Monday, October 9, 2017

Shoot 'em Up

I will never forget highly recommending today’s film, 2007’s Shoot ‘em Up (trailer), to a coworker after catching it at the theater. A short time later he came back to me in a not-so-delightful manner and proceeded to lambast me about how much he and his wife hated it. Ever since then I taught myself to never glowingly gush about any film to friends and peers. Even if I know a film will make my annual top 10 rankings, when it comes up in conversation and only when prompted I will respond with simply mild approval in order to avoid raising expectations.

From that experience and a few others with films belonging to the ‘gratuitous over-the-top’ action genre (Crank, Drive Angry, Hardcore Henry) , I came to find out people either really love or really despise these films. As you can see, I belong to the former group. Like Crank and Hardcore Henry, Shoot ‘em Up puts its outrageous action and stunts at the forefront and attaches an eyebrow-raising exposition in order to somehow tie it all together. Smith (Clive Owen) is minding his own business at a bus stop when a mother-to-be in labor dashes by him, and she is pursued moments later by henchmen working under a man known as Hertz (Paul Giamatti). Smith reluctantly decides to save the day and delivers the baby, only to see that he is to be ruthlessly chased by a countless amount of thugs in all sorts of ridiculous shootouts. Smith tries to bring the newborn to safe refuge to his friend DQ (Monica Bellucci), only to discover that Hertz is still right on his tail, and the rest of the film is a cat and mouse game with Smith trying to stay a step or two ahead of Hertz while trying to piece together how this diabolical plot came to be.

The unbelievable, unapologetic action is what Shoot ‘em Up is all about. There are too many ‘yeah, right’ moments in the film to count, and eventually it got to the point where I accepted it and rolled with it to see what the filmmakers would shove in my face next. If Mr. Smith would have it his way, it would be carrots…literally. It has been 10 years since I first saw this film and every time I have seen an ordinary carrot, I instantly hearken back to several priceless moments in Shoot ‘em Up. I do not want to give a lot away on how crazy the action is, because the ‘what will they throw at me next’ X-factor is what keeps this film moving. Most of the stunts and action worked for me, but like I said in the intro, there are people I have talked to who were not on board with Shoot ‘em Up right from the beginning so there is a decent chance this take on action films may not be up your alley.

Clive Owen is perfect as the man of few words, Mr. Smith. He will occasionally mutter a super-cheesy one-liner that would make 80s action flicks proud. Giamatti is also spot-on as the villain Hertz, and Shoot ‘em Up does a great job conveying that Hertz is a little off his rocker. Hertz is a former FBI Profiler who garbles throwaway lines about using his profiler instincts in order to figure out where Smith and DQ are off to next. The three plays off each other well whenever they encounter one another throughout the film, and the film pulls no punches when it comes to their final clash.

There are a decent amount of extras on the BluRay. There are eight minutes of deleted scenes, and make sure to check them out with director’s commentary as I was losing it at one scene where Michael Davis stated he had to cut a scene because of feedback that it was ‘too unbelievable.’ There is a 53 minute making of feature titled Ballet of Bullets. It is pretty comprehensive at breaking down the origins and inspirations for the film, dissecting the latest weaponry in the film and explaining how they pulled off some of the stunts. Definitely check that out or instead opt for the ‘enhanced visual commentary’ that is available to play alongside the entirety of Shoot ‘em Up. The visual commentary plays clips of interviews with many cast and crew members talking about relative scenes that are playing out and it recycles a fair amount of excerpts from Ballet of Bullets. It was a nice way to experience the film again and get a little more insight throughout from many perspectives. There is also a standalone audio commentary track with director, Michael Davis, but he chimes in frequently throughout the visual commentary so I skipped his additional audio track.

I am a big fan of straight-up action films, but it is only every so often that we get ones as outlandish as this. Again, do not let me overhype this for you if this style of action/comedy is not what you are into. If you checked out the linked preview in the intro, you will know what you are in for. Suffice it to say, if you do not mind a good dose of crazy injected into your action movies, then you cannot go wrong with Shoot ‘em Up.

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
The Interrogation
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3-5
Mortal Kombat
National Treasure
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Thursday, September 28, 2017

2016-17 TV Season Recap: Part Four - Bonus Summer TV Edition

Previous TV Season Recaps – (2013-14 | 2014-15 | 2015-16

2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 1 (Gotham, Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow)
2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 2 (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Legion, Riverdale)
2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 3 (24: Legacy, South Park, Horace & Pete, Stranger Things)

I did not anticipate there being so many new shows to keep up with this summer, and the last summer shows just wrapped up over the last few weeks in time for season premieres of the shows I am currently following. When I reflected back on the summer, there ended up being six seasons of shows I wound up devouring throughout the summer, and it felt like plenty to warrant a quick blog with my thoughts of the summer of television. A few of these shows I covered in prior TV Season recaps, but their premieres got pushed back a few months to the summertime instead of their usual spring debuts, and a few other shows caught my eye too, so let’s get to it!

Glow - For those unfamiliar with GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) it was a edgy women's wrestling league that ran from 1985-90. The Netflix series focuses on a new cast of fictional characters with some based on personas of the former wrestler's in the promotion. Glow centers on one Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) who has been looking to catch her first break in Hollywood and took up a role in GLOW because it was the only thing available. The 10 episode season introduces the cast of the dozen or wrestlers and builds up to the season finale which is the shooting of the pilot episode. Obviously, the wrestling nut in me is really biased on this, but I feel safe in saying it is a legit good show and you do not need to be a wrestling fan to dig it. Only about 30% of the show deals with wrestling while the rest is fleshing out the rest of the cast. Wrestling fans will dig a few cameos from former WWE/Impact stars peppered throughout the show. The episodes are roughly a half hour each and with only 10 episodes it made for a quick and entertaining watch. Grade: B+

Defenders - This is the equivalent to the Netflix Marvel Universe to what the first Avengers was to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Defenders is the team-up show of the four heroes introduced in past Netflix Marvel shows over the last few years featuring Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). I loved seeing Daredevil, Jones and Cage back again and kicking ass, especially once they all start teaming up in the back half of the show. Another positive is this season is only eight episodes compared to the usual 13 of previous Marvel Netflix series so there is a lot less fluff.

On the negative however, Defenders doubles down on nearly everything I loathed on the Iron Fist show. I am not a fan of the villains known as ‘The Hand’ at all as they come off as meaningless cannon-fodder, but Marvel went all in on them this season by unleashing Elektra (Elodie Yung) as their leader. She kind of gives The Hand a smidge of an edge, but I was never much of a fan of Elektra either so that did not really help. Like most of the Internet, I was not big into Iron Fist also and it is unfortunate that Iron Fist is the primary focus of the four heroes in most episodes as he plays a pivotal role in trying to vanquish The Hand. By the end of the show I still was not swayed to be a fan of either Iron Fist or buying into The Hand as a formidable antagonist, but at least I can take solace in enjoying how Daredevil, Cage and Jones all played off each other along with each show’s periphery characters in each episode so the season was not a complete waste. Grade: C-

American Grit - The first season of American Grit was a guilty pleasure of mine and I am glad it returned along with host John Cena for a second season. It is a Survivor-esque reality show where a bunch of people are divided into four teams in a military themed camp with a former military veteran as their leader and compete in challenges each week that leads to someone going home each week until there is one left to win a million dollars. This season mixes things up a bit by having a 50/50 mix of contestants consisting of athletic builds and everyday Joes/Janes and all have a theme of trying to find their grit. That means a part of each show features a little bit of everyday drama of the competitors having a big personal moment revealing their past personal struggles and why they entered the show. There is also a little bit more of a focus on the team leaders this season too and watching their turmoil bubble over throughout the season resulted in some entertaining animosity.

I usually try and avoid most reality TV but naturally I made an exception for this show because it involves the charismatic beast that is John Cena and I got a kick whenever he appeared to shed some wisdom to the entrants or gossip with the military veterans. The challenges are also fun to watch for the most part and consist of a unique boot camp style variant so I was always looking forward to what challenge they cooked up each episode. The ‘finding your Grit’ theme resulted in several emotional moments throughout the show of the cast spilling their guts about their past and for a handful it looked like they legitimately came out of the show changed and finding out something new about themselves. Grade: A-

Ballers - The Rock continues to impress as sports financial manager extraordinaire Spencer Strasmore. I always relate Ballers as a sports-themed version of Entourage for those not familiar with it. The theme of this season is Spencer’s agency trying to expand and make it big by landing a deal to be the owner group in charge of moving an NFL team to Las Vegas. Rock continues to play off well with coworker Joe (Rob Corddry) as the two continue to party way too hard to impress potential clients. I also dig the athletes on this show as they face popular NFL controversies such as dealing with concussions and suspensions over failed drug tests. I will also give a shoutout to the Dolphins scout, Charles (Omar Miller) and Dolphins GM Larry Siefert (Dule Hill) as I have always dug their love/hate dynamic and they continue to steal the show with a few unforgettable scenes including a dinner scene that goes all kinds of wrong just like the average WWE wedding. There are a couple clunker episodes, but for the most part this was another must-see season. Grade: A-

Leftovers - I have no idea where to begin on this show that deals with living in the aftermath of the Rapture. The first season had a little bit of a standard plot structure, but last season and for this final third season, The Leftovers went off the rails in all kinds of unpredictable ways where I stopped trying to guess what happened and went along for the ride. The primary plot point for this episode is the cast worrying about a second, far greater Rapture occurring and the cast going to insurmountable lengths to prevent it. Some of those lengths feature crafting a new version of the Bible, the wildest boat ride in TV history and finally getting the payoff to what happened to the 2% of the population that vanished in the original Rapture.

It is hard to recommend this show as I stopped questioning what they were doing early on in the second season and am just accepting whatever they throw in my face, except for almost anything relating to the Guilty Remnant cult. It appears the writers heard our dissatisfied pleas and the Guilty Remnant are laughably written off early in the season with a throwaway line of dialogue and have a minimal presence this season. I take that back, I do like Guilty Remnant member, Liv Tyler getting her overdue comeuppance this season in a glorious manner. The series finale delivered like few other series finales before it and I will never forget conversing with a friend for nearly a half hour breaking down the entire season in a way I do with no other TV shows. Grade: A+

Game of Thrones - After many brief teases and minor skirmishes this is finally the season of Game of Thrones that goes all in on white walkers/zombies. It is impossible for me to give this show a fair breakdown in just a paragraph or two because it has such a huge cast and I am awful at remembering almost of all their names. I will say I liked the setup to capture a living white walker and bring it to Castle Black. Those two episodes really stood out the most where Jon Snow and his motley crew put their lives on the lines into the icy wastes to capture a white walker. The confrontation with the walkers surrounding Jon Snow on that island lead to him and his men laying it all on the line in a EPIC showdown that had me buying into their fates until an unexpected ex-machina transpires and had me popping huge at the TV.

I loved how Game of Thrones built up the big negotiation session between Snow and the Lannisters as a dramatic TV event for the ages and that episode delivered in a big way with meaningful payoffs. I do echo what a majority of the online feedback that the pace of travel is amped up far too fast compared to previous seasons. I recall prior seasons where certain characters spent an entire season getting from one location to another, but in this shortened season characters would leave one location, appear on another side of the world later that episode and make it back to their home region by the end of the same episode. I get it, the show is winding down with one more season to go so they need to fast track some of these story arcs, but after setting a precedent for the five prior seasons it is difficult to make that adjustment. There is still so much more I want to touch on including Arya being a badass assassin, dragons, zombie dragons, that grayscale-sickness seeming to be a little too convenient to cure, the awesomeness of Hot Pie and the cowardice of Theon, but I am already pushing 2000 words here and need to wrap this up. Suffice it to say, Game of Thrones continues to amaze, and I am gratified that I am finally caught up and cannot wait for the final season next year. Grade: A

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
2016-17 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television

Straight to the Top: Money in the Bank Anthology

Several years ago WWE started releasing a few home videos compiling the most notorious gimmick matches in pro wrestling history. In 2013 they released a compilation I will be covering today, Straight to the Top: Money in the Bank Anthology (trailer). It consists of every MitB match through 2013; that is 14 matches of insane ladder spots! For newer fans of wrestling unfamiliar with the MitB match, it is a ladder match that usually happens once a year (originally debuting at Wrestlemania in 2005 before shifting over to its own self-titled PPV in 2010) featuring anywhere from 5-10 wrestlers vying to grab a briefcase off the top of the ladder to win. Inside the almighty briefcase is a contract guaranteeing a world title shot to be cashed in at anytime of the winner’s choosing within the next calendar year.

A majority of the MitB winners were mid-card talent who successfully cashed in and became world champions. Winning MitB almost certainly guaranteed a world title reign and a transition from the mid-card to the main event. Every match in here features a nonstop dazzling array of flips and dives and wrestlers getting creative with the ladders for all kinds of spots. Instead of breaking down each match individually, I will instead opt to highlight several things that popped out to me all these years later and other random factoids worth pointing out.

-The Miz is the host of Straight to the Top. He chimes in every couple of matches detailing changes to the MitB match over the years and recapping how some previous winners cashed in their title shot. Miz does not phone this in and is legitimately good in his hosting scenes and he paints a good picture setting up matches and recapping the success of past winners, including hyping himself up a lot after his 2010 MitB win. For those that may have forgot, that cash-in lead to my all-time favorite fan shot of ‘MizGirllooking pissed after Miz cashed in and won the WWE Title from Randy Orton.

-The first few matches in this collection are before WWE went HD in 2008 and are presented with ladder graphics on the side to help smooth off the resolution to its native format. Those are also mostly the matches that Jim Ross calls before Michael Cole took over. I miss Jim Ross. Cole is a pretty good replacement for the most part, except there are a couple matches where Cole was in the middle of his villain ‘Cole Miner’ run where he is more annoying. Luckily Cole dialed back his villain character on PPV so it is not all that bad, and is nowhere as insufferable as Booker T on commentary. When Booker T first started announcing in 2011, he was atrocious and his co-announcers rip on him nonstop throughout. Now in 2017 Booker T is…..still awful on commentary. Why did Booker T have to replace David Otunga on commentary this year!?! Otunga is far superior than Booker on commentary.

-It is worth noting that the first MitB contest in 2005 does have Chris Benoit in it. I think this is only the third or fourth Benoit match I have seen since the 2007 tragedy. It is hard to explain how that feels since WWE has not featured him in most home video releases since the double murder/suicide. WWE does make some edits around him in the 2005 match by removing his entrance and all lines of commentary pertaining to Benoit which makes for some awkward lulls whenever Benoit is on the offensive. I have no problem with WWE doing this and part of me is surprised they included this match in its entirety when they could have just done a quick highlights package instead and danced around Benoit’s involvement in the match. I can only ponder how befuddled newer fans not familiar with Benoit must feel watching this match and wondering who that unnamed wrestler is and why the announcers suddenly get quiet when he is on the attack.

-Shelton Benjamin is the highlight of the first batch of MitB matches. He is in five of the first six and in each one he usually has one or two surprising moments of ingenuity with the ladder that I have seen no one try to repeat since. Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne take over for Shelton for creative ladder spots in the second half of Straight to the Top. Kofi’s spots are a little goofier and do not usually pan out as well, but are still entertaining regardless. Reliving these matches again make me really miss Evan Bourne and I wish he was not as careless when it came to the PED tests he failed back-to-back that lead to his early WWE exit. I was stunned to see throughout this set that Rey Mysterio was only involved in just one MitB match in his lengthy WWE run.

-Kane is in a majority of the MitB matches in this anthology. He usually has one standout moment in a match where he does his vintage top rope clothesline or some other monstrous spot before the other competitors team up and incapacitate him for the rest of the match. I felt happy for Kane however when his lucked change in 2010 when he finally gets revenge and singlehandedly incapacitates each opponent with a destructive move before grabbing the briefcase for his MitB victory. I prefer how I originally worded this in my notes as ‘KANE KILLS EVERYONE TO GRAB BRIEFCASE.’

-Speaking of other unlikely big men to be in the MitB match, my favorite big man, Mark Henry is in a couple and I will give him a shoutout for a couple memorable spots, like teasing going off the top rope in 2009 before he gets tripped up and just dangles on top of the turnbuckle. In 2010 Henry has an awesome moment where he parts two ladders like how Moses parted the Red Sea….seriously. Believe it or not, Big Show participated in two MitB matches, and both times saw the inclusion of the super-ladder custom built for Big Show and capable of holding one ton of weight. Just watching Big Show attempt to get that beast of a ladder in the ring is an entertaining feat of itself and the wrestlers capitalize on taking advantage of that unique ladder.

-With so many ladder spots occurring in each match, there are going to naturally be a few botches transpiring here and there. I am never a fan of the ‘You ****ed up’ chants that happen when moves go awry because wrestlers can potentially injure themselves badly on a botch and it is incredibly disrespectful to the talent. The exception to this however is a comical botch where the danger level is low-to-nonexistent. There is the ultimate comical botch to the finish of the 2012 MitB match that John Cena won when John accidentally broke off the latch with his super-strength before he was suppose to win the match and he had to suddenly feign victory excitement before going back to bashing Big Show on the head with the briefcase.

-Probably the most vicious-looking spot of the collection is Sheamus powerbombing poor SinCara through a ladder, which lead to him getting the EMT-removal-treatment.

-The two hours of BluRay exclusives for Straight to the Top are probably the best exclusives of all other WWE BluRays. They feature all MitB cash-ins in their entirety. That is 12 matches all together, but of those 12, only two of them are main-event caliber match-ups. That is because only Rob Van Dam and John Cena are the only two MitB winners to announce their cash-in ahead of time so their bout was featured as a marquee main event match. All 10 other winners cashed in after the incumbent champion was in a vulnerable state after a grueling match or after getting ambushed unexpectedly by other wrestlers and made relatively quick work of the weakened champion. Watching the first cash-in again brought back memories of getting goosebumps because I did not know how the first ever cash-in would play out and it was so surprising because Edge waited 10 months to use it on a prone John Cena. Reliving RVD’s cash-in at One Night Stand 2006 was also special because it was in front of a raucous ECW-centric crowd at the Manhattan Center who ripped into John Cena with no remorse throughout the entire match. A few of the cash-ins I completely forgot about because a lot of them went down so similarly.

-I know fans that look forward to the MitB match each year more than the Royal Rumble match. Reliving all these matches again was a riot and there is rarely a dull moment in any of them. There are some stronger MitB matches than others, but nearly every match has several OMG moments. The only downside to this set is that it is now outdated by a few years and does not feature the last few MitB matches, but I guess that is what the WWE Network is for nowadays. If you want a vast majority of the MitB bouts on a nice BluRay set and not have to worry about digging through them individually on the WWE Network archives, then Straight to the Top: Money in the Bank Anthology is the way to go.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Clash of Champions
Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
DDP: Positively Living
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
Owen: Hart of Gold
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
TNA Lockdown 2005-2014
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Ultimate Fan Pack: Roman Reigns
Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania 32
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestling Road Diaries Three: Funny Equals Money
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

As promised, I am back with my take on the sequel to last month’s movie I covered, National Treasure, with 2007’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets (trailer). Why would there be a sequel when the first movie had such a happy ending you ask? That is because all it takes is some simple lines of dialogue and a couple quick minutes of setup to erase all the happy endings in Hollywood and establish a new conflict to conquer in a sequel.

How far has the cast come after earning their share of the mammoth treasure haul from the first movie? Well, Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage) and Abigail (Diane Kruger) start the film fresh off a breakup. Riley (Justin Bartha) has his share of the treasure haul embezzled by a greedy accountant and Patrick Gates (Jon Voight) has his family’s legacy accused of treason by newcomer antagonist Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris). Recall how Gates had an ancestor in the last film that had direct ties with the founding fathers? Turns out there was another Gates ancestor who had ties to a legendary treasure left behind by John Wilkes Booth during his attempted escape from authorities after murdering President Lincoln. Wilkinson’s accusation leads the Gates family along with Riley and Abigail to track down Booth’s treasure and clear their family’s good name!

From here Book of Secrets follows the same beats as the previous film. Nicolas Cage once again uses his one-of-a-kind couth to deduce riddles and clues that take his party across the globe to DC, Paris, London and finally finishing off their quest at Mt. Rushmore. Props to the filmmakers for once again sprinkling nonstop history facts throughout the film that the history nut in me absolutely ate up. To complete the established formula of the first film, expect several WTF/yeah right moments/stunts throughout. The biggest eyebrow-raiser is when the Gates family concludes that in order to uncover the next clue that they have to kidnap the President of the United States (Bruce Greenwood). If that is not ridiculous enough, the way it all plays out is more laughably absurd, but in a hilariously entertaining way.

I will once again give props to Cage for nailing the over-the-top, yet affable Benjamin Gates persona. The rest of the supporting cast brings it too and all gel together for yet another fun treasure hunt film. Other random little bits I want to mention is a quick shoutout to a minor periphery character, Connor (Ty Burrell). He rocks in the couple of scenes he is in! I want to be a part of the annual White House Easter Egg hunt! Those bunnies look far more happier than the one in Mallrats. Like the previous film, Book of Secrets likes to show off the latest tech and gadgets they have available. For a movie filmed in 2006, the cast is shown throughout showing off the latest features of their fancy flip phones that are equipped with a camera so they can send pics to each other. My oh my, how far phones have come in a decade. I bet the President’s Secret Book really does exist, and if I somehow stumble across it I swear I will not be like Benjamin Gates and quickly brush past the JFK assassination chapter like he does when Riley points it out with his retort being the cliché “there’s no time” excuse!

The Book of Secrets BluRay is stacked with extra features just like the last one. If you are an extra feature junkie like me, then you have probably seen some movies include various forms of feature-length pop-up factoids. This BluRay has a really enhanced version of that called Book of History where there is a lot of interactive ‘fact or fiction’ history questions posed at you and the film keeps track of your score throughout. I would have stuck with it for the whole film if I did not already watch it a second time with the audio commentary with director Jon Turteltaub and actor Jon Voight. Like Turteltaub’s last commentary, he came prepared with tons of facts and insights from the production process and he peppers in many little history bits throughout. Voight is amusing to listen to because he only occasionally chimes in every few scenes with, ‘Wow, what a movie!’

After the feature-length extras, there are an ten additional extra features totaling just under an hour and a half. There are a ton of deleted scenes included, and a few of which I would have loved to see in the film, but Turteltaub is on hand here to justify why they all had to remain on the cutting room floor. Of the nine other extras, the two I would recommend checking out the most would be Secrets of a Sequel which is a quick breakdown with the cast and crew about going ‘bigger and better’ in terms of scope and quality with the sequel. The other must-see extra is Inside Library of Congress, where the filmmakers spread the love about how awesome this particular library is, and detail its history and how it acquires its many books among its archives. Very cool!

Fans of the first film and of other treasure hunting classics like Indiana Jones cannot go wrong with National Treasure: Book of Secrets. As stated above, the filmmakers stick with the same formula of the first film, but crank it up a notch by trekking around the world to international landmarks and even bigger stunts/theatrics thanks in part to a bigger budget. To top it off, if you happen to love your American history as much as I do then expect a free bonus mini-history lesson out of the film too!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
The Interrogation
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3-5
Mortal Kombat
National Treasure
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Roseanne - Season 6

-Choo-choo! That’s right, the Roseanne blog train of 2017 is still chugging with this entry covering season six (s6 excerpt)! If you missed previous editions, click here to get caught up. The goal is to hopefully wrap up all nine seasons by the end of the year just before Roseanne makes its long awaited return to ABC after an absence of just over 20 years! Onto the job roll call…

-Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Nancy (Sandra Bernhard) are still holding down the fort at their self-owned diner, The Lunchbox. However, the trio has enough of Roseanne & Jackie’s mom, Bev (Estelle Parsons) and talk her out of her ownership stake of the diner. Bev gets the last laugh though, as she sells her share to Roseanne’s former, antagonizing boss, Leon (Martin Mull). As I mentioned in prior blogs, I am a huge fan of Roseanne & Leon’s dynamic in season’s three and four, though now both are equal owners of the restaurant, but that does not change much of their awesome love/hate relationship that is a delight to indulge.

Dan (John Goodman) is running his own business though I am not quite sure what exactly it is. I recall towards the end of season five he picked up some work renovating houses that families move out of, so I am presuming he took that over and is now running it. The show does not really say, but there are a few episodes that have scenes of him at his office. He ends up hiring Mark (Glenn Quinn), who makes his return to the show several episodes into this season. Becky (now portrayed by Sarah Chalke) returns too and she picks up a job working at the Hooters knockoff, Bunz.

-So yeah, Becky and Mark are now back on the show. Before we get there though, as you recall at the end of season six Darlene (Sara Gilbert) decides to go to college in Chicago. Darlene moves there in the first episode of the season, but she is not taking a huge sabbatical from the show like Becky did, as Roseanne has episodes with Darlene phoning home semi-frequently, or Darlene visiting home every two or three episodes since she essentially lives a few hours away. Darlene is only absent from six or seven episodes this season. A few episodes into the season, David (Johnny Galecki) makes up a lie to move in with Darlene. That only lasts several episodes and the way it plays out is the awesome disaster I anticipated!

So for a few episodes it is just DJ (Michael Fishman) as the sole child living in the Conner household until Becky and Mark move back. I will not spoil the show’s explanation for it, as it seems the writers wanted a fresh mix of young’ns back in the Conner house and picked a random reason out of a hat. Regardless it is a blast to get Becky and Mark back in the mix. Sara Chalke is a fine replacement for Lecy Goranson. I recall watching the series as I grew up I was too naïve to realize she was replaced since a year and a half went by on the show without her. It seems the show does not want to overdo it on forcing Chalke in your face either as she is only a featured actor in a handful of episodes and is primarily in the background for most of her duration this season. Speaking of dialing it back, I am glad Darlene got dialed back more this season too, as the writers went overkill with the Darlene character in season five and she is a little less crass and not as reliant on cheesy-one liners as before.

-This is a big season for Jackie as she meets and hooks up with Dan’s coworker, Fred (Michael O’Keefe). Jackie winds up expecting after their one night stand, and watching the season unfold as Fred wanting to be supportive for Jackie, but Jackie trying to ignore Fred’s advances was fun to keep up with throughout the season and it led to an awesome payoff in the season finale. O’Keefe is a natural fit for the show and is perfect in portraying Fred. He won me over after just a couple of episodes with him.

-This season DJ finally gets to be more prominent for the first time throughout a season. He has several episodes with him in the forefront, and they are actually good! DJ joins a church group and constantly questions his family’s decisions, while in another episode the family finds out DJ has begun masturbation which culminates in Dan having a raucous heart-to-heart talk with his son! Finally, in a “special” episode Roseanne loses it and goes overboard punishing DJ and has an emotional scene with DJ apologizing for her actions in one of the most powerful scenes of the series by far.

-Speaking of “special” episodes, the show brought them full force this season with a two-parter involving Dan finding out that his mom is mentally disabled and has to move her into a mental hospital. These are the only two episodes this season that feature Crystal (Natalie West) and Dan’s father, Ed (Ned Beatty). Dan and Ed have a few intense/aggressive scenes which had a surprising resolution I did not see coming. Seeing the blowback from this and how it affected the whole family was very impactful to watch, and my hat is off to Barr and Goodman for delivering on some dramatic scenes to take in.

-On a lighter note, the writing for season six is easily my favorite for the entire series up until this point. Almost every episode has several moments where I found myself nodding along to another excellent line of dialogue. This is most apparent in the annual Thanksgiving/Halloween episodes both standing out as blowing away all other prior holiday shows from Roseanne. Instead of good-natured ‘spooky’ gags past Halloween shows relied on, this one is all about just trying to have the best prank, and the depths the family went to prank Roseanne this year and later on that show how Roseanne pranked Jackie had me losing it! Roseanne has constantly pushed the envelope each season with tackling controversial topics like homosexuality, child abuse, mental illness and they can add another one to the list with promoting pot as Dan and Roseanne rediscover their 20-year old stash in an unforgettable scene.

-Season six is the first of the DVDs to contain zero extra features so that will wrap up my take on this year of Roseane. This is a much-needed pick me up from the mixed results of season five, and ranks right up there as one of the best seasons of the show so far. Once again, I will give credit to the writers for delivering with a strong script throughout most of the season.

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
2016-17 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions

Younger and newer fans of pro wrestling, lend me your ears! I have to let you know how spoiled we are to have so many countless hours of top programming each week featuring marquee matchups/storyline angles. “The Monday Night Wars” between WWF/WCW in the second half of the 1990s changed that and forced both promotions’ marquee shows to consistently put on top matchups and rivalries each week. When I first started watching wrestling in the late 80s the bulk of weekly television put on by WCW and the then-WWF featured primarily squash matches and recaps from the latest big PPV and TV specials.

WWF and WCW only had four or five PPVs a year around this time and they usually featured several big matches with many weeks of television buildup. To help fill those three-four month gaps between PPVs, both WWF and WCW did four-five TV specials/mini-PPVs for free on cable a year during this timeframe. WWF had Saturday Night’s Main Event (SNME) and WCW had Clash of the Champions (CotC). Instead of several big PPV-quality matchups over the course of three hours ad-free, these specials were 90-120 minutes with ad breaks. SNME and CotC mostly featured one top matchup, supplemented by other matches featuring top stars, but usually in last minute thrown together meaningless tag matches. WWE released a best of SNME DVD-set in 2009, but today I am covering their Best of WCW Clash of the Champions (trailer)BluRay set they released in 2012.

Dusty Rhodes is the host of this DVD set, and he has a good introduction to the DVD explaining that WCW made CotC free and held the inaugural show to compete directly against Wrestlemania IV as a response to WWE forcing the first Survivor Series PPV to compete directly against WCW’s first PPV a few months earlier. It was a joy seeing Dusty again a couple years after his passing, and he is charismatic as ever, but the rest of his appearances in The Best of CotC are surprisingly lackluster as he sheds no context or insight about the matches he is setting up and merely says a variation of, “here is wrestler A and here is wrestler B, oh-boooyy.” I know I am splitting hairs nitpicking over Dusty’s intros but Diamond Dallas Page did an excellent job with them in the trilogy of Best of Nitro DVDs that I cannot help but feel a little dismayed at Dusty’s performance.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even though nearly all 27 matches contained in the Best of CotC (three of which are exclusive to BluRay) have top talent, only a small slice of the 27 bouts have clean finishes. If I recall correctly from watching these at the time I presumed the bookers did this to teach fans that they had to pay the big bucks for the PPV match that did not feature interference. At first I was increasingly agitated to see many excellent matches have run-ins for a quick DQ or tainted victory, but eventually I accepted it as par for the course by the end of the collection.

I want to highlight a few of my favorite matchups on this set. The first match is the main event from the first CotC, and it features one of the first televised matchups of Sting and Ric Flair as the two fought for the NWA World Title and went to a 45 minute time limit draw. The crowd is simply bonkers into Sting as the two put on a clinic in the ring and have several dramatic near falls in the final minutes. The infamous “I Quit” match between Flair and Terry Funk from 1989 is another epic match on this collection, and features a ton of hardcore action and brawling between the two before ECW popularized that style a few years later. Ricky Steamboat and Steve Austin (then with a full head of hair from his “Stunning” days) have an awesome match for the US title with tons of near falls and is one of the few great matches on here with a clean finish. My last top pick on here is a cruiserweight title match between Ultimo Dragon and Dean Malenko that features a good hybrid of Dean’s technical prowess and Dragon’s high-flying acrobatics. Those four matches are the feature bouts that have no cheap interference and left me wanting more.

As I alluded to earlier there are many good-to-great matches on here that unfortunately suffer with a awful finish. The Rock ‘n Roll Express and Midnight Express light up the crowd in one instance and Ric Flair carries a young Lex Luger in one of his best matches, but both contests feature cheap DQs. Sting and Flair put on another classic match on here from 1994, but a theme of the match is on Sherri Martel’s presence at ringside throughout, and sure enough she factors into the finish. Two more tag title matches that have a lot of great action with crowd’s engaged throughout, only to be letdown with a lame DQ were Arn Anderson and Ric Flair taking on the Hollywood Blonds and Harlem Heat defending their gold against the Steiners and Lex Luger & Sting. Of the three BluRay extras, only one stood out and that was Ric Flair & Barry Windham taking on the Midnight Express with all four guys being on top of their game and making formula tag team spots stand out in a class of their own to the delight of a rabidly hot crowd.

The matches in here span from 1988-1997. In 1998, WCW introduced Thunder as its second top-tier weekly show to supplement Nitro, and that brought an end to CotC. Seeing how WCW and its production values evolved over the decade was fascinating and they came a long way in that decade, especially in its final few years. While a majority of the matches have awesome wrestling and very engaged crowds, it is regrettably unfortunate to not recommend The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions because of the sheer amount of cruddy finishes. There are four or five standout matches tucked away within that I breakdown above, but you are better suited hunting those down on the WWE Network than shedding out the money for the DVD.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
DDP: Positively Living
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
Owen: Hart of Gold
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
TNA Lockdown 2005-2014
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Ultimate Fan Pack: Roman Reigns
Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania 32
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestling Road Diaries Three: Funny Equals Money
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

National Treasure

In my high school and college days, history was always my favorite class. In elementary school I would learn the order of all the US Presidents and all the US capitols and in down time would look up presidential election results and population sizes on state atlases. For fun! Yup, I was that kid. I also like treasure hunter type films like Indiana Jones (which I plan on covering here down the line), so I was absolutely giddy when history and treasure hunting combined for 2004’s National Treasure (trailer).

National Treasure features Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Gates, who is a modern day treasure hunter spending most of his life chasing after a long lost family treasure that has ties all the way back to the original founding fathers of the country. The film kicks off with Gates, his assistant tech wiz, Riley (Justin Bartha) and his investor partner Ian (Sean Bean) finding a major clue to the family treasure they spent decades searching for. Their discovery contains a riddle that Cage does a masterful job hamming it up like only he can when he solves the riddle and deduces that the Declaration of Independence has a secret treasure map on it. Ian matter-of-factly states “ok, time to steal this sacred document” and of course Gates is not about that so Ian turns on him right there. Now, both men are off to steal the Declaration and set about a greater chase with Ian right on Ben’s tail to track down the sought-after family treasure.

The history fan in me is incredibly biased towards this movie. Gates is constantly spouting quick history anecdotes as him, Riley and Declaration expert Abigail (Diane Kruger) venture on their expedition across historical US cities such as Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC. There is a big setup for the Declaration heist, and as far-fetched as the whole ordeal is, I still enjoyed the big heist scene. Cage is perfect as treasure hunter in over his head, and is awesome whenever he shows off his uncanny acting ability at solving riddles. Ian is a serviceable antagonist, and as expected is always one step behind Gates, but he has a few tricks up his sleeve later on in the film to keep the heroes constantly watching their back.

As much as I love this film I could see why others would dislike it. If you do not have an interest in US History, I can see how some would dismiss National Treasure with a ‘hard pass.’ Like other treasure hunter franchises such as Indiana Jones and Uncharted expect many ‘yeah right’ and ‘BS’ stunts/heroics throughout the film. If those kinds of stunts can ruin a film for you than there are a few eyebrow-raising scenes in National Treasure that will most likely infuriate you. Again, the history nut in me made it easy to justify these faults with some convenient lines of dialogue or other Hollywood tricks, but be forewarned, expect some ridiculous-ness.

The BluRay is stacked with extra features. There is 75 minutes of bonus material broken up into 10 parts. I would recommend cruising through the deleted scenes with director introductions as there are a few fun scenes I wished that would have made the cut with a unique strip club scene standing out the most! Of the many behind-the-scene features included the two I would recommend the most are Ciphers, Codes & Codebreakers and To Steal a National Treasure. The former is about how deciphering codes has evolved over time and the latter is about how the filmmakers researched breaking into the National Archives with its then severely-outdated security system.

There is also an entertaining commentary with director Jon Turtleaub and Justin Bartha worth checking out. It is one of the better commentary tracks I have endured as the duo are constantly self-deprecating and have a good rapport throughout. They react to criticism to the film, jest about how dated the film’s effects will look in several years and Jon recites old high school stories of Nicolas Cage. Finally, there is an interactive Declaration of Independence where you can use your BluRay remote to ‘decode’ various phrases from it to unlock mini-documentaries relating to Colonial life at the time of the document’s inception. If you are patient enough with it, there is a ton to unlock and check out!

13 years later National Treasure still holds up. The special effects are not as dated as Jon & Justin hint they might be, and it is a fun, by-the-numbers treasure hunt/chase film. Again, being at least a little bit of a fan of US History is recommended going into this, but if you are not you may be into this if all you are looking for is a good ‘ol fashion treasure hunting film. I plan on covering the sequel, Book of Secrets next month so please join me again in a few weeks for one more round with Cage and company!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
The Interrogation
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3-5
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Roseanne - Season 5

Time does not stop for the Roseanne marathon. Welcome to my blog covering season five of my all-time favorite sitcom (s5 excerpt). If you missed my past season write-ups, click here to consume the previous installments. As with my past editions, I will continue my format of bullet point highs and lows of the season:

-Like last season’s blog, I will kickstart this season’s list with a job status roll call. If you recall, the café in the mall Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) worked at last season closed down in the season four finale, so Roseanne starts off the season jobless. Also as I alluded to season four ended with Dan (John Goodman) not being optimistic about the future for the bike shop, and his worries prove true as the bike shop closes the in the first episode of season five. I loved the bike shop! I was sad to see it go, and the show goes to great lengths to make it feel rotten for a family investing it all and striking out. The first few episodes of the season are pretty depressing for the Connor family as the episodes have a despondent undertone for them as the Connors try to find work and make the most of what they have.

Things take an upswing a few episodes later as Roseanne, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), their mom Beverly (Estelle Parsons) and friend Nancy (Sandra Bernhard) open up their own diner, The Lunchbox. Now this is the restaurant I primarily associated the Conner family working at from what I recalled watching growing up. Things end up going well for the Conner ladies, while Dan struggles finding multiple new jobs throughout the season. I love the homey atmosphere of The Lunch Box. Leon (Martin Mull) is not their manager as I recalled, but he does make a cameo as a health inspector in one episode in a scene that he and Roseanne instantly pick up their love/hate relationship where they left off.

-The first few episodes of the season have a lot of heavy material. Aside from what I mentioned above of the bike shop closing down and the Conners falling on hard times, Becky (Lecy Goranson) and Mark (Glenn Quinn) elope and move to Minneapolis. There are a lot of intense verbal spats between Becky and her parents where the three really bring it in an explosive first two episodes that saw some of the best acting in the entire series by this point. Becky and Mark are only in the first three episodes this season. This is because Lecy took a break from the show to pursue college, and would explain Sarah Chalke filling in for Becky for the remainder of the series.

-The relationship between Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and David (Johnny Galecki) also escalates. I enjoyed the running gag this season that the two would never have sex. In the latter half of the season, a family blow-up causes David to be taken in and made an official part of the Conner family. This gets thumbs up for me as David seemed like an unofficial member of the family by this point anyways as he was always making himself at home. Darlene and David spend a good chunk of the season debating on leaving town for a writing school, and their relationship is put to the test in the final episodes of the season when only one of them gets accepted to the school.

-I was a fan of Roseanne’s new neighbors this season, The Tildens. The daughter Molly (Danielle Harris) is an awesome foil for Darlene this season. Charlotte (Mara Hobel) is the motherly older daughter filling in the mom role for the family since they are only raised by their father Ty (Wings Hauser). There is a fun episode where the Conners and Tildens all squeeze into Ty’s Winnebago for a cross-country road trip filled with nonstop family feuding that brought back countless memories of my family road trips. I was dismayed to find out when researching this blog that the Tildens were only featured in season five of Roseanne as I was a fan of all three by the end of the season.

-Roseanne’s and Dan’s friends are dialed back a lot this season. I was a little bummed by this as I was a big Crystal (Natalie West) fan and she only appears briefly in two or three episodes. DJ (Michael Fishman) is mostly in the background again this season and completely absent in a couple episodes. DJ primarily is only around to be the weird kid who chimes in with an awkward zinger or two an episode. He does have a couple fun scenes with a really young Joseph-Gordon Levitt in the season finale though.

-Other than a couple exception episodes, most of the middle third of this season is kind of a lull. To be honest, the crowd took it away from me with them suffering from cracking up way too much at every joke and one-liner regardless of how funny it actually was. This part of the season had a big reliance on one-liners and cheap jokes, and a good chunk of the middle episodes this season suffered because of it. I got the vibe from the crowd that Darlene’s new emo-character was the ‘hip/edgy’ character of the year as the audience triply reacted to all of her lines. This lead to what felt like all of Darlene’s lines becoming forgettable cheap laughs to give the audience their edgy-Darlene fix. It got to be insufferable halfway through the season, but thankfully Roseanne dialed it back a couple notches in the season’s final episodes.

-Other real quick tidbits to touch on are that I was surprised by the dark twist that transpires with Jackie her latest boyfriend, Fisher (Matt Roth) this season. Props to the show for touching on controversial issues in the early 90s. They also regularly feature a couple gay characters this season which was uncommon among most network sitcoms at the time. I like the 4th-wall breaking scenes where the actors portray themselves in quick little sketches during the end-credits, but I could not help but get the feeling season five jumped the shark on them with a few too many of them this season. I will give DJ props for keeping the Super Nintendo and Game Boy spirit alive in a couple moments again this season. Other notable celebrity cameos in season five include Tim Curry, Chris Farley, Bill Maher and Joan Collins to look forward to. There is only one extra feature on the DVD, but it is a goodie which is a five minute Q&A session with Roseanne Barr where she answers some of her most FAQs concerning the show lore and certain recurring gimmicks that made for a fun little bonus.

-That wraps it up for season five! It has a strong first few and final few episodes, but only a few worthwhile episodes in the middle which makes it a bit of a challenge to get through. Only five more months until the new season of Roseanne premieres on ABC this January! Get stoked!

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
2016-17 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television