Monthly Archives: January 2020

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-29-20)

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AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT

The vacation is over, the beach has been thoroughly bashed, and it’s time for AEW to get back into the swing of things!  With their next PPV revolution just a month away, we’ve got a lot storylines to set up, expand upon, and pay off before then, so let’s get started and see what they do!

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Jon Moxley Promo – Preparing For Revolution

Not even five seconds into the show, the dude’s music hits and he comes out through the crowd wearing an ACTUAL eyepatch this time instead of just a bandage, so I’m gonna start calling him Big Mox for the rest of this episode.  After his win against Pac last week, it’s now official that he will be challenging Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship Revolution and the man is just GIDDY at the prospect!  He calls Jericho out for being a coward and a Jabroni who got through his career with guile and manipulation rather than heart and honor, and he straight up calls him out to have the match RIGHT now instead of waiting for the big show.  Surprising everyone, Jericho DOES come out from the back to confront Moxley, but he stays nice and safe on the ramp rather than go down to the ring.  After all, what’s the point of having these really nice microphones if they’re not going to talk to each other from nice safe distances?  Jericho goes in on the insults and calls him a pirate, he talks about how he wants to bang his mother, all the heel classics, but there is one thing that hits home and is a genuine mark against Big Mox; Jericho calls out the Inner Circle because he’s GOT those teammates who will be there to watch his back.  Moxley on the other hand, has no one.  He’s got a bigger chip on his shoulder than anyone and certainly is one of the most skilled guys there, but without eyes in the back of his head and only one eye working on the front of it, he’s a bit out of his depth which is a great bit of characterization for the guy and it kind of reminds me a bit of the end of Moxley’s run at WWE where his final storyline was about him wanting to go it alone but realizing he’s a part of The Shield and is at his best when he’s with his bros.  Sadly he doesn’t have Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins here to join forces with, but I’m curious if anyone here will try to befriend him in the next few weeks.  Things get a bit weird here as, for whatever reason, Santana & Ortiz have brought a bunch of dudes from the Bronx with them (the show is in Cleveland, did The Inner Circle pay their bus fare?), and so now Moxley is EVEN MORE outnumbered than usual.  Moxley’s not perturbed in the least however because he’s in his home town, but this still seems like a bad guy no matter how brass his balls may be, and sure enough he’s SWIFTLY overwhelmed by the numbers and has to retreat before they take out his other eye.  This was a really great way to start the show and I really hope they develop Moxley beyond just the trash talking super badass, but only time will tell if they make good on him being the lone wolf who needs a pack.

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Cinema Dispatch: The Gentlemen

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The Gentlemen and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Films

Directed by Guy Ritchie

So hey!  Now that we’re talked about our collective complicated relationship with Michael Bay, we might as well get to Guy Ritchie as well!  I actually haven’t seen most of his movies, even the ones that everyone else seems to like (no, I haven’t seen Snatch) but the general consensus is well known and can be seen even in the few films I’ve sat through; an over reliance of style over substance which coupled with the wrong material is utterly disastrous.  He SOMEHOW didn’t crash and burn with Aladdin even if that isn’t a great movie, but King Arthur was an absolute garbage fire of a movie; one that I’m sure we’ll all have fun laughing about for years to come.  Then again, his adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a surprising fun little ride, and with him returning to his comfort zone for this movie maybe he’ll get back into the groove of things and give us something truly enjoyable once again!  Can Guy Ritchie still knock it out of the park when he’s doing the one thing we know he’s good at?  Let’s find out!!

Told to us by way of Fletcher the journalist (Hugh Grant), Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is the biggest grower and distributor of marijuana in the UK, and despite being so successful and sacrificing so much to keep his business afloat, well he’s approaching that age where there are more important things and so he decides it’s time to sell it.  His buyer to be is the much more respectable Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) who will need to pay a pretty penny for it as that kind of infrastructure will be primed to make BILLIONS once pot is legalized in the UK, but as it turns out there’s someone else vying for a chance to get it from Mickey; namely the Chinese-British gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding) who’s uncle George (Tom Wu) basically controls all the other drugs in the country.  Mickey isn’t planning on selling to anyone else though and politely tells him to shove it which was probably the right move to make but still ends up causing headache for Mickey and his crew including his right hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) who coincidently is the person that Fletcher is telling this story to.  Kind of seems odd that he’s telling Raymond about things that he was already there for, but Fletcher assures him that there’s a twist to this story that he won’t see coming and is one that he’s certain Raymond and Mickey will be more than willing to pay twenty MILLION dollars to find out.  With so much at stake, what will Mickey do (or perhaps have already done given the framing device) to keep his empire from crumbling right before the big sale?  What could Fletcher possibly have that Raymond and Mickey don’t already know, and is it really worth as much as he says it is?  Will this be the redemption of both Charlie Hunnam and Guy Ritchie after that disastrous King Arthur movie!?

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“Is that what I think it is?”     “Yup. Every blu ray copy of King Arthur.”     “I think I’m gonna be sick.”     “Don’t lose your nerve now; you KNOW what needs to be done.  I’ll get the hammers.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Turning

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The Turning and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Floria Sigismondi

January being the bad month for movies hasn’t ALWAYS been true as interesting stuff like has come out in years past, but it seems that aside from the ONE exception of The Boy, it’s always true for horror movie; something we’ve already seen this year with The Grudge. I certainly didn’t see much to get excited for in the trailers leading up to this, and even having a big name like Finn Wolfhard didn’t do much to capture my interest, but I’ve been blindsided by unassuming movies before and perhaps this will be the one to break the January horror film rule! Okay fine, it probably won’t be, but let’s find out anyway!!

Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) has landed the job of lifetime as she’s hired by a very rich family to tutor the young daughter Flora (Brooklynn Prince) in their giant house on their giant estate. It starts off well enough as Flora is friendly and eager to learn, but the housekeeper Miss Grose (Barbara Marten) is rather cagey on the details that led to this position being open (up to and including the details on the death of the parents), and Miles the older brother (Finn Wolfhard) unexpectedly returns home from boarding school which means she has to babysit him and curb his rather disturbing attitude. While all this is going on, spooky things keep on happening that may involve a groundskeeper that died not long before Kate took the position, or maybe it has something to do with the family itself. Whatever the case may be, Kate is besieged by visions, nightmares, and that creep Miles from all sides which might just be enough to drive her mad. Can she solve the various mysterious about this house and the family that occupies it? What will she do when it becomes harder and harder to discern the spooky ghost stuff from reality? Does anyone else get the sense that Finn Wolfhard was REALLY banking on that Disney/Sony deal actually falling through?

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“I CAN BE SPIDER-MAN! LOOK!!” “That’s… not quite what we’re looking for, but we’ll keep your head shot on file.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bad Boys for Life

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Bad Boys for Life and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah

As I’m sure is true for many film fans out there, Michael Bay and I have a complicated relationship.  On the one hand, being upset at the Michael Bay Aesthetic and the crappy Transformers movies has become kind of passé and is better left to the Cinema Sins and Razzie hacks of the world.  Not only that, he’s more than capable of making REALLY great movies that are unique to his sensibilities; particularly Pain and Gain which is clearly his best film by a wide margin.  Then again, he’s also the guy who indulges in racist and sexist caricatures in the service of crass humor, and his disdain for the audience and basically all of humanity may be an asset in some films but is also reflected in just how shoddily some of them are put together; incoherent plotting, choppy editing, and an oblivious tone on top of being unfunny and tasteless.  I had never seen the Bad Boys movies until very recently and solely in preparation for this new one, and sure enough they contain everything I don’t like about the guy even if they are somewhat more tolerable than some of his later work; presumably due to Bruckheimer being the bigger name at the time which meant he could reign in some of Bay’s worst tendencies.  Now all that said, we are going Bayless for this one as he doesn’t even have a producing credit on here, so at least there’s hope that these filmmakers with a fresh perspective can take what elements DID work in the originals while taking out some of their more pernicious aspects to send this franchise off right.  Can we close this trilogy on a high note instead of get more of the same nonsense?  Let’s find out!!

Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey (Martin Lawrence and Will Smith) are still Miami cops doing their Bad Boys shtick, and while it’s been a fun ride for both of them, Marcus is starting to look towards the back half of his life and doesn’t want it to be filled with more violence, rough schedules, and close calls.  Mike on the other hand isn’t even SEEING this as the back half of his life and is trying harder than ever to stay fit, stay alert, and stay young despite the gray hairs showing in his beard.  One fateful night while partying with the other cops including good ol’ Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano, a.k.a. JOEY PANTS!) Mike gets the biggest reality check of his life as some masked assassin tries to shoot him to death and almost succeeds.  Marcus takes this as a sign to finally retire while Mike can only think of vengeance and wants his help in finding the person who did this to him, but perhaps Mike will have to go it alone.  Even worse, he may have to try and find this person with the help of the youngsters at the station who are in some sort of advanced CSI crew named AMMO led up by Mike’s ex-girlfriend Rita (Paola Núñez) who isn’t thrilled about working with the guy either given his history of blowing things up and how personal this case is to him.  Will Mike’s quest for vengeance end in him triumphing once again like he did so many times in the old days?  Will Marcus stay true to his retirement and be there for his family, or is his bond with his best friend enough to get him on board for one last ride?  Is it just me or is this like ten times more interesting than whatever was going on in the other films?

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“Dang, Mike!  It’s almost like we have competent writers now!”     “How does it feel?”     “It… sort of tickles.”

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-22-20)

AEWDYNAMITEAEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with another episode of Spring Neck-Breakers as the second week of Bash at the Beach hits the high seas with this episode taking place on Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Cruise!  With last week doing such a great job of setting up some explosive confrontations, can they manage to pay it off here while ALSO making sure the guests have enough fresh towels!?  Let’s find out!!

First, let’s take a moment to talk about the ring.  They are in fact on a boat and fighting outdoors at night which looks pretty good all things considered!  It certainly doesn’t look like a typical stadium that these episodes usually take place in which gives things a nice bit of variety, and while the lighting is a bit harsh considering they can really only use a bunch of giant spotlights it does give it a very naturalistic feel while the shadows the wrestlers cast as they fight do look rather dynamic; giving it a hint of a noir feel to it.  Needless to say that they have a solid stage set for the first match of the show which is…

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Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega Vs. SCU (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) – Tag Team Championship

SCU is accompanied to the ring by Christopher Daniels

I can’t even remember; has SCU had a title defense since they got the belt?  I’m SURE they had to have, but for the life of me I can’t recall what it was.  In fact, SCU’s reign as tag team champions has felt a bit underwhelming as they haven’t really have their own story line since their big win against The Lucha Brothers.  Sure Christopher Daniels got a little something with that whole botched move thing and Scorpio Sky had his match against Jericho, but as a tag team they feel more like McGuffins for the other tag teams’ stories rather than an integral and interesting part like how Jericho has been with the AEW Championship.  Speaking of being McGuffins for other peoples’ story, in case you didn’t know (JR spells it out just in case you weren’t paying attention) the big angle of this match is that Page and Omega have a shot at winning the title but only if they work together which is becoming less and less likely as Page sinks further into his heel persona and his straight up alcoholism.  The match itself was fine but I really couldn’t get into it and I’m not sure why.  Both teams were solid and they told a decent story in the ring where the singles wrestlers have a bit of an advantage when going one on one but SCU takes full control when they get even a small amount of momentum.  I guess it just goes on a bit too long as it feels like we’re warming up for close to ten minutes, and it’s not exactly the BEST showcase of either team even if they are doing a solid job.  The big standout was probably Adam Page who is actually putting a real CHARACTER behind his in ring performance as you can see him grimacing every time he has to involve Kenny Omega and how he’d rather just take the beating along than work with him.  It’s a good character for the guy, but it feels like we should have really paid it off here instead of kicking the can down the road once again, which is as good an excuse as any to talk about the ending.  Page has an impressive rally where he’s throwing Buckshot Lariats at anything that will move, and he eventually pins someone for the win.  That’s right, SCU has lost the belts and now they’re in the hands of Page and Omega.  I don’t know, I’d have rather SCU had a BETTER run instead of dropping it almost unceremoniously here, and I’m getting antsy to see Page truly betray Omega which if we keep postponing comes off as more and more inevitable and will surely make Omega look bad for not seeing it coming as well.  Maybe they have different plans and I’ll be glad to see how they play out in the coming weeks, but not my favorite opening match that they’ve done.

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Cinema Dispatch: Dolittle

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Dolittle and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Stephen Gaghan

My GOODNESS have studios been putting out some high priced nonsense recently!  We are definitely stuck in the Billion Dollar Blockbuster Bubble where every studio wants nothing but the most expensive movies to maximize their profits, but as is the nature with bubbles all the money Is usually dried up by the time everyone else tries to get in on it which is why Disney is still sitting pretty on their mountain of gold and everyone else is making stuff like Cats and that awful Tarzan movie.  With this being the current trend, someone making an overpriced adventure film about Dr. Doolittle feels almost inevitable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad!  I LOVE me some overpriced entertainment like Jupiter Ascending and Final Fantasy XIII, so maybe Dr. Doolittle being played by Iron Man and co-starring a wrestler as a CGI polar bear is just what I need to cleanse the palate and finally kick off the GOOD parts of 2020 which so far has been pretty plodding at the multiplex!  Is this retelling of the classic story the start of another beloved blockbuster franchise, or are we in for a disaster to rival even that of Cats!?  Let’s find out!!

Taking place AFTER what I presume is the actual Dr. Dolittle story, we find that the intrepid physician who can talk to animals (Robert Downey Jr) has gone fully Will Wonka and is holed up inside his giant wildlife preserve; refusing to see any visitors, human or otherwise.  That all changes when one day, out of PURE LUCK, he gets TWO visitors who insist on seeing him!  The first is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who is on assignment from the Queen despite being all of twelve years old, and Tommy (Harry Collett) who shot a squirrel and has brought the wounded creature to Dolittle because he feels bad.  Lady Rose is there to inform him that the Queen is dying and requires his help which he reluctantly agrees to, and determines that she’s dying of McGuffin’s Disease which can only be cured by a fabled fruit on an uncharted island, so he takes some of his animals friends (Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, and Octavia Spencer just to name a few) on a boat to get the fruit and save the Queen; hoping that once this is finished he can go back to brooding in his house all day.  Oh, and Tommy is coming along too because… he loves animals too I guess?  Will the Dolittle Crew get to the magic fruit in time to save the Queen?  What challenges will they face along the way, and will some of it be intentional sabotage?  If one of the cats from Cats was in this movie, would Dolittle be the only one who could talk to it!?

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“So what you’re saying is that never was there ever a cat as clever as Magical Mister Mistoffelees?”     …     “What is that it?  I mean sure, throwing your voice is a skill but I wouldn’t call it MAGICAL.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Like a Boss

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Like a Boss and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Now that I think of it, have I really liked ANY of Tiffany Haddish’s movies?  I’ve reviewed most of them by now, and outside of The Kitchen and MAYBE Keanu, her movies are mostly meh or worse which is a pattern that certainly doesn’t bode well for this film.  Then again, she’s never the reason why those movies are bad and is often the complete opposite!  She’s someone who can make a terrible film tolerable and a mediocre one a delight which goes to show how strong of a performer she is even if she’s not the most adept at picking scripts.  In any case, is this latest entry in the Tiffany Haddish oeuvre worthy of her talents, or is she stuck shouldering the weight of another lousy movie along with every other talented person that was roped into this?  Let’s find out!!

Mia Carter and Mel Paige (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are best friends and co-owners of a beauty store that they opened together; Mel & Mia’s!  They have good employees like Sydney and Barett (Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter), they have great friends they hang out with (Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell and Jessica St Clair), and aside from being in quite a bit of debt at the moment, they’re their own bosses and are living the American Dream!  Things couldn’t get any better for them, EXCEPT THEY DO!  A big makeup conglomerate owner named Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has taken interest in their little shop and she is offering to clear their debts AND let them retain fifty-one percent of the company once it merges with Luna’s!  Sounds like a sweetheart deal to me, but Mia is skeptical of such a good deal and she turns out to be right as Luna is hatching an EVIL scheme to screw them out of their company!  There’s a clause in the contract that if either one of them quit their job that Luna would be the one to take over, so as long as Luna finds a way to break these two best friends up, she will be able to cut them out; leaving them with a mere… forty-nine percent of a company that Luna hopes to make millions off of.  Okay… seems like an awful long way to go to make a fraction more money and to NOT use the experience and expertise of these women who got on her radar in the first place because of their good ideas, but whatever floats her boat I suppose.  Can Mia and Mel weather the storm that Luna will be putting in their path and come out he other side still friends?  What will these trials reveal about these two and has their friendship always been as strong as they claim it to be.  How will they survive if they fail this challenge are left with no debt and a huge amount of money anyway!?

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“We’ve got to stop wasting the caviar!  When you’re done with it, put it in the fridge!”     “You’re not my mom!”

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Jumping the Soapbox: Games of 2019 (Part 2) – Switch Lightening Round!

One of the more notable stories in games this year was the rise in ridiculously slashed game prices on the Nintendo eShop for games that otherwise were starting to get overlooked in the marketplace.  It definitely feels like that has slowed down quite a bit even if there are a few good deals here and there, but let’s take a look at some of the games that I bought on a whim!!

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Crypt of the NecroDancer

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Developed by Brace Yourself Games

I played this game a while back when it was on Steam and wasn’t too impressed.  I was TOLD that there was a DDR mode and the idea of doing steps to do super moves or whatever sounded intriguing, but using a mat makes the game almost unplayable and when I used a keyboard it just felt rather dull.  When it was on sale for the Switch however, I decided to give it another shot, and you know what?  It’s pretty good.  Not one of my favorite games for the system, not one of my favorite rogue likes for that matter, but the gameplay works well enough and that soundtrack is pretty rocking. My biggest problem was getting overwhelmed pretty easily as the controls and combat intersect in an interesting but still odd way, and the fact that you’re encouraged to keep things to the beat means there’s not a lot of time to really think things out which is when you get blasted in the face with a dragon beam or get crushed by the boss for the ten millionth time.  Then again, complaining about dying a lot is like complaining about the lack of sweet dunking skills in a first person shooter, as amazing as it would be to see Master Chief tear it up on the court, and by now the game is old enough that you can ask everyone and their grandmother how good it is instead of asking this Grumpy Gus.  If nothing else, I’m pretty interested in playing The Cadence of Hyrule which not only incorporates Zelda iconography and music, but appears to downplay the rouge-like elements for a more traditional adventure.  Let’s hope there’s a decent sale soon so it’ll be on next year’s retrospective!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-15-20)

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AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT

Welcome back to another episode of AEW Dynamite where we’re partying like its 1997!!  Despite WWE basically owning everything wrestling related in the US prior to 2000, they let their trademark for Bash at the Beach expire which allowed Cody Rhodes to get it for AEW; a fitting change of hands considering his father Dusty Rhodes was the one who created the concept in the first place!  Does this revival of an old school wrestling tradition still hold up twenty years later, even with a BEACH show taking place in the middle of winter!?  Let’s find out!!

The big thing to note about this show is that the major angles are put on the back burner a bit to focus on a new round of tournaments for the belts; presumably as a way to make this BASH AT THE BEACH thing feel like something other than another episode of Dynamite shot in a slightly different way.  To that end, the Tag Match is a Number One Contender match, and there’s a two bracket tournament tonight (Jon Moxley Vs. Sammy Guevara & Pac Vs. Darby Allin) with the two winners of this week’s matches facing off next week for a shot at Jericho.  Fair enough I suppose as there could certainly be a bit more excitement around the belts themselves which haven’t changed hands once since AEW started, and we start things off with that GINORMOUS tag match!

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Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega Vs. Proud N Powerful Vs. Best Friends Vs. The Young Bucks – Four Way Tag Team Match for Number One Contender

Best Friends is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy

The best way that I can describe this match is that it has as much in common with an actual sporting contest as It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World has with actual racing.  For twenty minutes these eight dudes did their best to recreate the mad cap of Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin in that the physicality of their bits are just as impressive to watch as it is hilarious.  No, you don’t really buy it as a REAL wrestling match, but the timing and the spectacle were out of this world and I enjoyed every minute of it once it kicked into high gear!  It actually took me a minute to get what they were going for, especially when JR just blurted out that it was a non-DQ match two minutes after the bell ring which calls into question why anyone is even bothering to tag in and out, but honestly that’s always going to be a thing in wrestling where if the goal is to knock someone into submission then why are they doing high flying moves and whatnot instead of MMA beat downs.  I can understand that going THIS far into wackiness will be past some people’s suspension of disbelief and that’s a fair criticism as it really does descend into chaos multiple times here, but if you can groove on that understand that it’s all one elaboarately planned out showcase of moves, spots, and well timed interference, then there’s a lot of wacky fun to be had in this opening match.  The match does eventually have to come to an end though with Kenny and Page landing that combo V-Trigger and Buckshot Lariat on Chuck Taylor which knocks him out cold and leads to the three count.  They’re definitely playing the long game here with Page’s heel turn as they’ve made it ALL the way to the number one contender slot, so hopefully next week in their match against SCU they’ll finally pull the trigger on it.  I’m guessing they’re going to lose relatively cleanly against SCU and that’s when Page finally turns heel on Kenny which will set up a feud for those and possibly a match at Revolution; possibly a Triple Threat if they wanted to get Pac in there as well.

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Jumping the Soapbox: Games of 2019 (Part 1)

I might be a little late here, but I always like to take a bit of time to showcase some of the games I managed to play in the preceding year; particularly those that didn’t actually come out at that time and just so happened to catch my interest for whatever reason.  Some were good, some were bad, all were hopefully worth talking about (otherwise I spent a lot of time writing for absolutely no reason), so let’s get started and I hope you enjoy it!!

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Apex Legends (PC)

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Developed by Respawn Entertainment

Pretty much the only online multiplayer games I’ve ever stuck with significantly were Team Fortress 2 and Rocket League, so while I haven’t played at match in this game for many MANY months, it’s not their fault; it’s just me.  Apex Legend was by far the best of these Battle Royale games and its astounding just how much better it is than Fortnite in every way that matters to me.  The cooperative gameplay make each match much easier to invest in as you have someone other than yourself depending on your performance, and the innovative team chat options made it effortless to coordinate tactics and efficiently convey new and prescient information.  So why did I stop playing it?  Well it’s not JUST that I’m terrible at it as I’m pretty bad at both Team Fortress and Rocket League which haven’t stopped me from playing them.  I think the matches might go on a bit too long to get into a really nice groove of match after match after match, and the closer we get to the end of one the less interesting the mechanics become.  I’m personally more of a sneaky player and I like to keep my distance from other teams, but it’ll inevitably come down to trading bullets with someone else (inevitably ten times more skilled then you are) and at that point I can only hope that my teammates can pick up the slack.  The game has the mechanics to do more than just shoot at each other, so I’d probably jump back in if they took advantage of that for some sort of racing or package delivery game modes, but as it stands it’s a really good example of the genre that managed to suck a good forty hours of my life away in its first few months, so I can only imagine what it’d be like for someone who’s actually GOOD at one of these!

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