 hours as the kids have soccer.  So my time is limited.  My problem is, I have a bunch of TV shows, Movies, Comics and Games that I want to delve into and how do I do that with my aforementioned limited time? Lets face it, its not really feasible to break up a 2-hour chunk of time to do two of those things.  Now, I could watch two different shows (if they’re an hour each), but what if I want to watch the following episode of the first show?

Currently, I have immersed my self with my PS4 and playing Doom and GTA5.  Both of these are new games to me and I have only gotten about 25% of the way through Doom and played 0.98% of GTA5.  On top of that, I want to watch the 2nd half of The Getdown (just read the show was cancelled by Netlfix today), the 2nd season of Master of None, the new seasons of House of Cards and Bloodline, the last 8 episodes of this seasons Arrow, the…you know what?  Forget it.  Lets just agree that there are too many shows.

Oh wait, one more…I want to re-watch all the Game of Thrones seasons before season 7 drops in July.  I may have to end up settling for season 6, I don’t know.  Speaking of GoT, did you catch that amazing new trailer for season 7?  Fuck, I cannot wait for this season.

WWOk, so we’ve established that I have more television shows/episodes to watch than there are days this year.  Lets not forget the movies that I want to watch, including those that are in theatres or coming soon (I’m looking at you, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man).

And finally…my comics.  I have been reading a lot of comic books lately and I cannot get enough of these amazing, wonderful stories. If you haven’t, pick up the mini-series The Vision and Identity Crisis. Both of these are phenomenal.  On top of that are the weekly issues I read….Vision Tab

Ugh.  Its all too much, isn’t it? And its such a stupid fucking thing to complain about but I figure I cant be the only one who is having this….this scheduling problem. I want to do it all but I cant!  I just don’t have the time and I don’t want to sacrifice anything.

What I imagine will happen is, time will get the best of me.  The summer months are coming and with it are the later evenings spent chatting with the neighbours, drinking by the pool and some of these activities will be relegated to being “fall and winter activities”.  It’ll likely end up being the TV shows, to be honest.  Sure, I wont be able to game as much.  I will try to make time to watch a movie here and there at home and I will always make the time to go to the theatre to see the big movies.

Regardless, that’s where I currently stand.  Tonight I will have 2-2.5 hours of “free time” and I have to make a decision on how best to spend that time.  And I really have no idea what to choose.  This is truly a problematic scheduling conundrum.

 

Netflix and….Cough?

I’m alive! Or is this some weird Matrix like trickery?  No, i’m alive.  From April 14th to this past Monday, May 8th I’ve been fighting this weird cold-virus-disease thing.  This was worse than a man-cold, trust me. In fact, I couldn’t go see a doctor due to my poor, weakened state (women all roll eyes at this) so I had a doctor come visit me.  He told me that I may have the start of pneumonia.

So the good doc put me on meds with the hopes of fighting it off.  And since you’re here reading these very words, its safe to say that I survived.  That said, don’t you hate it when you tell people what the doctor has diagnosed you with and they just rip you to shreds?  This actually happened to me while I was dropping my kids off at school one morning, before heading home to bed:

Person:  Hey, how are you?

Me:  Ugh, Sick.  The doc thinks I may have the start of pneumonia if these meds don’t work..

Person:  Trust me, you don’t have pneumonia.  have you ever had it before? No? I have. You don’t have pneumonia.  There are two kinds of pneumonia, viral and bacterial.  If you have viral you would be in the hospital.  I was.  Its horrible. You don’t have that…

Me:  Oh, yeah I don’t think…

Person:  …or there’s bacterial pneumonia and if you had that, you wouldn’t be walking around so I don’t think you have that.  I’ve had that.  You don’t that.  Maybe you just have a bad cough.

Me: Yeah, maybe.  Ok, well, thanks.  See you tomorrow.

Person: Yup, see ya.

Its those times that I wish I had a massive cough and just did away with conventional etiquette and coughed in their face and gave them whatever ailment I had.  But alas, I refrained and went home to bed.  While sick, I watched a fair amount of TV.  It was funny, usually when you’re sick, you sleep all day.  I couldn’t.  I just could not get any sleep.  So I spent my time watching Netflix. Lots and lots of Netflix.  I took some screenshots and X’d out the ones that were either a) watched when I wasn’t sick or b) watched by my kids.  I think you’ll be able to discern which follows under which category.

sick-netflix-1.jpg

sick-netflix-2.jpg

Ok so listen, apologies for the ridiculous pics.  Maybe in my head the execution was better.  But regardless, this is what I watched, in order:

Five Came Back (all episodes); Lone Survivor; Silicon Cowboys; Dave Chappelle (first special); De Plama; Star Trek Beyond; Mechanic: Resurrection: Love (all of season 2); West Coast Customs (all of season 2…ugh); Entourage Movie; Suits (all of season 5); The Fear of 13; Better Call Saul (all of season 2); Captain America: The First Avenger; The Fifth Element;  Bill Nye Saves The World (only first 5 episodes); Interstellar; Ascension (episode 2).

Phew.  That’s a lot of Netflix.  Here’s where I realized I needed to be concerned. I’m not a car guy.  So why the hell was I watching West Coast Customs?  And why did I watch all 16 episodes?!?  I don’t deny that the guys are talented and the cars looked kinda cool, but how did I spend 7-hours and 20-minutes on this show???  I have no answers.  Frankly, I’m afraid of what the answer could be.  So I will accept what happened and move on.

The rest of the lot that I watched…some good.  I like Suits. I liked Star Trek. I quite enjoy Better Call Saul.  But then you get The Mechanic: Resurrection and that’s a pant load of a movie. The documentary Silicon Cowboys is not about fake boobs – as an FYI – and its an ok doc.  But The Fear of 13 is far more superior and I would recommend watching that.  Or De Palma, especially if you’re a fan of cinema.

The reality is this: despite watching some questionable content, thank the stars that we have Netflix. Because in the days before Netflix, you would be stuck with ridiculous talk shows, courtroom shows (Peoples Court, Judge Judy) and infomercials.

So, if anything, Netflix has saved us from the ridiculous and mundane. Now, if it can only save us from conversations with know-it-all asshats…

 

Daredevil. Netflix. Love.

Daredevil-TV.1

I don’t know if its because I recently read the TPB Daredevil: Born Again or if its because I was so pissed off with the Iron Fist TV series, but I’ve started to re-watch Daredevil on Netflix.  This will be my 3rd-go-round with Season 1 and, once done, I will dive back into Season 2 for the first time since I initially saw it a year ago.

I remember being totally enamored with Season 1.  Admittedly, I know that some of the source material of Season 1 was pulled from The Man Without Fear storyline written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita Jr., but I never read the books so I went in to the show with virgin eyes.

I was blown away by a lot of what the show was able to do or, more aptly, get away with.  I had no clue that Marvel would have allowed the show-runners to take that property and make is so…well, violent.  I honestly assumed that Marvel would want to protect its identity as family-friendly given that their movies were between PG-and-PG13.  But the Netflix show holds nothing back and it plays out exactly how it should.  I mean, that hallway fight in episode 2 is out of this world.

I remember getting antsy towards the end as I wanted to see how they were going to do the suit, and while its not a giant red unitard….hey, at least its not a giant red unitard!

Daredevil-TV.2Overall I was really happy with the show and I felt that it was a great accompaniment to the movies in the MCU.   I don’t believe that Daredevil would work as a movie (hello, Ben Affleck) as well as it did as a TV series.  It was grounded in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.  Some of the best TV series are at street level (The Wire and those first 10 seasons of Law & Order), eschewing the fantastical.  Daredevil brings you down to its level so much, you can almost feel the pain of every punch thrown.

Season 2 came out in March 2016 and just like Season 1, I ate it all up in a weekend.  How do you expand on the rawness of the first season?  Well, you can introduce The Punisher, that’s how.  I remember when Marvel & Netflix announced that The Punisher would be part of Season 2, the geek collective’s brains exploded.  Yes, we have two (Ok, fine…three) Punisher movies to watch but this version of Frank Castle was the best of the three.

And remember that hallway scene in episode 2 of the first season?  Yeah, and remember how I said I was shocked that Marvel would let the show-runners get away with the violence in the show? Ok, so lets ratchet that up 100 times greater and you’ve got episode 9.  I am telling you, this may be the most bloodiest thing that has been filmed for TV and I loved every splattery moment of it.

Daredevil-TV.3

Finally, to round it out, they introduce Electra to the series and I couldn’t be happier (sorry, Jennifer Garner).  Listen, the reality is if you’re reading this blog, you likely are a fan of comics or comic book movies/TV shows and have probably watched both seasons of Daredevil.  There is nothing that I am going to say that you don’t already know.

But what I appreciate most about what these shows have done is, you don’t have to be a comic book fan to appreciate and love the shows.  I am not a big fantasy book reader, or really, at all, but I can’t get enough of Game of Thrones! A good TV show will take its sourced-from genre and make it compelling to those who are unfamiliar and also make it appealing to those who are.

Daredevil, both seasons, nails it.  Hard.

And again, I will never tire of saying this – we are getting to see our comic book heroes come to life!  This is a crazy time for comic book fans, wherein our wildest dreams are being realized.  But also, its just damn fine TV.

Iron Fist of Shame.

Iron Fist BannerA couple weekends ago, Netflix unveiled its 4th series with Marvel TV, following the adventures of Daredevil (2-seasons worth), Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Iron Fist is the last character to be introduced before all four appear together this summer in The Defenders.

But there’s a problem: Iron Fist is a hot pile of mess.

I’m not going to review each individual episodes because I don’t have the patience to watch all 13 episodes again, but you can find a good review of the whole show here.  You can also go online and read a multitude of other reviews done by people way smarter than I.  But I have gripes about the show that I just cant accept.

  1. You’re Iron Fist.  You’ve defeated the dragon Shou Lou and granted the mystical power of the Iron Fist.  So then use your damn iron fists, man!  Use your powers!  What person, when granted with powers to use during a fight, doesn’t use them when in a fight??  For fucks sake…
  2. Speaking of fights…this show has the worst fight scene since the Incredible Hulk battled Thor in 1988. Again, Iron Fist is supposed to be the king of kung fu in the Marvel universe and instead he comes across as the king of getting his ass kicked.  When you’re not distracted by the horrible fight scene editing between Finn Jones, who plays Iron Fist, and his stunt double, then you’re scratching your head wondering why every single person can almost get the better of Iron Fist. I mean, he beat a dragon but cant stop some low-level thug without taking some licks first?  What is this?!?!?
  3. Finally, what is the purpose of Danny Rand/Iron Fist?  What the hell is his….his mission?  Why is he in New York?  Yes, I understand that he wants to be a part of the company his father built.  But so what?  What do you want to do?!?

Sigh.  I’m so frustrated with this show.  And yet I have to take a moment and remind myself that, holy-shit, we are seeing an Iron Fist TV series.  I mean, compared to what we had when I was a kid in terms of superheros on TV (here’s looking at you, Electric Company Spider-Man), I suppose I shouldn’t be so picky.  But when you’re following on two phenomenal seasons of Daredevil, then you have to step up and kick some ass.  Especially if the character is supposed to be one bad-ass dude.  EC Spidey

Anyway.  I’m frustrated.  I watched all 13 episodes of the first season and if I had to score the overall season…I would, out of 10, have to give it a 4/10.  Sigh.  Here’s hoping the Defenders can pull it back in and kick some ass.

 

 

The Wild West.

tombstone-bannerI was born in 1976 and yet I am a fan of a time period about 100 years before I escaped my mother’s body. I don’t remember the first Western movie I ever saw. I have vague memories of seeing those old John Wayne movies that ran on our local PBS station from time-to-time.  I think my dad enjoyed westerns.  I know he was a fan of Zorro and the Lone Ranger and we would watch those old movies or serials.

I do remember that feeling of being kinda bored with the Western movies from the 50’s in that they made very little sense to me and the outfits were weird and had lots of tassels. But I did like the shootouts (regardless of cheesy production) and horse chases. I grew up in the 80’s when playing Cowboys & Indians was still ok to do and say.

But the real first Western movie that I got excited for was Young Guns. Now, don’t come at me with historical inaccuracies and what not. I don’t care for that argument and, while you’re likely correct, I don’t care. I loved that movie.  I remember wanting to see it in the theatres when it came out and being told that I wouldn’t be able to as it was rated R.  And when it came out in 1988, I was only 12.

young-gunsI remember walking into my local Video 99 store and seeing it on the shelf, months later.  And I needed it. I needed to see that movie and I grabbed it and a couple others, hoping that the clerk wouldn’t stop my rental due to the age restriction.  Which was silly because they never stopped me from renting any movie. Fuck I loved the 80’s…no one gave two shits.  I went home and I remember putting that movie in and watching it and falling in love with it instantly.  I then told my mom that I had the movie and she watched it, not because she liked Westerns but because she likely had nothing better to do.  And then the next day I took it to my dad’s and we watched it and he liked it but thought it played too much to the Brat Pack era of movies. Whatever, dad.  I’d take Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips and Emilio Estevez as Billy The Kid over John Wayne any day of the week.

I enjoyed the sequel, so aptly titled, Young Guns 2 but more because it was a Western and not so much for the actual plot.  I watched Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns and The Man With No Name trilogy. When Unforgiven came out in 1992 I had to once again wait for it to drop on VHS but ate that one up, although it was much slower than I had wanted. I did re-watch Unforgiven about two months ago and while its a good Western, its still slow and plodding.

Tombstone dropped in 1993 and wow. WOW.  What a movie.  And again, historical inaccuracies aside, I loved Tombstone.  What Val Kilmer brought to that movie as Doc Holliday was just amazing.  “I’m your Huckleberry, Johnny Ringo”.  Damn.

Recent Western’s haven’t failed to disappoint either, like 3:10 to Yuma or “modern” westerns like No Country for Old Men and, most recently, Hell or High Water.

I always thought that if I had the ability to time travel, like Doctor Who, I’d jump into my TARDIS and visit the Wild West. Of course, I would bring myself a bunch pf penicillin and maybe a bullet proof vest just to be safe, but it would be the one time period I would jump at the chance to check out.  I got envious of the visitors to Westworld because I wanted to that idea to be real!

I don’t know what it is about Westerns and why I like them so much, but I do.  From the great movies mentioned above to the arguably crappy ones like Back to the Future 3, I just really enjoy a good Western movie. Of course, I’ve never ridden a horse before and quite enjoy central heating, air conditioning and, you know, electricity.

the-westThere’s a new documentary series on Netflix The West, which is produced by Robert Redford that I recommend. I’ve watched the first 5 episodes but they’re good and much more historically accurate than, say, Young Guns.

But if I got a chance to travel in time to the time of Deadwood?  Yeah, I’d suit up in a heartbeat. Except, without the tassels.

The Walking Dead is Dead Boring.

boring-dead

When The Walking Dead premiered six years ago, I was hooked.  The first season, all six episodes, were unbelievable. This was appointment viewing and I was really excited for the second season.

And then season 2 hit and  while it lost some of that momentum, I held on.  I had hope. But then, during season 2 it became  “Oh, you’re spending 90% of the season on a farm?!?!  Mmmmkay. I’ll give it to you. I’ll trust you. But this…this isn’t as good as season 1.”

I could break down the subsequent seasons but what’s the point?  None of the seasons lived up to the promise of the first season. I’ve heard so many people just go bananas for this show. And I’ve gotten caught up in the hype at times.  But I’ve always been let down. Every. Single. Time.

So I’ll just say it: The Walking Dead is boring.

Every year, the cast and creators give interviews about how amazing the upcoming season is over the previous one.  And then when the show goes on its winter break, the cast and creators hype the show up for its spring return touting how great the 2nd half of the season is and why the 1st half didn’t really work. Now, maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe it just feels like that’s what happens. But I’ve given my time to this show and never really get any payoff that makes it worth the time I’ve invested.

The truth is, I’m a married guy with two young kids.  My free time is precious and exceptionally limited.  TV shows have to deliver for me on a consistent basis, otherwise I will cut them out and replace with the million other things I have going on, be it other shows, movies, gaming or reading.

And that’s where I am with The Walking Dead. I saw the start of this 7th season, where Glen made out with a baseball bat. And I think I watched the 2nd episode of the season and that was it.  The show is not, for me, delivering on how great it could be.  Its too slow. It doesn’t have to be action for the full 60-mins but there needs to be some speed and pace and there’s nothing.

So I’ve moved on from the show and I don’t miss it for a second.  The Walking Dead is, well, dead to me.  How about you?  Still a fan?  Am I just missing something?  Let me know.