Words in My Head

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Category: Television

A Week of Media (Thanksgiving 2018)

Last year I started tracking my media consumption during vacations, holidays, and trips — just to try and take advantage of that time in a way that feeds my creative soul with images, sounds, and words. 

I took the week of Thanksgiving off this year, as I have for a few years, and here’s how my consumption stacked up…

  • Wind River (Netflix) – Amazing film starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen that’s been out a while, but not on my radar. It was about a hunter (Renner) who helped an FBI agent (Olsen) investigate the murder of a young woman on a Wyoming Native American reservation. Not for the faint of heart and based on a true story, this was surprisingly excellent. 
  • Equalizer 2 (Amazon purchase) – Starring Denzel Washington (reprising his role from the first one) and Pedro Pascal, I have to say I liked the sequel better than the first one. Solid story. Great action. 
  • Overlord (at the theater) – This one had been on my radar for a while — a zombie film set during a World War II story. I enjoyed it, but I won’t say it was the best thing I’ve ever seen. 🙂
  • Hurricane Heist (Netflix) – Not a great flick, but fun just to listen to how horrible the dialog was with Maggie Grace and Toby Kebbell. If you need some background noise and have fond memories of Twister — this might be right up your alley.
  • Voltron, Season 7 (Netflix) – AJ and I have been enjoying this reboot of one of my childhood favorites and look forward to the next season in December.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic (book by V.E. Schwab) – This was an impulse buy at Barnes & Noble and ended up being a fantastic story. 
  • Daredevil, Season 3 (Netflix) – I think this season was much better than season 2 and almost on par with season 1. Great action and some amazing new characters with a lot of depth. Once again Foggy & Karen both take center stage over the titular character — and that was fine by me. 🙂
  • Revolt (Netflix) – Watched this on a whim and hung on to the end. Science fiction set during an alien invasion in Africa and it was surprisingly good.
  • Power Rangers (2017 movie, Amazon Prime) – Yeah, I know. Why? Well, my friend Alan Bahr suggested this to me quite a while ago — and I have to say I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the movie up to the point where they put on costumes and rode dinosaurs. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. 🙂
  • Incoming (Netflix, didn’t finish) – Unlike Power Rangers, this was too stupid to watch for more than about 15 minutes. Didn’t make it.
  • Death Race: Beyond Anarchy (Netflix) – Like Hurricane Heist, this was not a good film — but it was fun in spots. Of course, you don’t watch Death Race and expect Shakespeare. 🙂
  • Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (Netflix) – The new host of The Daily Show proved he still has his chops as a comedian. Fun and timely. 
  • Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix) – This was out of the blue from the Coen Brothers and I have to say that AJ and I loved it. It was a series of short Western stories and I think we liked them all except the very last one. Some fantastic character pieces however, including one about a prospector looking for gold. The film starts with a singing cowboy and gets better from there. 🙂
  • Next Gen (Netflix) – An animated flick about a girl and her robot, this was surprisingly good and it had a fun dog as well. 
  • House on Haunted Hill (Netflix, second time through) – Probably my favorite story of 2018 and the last episode made my eyes water like I was chopping onions — AGAIN. Some fun horror elements, but simply amazing writing, fantastic characters, and surprisingly emotional storytelling. 

I won’t say that they were all good, but I definitely got some use out of our Netflix subscription!

A Brief Look at FX’s Legion

If you talk to me, you’ll quickly find out that I like movies, television, and books, particularly if they are of the science fiction, fantasy, action, animated, horror, or comic book variety. I’m a geek. It’s pretty easy to figure that out.

Of late, we (as a clan) have been devouring most of what Marvel Studios has been producing for film and TV. Netflix series like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. ABC series like Marvel’s Agents of Shield. Movies like Iron Man, ThorDeadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers… the list goes on.

And now FX has joined the ranks of platforms for such programs with Legion.

Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to think of this show. The previews were bizarre combinations of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the crazy visuals of Deadpool, and a much darker storyline like we saw with Jessica Jones. Would it be worth watching? Would it be too weird? Would we like it?

Surprise, surprise. I loved it. The warped, piecemeal style of storytelling reminded me a bit of Memento mixed with a bit of the Usual Suspects. But the way you keep guessing and second guessing what’s actually occurring in the story was fantastic. It was almost an “is it real, or is it Memorex?” kind of thing. You never know whether the place in the story you were was in the past or present, or even real at all.

It’s not going to be for everybody. It definitely touches on some mature themes. It uses some language that some folks may not appreciate. But if you can get past that, it’s going to mess with your head. And I dug it. The first 90 minute episode sets the stage for an interesting battle of things to come.

If you like the darker road that Marvel is traveling with its Netflix series, then I think you might dig Legion too. Give it a shot. I don’t want to spoil it for you. I didn’t know anything much about it going in and was happy that was the case.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not going to last long. It’s pretty out there. But I really hope it finds an audience and stays in for the long haul.

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