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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Summer’s Over, The New Season is Upon Us, I Didn’t Watch The Emmys And More Than Half The Nation Still Doesn’t Know What Is Aleppo! IT’S Entertainment Time #Summer2016 #Fall #TV #Movies

Summer’s Over, The New Season is Upon Us, I Didn’t Watch The Emmys And More Than Half The Nation Still Doesn’t Know What Is Aleppo! IT’S Entertainment Time #Summer2016 #SummerRoundUp #Fall #TV #Movies

Wow! What a summer. Yes, I was gone from my blog for a very long time. It was an extended blogging vacation for me, but I got a lot of other creative work done on my writing and plotting for other projects. I stayed quite busy with the second season of my episodic novella series The Writer (check that out through the link down below). I also had to plot more than a few projects coming out this fall and winter, including (hopefully) The Man on The Roof, The Knowledge of Fear, A New Low, Hype Chick and the first season of Extraordinary(more info on that later). And I also stayed very busy with my garden which was only so-so. I’ll give garden updates later in the coming weeks as I do some garden cleanup, but until then let’s get to the world of entertainment that was over the months May-September 2016.

A Summer of War!!! Picture Courtesy of Marvel Studios and Disney 

Yes, summer starts in May—at least the summer of the entertainment industry starts in May. That began with the arrival of the film Captain America: Civil War. Unfortunately, due to how busy I was I was unable to get in a review of the movie and its soundtrack similar to what I did for Batman v. Superman. While people didn’t buzz about it for weeks as much as they did Batman v. Superman, I think most people conceded that Civil War was a far better film. Personally, I thought it was actually the best Captain America movie, as well as the best (hold on to your britches!) Avengers film. To me, an Avengers film is defined as when most, if not all, of the Avengers show up in one film. With the exception of Thor and Hulk, everyone else was there. I actually didn’t like the first Avengers all that much, but my opinion has gotten better in the last few years.
With that said, I can’t gush enough about Civil War and how great I thought it was. You could even understand Marvel’s fight with DC to keep its release date (Iron Man: “He killed my mom!”). The soundtrack was also the best one that the Marvel cinematic universe has had so far. A great video to look up (which I totally agree with on most of the points they made) is the Marvel Symphonic Universe. They took what I’ve been saying for years and made it into a short video for people to consume and argue over. With the exception of the Winter Soldier music and the music at the big fight at the airport, the music for much of Marvel is forgettable. Sorry, it just is. DC has better music while Marvel has better films. Again, still waiting for someone to interlace some DC music into Marvel films just to see what difference it makes.

Suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Captain America, even if that is his last go around as, uh... Captain America (if the directors are to be believed).

Moving on, some of the other films for the summer were hits and misses... and more misses. X-men, while I initially wanted to see it, had such bad reviews that I couldn’t bother to walk the few miles to sit in an AC-cooled theater to see it for 5.50 on discount day. I had other stuff going on. To keep it going with the missed opportunities, let’s talk about Independence Day: Resurgence. Wait... Wait... Maybe we shouldn’t talk about Independence Day: Resurgence. I literally almost fell asleep in that movie, which never happens. It was just so lackluster. It had no build-up, the characters weren’t interesting, the veterans (Goldblum, Paxton, Fox, the other ones) also seemed to have reached back into the 90s and faxed in their performances, ugh! And while they had a few cool concepts, even the CGI was just... blah!

That was my second biggest disappointment of the summer. Most of the other movies were serviceable/decent or fairly good. This list was mostly populated by horror films and included: the Shallows (good), The Conjuring 2 (pretty good), Tarzan (decent; had some nice moments), Star Trek Beyond (good), Don’t Breathe (pretty good; love Jane), Morgan (decent, but predictable), Me Before You (decent romance; No notebook, but then what is?), The Nice Guys (pretty good buddy-cop throwback comedy), Now You See Me 2 (good if you’re a fan of the first one) and Central Intelligence (decent).

I saw hardly any movies in August as most of that crap was just... no. No. No. No-no? No? No! That includes Sausage Party (tired of Rogen which is also why I didn’t see Neighbors: Sorority Rising), War Dogs (would have seen it but it just didn’t move me as I wanted it to), Mechanic: Resurrection (eh!) and the Obama love story Southside With You (wasn’t playing near me). There was also a ton of other stuff I didn’t see throughout the summer, that neither I nor anyone else apparently (check the box office) had time for: Mike and Dave need... blah blah blah, Nerve (wanted to see it but thought it came out in September), The BFG, Pete’s Dragon, Secret Life of Pets (didn’t feel like seeing animation this year), Dory (didn’t like Finding Nemo) and some other crap! As for that one movie that came out in August, you know... that comic book one with the funny black guy and hot white girl... and the guy with the boomerangs...? YOU KNOW! Well, let’s talk about that two paragraphs down.

Through all of the summer movies and into the rest of the year, I’ve realized a couple of trends for this year’s film and entertainment industry. For one, everybody is into civil war. Whether it be the civil wars of Marvel’s movie characters, their TV counterparts (Agents of Shield exploded in the last months of the third season), DC having Batman and Superman fight, the X-Men doing... what they do every film, villains fighting villains, or hell, even the crazy war in Syria, everybody is having it out with people they know and are close to. It’s getting ridiculous. We even had McConaghey getting in his own Free State of Jones Civil War movie. Yikes! 

Also, another big trend this year had to be animal movies. Yes, family-friendly movies meant for ages all the way down to two always tend to have some kind of animal in them to appeal to children, but with the slew of animal films this year: Zootopia, Jungle Book, Dory, Secret Life of Pets, Nine Lives, Angry Birds, Storks, Sing (or whatever that karaoke animated movie is named that’s supposed to come out in November or December), Pete’s Dragon (yes, I’m counting it. Dragons are animals, too, no matter how fictional they might be) and still other stuff I know I’m forgetting, everybody jumped on the trend. It actually makes me nervous for the other, darker version of the Jungle Book to come out by Warner Bros. sometime next year or 2018. Has it possibly already missed the mark and fallen in the canyon of too-late-trendiness? Hell, even the WB will have JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, which, can we all stop acting like that isn’t a more British-y, old-timey version of Pokemon minus the poke-ball and Pikachu? Seriously, it’s a guy running around trying to catch monsters. Don’t tell me that you didn’t know at least someone between the ages of 2 and 36 that tried doing that this summer with PokemonGo! The movie is the same concept, I guarantee you!

Now, about that Suicide Squad movie (I know, you probably thought I was gonna go on a stream of PokemonGo jokes, right? Or that I was gonna mention that horrid Hillary Clinton “Go-go-go to the polls” misfire, or talk about the many church signs that used PokemonGo as an advertising ploy to get people to come in and catch them some of the Holy Ghost, or how perverts were trying to use the app to Peek-at-chu, but no! I am not going to make any of those lame jokes, accusations, and observations of 2016 summer pop culture. I’m too dignified for that.). Um... yeah, that movie was terrible. While I’d like to do a full review on that, too, people have made more than enough good observations on it for me to not waste a full post on its failings. I guess it made money, which is actually troublesome and disheartening for anyone coming after them to do a remake (I have long wanted to reboot and create my version of the DC superheroes, but hey... we all have dreams we’ll never achieve, right?). But everything from the poorly executed story, to the boring pace, to Leto’s joker, to the main villains own award-winning Hall of Funny Walks gyrations, to the redundancy of the Bruce Wayan cameo at the end—it all just wasn’t good. I so thought that this would be the film to really kick things into gear for DC and turn it around, but... eh! 

Honestly, I know what’ll happen. Wonder Woman is probably going to be good and do great just because it’s a female superhero, and feminist (no offense) will come out and champion the movie and claim how “a woman saves the DCEU.” I swear to God that will end up in someone’s review article just under a year from now. Guarantee it! But I think it’ll still be followed with movies that people aren’t as thrilled about, and that are bolstered by die-hard fans that think if they don’t support it, they’ll never get to see more of these films. I keep warning people, cheering on something you’re not all that thrilled about in hopes of seeing something better does not usually lead to better quality. It doesn’t. And as far as the tonal change DC is instituting, my answer to that would be to look at the two very different renditions of the Fantastic Four. The Jessica Alba edition and the latest... thing of 2015 had two completely different tones, still both not very good (though the first two FF movies I did like until I saw some other comic book movies and realized their inferiority; Oh my goodness! Can I sound any more pretentious?). But again, if this movie made money and is what people like, keep it up WB.

As far as summer TV went, there wasn’t a lot on to keep viewers inside. We had the return of Zoo, which wasted little time killing off the wide-eyed model white woman who scared me with her lemur-eyes. Big black dude finally got some and, let’s be honest, he probably almost crushed that little chica they paired him with more than a few times. It was a family affair as Jackson’s father was not only revealed to still be alive but was one of the evil masterminds behind all of this. And the doctor’s father was some egomaniacal womanizer who seduced and married his own son’s date, then divorced her years later. Who could have thought that the season would end with the big black dude and the Latina being the parents of one of the last remaining children in the world as humans were all sterilized as part of the cure for the animals? It was a lot of insanity.

Mr. Robot, the ode/ripoff of everything David Fincher, got excessively strange and turned a few viewers off while garnering others. Just how much of that series is actually taking place in his head? And why the hell is Craig Robinson suddenly on this show? So many questions and no answers whatsoever.
Those who watch the Haves and Have-nots were treated to another twisty, turn-y season that saw an overdose, more blackmail, and the white judge dude still sitting in prison and his wife cappin’ fools! And is Candace going to try to raise her child or give him to her mother or what? What the hell?

Grace won! Grace should always win. 

America’s Got Talent was buoyed by Simon Cowell’s return to American TV and by the singing talent to come along with him. While I can’t say that the finale was as exciting as the rest of the show, I think most people enjoyed a safer episode after the arrow-shooting mistake earlier in the season. Yes, folks, it’s actually a dangerous show. People can die!

A fair share of scripted shows started and sputtered to their death rather quickly. Houdini and Doyle had promise had it not cast a less-than-charming Houdini who has worked well as a serviceable character actor in Hollywood for years but probably isn’t best suited for a leading man role. Mistresses, after four seasons of pulling its own magic trick of staying on the air, was finally canceled when the plot got too ridiculous for people to care anymore. American Gothic and Brain Dead both showed real promise as concepts, but it became clear to most viewers through the first episode of both that they could quickly descend into tediousness. NBC’s Better Late Than Never probably should’ve chosen the never option when considering coming on TV.

And with the slew of reality shows (both early and late entries) clogging up the airwaves, with the exception of HBO’s pivotal sixth season of Game of Thrones, summer TV never took off from the ground. Maybe that was because of the one huge attraction of the summer, NBC’s Olympics.

Picture courtesy of whoever took it... and NBC.

The Olympics was my absolute jam. Don’t listen to all of the haters and fools that refused to tune in, during the day in favor of complaining while they had no day jobs, this year’s coverage probably had the most live event coverage since the games (winter or summer) were hosted by America. Granted, you did have to have the full NBC package including NBC Sports, CNBC, MSNBC, BRAVO and USA, but if you did have them, you could see every event live at some point. While NBC may have a very small amount of clout with the IOC, people need to understand that they can’t control the scheduling of events. A big complaint was about the gymnastics. They showed it live during the day when it was live and repeated it at night. People complained that they already knew the results by then. Please! Stop! Either don’t look at the results or watch it live, but don’t complain that they didn’t show it live at your convenience. Unless you record the events, you have to realize that some stuff just isn’t going to be on AND live exactly when you want it to be. You like boxing? Great! Just realize that it’s going to probably be on at a really awkward time for you. That’s why they have DVRs. That’s why they have the live-streaming service. Remember, people, they have literally hundreds of events to try to show you in the course of 17 days. I literally saw almost every single event live at some point: handball, shooting, marathon swimming, field hockey, rhythmic gymnastics—you name it, I saw it and it had that Live tag at the top of the broadcast. Yes, you might have to look for the stuff. Sorry, but it can’t all be aired on one channel. OK? OK. My only complaint with the way they covered it was more so with ATT (my cable provider) incorrectly describing and time-blocking the events. I taped trampoline three times when it supposedly was scheduled and only saw it once. But that is easily improved.

Moving on, the games themselves were phenomenal. Michael Phelps, the living legend, and Usain Bolt, the... living legend, both came back for yet another Olympics to add to their all-time, all-time-ness. From now until the world inevitably implodes into another war and the Olympics cease to be, you can never have another Summer games without mentioning both of their names in their respective sports. 

Allyson Felix, to me, was robbed of this privilege with the dive heard ‘round the world, but she is still up there with the greats. We got shocking upsets in almost all of our team sports, winning not a single gold in any volleyball discipline for the first time since... huh? Maybe ever. Definitely since the 90s. Ryan Seacrest and Adriana Lima may have made a love connection during the Olympic late night Rio Zone—good for them. 

The Final Five was the most amazing thing I’ve seen since the last Olympics but some of you hatin’-ass people still had to find things to criticize Gabby for. Shakin’ my damn head. Then people criticized Aly’s, Simone’s and Madison’s bodies. Give me a break! That’s all I’ll say about that as I would prefer to focus on their amazing accomplishments, as the world just saw quite possibly the greatest female gymnastics team in the world, with the greatest gymnast to ever do it! Yeah! I said that! 

And then there was Lochte. Sigh! Jeah, I don’t know, man. Um... from the silly hair to the loss to Phelps to the gas station bathroom lie, he took Meek Mill’s place as having the most L’s in a summer. The good news for him and his fans is that he will make a return in this fall’s Dancing With the Stars, along with cute anime character Laurie Hernandez.

Not to forget about our Paralympic athletes (in my opinion we should pay more attention to them and their games, too) we saw a McSweep on the wheelchair track from Paralympian McFadden. She won gold in every event she raced on the track, and won a silver in the marathon street wheelchair race. The US won its first women’s sitting volleyball gold, and the men’s wheelchair basketball continued its reign as the most decorated team in Paralympic history. We also won a gold on the track in blind sprints at, if I can remember, the 100m... I think. Don’t quote me on that. In any case, we had a helluva summer athletically as a country, showing our resolve and determination to be the greatest. If only politics showed the class and togetherness of the games. They will forever live as an ideal of what the world could and should be.

Speaking of politics, what the hell is Aleppo? To be fair to Gary Johnson the Libertarian presidential nominee, I also didn’t know what Aleppo was? I thought it was that fancy cat food brand, but I’m currently not a presidential candidate. But again, I’m not sure it should be the greatest of importance to know one singular city when there’s an entire country at war. Saying “the Syrian war” should be more politically correct. Yes, I get it. During WWII it was often about Berlin, but again, it’s the entirety of Germany that we have to defeat. Address the entire problem, rather than symptom treat. All of that should come with the mind that I am not a Libertarian, or at least I don’t think I am (don’t really know their politics, so I can’t say for sure).

Gary Johnson’s gaffe was a minor blip on the scale of insanity that continues to be the 2016 presidential race. In June both of the primaries ended with a gas of relief until Sanders continued to needle the democrats by saying he was going all the way... to where I don’t think even he knew, but he was definitely going there. And he did. He went there. So... I don’t know where the hell he is now, but he’s somewhere. 

When People Say Mean Things About You For Their Political Gain

In July, the nominations were made official with two of the gaudiest, most ridiculous displays of party inoculation that you’ll see. Yes, the RNC and DNC are often circuses, but with the behind-the-scenes backbiting and deal making, it seemed all too scripted like an SNL parody sketch. We got to see Hillary Clinton’s “damn, this some good weed!” face, hear about Melania Trump’s childhood growing up as a middle-class black woman in Chicago’s southside, come to terms with the fact that all Sanders voters were just “being ridiculous” (Sarah Silverman’s words), and came to realize that this fight between black lives and blue lives has bruised us all. This, all while trying to ignore the fact that both major party candidates chose the poster children for “creepy white guy uncles” as running mates. No way I’m leaving my kids with Tim Kaine nor Mike Pence even for an hour. Trump, uh... Trumped all over his supporters and they swallowed it down like—oh! Oh, wait! Let me just back away from that sentence. It was about to take this blog places it dare not go.

Since then, we’ve been invited to take a gander at Trump’s African-American, have been shamed over questioning the health of both candidates as if having doubts about a 68 and 70-year-old slated to run the country is somehow a bad thing, have been instructed that a popular internet meme of a green frog is actually a symbol of white power, have had our eyes burned down to the retinas with the sight of a life-sized naked Trump statue/effigy/paper-thingy and have seen both candidates ramp up the attack ads (if you’re in a swing state as great as my state of Ohio, you get to see this crap 24/7. Yay!). Yet, it’s far from being over. We still have another full month to go, which will see the debates and the election and the aftermath, and could cause political upheaval not seen since... 2008.

What a summer!

What did you all think of the summer that was, guys and gals? What did you do? What is your favorite memory from this summer (it can be personal)? What are you looking forward to in the upcoming fall/winter months? Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or  the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary to premiere sometime this winter on Amazon and my blog. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, "Disney. Jobs. West. East! Other directions."

P.S. OK, so maybe I did liberally borrow from Kanye West’s strange stockholder-meeting speech he held in the middle of the MTV VMAs, but, you know, it’s like... art. Plus, did you see that video for his song Fade? My god, Teyana Taylor is... I mean, I knew about her body, but she’s got serious moves. Now I understand why Iman Shumpert was all Jheri-curled up. A woman that bad can make you do strange things. I’ll think of an original sign-off next time. And please forgive me as I haven’t done this in a while and am quite rusty. 

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