The Mandalorian is owned by Disney
Directed by Dave Filoni
The episode begins with a bang as we find ourselves in the middle of a dogfight between The Mandalorian and some random fool who thinks he can step up to the greatest bounty hunter ever like he’s just another bail jumper. It’s the John Wick problem all over again; the only people foolish enough to try and kill him are the people least likely to get the job done. As you’d expect (if for no other than we’ve got a bunch more episodes to go), The Mandalorian does NOT die in a massive space explosion but instead explodes the other dude with his quick reflexes, sharp wit, and awesome space ship; not to mention his little baby cheerleader who provides the best kind of support possible; moral support! By the way, I think I’ll go with… Bob and Gene this week, and I hope we get some real names for them soon enough as the well is starting to run dry and I dread the episode where I’ll start referring to these two as Beavis and Butthead.
So anyway, Bob and Gene land on a nearby dirt planet to fix up their ride before heading to… wherever it is they’re headed, and they run into AMY FREAKING SEDARIS as a foul mouthed mechanic who will fix up the ride as Bob heads into town to run a few errands. I choose to believe this means that Jerri Blank is now a part of the Star Wars canon which makes it all the more hilarious when she finds Gene inside and plans to “take care of them” while Bob’s away. I can only assume this means she’ll leave them in a park or sell them on the black market, but let’s hold off on references to twenty year old Comedy Central series and find out what Bob’s up to on his day off from babysitting. As with most parents who are free from their children for the first time in a while, he heads straight to a bar where we find out that this dirt planet is ACTUALLY Tatooine and that they use robo-bartenders complete with dirty rag wiping uselessly on the scuffed countertop. Just to clarify, the robot isn’t actually CLEANING anything here as he’s barely covering six square inches of the gigantic counter; it’s purely for aesthetic affect and someone had to build him to do that. Now despite my cheeky allusions to Bob doing a bit of day drinking, he’s actually there to find a quick bounty for some quick cash as he presumably burned through all their food money fixing up the spaceship and he meets a guy named Toro (Jake Cannavale) who looks super green but has a bounty he’s willing to split with Bob. Sounds like the perfect opportunity, but the target in question is a big wig assassin who’s been on the run after the fall of the Galactic Empire, and Bob knows this will ultimately end with someone’s untimely death and he doesn’t want to deal with either himself dying or having to cradle this whipper snapper in his arms before succumbing to his fatal case of Red Shirt-itis. Then again, Toro is kind of adorable in an utterly pathetic sort of way (and Bob could really use the cash), so against his better judgement he agrees to help this bounty hunting newbie secure his target.
Queen & Slim and all the images you see in this review are owned by
Directed by Melina Matsoukas
Seriously, how weird is it going to be when Daniel Kalula finally sells out? True he was in that Johnny English sequel that I haven’t actually seen, but his career since 2015 has been an absolutely sterling one with great performances in Sicario, Get Out, Black Panther, and Widows. Now he’s back with this film which looks to be one of the standout films of awards season, so we can only hope that his star continues to rise or that his inevitable cash in project is one that is utterly hilarious; like when Laura Linney showed up in that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel or how Nic Cage’s first film after Leaving Las Vegas was one-two-three punch of awesome nonsense called The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. ANYWAY! With this movie taking on such a hot button subject matter with a great cast and a stylish looking presentation, does it manage to be one of the best films of the year or were we all fooled into seeing an utter train wreck? Let’s find out!!
Ernest Hines and Angela Johnson (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) who I don’t recall ACTUALLY being called Slim or Queen in the movie, are out on a rather mediocre first date when the Sword of Damocles that hangs over all people of color in this country comes crashing down on their heads in the form of a traffic stop. Within minutes of doing absolutely nothing, Ernest has a gun pointed at him and Angela is reaching for her cell phone to get this on film for both their sakes. The racists cop (Sturgill Simpson) doesn’t take long to shoot the unarmed woman in the leg and Ernest has no choice but to tackle the cop, wrest the gun away, and in the ensuing conflict he shoots the cop dead; leaving the both of them in a dire predicament. Know what is waiting for them if they get taken alive (which in and of itself seems like a slim possibility) Ernest and Angela get in the car and start driving as fast as they can to Angela’s uncle’s place a few hours away for shelter where they can regroup and come up with a plan. If they can somehow get to Florida and find a plane to take them to Cuba they should be safe at least for the time being, and so Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) gives them a bit of cash, a decent car, and the address of an old army buddy (Flea) who may just be able to get them that plane. Along the way however, they must contend with the closing in manhunt, staying under the radar, and making snap decisions on who they can trust, where they can hide, and just how much they can trust those they meet along the way. Can Queen & Slim manage to survive this journey and avoid the corrupt system that condemned them before they did anything wrong? What impact will their story have on the country and on those they meet along the way? Did any of those rich old jerks from Get Out think about these realities of being black in America when they were switching brains? I DIDN’T THINK SO!!
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
So apparently last week’s show had some frighteningly low ratings which kind of surprised me. No, not that the ratings were low but that anyone besides me DID watch it last Wednesday as I myself, watching the show for this recap series as much as for its own sake, couldn’t dedicate the full two hours to just watching it as I had about a dozen other things to do that night before Thanksgiving. Look, I’m a millennial and TV as a thing you had to make time for on a fixed schedule is about as outdated to me as landline phones, so I’m surprised the ratings have been as good as they are; especially with TNT initially projecting about half a million viewers per episode which last week’s show still managed to clear easily despite being such a big dip. To me, that’s not as important as the quality of the show itself which has been pretty solid the last few weeks even if the last one felt like they were phoning it in a bit considering they were basically working on a holiday. Now that we’re back on a regular schedule with nothing else to get in the way, does AEW come back stronger than ever? Let’s find out!!
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) & Dustin Rhodes Vs. Proud and Powerful (Santana & Ortiz) & Sammy Guevara
The show begins with a six man tag match which had a bunch of wrestlers we haven’t seen in the ring for quite some time. The Young Bucks as well as Dustin Rhodes have been showing up here and there for brawls and what not, but it’s been close to a month since they’ve actually had a match and maybe even longer for Dustin. Yeah, maybe getting your arm slammed in the door by the muscle bound mo-fo in a polo known as Jake Hager was NOT the best idea since the dude still has a cast on now, but regardless of that how was the match? Actually pretty good! Despite being more or less the “old man” of the promotion (even though he’s only a year older than Jericho) Dustin is still a superstar who the crowd will put over at the drop of a hat. He manages to land a tandem Super Kick on Sammy with The Young Bucks, he does that worn out gimmick he’s been trying out that’s actually pretty endearing, and he is still fast, tough, and agile with some impressive snap suplexes and some sort of front flip dive from the apron. The other standout however is Sammy who takes SO much abuse in this match but makes it all look easy. He may not have the mic skills of MJF, but he may be the second most talented “new guy” in the promotion after him; especially after landing some very impressive moves. Dude does this AMAZING 630 splash from the top ropes, looking like Sonic the Hedgehog doing a Spin Dash, which was amazing to see but still not enough to put Dustin away who only gets more and more love from the crowd because of it. Now this isn’t to say that The Bucks and Proud and Powerful didn’t hold their own as Dustin and Sammy wouldn’t have looked quite as good with them, and they certainly do have the more refined tag team repertoire to fill in the gaps of the match. The finishing move was utterly ridiculous where Dustin and Nick were holding Santana and Ortiz upside down with Sammy on the mat. Matt then jumps from the top rope, kicks Proud N Powerful on his way down, and then lands on Sammy. Excessive to be sure since they didn’t NEED to damage Santana and Ortiz to get the win, but if you CAN show off you might as well do it. I really did enjoy this match quite a bit and everyone in it looked REALLY good, but I always prefer the opening matches to be a bit shorter and this one could have ended during the comeback following Dustin kicking out of the 630 instead of going on for another five to ten minutes or so. It also advances the storyline a bit as THE ELITE Vs. THE INNER CIRCLE is definitely an angle they’re building up steam towards, but I was really hoping Dustin would grab the mic after the match and challenge Jake Hager (the guy who fractured his arm) right then and there like when Darby Allin accepted Jon Moxley’s challenge. A few tweaks here and there might have improved it, but still a good way to start the show.
The Mandalorian is owned by Disney
Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard
The episode begins with an idyllic looking village on an unknown planet where villagers are catching fish, weaving things, and hoping that nothing bad or “Empire” like will come out of the forest to destroy their lives. Well the good news is that the Empire does not in fact attack the village! The bad news… some other dudes with lasers and pointy sticks do, who look suspiciously like Lord of the Rings Orcs, and we see that one mother and her child just barely survive the attack by hiding under water. From there we cut back to… let’s go with Homer as the Mandalorian and Bart as Baby Yoda, who are still flying in the middle of nowhere space; the little green hellion continuing to touch things and nearly kill them all while Homer is keeping his eyes on the space road. Sensing a bit of pent up energy within the little bugger’s attempts to destroy the ship by flipping levers, Homer decides it’d be a good idea to land on the nearest planet and let Bart run around a bit while he plans their next move. As it turns out, the planet they land on is the same one we just saw and it’s a planet so idyllic and peaceful that their skeevy space saloon is about as threatening as an Applebee’s. The best part is when Homer and Bart take a seat and they notice a mercenary sitting in a corner and they try to get information on her from the waitress, but she legitimately knows nothing and after Homer tosses her some cash to spill what she knows, she literally thinks it’s just a big tip for doing so well at her job. That was pretty funny and you can even tell the frustration that Homer is feeling from underneath the helmet for having to deal with people who AREN’T backstabbing jerks.
Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
It’s been no secret that I have been nonplussed by this arc in the Sonic Comic because of just how much it drones on and on with zombie trope after zombie trope as if they weren’t already beaten to death in the wake of Shaun of the Dead. The last few issues in particular have been particularly stagnant as we can’t even move forward temporally with each issue following a different character on the same day so we know where everything ends up even before starting the next tedious zombie ridden chapter! We’ve already covered Tails, Amy, and now it’s Sonic’s turn to tell us how his miserable day went miserably just like every other day since the apocalypse began, but will they find a way to at least make HIS side of it any more interesting? Let’s find out!!
The issue begins with Sonic continuing to run his butt off so that the super Fit Bit Tails had given him can collect data that may be able to produce a cure for Eggman’s Zom-bot virus that has swept the globe and made everything so dreadfully repetitive around here. Luckily for him though, he JUST SO HAPPENS to pass by one of the many deserted villages and sees Eggman in his little hover thingy along with Dr. Starline who are trying some new techniques to regain control of the Zombot army. The two are bickering incessantly which is more than enough of a distraction for Sonic to get in nice and close!
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with even more AEW action on one of the few days of the year I really don’t feel like having AEW action! I spent the WHOLE time this show was on frantically cooking things for today and I can’t imagine all the workers there were too happy to be doing this instead of spending time with their families, but maybe I’m wrong about that. I mean that crowd was pretty good for a night before Thanksgiving wrestling show, and this particular holiday is kind of nonsense anyway, so maybe they’re exactly where they want to be! In any case, I think we can probably cut each other a bit of slack here if I missed anything or didn’t fully grasp the DRAMA with what was happening, okay? Let’s get started!!
Chris Jericho’s Thanksgiving Thank You Spectacular
As announced last week after Jericho’s heartfelt apology, the episode started with a Thanksgiving Party in the ring that no one was invited to but we were all more than welcome to spectate as Jericho just chews up the scenery with more voracity than most people have eating the stuffing and creamed corn on National Turkey Day. Before he even gets into the ring someone named Soul Train Jones (I’m pretty sure he was in one of The Inner Circle’s video packages) introduces Jericho who then comes down to the ring accompanied by a marching band because you don’t get Le Champion to do anything half assed. The crowd is totally marking out for the guy with chants of THANK YOU JERICHO before starting to boo him the moment he starts speaking, and this really did add a lot to the segment; especially when Jericho offers them fifty cents off his T-shirts and they react like they won a car. The inner Circle eventually comes in after Jericho has pimped out all his new merch, and they proceed to give him various gifts to show their appreciation for the dude who made them the biggest names in wrestling. Sammy Guevara gives him a standee of the two of them hugging while Proud N Powerful give him a basket full of… stuff I guess. Vicks Vapo-rub, a box of dominos, booze, basically everything you would need to survive in a fallout shelter once the bombs start to drop. Even Jake Hager gets in on the revelry as he comes out with a very uncooperative goat named Chris Jeri-goat which is the second best name for a goat right after Benedict Cumber-BAAAAAA-tch. I don’t know why any of this is happening and I hope that animal wasn’t TOO distressed, but it seemed to be all in good fun and Hager could not keep a straight face in the slightest. The last gift however was the best one of it all because it reminded me of the only wrestler better than Jericho (The MIz) which turned out to be his dad who is a former hockey player and proceeds to hometown team; Like father like son I supposed. I did like this segment, but I feel they should have cut it a bit shorter or made them more of heels throughout as they come off as fun loving and kind of dorky dudes celebrating how much they appreciate each other which is not exactly the image you want for your dominate heel faction. I mean even if you wanted to argue that they were self-centered and cocky, it’s still not particularly THREATENING, and the one thing about all these guys is that they know how to cause damage when you least expect it; not just waste time giving each other pats on the back. EVENTUALLY though, there comes a point where he has the ring announcer read a thank you note from TNT to the crowd, but the guy doesn’t read it in as nice a tone as LE CHAMPION would have wanted and so they Inner Circle curb stomps him. FINALLY they start to act like heels but then out of nowhere three dudes in the marching band rush the ring, turn out to be SCU in disguise, and start cleaning house; INCLUDING knocking Soul Train Jones right no his ass! I don’t know how much you can claim to be good guys if you’re clothes-lining dudes in their late fifties, but it did end the segment on a high note which is good enough for me.
Playing with Fire and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Andy Fickman
There are SO many movies that I needed to catch up on. I could have seen Midway, Harriet, Black and Blue, but nope! Given the opportunity to catch up on SOMETHING that might have had some sort of message or Oscar aspirations, I went with the John Cena family film. You may not agree with the choices I make, but I stand by them. ANYWAY! Mr. Cena hasn’t had quite the meteoric rise to stardom as his wrestling counterpart Dwayneson The Rockson Johnson, but his comparably sparse filmography is compensated with a lot of quality films. The Marine was a fantastic little B action film, he got a lot of praise for his appearances in Trainwreck and Sisters, and Blockers is an uproarious funny comedy with a lot of heart where he manages to hold his own against seasoned veterans such as Ike Barinholtz and Leslie Mann! Okay, he had a brief role in Daddy’s Home 2, but no one’s IMDb page is spotless. The point is that John Cena seems to be following the same trajectory as Daniel Radcliffe or even his wrestling contemporary Dave Bautista; people who have already made all their money and so they can be choosy and experimental with the roles they decide to take. The question then becomes, is there something in this Nickelodeon comedy about firemen watching a bunch of bratty children that rightfully drew Cena to the role, or is this a huge misstep for a guy who’s been savvy enough to avoid them for the most part? Let’s find out!!
Jake Carson (John Cena) is the head of a unit of Smokejumpers in the California wilderness; saving lives, looking cool, and never wavering from their sense of duty! Cena in particular has a bright future ahead of him as the current Commander of the state’s Smokejumpers (Denis Haysbert) is looking to retire soon and Cena is on his short list, so all he has to do is make sure his firehouse located deep in the forest is ship shape and ready to impress! With his faithful crew of Mark, Rodrigo, and Axe (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane) working hard to keep things in order, there’s no WAY he’ll blow this opportunity… right? Well as it turns out they get a call about a burning cabin in the woods where they find three children, Brynn, Will, and Zoey (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, and Finley Rose Slater), unharmed and yet without their parents nearby. Since Jake and his crew were the first on the scene, it is incumbent upon them to keep these kids safe at the firehouse until their parents turn up which turns out to be no small task for the rigid and humorless Jake who soon learns just how easily he can lose control of the situation! Can these four smoke jumping superhero dudes survive a weekend with three bratty kids? Are they REALLY this obnoxious for seemingly no reason, or is one of them actually scheming behind their backs and looking for the right opportunity to strike? Seriously, if you were caught in a fire and needed rescuing, wouldn’t you want these guys to do it? John Cena, Obama’s anger translator, Luigi from the Mario Bros movie, and the guy who played Michael Myers?