Monthly Archives: April 2020

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-29-20)

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

We’re back with another week of AEW Thunderdome where the wanders of the empty world battle it out for supremacy, at least that’s I how I figure Lance Archer sees it whenever he steps into the ring!  The last few weeks have been quite solid with Jericho’s commentary bringing a lot of life to the show and the TNT Tournament giving us something to grab onto while all the other storylines are put on hold, but with the announcement that AEW will be going live next week (despite PLENTY of reasons not to), this is perhaps the end of an era for this show.  Do they go out on a high note or will we be begging for the changes that next week will bring?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Vs. Darby Allin – TNT Tournament Semi-Final

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Cody Rhodes

The TNT tournament by all accounts has been a success.  The matches have been solid, they’ve worked hard to sell the belt as something worth chasing, and having Lance Archer in the background as an unstoppable monster like Toguro has certainly raised the stakes in every one of these matches.  The only real problem is that the one that no one can control; namely that the matches feel undercut being in such a small arena with such a small crowd.  Then again, it MIGHT help the rest of us not notice if they didn’t try to recreate PPV matches like the Darby/Sammy match from last week or even this match right here, but they have to work with what they’ve got and if nothing else the show starts with a REALLY solid promo for the match.  It’s not Darby Allin’s usual black and white shtick, but there is some genuine artistry on display here with some serious mood lighting as the two talk portentously about how much they want to win the belt.  It puts us in the best possible mindset for the upcoming match

The match starts off with a band as both of them want to end it as soon as possible; trading blows and zero count pins faster than Jericho can throw out wiseacre jabs.  There’s a spot early on where Darby charges at Cody who dodges it easily, but Brandi what RIGHT in front of him when he did and so Darby smashes right into her.  Come on dude, what did you THINK was gonna happen?  Even Jericho calls Cody out for putting his wife in the path of destruction like that!  However, it does seem to get Cody all fired up and he maintains control of the match for a good bit which allows Darby to do the one thing he’s best at; namely take an obscene amount of damage and look darn good doing it!  There is a weird spot later in the match where it LOOKS like Darby is distracting ref Aubrey while Cody is outside the ring and he gets bashed over the head by Britt Baker wielding a sandal.  I’m not sure what that’s about as Darby may not be exactly a GOOD guy, but I’ve never known him to be a straight up cheater, nor a particular friend of Britt Baker.  Maybe she just felt like hitting someone and Darby JUST SO HAPPENED to have something important to say to the ref, but in any case it manages to even things out between them as we head into the final stretch of the match.  They start trading finishers, Cody teases the weight belt but doesn’t use it, and Darby even nails Cody with the Cross-Rhodes which got a nearfall so close that I genuinely thought for a minute there that they were gonna swerve us!  T’was not to be however as Cody kicks out of it, and after a few more moves from both men including a Cross-Rhodes from Cody himself, the match does come to a close in an… interesting fashion.  Cody goes for a Moonsault off the top rope but Darby gets his knees up and follows it up IMMEDIATELY with the Coffin Drop.  From the angle they showed it, looked like Darby actually got the pin off of this, but it turns out that Cody was able to grab him and twist him slightly backwards so that HIS shoulders were on the mat and Cody did indeed just barely get the pin!  Admittedly the ending looked a BIT silly, but this match was GREAT because despite the ending feeling rather pre-determined it did manage to feel competitive.  Letting Darby get THAT close to victory and having him do Cody’s own move against him created genuine drama that Cody MIGHT just lose the match which made it one of the better matches we’ve gotten in the last few weeks!

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Into the Light)

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The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Lou Diamond Phillips

We’re back with another episode of everyone’s third (okay fine, fourth) favorite version of this series!  The lack of impact behind some of these episodes has been a major stumbling block as very few of them seem to resonate as well as even the middling episodes of the original series, but I think they might have swung too hard in the other direction with this one in what seems to be a less than ideal way to redress the issue.  Is this a case of a good idea with a few sour notes in it, or are we sailing right past that into the realm of really bad taste?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a very dingy looking high school classroom (the windows are really tiny, way high up, and I’m pretty sure they have steel bars on them) where a bunch of disinterested looking teenagers are taking a written test on Romeo and Juliet.  One kid named Ben just turns in a blank sheet of paper which is pretty bad considering it’s worth a third of his grade, and when the teacher picks up the test of an unnamed kid, she reads aloud “Romeo and Juliet killed themselves because they were asshats”.  Now if that was the ONLY sentence perhaps I’d be as dejected as the teacher feels, but frankly, I’ve heard worse opening arguments for a critical analysis of a creative work; just look at this site for examples of that!  Anyway, the teacher in question is Rachel Stark (Samantha Mathis who played Princess Daisy in the Super Mario Bros movie) who’s had just about enough of this nonsense and is planning on quitting her job next week but sadly she’s in an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE which means those plans are going to get derailed.  This is another example of an episode that LIBERALLY lifts from an episode of the original series, but I’ll give them credit because the premise is much more malleable and can fit into all sorts of interesting contexts.  The episode in question is The Purple Testament where a GI in the Pacific theater started seeing a glow across the faces of men who were going to die soon, and this episode follows the same basic idea; she sees a screaming man on the bus light up like he’s about to tell a ghost story, and then he drops dead of a heart attack then and there.  Aside from the fact that she just saws someone die right in front of her, this revelation has put her on edge a bit as she saw a similar light on the face of one of her students who was riding a skateboard.  Her boyfriend the school gym coach (Reed Diamond) thinks it’s some sort of latent guilt she’s feeling for planning to quit her job and essentially giving up on the kids, but when she learns the next morning that the skateboarder had died… well, it seems like there’s more at stake than an unfulfilled work life.

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“Oh my gosh, what happened!?”     He was trying to grind the rail right next to Dead Man’s Gulch.”     “And?”     “A mugger ran up and stabbed him.”

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-22-20)

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

We’re back with more AEW goodness for all of your post-apocalyptic entertainment needs, and with the TNT Tournament in full swing we have more than enough amazing story lines and matches to keep us going through this lean period, right?  Well truth be told the new normal has felt a bit lacking here and there and the TNT Tournament isn’t exactly the best substitute for their Blood and Guts match, but given how things are going they’ve been trucking along just fine.  Does that continue with this week’s episode, or are the wheels starting to look wobbly on this road trip thru the wastelands?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with yet another promo, but this time it’s NOT from Jake Roberts sitting in a lawn chair; rather it’s Cody sitting in a very NICE chair!  The setup is that e’s in some sort of control room watching multiple monitors of the wrestlers involved in the TNT Tournament and he does his absolute best to imbue it with gravitas and prestige since it’s what they’ll be focusing on after the big championship match blow off from last week.  From what I understand, Cody and crew have been a bit hesitant to introduce a new belt to the company because they didn’t want something that would just be a Midcard Belt; something that isn’t as good as the main championship, but gives the lower tier wrestlers to fight over.  I’m not sure I fully agree with that sentiment though because there are wrestlers who aren’t going to be big name stars but you still want them to have something to do, and having a “secondary” belt makes sense to me for those purposes, but I guess it’s all in the framing.  Instead of saying this belt is for the losers (like the 24/7 title at WWE or even arguably the Intercontinental and USA belts) you do what Cody is doing here and try to make into something that should be rightfully worn by a great competitor; not someone who couldn’t hack it in the big leagues.  Does he succeed?  Well, it’s hard to say because we’re still limited with a limited crew so it still feels a bit like something for “the other guys” in AEW to fight over, but once the world gets back on track and AEW is in full swing again, we’ll see what comes of it.  For what it’s worth Cody does a good job with the promo and the extra editing time they have for stuff like this is definitely paying off with some flashy visuals, but I’m not sure if it’s doing much more to convince me of the greatness of this belt than the matches themselves.  Speaking of which…

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Darby Allin Vs. Sammy Guevara – TNT Tournament Quarter Final

These two are easily the best up and coming stars of wrestling (not just AEW) which will make this a fantastic match, though I’m not sure they’re making the most of this as we’ve seen Allin and Guevara lock it up before and it feels like we need to have more of a reason for them to do it again.  Still, we are living in rough times and I guess we have to do the best we can with the resources we have, and they at least give the two of them VERY good video promos prior to the match.  The start of the match is very reminiscent of their match at Revolution where they utterly DESTROY each other before the bell even rings, and while I appreciate them wanting to put on a match as high caliber as that to make this tournament (and their feud) feel like a big deal, I’m not sure if Sammy and Darby should be doing freaking ladder spots in a nearly empty arena like this.  Even with the wrestlers on the outside doing their best to whoop and holler, it feels like a spot that only had a fraction of the impact it should have.  Things just kinda get worse from there.  Sammy tries to press the advantage he has by putting Darby on the top rope, but he reverses it and manages to get Sammy upside down which lets him then take off his boot to… I guess more effectively work the ankle?  I don’t know, trying to take your opponent’s clothes off comes off as pretty goofy to me and it has the opposite of the intended effect on me; the idea being that without his boot it’s even MORE brutal when Allin works the ankle, but the guy NOT having a boot on highlights the unreal nature of the sport.  This also has the effect of making Allin out to be the bigger heel with Sammy having to constantly fight from underneath which I don’t exactly mind as Sammy is a fantastic wrestler, but with all the goofy spots and Jericho doing such a great job announcing, I’m wondering if AEW wants to give The Inner Circle a softer image.  Sadly, this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing Sammy Vs. Cody in the semi-finals as Darby gives the over the shoulder stunner and tries to follow it up with another move, but Sammy reverses it into another move which Darby THEN reverses again into a roll up for the win.  Overall I wasn’t the biggest fan of this match.  It felt kind of oddly paced to me as these two spent a lot more time recovering from big moves than trading fast and furious blows, and the best part was right at the end when they were trading counters which sadly didn’t go on long enough for my liking.  I also kind of wish Sammy won because I feel like a match between him and Cody would be a BIT more interesting right now, but I have no doubt that Cody and Allin have the potential to tear the house down!

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Super Comics: James Bond 007 3-4

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James Bond 007 and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Dynamite Entertainment and Ian Fleming Publications

We’re back with even more of The Spy Who Adapted Me as we continue our journey following James Bond and his best buddy John Lee, AKA the new Oddjob, as they try to out spy each other in pursuit of a Russian man with an exploding luggage case!  So far Mr. Lee has been the main reason to read this book as he is ridiculously well-realized and utterly charming to boot, but Bond himself is no slouch and is always ready to impress when the moment calls for it!  Will these issues continue the fun and exciting adventures of our favorite new bromance, or have we already seen everything they’ve got to offer?  Let’s find out!!

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Issue 3 (January 2019)

The issue begins with M from MI6 talking with a Mr. Park from Blue House which is basically South Korea’s White House.  It turns out that Mr. Lee, the new Oddjob that was introduced in the first issue, is in fact a South Korean agent and M has scheduled this little meeting so that they can get on the same page so that Bond and Lee don’t end up killing each other and losing Russian Guy in the process.  It’s too bad that M didn’t have the foresight to do this BEFORE Bond was jumping out of an airplane in Australian, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.

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Dang!  Archer’s gonna be pissed when he sees how good that turtleneck looks on him!

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Cinema Dispatch: Trolls World Tour

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Trolls World Tour and all the images you see in this review are owned by DreamWorks and Universal Pictures

Directed by David SF Wilson

I know I’m a week late on this, but even with the convince of being able to watch this one at home (and let’s be frank here, I’m not spending THAT much more money than I would at the theater), I just couldn’t be asked when it actually came out and frankly I had better things to do like play that Final Fantasy VII remake than watch a sequel to an animated film I didn’t like all that much.  But even if we do have the perfect excuse to sit around and do nothing as it is now the socially conscionable thing to do, I still need to maintain SOME sort of routine to not go stir crazy in here, so fine.  Let’s buckle down and watch yet another toy commercial dance around for an hour and a half while playing all the songs your parents used to like!  Does it manage to somehow surpass the low expectations that its predecessor had set, or are we in for a LONG bout of isolation if this is the bets that studios can give us in these tumultuous times?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film, Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is living out her fantabulous troll life singing songs, performing dance numbers, and being worshiped by her beloved subjects.  Her best friend Branch (Justin Timberlake) seems a bit more uneasy about the idyllic life but he puts up with it in the hope getting out of the friend zone (ugh…) to either spend the rest of his life with the troll he loves or this is some elaborate power play to become KING OF THE TROLLS!  Of course it’s not the latter (that would be far too interesting), but instead the conflict ends up being a group of ROCK TROLLS led by Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) who is traveling across the land attacking similarly music-themed tribes to steal their magical music strings that the former King Peppy (Walt Dohrn) failed to clue Poppy in about during her Queen initiation.  Apparently each tribe of musical trolls (the trolls we know are known as the Pop trolls) has a magical string that signifies their music, and does… something.  I’m not exactly sure what, but if Barb gets all six of them, puts them on her super awesome guitar, and plays some tasty licks with them, it’ll turn all the trolls into Rock trolls which will unify the troll kingdoms which will accomplish… something.  In any case, Poppy wants to try and negotiate with Barb to see if they can unify peacefully, but it becomes clear that she’s more about taking everything over than working together, and so she and Branch along with Biggie (James Corden) have to travel the land and try to get the other tribes to work together to stop Barb from fulfilling her dastardly destiny.  Will Poppy be able to convince any of the other tribes that working together is better than falling apart?  Is there more to the history of the strings and these tribes than Poppy knows, and will that play a key role in defining the course of this current crisis?  Do you think Justin Timberlake ever wonders why he’s not in better movies or has he just resigned himself to mid-level animated shlock?

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“I was in The Social Network.  WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!?”

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-15-20)

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

We’re back with another week of A Cody and His Pharaoh; the post-apocalyptic wrestling show that I keep coming up with bafflingly tortured names for!  Still, as hard as it is to make these puns, it’s not NEARLY as difficult as them continuing to try and put out shows in this environment.  Thankfully they’ve supposedly got content through May taped so that challenge is over for the time being, but having a lot of matched to show us doesn’t mean that they’ll all be good ones, so is the collection they have here the cream of the crop, or are they already scraping the bottom of the barrel?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with yet another Jake Roberts promo, only while last week he was sitting in chair in front of a roaring fire, I’m pretty sure this one was shot in a particularly dingy bathroom stall.  He says what he says EVERY week which is that Lance is so amazing and that anyone in his way will be utterly destroyed; including Colt Cabana who may be a great wrestler but is nowhere NEAR Archer’s league.  Is this Roberts just blowing smoke up Archer’s ass?  Well we’re about to find out as once again we start the show with his match!

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Colt Cabana Vs. Lance Archer

I kind of feel sorry for Colt Cabana all things considered.  He came in JUST as the COVID-19 crisis started to happen in the US and so it feels like he was pushed to the sidelines while other new people like Brodie Lee, Matt Hardy, and especially Lance Archer are still getting at least some form of push given the circumstances, and frankly there’s no way in heck that they’re gonna halt Archer’s momentum by having him lose in the first round.  Still, this should hopefully be a good showcase of his talents and why he got such a big reaction when he first showed up at AEW.  Before the match even begins Lance Archer decks someone in the audience, so I don’t really like Cabana’s chance’s here considering just how vicious they’re portraying his opponent.  Colt Cabana does hold his own pretty well and they do a great job of putting him over despite how clearly it is that he’s not going to win this match.  He’s in control for a good chunk of the match and is clearly a great wrestler (I’m getting a better sense of him here than at the PPV), but the key is that Lance is an unstoppable slab of meat; a force more so than a man.  Against any other opponent, even top guys like Cody or Omega, I could see it coming down to the wire and Cabana winning in an upset.  Against Lance though, no matter what he throws against him the man will not yield and Colt can only do so much before he is simply overpowered.  It’s kind of like what they’ve been trying to do with Jake Hager, but I think it’s working a lot better with Lance; mostly because he looks good outside of squash matches.  Colt Cabana won’t give up and is taking more punishment than any one person should ever take, but Lance eventually lifts him up for the Blackout (not an easy feat considering Colt is a pretty big guy himself) and drops him down for the pin.  I actually liked this match quite a bit, and while Colt may not have won here he definitely proved himself to anyone who had no idea who he is or what makes him so beloved by the fans.

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Rewind)

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The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Kevin Bray

The episode follows Jonah Beach (Eddie Kaye Thomas who played Finch in the American Pie films and the titular Freddy in Freddy Got Fingered); an obsessive gambler who may have a decent amount of skill but squanders it on his single minded pursuit of “beating the house” which in this case means beating this dude named Trevor (Ben Bass) who owns the place.  Jonah’s girlfriend April (Marisa Coughlan who was… also in Freddy Got Fingered oddly enough) works as a waitress at the casino where he spends most of his time and is either overwhelmingly empathetic to his plight or completely in denial of his gambling problem.  They have a nest egg set up for a restaurant in Florida which Jonah wants to raid for one last chance at the card table and thankfully April tells him no which is certainly the RIGHT decision but puts poor Jonah in a funk as he leaves the casino with nothing more than three bucks to his name.  A homeless with a mysterious shopping cart challenges him to a coin toss for the three bucks in his pocket, and after Jonah wins the toss he’s gracious enough to give the man the three bucks anyway.  See?  He’s not such a bad guy even if he WAS in a Tom Green movie!  The homeless man is so moved by Jonah’s generosity that he pulls a tape recorder out from his cart and gives him to him as a gift which Jonah ruefully accepts as the alternative could possibly upset the guy.  He starts fiddling with the thing at the bus stop, and wouldn’t you know it; the darn thing is MAGIC!

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“Oh crap, this thing is covered in LSD isn’t it?”

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