2021: The Year In Movies

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Despite working from home for the entire year and my traditional long December vacation, I saw a tremendous decrease in my movie watching, with my lowest total since 1988.  I managed to watch a mere 47 movies last year, finishing below the 50 movie plateau for the first time this century.  Despite being home all day and not needing to bother with pesky things like a commute.  Or exercise.

85 different people starred in those 47 movies (starring in being the first two named stars, a tradition dating back to the old Chicago Tribune TV guide which populated the early days of my database), and a single one starred in more than 1 film. That thespian was:

Films Per Actor Per Year
Actor Name Films
Kiana Madeira 2

Here’s a look back at the movies I watched last year and what recollection, if any, I have of them. The films are listed in the order I saw them.

I See You (2019)
I have no recollection of this Helen Hunt vehicle.

Amanda & Jack Go Glamping (2017)
An author whose marriage is failing as bad as his career decides to go on a private retreat.

Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994)
Finishing up my run through the Death Wish series from 2020, with a 73 year-old Charles Bronson trying to keep the series going.

2036 Origin Unknown (2018)
Some sci-fi movie starring Katee Sackhoff.

Ma (2019)
A lonely woman lets the local kids party at her house, but turns on them when they start to pull away.

Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)
An homage and a remake of the original, but this time in 3D!

Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself (2021)
A magician pulls off amazing, psychological tricks.

Spontaneous (2020)
Two kids find love when their high school is quarantined after students start spontaneously combusting.

Friendsgiving (2020)
A group of friends get together for a zany Thanksgiving dinner.

Death to 2020 (2020)
A comedic retrospective of the shit year that was 2020. Continue reading →

The CW Upfronts

The CW has finally decided to expand to a 7th night of programming for the first time in their existence this fall, with 3 new shows added to the schedule.  Monday gets a brand new look, with the returning All American followed by 4400, a reboot of the USA show from the mid-2000s.  Tuesday brings the new seasons of Flash and Riverdale, while Wednesday leans in to the DC multiverse with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman.

Walker lead off on Thursdays, followed by Legacies.  Friday has Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Nancy Drew.  The weekends are given over to reality programming, with Saturday’s initial offerings being 2 episodes each of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and World’s Funniest Animals.  The Sunday night offerings are Legends Of The Hidden Temple, a reboot of a Nickelodeon game show from the 90s, followed by Killer Camp, a US version of the British competition where a mix of 13 campers navigate through new deadly twists and surprises while competing to expose the “killer” among them.

Waiting in the wings for midseason are All American: Homecoming, from the producers of All American, Naomi, the latest DC adaptation from the book created by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, and Jamal Campbell, alongside returning seasons of Charmed, Stargirl, Dynasty, In The Dark, Kung Fu, Superman & Lois, and Roswell, New Mexico

Lost to the sands of time are Black Lightning and Supergirl.

2020: The Year In Television

Last year was a bit disjointed when it comes to television shows.  The corona virus shut down most productions along with the rest of the world back in March, leaving the 2019-2020 season to end abruptly and causing the 2020-2021 season to roll out late, if at all.  On the other hand, it also caused me to be home full time since March, giving me plenty of time to catch up on streaming shows I may have missed or that were newly released.  Since we cover the network and cable shows that I watch elsewhere, let’s take a look at the 23 seasons of shows I streamed on various platforms this year.

Away Season 1 (Netflix)
Hillary Swank plays an astronaut who leaves her family behind on Earth to captain the first manned mission to Mars.

Blindspot Seasons 4 & 5 (Hulu)
I had fallen a bit behind on this NBC show that wrapped up last summer so I combined what episodes I still had on the DVR with Hulu to burn through the final two seasons.

Bosch Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
Based on the book series by Michael Connelly, I watched the first of six seasons last fall.

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Part 3 (Netflix)
The latest installment of the darker interpretation of Archie Comics character is probably the only show I had watched pre-pandemic.

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow Season 5 (Netflix)
I had only watched the first episode of the season pre-pandemic, which was the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover, as it aired, so I combined what was on my DVR with Netflix to burn through the season quickly.

Dead To Me Seasons 1 & 2 (Netflix)
Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini get entwined in each other’s lives after killing each other’s husbands.

The Flash Season 6 (Netflix)
Like most of the DC shows, I hit pause after the Crisis crossover and before the season ended early, using my DVR and Netflix to catch up.

The Flight Attendant Season 1 (HBO Max)
Kaley Cuoco returns as a flight attendant with drinking issues who finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

Lost In Space Season 1 (Netflix)
The remake of the 60s classic came out a few years back, but I never got to it until my December vacation.

Never Have I Ever Season 1 (Netflix)
A comedy about a high school aged Indian girl fighting against her traditional family while wanting to be a “normal” teen.

Ozark Season 3 (Netflix)
The latest installment of the money laundering family in Missouri and their dealings with the Mexican drug cartels. Continue reading →

Post Mortem – Arrow

Say what you will about Arrow, but it certainly did not fail this network.  Premiering on The CW on October 10, 2012, the show ran for 8 seasons and spawned what would become known as the Arrowverse, which includes fellow DC-based programs The Flash, Supergirl, Legends Of Tomorrow, and Batwoman.  As of today, the Arrowverse has been responsible for 25 seasons of programming on The CW.

The abbreviated 8th, and final, season was a precursor to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, which not only brought together the heroes from all of the Arrowverse series, but changed the footing underneath them moving forward.  Whatever the actors move on to next, they will always be able to say that, after years of floundering, they gave an identity to The CW.

The CW (Not-So-Quite) Upfronts

Yesterday, the CW became the first network to release their plans for the 2020-2021 season, announcing that they would return with a full slate of new programming in January due to shutdowns from the corona virus.  The late start will not impact the number of episodes, with series still producing seasons of 13 to 22 episodes, depending on the show.  That will stretch the season in to July or August, leading to a very short summer break before the 2021 fall season starts in October.  The final episodes from some shows’ current seasons, which could not finish filming because of the pandemic, will be included in their next seasons.

Monday stays the same, with All American followed by Black Lightning.  Tuesday kicks off with The Flash, followed by the latest installment of the Arrowverse, Superman & LoisRiverdale and Nancy Drew continue to hold down the fort on Wednesdays.

While Supernatural may finally be over, Jared Padalecki returns to Thursdays in Walker, a re-imaging of Walker, Texas Ranger.  The night wraps up with Legacies.  Friday goes all reality, with Penn & Teller: Fool Us followed by back-to-back episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway?  The Sunday night offerings are Batwoman and the new version of Charmed.

The network is planning a smaller version of its traditional Arrowverse crossover to air either late 1st quarter or early in the 2nd quarter of 2021.

To accommodate Melissa Benoist’s pregnancy, Supergirl gets bumped to mid-season.  Joining it are Dynasty, Roswell, New Mexico, In the Dark, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, alongside two new series: Kung Fu and The Republic of SarahSupernatural, which still had two episodes to film in its final season before the shutdown, will air its final seven episodes in the fall, alongside some usual summer and/or streaming fare.

All of this, of course, assumes that the production shutdown due to the corona virus lets up and crews can get back to work.

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Superman

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state shutting down tonight due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Oddities category: Superman, from Metropolis, IL.

DC Comics proclaimed this small town with a big statue the official home of Superman in 1972, and Metropolis isn’t about to let you forget it.  A 15-foot-tall bronze Man of Steel overlooks Superman Square, where you’ll also find the Super Museum packed with toys and props, amassed by Superman super fan Jim Hambrick.  This town on the banks of the Ohio River – from here, you can practically throw a chunk of Kryptonite into Kentucky – hosts an annual four-day Superman Celebration.

My one trip to Metropolis occurred in 2015, as part of a Mother’s Day Elvis trip.  On our way home from Tupelo, Mississippi, we decided to make a detour towards Metropolis, IL to see the symbolic home of Superman and, at least according to the travel guide we picked up at a rest station along the way, the world’s largest Dippin’ Dots store.  Sadly, the Dippin’ Dots store had closed and was replaced by a gift shop filled with DC merchandise and a cooler in the corner that did supply said Dippin’ Dots.  In the center of town, we found the giant Superman statue and posed for pictures.  We decided against going through the museum, which was probably the correct call.

Midseason Review – Tuesdays

old-tv-set1Continuing our look back at my thoughts on the new fall season, with the offerings that I found myself interested in for Tuesdays.

7:00

The Conners – After a season of nostalgia and a season of curiosity, can the show finally stand on its own two feet? Time will tell.

To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about this show.  I mean, it’s comfortable, like an old robe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any good or well worth my time.

The Flash – The gang returns for their sixth season, with Heroes alum Sendhil Ramamurthy onboard as the big bad.

Now that the Flash has survived the Crisis that had been foretold since the earliest days of the series, we’ll see how things change.

7:30

Bless This Mess – After a short run in the spring, Dax Shepard and Lake Bell return for season two, hoping to keep the momentum up for a full season.

I can pretty much take or leave this one, so I guess the decision on whether or not I continue to watch falls on ABC.

8:00

Mixed-ish – Another spinoff of Black-ish, this time focusing on Bow’s adolescence growing up with a white father and a black mother.

Well, I’ve stuck with this longer than I did Grown-ish, but that’s not particularly saying anything.  I think there’s a pretty good show in there somewhere, but I’m not sure anyone, including me, knows how to get it out.

Arrow – The show returns for a short, 10 episode final season, without Emily Bett Rickards.

The Crisis on Infinite Earths is over and, while the multi-verse is safe, Oliver Queen is dead.  If I’m counting right, the show will be wrapping up its run tonight.

This Is Us – The emotionally manipulative hit is back for a fourth season, assuming I ever go back and finish the previous two.

I still haven’t watched since midway through season two.  At what point do I admit that I don’t watch the show and free up some space on the DVR?

8:30

Black-ish – While it is putting spinoffs on the air, I don’t know if moving back to the half hour timeslot is a good sign for a sitcom heading into season 6.

Some weeks, the show still seems like it’s firing on all cylinders.  Others, it seems so tired that you can see all the seams.

Now, let’s see what interesting tidbits are coming this spring:

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow –  Coming in at the tail end of the Crisis, there will be some additional turnover this year as Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford will be leaving the show this season.

 

2019: The Year In Movies

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The return of my annual long December vacation, with very little to do otherwise, saw a big increase in movie watching for me, with my highest total since 2011.  I managed to watch 89 movies last year, my eighth consecutive year under 100.  Again, many things contributed to this, chiefly the insane amount of TV I’ve been watching, the greater effort made towards going out for walks, and the awful amount of time I spend either at work or getting to and from work.

Here’s a look back at the first 50 movies I did manage to watch last year and what recollection, if any, I have of them. The films are listed in the order I saw them.

Life Of The Party (2018)
Melissa McCarthy joins her daughter at college after her husband leaves her.

The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Eddie Murphy tackles a movie based on the Disneyland ride.

Downsizing (2017)
Matt Damon shrinks himself to 5 inches tall, gaining wealth but losing a wife.

Knight And Day (2010)
A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name.

Keep Watching (2017)
A gang of intruders takes a family hostage and forces them to play a game.

The Space Between Us (2017)
The first human born on Mars heads to Earth to find his long-distance crush, even if it will kill him.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)
A choose-your-own-adventure film about a young kid trying to make it in the video game industry.

Bird Box (2018)
A woman tries to save her two children in a world where seeing things leads to death.

Hereditary (2018)
A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Aliens take over the human race. Continue reading →

Midseason Review – Mondays

old-tv-set1We continue our annual look back at the new fall season with Monday night’s offerings.

7:00

Arrow – Season 7 starts with Oliver Queen in jail after being outed as the Green Arrow.

Following the Lost approach of replacing flashbacks with flashforwards.  I imagine the end will be coming sooner rather than later.

The Neighborhood – Max Greenfield and Beth Behrs return as a white family who move into a black neighborhood in LA.

I made it through 2 or 3 episodes before deciding that I had better uses of my time.

8:00

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – The Legends return for their 4th season, one I’m sure to enjoy once I go back and watch season 3.

Thanks to Netflix, I was able to catch up on season 3 and then stay current this season.  It has stopped taking itself seriously in any way, shape, or form, and the show is better off for it.

2018 New Fall Season – Mondays

old-tv-set1We continue our annual look at the new fall season with Monday night’s offerings, which features some returning favorites and a few new shows with some potential.

7:00

Arrow – Season 7 starts with Oliver Queen in jail after being outed as the Green Arrow.

The Neighborhood – Max Greenfield and Beth Behrs return as a white family who move into a black neighborhood in LA.

8:00

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – The Legends return for their 4th season, one I’m sure to enjoy once I go back and watch season 3.