nesting * geeking * critiquing

Posts tagged “walking dead

Gripes, Likes & Theories: Batman v Superman

Now that the film is in wide release, I can ignore the advance-screening plea from Zack Snyder not to spoil anything. So be warned, SPOILERS FOLLOW.

As I mentioned before, I went into BvS with super low expectations and liked it pretty well. For me it boiled down to something like Thor: Dark World or Avengers: AoU—not bad to watch once or twice but generally lackluster and forgettable. I also didn’t find it as grim and gritty as everyone is complaining. I mean, yeah, it’s dark but no more than roughly half of everything else that’s come out in cinema over the last decade, including the Nolan trilogy that everyone seems to love (I don’t find it holds up as much more than “meh”).

Biggest misses for me:
1) Batman just gave up his fight because Superman’s mom happened to have the same name?! For the love of Martha, that was some seriously weak writing.
2) Superman’s death lacked ‘gravity’—I don’t think anyone in our screening believed for one minute that he would stay dead. Moreover, I don’t think anyone would have bought into it even had we not all experienced the media hoopla that surrounded the event when it happened in the comics back in the early ’90s. It felt so very emotionally empty and not the least bit cliffhanger-y, which I found incredibly disappointing.
2b) Speaking of media hoopla…SO. MANY. CAMEOS. (I know I already mentioned this before, but it really bothered me.)
3) Lex creating Doomsday inside the Kryptonian ship. I thought it was clever that he cut off Zod’s fingerprints to gain access but otherwise hated the entire scene.
3b) Doomsday was like a bad mashup of Hulk, every Spider-Man movie villain and Hunger Games mutts.
4) Teasers for Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg lacked excitement and depth.
5) Amy Adams. Always Amy Adams.
6) Underutilized Wonder Woman.

I’ll reiterate that I’m genuinely excited for the standalone WW movie now. I wish she hadn’t looked so much like part of the Kardashian klan but Gadot played the fight scenes like she could be a legitimately strong warrior. Expectations shattered.

Still, my favorite part of the movie was spotting TK-421 on Lex Luthor’s prison uniform.

ALSO, I have a BvS/Walking Dead fan theory!
Maggie is Bruce Wayne’s mom, which means that TWD clearly happened in the past…and Maggie either cheated on Glenn or lost that baby and had another later with Mr. Wayne. The “metahumans” are clearly an evolutionary result of surviving the zombie apocalypse. Tell me your mind isn’t blown right now.

 

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SWCA Day 2

I’m not big on the OOTD (Outfit of the Day) trend…mostly because my outfits are rarely noteworthy. But today I’m going to brag a little, as my shirt is pretty dang special and particularly fitting for what’s happening some 1,500 miles away at San Diego Comic-Con.tfa shirt

It’s Hall H panel day for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

So what does that have to do with my shirt? Well, my shirt is an authentic TFA shirt from Star Wars Celebration—the story of my acquisition goes back to April 17, 2015. (no, this is not a glamorous photo)

After a good night’s sleep at the Alpine Inn we got up early and made the short walk to the convention center for Day 2 of SWCA. We arrived to find C-3PO himself, Anthony Daniels, greeting fans in the queue.

Our plan for the day included buying convention exclusives, enjoying the Carrie Fisher panel, meeting my blogger friend starwarsanon, checking out the cosplay contest and watching the premiere of Revenge of the Sith in 3-D.

Nabbing convention-exclusive swag was calculated and seemed simple enough: divide and conquer. As soon as the door opened at 10am, we were on our way to our respective assignments. Severus waited in the Hallmark line—no, working for corporate doesn’t get you out of waiting with the other lemmings—while I tackled the Celebration Store. Each of us had to wait some 25 minutes to get into the merchandising meccas, but the Carrie Fisher panel wasn’t scheduled until 1:30pm so there was no concern.

The concern began to bud when I decided to wait around for one of the elusive TFA shirts that were restocked only sporadically. Staff members were quite literally swamped each time they brought out a new rack of shirts, everyone hoping to get their hands on TFA. It was like a reenactment of the zombie swarm scene from the end of The Walking Dead pilot episode, only with slightly less blood.

Being the pushover that I am, I waited to the side of the trampling hoards and implored staffers as politely as possible, hoping that good favor might befall me. Finally a kind employee decided to hand out the shirts from a big box, ensuring that people didn’t grab armloads and prematurely drain the supply. And so, with coveted shirt in hand, I set out for the checkout line at 1130am. The line inched along with unanticipated sluggishness, moving mere footsteps over the course of each quarter-hour. The frustration morphed into anger as I mentally calculated the remaining time to reach my destination; anger melted to despair and finally urgency as I reached the cashier’s booth at 125pm. IMG_2388I was relieved to have conquered the line with mere minutes to meet Severus for the Carrie Fisher panel—thankfully, he had queued and saved a spot hours earlier. And my relief exploded into a rush of panic when I tried to enter the arena and was informed that they weren’t allowing anyone else inside. “But I have a seat waiting for me,” I pleaded. No luck.

In a desperate attempt to find another entrance, I came across a couple of other people with the same plight. They gushed about having to use the restroom and finding themselves unable to get back in; I played along. An usher reluctantly agreed to let us in and watched very carefully to ensure that I did, in fact, have a seat reserved. With adrenaline pumping through my veins, I settled in moments ahead of the lights dimming.

Carrie Fisher, along with her lazy-tongued dog Gary, took the stage by storm. Ms. Fisher is an absolute live wire, spewing sarcasm and profanity and utter hilarity…though we enjoyed the raucous display they wrapped the panel a bit prematurely after she dropped the ‘f bomb’. Star Wars is, at its core, family-friendly and it was clear the organizers wanted to keep it that way.

After the panel, we caught up with my friend starwarsanon and her husband. IMG_2398It’s so much fun meeting online acquaintances in person! If you haven’t checked out her corner of the internet yet, please do—she’s a dedicated blogger, big thinker and absolute delight*! I also still owe her a Star Wars-themed Hallmark picture frame 🙂
*if only she weren’t a Patriots fan hahaha.

The cosplay contest was somewhat less impressive than I’d hoped, especially given the quantity of brilliant costumery we saw throughout the exhibit hall. Nevertheless, we had a mighty laugh when co-emcee Dee Bradley Baker mispronounced “crocheted” as “crotched”…you probably had to be there to get the giggles like I still do.

The night wrapped with a double-feature screening of Revenge of the Sith (3-D) and A New Hope (Special Edition 😡 ). The audience was a little noisy and the seats were pretty uncomfortable for 4.5 hours of sitting, but I LOVE seeing Star Wars on a big ol’ screen!

So that’s what Day 2 looked like. As always, if you’d like to see the rest of my photos, check out the shared album here.


Speed Dating

There’s really only one question I need to ask to find out how compatible I am with someone…

Wal-Mart or Target?speed-dating

I’ll admit, Wal-Mart’s not without its virtues: you can find just about anything there, including things you can’t find anywhere else. They even sell actual goldfish, not just the crackers! Just don’t get too attached because they’ll likely die within hours, days or weeks. But generally speaking, my social aversion steers me away from Wal-Mart, particularly if I have a choice.

For me, going into Wal-Mart at a peak time (like, say, a Saturday afternoon) is about as pleasant as causing a ruckus near a beehive without wearing any sort of protective suit. My blood pressure elevates, I break into a sweat and I really just want to run away. And also cry. And maybe shove people on my way out the door and yell at them to stop wearing pajama pants in public.

Target, on the other hand, feels somewhat inviting. Not calming exactly, but more my speed. Though the overall footprint is more intimate, there’s no attempting to squeeze past the ravenous crowds that swarm the discount dvd bins. If you’ve visited the ‘Mart on a weekend night (or, heaven forbid, Black Friday) and stumbled upon the electronics section, you know that it’s frighteningly reminiscent of the final scene in The Walking Dead pilot episode.

Selections frequently change at Target, so I enjoy browsing the collections. And the clearance! Markdowns are plentiful, which tempts me to take my time and peruse every aisle and endcap. Plus, prices are competitive—contrary to popular belief—and the toy selection blows Wal-Mart out of the water (in this neck of the woods, anyway).

Some Target stores even have ICEE machines at their little cafes. And those with mini-Starbucks have the scent of coffee gently wafting through the air, which I find far more appealing than the diaper-like odor of Subway’s meatball subs at Wal-Mart. (I blame Subway for that atrocity, not Wal-Mart.) Speaking of diaper-like odors, the bathrooms at Target are typically, though not always, nicer. It’s a good feeling to encounter generally clean facilities when you’ve got to answer nature’s call.

For the record, I’m neither attempting nor intending to be an elitist. Our travels have taught me that I’d be inclined to take Wal-Mart over Fred Meyer any day. There are even some shockingly nice Wal-Marts sprinkled across the country; we’ve discovered them in Washington and Colorado. There are even a few that I like here in the Show-Me State. Moreover, Wal-Mart exists in many places where Target doesn’t, and that accessibility matters.

But given the option, especially in my native environment, I’m Team Target.

They say opposites attract, and I’ll probably like you even if you do prefer Wal-Mart. Just don’t ask me to go shopping with you. And don’t wear pajama pants in public.


Ask Amethystos

I’m a little brainsquashed, having trouble finishing some drafts. Instead of continuing to mull over them, I thought I’d take a prompt from the fabulous evelynfilmfan (visit her blog—good reads!).
Now it’s time for a little Q&A…

  • Which film do you think is the best book adaptation?
    Very few projects measure up to their namesake books, to the surprise of no one. Three, however, stand out to me (though one isn’t technically a film): Catching Fire, Game of Thrones & Breaking Dawn, Part 2. Your eyes don’t deceive you, I really did just include a Twilight film in a ‘best’ category. Since it’s the most controversial, I’ll touch on it first.
    • BD 2 fixes everything a lot of what’s wrong with the book; maybe that’s simply because there’s sooooo much disappointment with the book. There’s still the weird Jacob/Renesmee love but we see flash-forwards of Renesmee as a teen/young adult, which takes away much of the skeeve factor. And the battle sequence is impossibly better than the text, even if it is only a hypothetical Alice vision. The anti-climax of the novel left me feeling cheated after having invested so much time and anticipation; film version more than made up for it.
    • You already know I’m a big fan of the Hunger Games trilogy. What you may not know is that Catching Fire was easily my favorite book. Given that, I had prepared myself for at least a little bit of a letdown with the film—said letdown never came. Casting is spot-on, pacing is considerably improved from the source material and the shift to an omniscient point-of-view makes this adaptation dang near perfect.
    • And Game of Thrones. Oh, Game of Thrones, you make me so happy with your general adhesion to Martin’s books. I’ve read through book 3 now and only rarely do the departures disappoint in the slightest; more often than not, the alterations do a great favor to pacing. The benefit of this series, of course, is its episodic nature which lends itself to really bringing the pages to life. I prefer the book’s relative lack of R-rated elements (call me a prude if you like) but the storytelling definitely earns a place in my top 3 adaptations.
  • Who is your favorite superhero? And which superhero powers would you like to have?
    pass—the answer to this will be its own post one of these days
  • Disney or Pixar?
    Disney. Pixar has its share of stirring tales and breathtaking animation to be sure, but my favor falls to Disney. From classics to contemporary films, animated or live-action, I’m astounded that one company can play such a role in lives young and old. Vivid imagery, riveting narrative, well-rounded humor and heartwarming heroism are benchmarks for Disney. Oh, and there’s that little bit about Disney owning Marvel and Star Wars now…I’m definitely team Disney.
  • Marvel or DC Comics?
    Historically, DC…I have always loved Superman, and I always will. But my loyalties are largely shifting to Marvel now if I’m being really honest with myself. Like the rest of the world, Marvel movies make me really happy. Though some of the characters can be a little bland at times (I’m looking at you, Hawkeye), they do a ridiculously good job of casting. Everybody is just so gosh darn lovable! Okay, except for Spider-Man; don’t like his character or the comics or the cartoons or the movies.
  • For which tv show/series do you really have to stay home? And what makes this tv show/series so special?
    The Walking Dead, hands down. Catching new episodes is literally an event for me; I can’t wait to see what happens next, and I have a number of fellow fans at work who are always ready to discuss on Mondays. I’m loving how the main characters have evolved over the last season or so, the growth is (in my opinion) exceptionally compelling. There are no other current programs that I will try to schedule around.

That’s all for this edition of Ask Amethystos. Tune in next time, when I’ll answer more questions and dodge others. Comment below if there’s something you’d like to ask; I’ll endeavor to satisfy your query.


The Trouble With TV

One of my superpowers is unwittingly offending people. Generous use of sarcasm tends to contribute, though I’ve also been known to cause a kerfuffle without employing snark.

The past few months have taught me that one of the best ways to elicit this power is by discussing my views on facebook…not my political or religious views, mind you, but my views on cable/satellite tv.

Yes, you read that right. TV.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve managed to instigate a few heated debates over the virtues of dropping cable. As it turns out, people are hardcore about their television habits.

We ditched cable back in 2009 for a number of reasons, none of which included us trying to be elitist. Instead, most of it came down to cost-to-use ratio and desire to limit content/distraction. I’ll touch on the latter in a moment, but first let’s talk money.

The most significant result of ditching cable has been financial. We regularly watched only a handful of channels, so the full complement of cable/satellite service just isn’t important enough for us to justify the expense. For less than what we were paying on cable tv alone, we now pay for internet and Netflix. If we wanted to catch more current shows, we could subscribe to Hulu and still be in the black. There’s a one-time expense for the antenna ($30-50) but “over-the-air” programming is free.

We live in a somewhat rural area about 40 miles outside of Kansas City, MO; even that far away our antenna picks up 15 or so channels. In addition to the big networks, ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX, there are 3 PBS stations, some that broadcast infomercials and trash, and a few others that focus on classic shows. If you’ve been around here long, you know how much I love Bob Newhart; he and numerous other favorites are welcomed into my home each week thanks to Me-TV on free tv.

As for the content and distraction…well as you just saw, we still have plenty of distraction. The tv is powered on pretty much every evening. The difference is it’s just not as big a draw for us now as it used to be. If there’s nothing particularly intriguing to watch, we’re more inclined to turn it off and go do something rather than simply flip over to HGTV and settle for hours of House Hunters.

There aren’t as many programming options readily available but we are content with those to which we have access. For the programs we really want to watch, we catch up online and stream via Netflix, I borrow content from coworkers and we overtake my parents’ living room every Sunday night for The Walking Dead. Now that’s quality family time right there!

So yes, we still find ways to watch tv though we may not always be current on the popular shows. It’s just not that huge of a priority for us.

And that’s the controversial part—because it doesn’t rank high on our personal list of priorities, it is perceived as a commentary/critique on what kind of priority it is (good, misplaced or other) for others. While that’s never been the intent, it does make me think… If we bristle at something as trivial as someone challenging our media habits, it’s likely because we are feeling pressured to examine our priorities. Priorities are the point of contention, not how someone sates his television cravings.

How do I respond when someone suggests that I’m perhaps too reliant on my cell phone? Am I offended when people negatively comment on my plethora of Star Wars toys and memorabilia?
Is that pang of anger and inclination to defensive retort an indication that I/we haven’t heretofore considered the state of my/our priorities?

Very few things in our lives are are truly essential. We need only sustenance, some bit of clothing and shelter enough to protect ourselves from the most extreme weather. Apart from those necessities, we have options aplenty that we prioritize either consciously or subconsciously.

The options on which we choose to spend our money are a pretty good indication of our priorities. This has been the case since biblical times; Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (NIV).

It’s healthy for us to examine our priorities every so often, just as it is to periodically evaluate how we allocate financial resources. Scrutinizing our values and behaviors then deciding how to proceed are imperative for personal growth. But it’s certainly personal. What works for my family needn’t necessarily work for yours.

So if I tell you that I’m anti-cable/satellite, don’t take it personally, okay? Save the indignation for when I say something really stupid, because I undoubtedly will (whether I mean to or not).