I know it’s been a few weeks, but I’m finally able to get around to writing about my trip to Houston for NXT WarGames. It happened on my birthday, and ever since getting back home my day job has been absolutely killing me. But, I had a great time on a great road trip that started out bumpy, but when it got going it was great. It was a four hour drive, with a few pit stops along the way. Houston is a horrific nightmare to drive through, but we made it work. I used to live there, so I know firsthand how bad it gets during peak hours.
Upon arriving in Houston, I stopped at the famous Kenny & Ziggy’s Delicatessen. I’ve wanted to visit it ever since I saw it featured heavily in the documentary Deli Man. Unfortunately, Ziggy, the owner, was not there that day. I ordered my pastrami sandwich from the deli counter, and while I waited I took in the scenery. Much like those old school New York delis, there were caricatures of celebrities on the wall, along with movie posters, including one from Deli Man. That’s when I spotted it, something I remember from television years ago. I ordered it immediately. It was the black & white cookie, which is apparently a staple of New York Jewish bakeries. I first saw it on that one episode of Seinfeld.
The pastrami sandwich was amazing. I finally ate it about 30 minutes later in the parking lot of a gas station after we all got food (everyone wanted something different). Where had this sandwich been all my life? It tasted even better with the deli mustard that it came with. I wondered why there was coleslaw in my bag. I figured out later that I was supposed to put it in the sandwich, maybe? As for the black & white cookie, it was so big that I ate bits and pieces off of it throughout the night, and partly for the next two days at home.
Once we finally found the arena that NXT WarGames was to be held in, we made our way inside and checked out some of the merch tables and snack bars. When we finally got to our seats we noticed that they were tarped off. An usher stood there and traded our tickets in for better ones. Boy, where these seats way better than the ones we originally paid for!
Note that I am not a fan of NXT. To me it will forever be just a developmental show. I had been burned by WWE’s developmental before, having rooted for guys like Matt Morgan, Johnny Jeter, Mark Magnus, and The Damaja. They were all very promising wrestlers who went on to get buried at the hands of Vince McMahon on the main roster. Well, that was the last time I got my hopes up watching that company’s developmental product.
I’m not going to make a match by match long form analysis, but I will make some observations. Ruby Riot is great. I’ve been a fan of hers since she was Heidi Lovelace on the indies. Sonya DeVille has improved from when I first saw her, but she still needs a lot of work. Also, I don’t think it’s wise for her to have an MMA gimmick when real, actual MMA women are on their way to WWE very soon.
Pete Dunn and Johnny Gargano was an incredible match. Originally, WWE told us that this match was not going to be televised at all. It would be an old school arena only match where the only way to see it would be to be inside the arena with a ticket. They later changed this and put the match on an episode of NXT.
Lars Sullivan is going to be a star. Mark my words!
I’ve been a fan of Patrick aka Velveteen Dream since his days in Maryland Championship Wrestling. I had never seen him in this gimmick, and while some say he has a Prince gimmick, which I totally see, I’m getting more of a Jimmy Hendrix vibe, mixed in with a little O.G. Luke Cage. I had never seen Aleister Black before. The man is very impressive. This was the match of the night for all intents and purposes. It was the best match of the night, but people will more than likely just remember the WarGames match, because it was the main event.
The women’s four way was pretty good. I’ve been a huge fan of Ember Moon since her Athena days when she was wrestling in front of 20 people inside a hot and sweaty gym (I have the photos and videos to prove it). I’m proud of her and all she’s accomplished in her short time in NXT/WWE. However, having Asuka come inside the ring and hand her the NXT Women’s title was a bit weird. While some saw it as a passing of the torch, I saw it more as Asuka telling Ember that she couldn’t win the title until Asuka left. The only way this can be saved is if these two have a match later on down the road after Ember beats everyone else on the NXT women’s roster.
The NXT Championship match was good. I had been raving about Zelina Vega ever since her days as Rosita in TNA Wrestling. She has an incredible ringside presence, and she’s the one everyone is looking at while Cien Almas is out there. It almost seems like she just overshadows the guy she’s supposed to be managing. I almost get a Sable and Marc Mero vibe here, as Sable was the star and Marc Mero was just a dude in the ring. My only question is why did it take WWE so long to sign Ms. Vega?
The main event was the WarGames match itself. I’ve been a fan of WarGames for as long as I’ve been a wrestling fan. It was a huge staple of Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA and later WCW. It’s a match I looked forward to every year until the final (traditional) WarGames match in 1998. That one was garbage, by the way. The WarGames match in 2000 was that goofy three tiered tower of doom cage match that they created for that Ready to Rumble movie.
Having said that, as the cage began to lower I realized that once again this was not your father’s WarGames. For one, there was no roof on the cage. Two, you could lose by pinfall. On the one hand it was good because it eliminates the weird anti-climactic finishes we’d seen in years past. On the other hand, the basis for WarGames is to survive the massacre, to beat your opponent until he can no longer continue. This was pretty much killed with this added stipulation. Also, the three teams were let out of their shark cages all at once. Oh, and there were shark cages.
This one was weird in that it was just a bunch of high spots, like in a TLC match. Also, when Sanity was released from their shark cages, one of the guys didn’t run in to save his partner like you’re supposed to do. No, he started rummaging around underneath the ring for weapons. What? Your partner is getting his ass handed to him! Save him! Who cares about a kendo stick or a chair if your guy teammate is getting decimated in the ring.
High spot. High spot. High spot. I don’t even remember who won because it was a high spot party. I do know that Adam Cole (Baybay!) straddled the top of the cage at one point. The show ended and we got the hell out of Dodge.
Overall, it was a fun evening, but not what I expected out of the WarGames. Maybe I’m just a cranky old wrestling fan, but I expected WWE to do better than to just rest comfortably and rely on their old box of tools that they’ve been using for the last 17 or so years. Thankfully, we ended the night with some Raisin’ Canes somewhere out in the boonies of Texas. Don’t get me wrong, the show was tons of fun, but I walked away from it the way I walk away from a bad movie, feeling a little empty inside.
Throughout the month of December, leading up to Christmas, I will be posting reviews of Christmas movies I’ve seen and liked over the years. These are not in any order.
When Suicide Squad came out last year I hesitated seeing it. Then, I noticed it was playing alongside Bad Moms at the local drive-in theater. So, if SS was a dud, I could at least stare at Mila Kunis for 90 minutes. Note: While I’ve always found Mila attractive, I was never really into her until she reached her 30s. She has aged very well, and I’m digging the hot soccer mom vibe she’s managed to acquire in these last few years. I have a similar thing going on with Julia Roberts, where I didn’t really see it for her until her later years when she popped up in Larry Crowne.
While Bad Moms wasn’t a good movie by traditional standards, I found it funny. I laughed the entire time. It was about three suburban moms who feel like they’ve lost their edge after becoming average American mini-van moms. As the title suggests, they decide to dip their toes back into the bag girl waters, and they momentarily just say “F it!” to the mom life.
Enter A Bad Moms Christmas. I was really surprised that this sequel didn’t follow the pattern laid out by the first movie. My original assumption of this movie was that it was going to be the same as the first, but this time with a Christmas theme. Fortunately, I was wrong. While we did get one montage of the moms being bad inside of a mall, the brunt of this movie focused on the moms’ jagged relationships with their own mothers.
Mila’s mom, played brilliantly by Christine Jane Baranski, who is used to playing the judgmental harpy, (See Big Bang Theory, and her appearance on Frasier) fit right in to this role. She plays the obsessive, controlling mother who is more worried about appearances than her own daughter’s happiness. Cherly Hines (Suburgatory, Curb Your Enthusiasm) who plays Kristen Bell’s mother, is the syrupy sweet mother who doesn’t know her boundaries, and has latched onto her daughter in every aspect of her life. Kathryn Hahn’s mother is played Susan Sarandon. Sarandon is the total opposite of the other moms. She is just an easy-going “good-time Charlie” type, who didn’t give her daughter a stable home of any kind, and just picks up and leaves whenever she pleases. While Mila and Kristen want less of their mother’s, Kathryn just wishes her mother would be in her life long enough to settle down and be responsible.
So, of course, shenanigans ensue, things happen, the bad moms are bad, and in the process, it looks like we could get ourselves a spin-off (Bad Grandmas?). Everyone seems to work out their issues by the end, and we all go home happy. After having processed the movie, I believe I like the original better, because I didn’t feel the bad moms in this movie were bad enough to warrant the titular label.
Just like the original, though, horrible movie, but loads of fun.
First, I'd like to lay all the blame on Star Trek: Discovery. It was because of this show (which I'll give a proper review for at the end of the first season), that I discovered (See what I did there?) CBS-All Access. I didn't think much of it when it was first announced. Okay, I could watch commercial free episodes of current shows. A big whoop if I ever heard one. What I didn't know was that the service also included old shows that I hadn't seen on television in almost twenty years. One of those shows was the ill-fated mid-'90s sitcom Caroline in the City.
The premise may seem tired and old: a successful New York gal trying to wade her way through the yuppie dating pool during a tumultuous time in our nation. Grunge was on its way out, and traditional pop music was making a comeback. Our president was a saxaphone playing lover of interns, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA, Oklahoma City happened, and Hugh Grant was hanging out with Divine Brown. Caroline Duffy sits atop her ivory tower, aka her huge loft, where she keeps her refrigerator stocked with Evian and Snapple. Her quirky best friend, who always tries to set her up with guys, lives across the hall. The man who secretly pines for her, and is (for all intents and purposes) the right guy, is right under her nose... if only she would open her eyes and see it!
Yes, Caroline in the City had all the markings of a very blah sitcom. However, the writing and the actors made it work. I didn't notice it at first because it was not on my radar when it first aired. It wasn't until 2001 or so when I began watching it on reruns. The show lasted four seasons until NBC gave it the axe out of nowhere in 1999. The show ended on a cliffhanger, and that's where it will forever live. The only reason it is on CBS All-Access is because it was distributed by CBS, apparently. Either way, I'm glad the show is available. If you get a chance you should really watch it. My absoulte favorite is the episode Caroline and the Dearly Departed, where Richard, the guy who pines for her, discovers that he can make a lot more money as an artist if he's dead. Now, you see where this is going? Yes, and it was fucking brilliant! The actual punchline to the episode had a very Terry Funk-esque vibe to it, as Terry has one infamous go-to promo in his arsenal called, "Your mother is a whore!" Well, a similar premise applies here, as an art critic tries everything in his power to get Richard to pop up from his casket during his viewing.
Another show I've gotten to re-watch is The Odd Couple. As a fan of the play and the movie, I always had a soft spot for the Tony Randal and Jack Klugman television series. They bring the characters of Oscar Madison and Felix Unger to life in a way that would normally make two characters stale. However, these men were such talented professionals that they kept the two characters alive. They take the old addage of Chocolate cake is good once in a while, but you can't have it every day, and throw it out the window. These two men were proof that you can have chocolate cake every day. Felix and Oscar have always been my favorite oil and water characters. They were the precursors to teams like Leonard and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.
Also, with CBS All-Access, I've been able to watch movies I hadn't seen in years. One of these movies is The Apartment, a 1960 romantic comedy starring a young Jack Lemon and a young Shirley Maclaine. The running gag in this movie is ending words with "wise." "Decency-wise," and "That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise." This leads to one of my favorite movie quotes, "Well, I don't blame ya. So you hit the jackpot, eh kid? I mean Kubelik-wise." Kubelik was the name of Shirley Maclaine's character. I thought I was the only one who found that funny. No one else I knew ever got it. Then I played the game Gone Home. There is a part where you go through one of the character's private papers. You find out that he filed his last will and testament with the law firm of Kubelik and Wise. I asked the game's creator, and he admitted that the name did come from The Apartment.
While I do think CBS All-Access is worth the $9.99 a month for no commercials, I do wish they would add more content. I want more old movies and more TV shows. I want actual episodes of Elementary, since every time I tried to record it on my DVR, it was halfway into a game of stupid football. Also, I want Person of Interest on the service. That was one damn good show. If CBS does this, then they'll have a subscriber for life.
Currently at 36-years-old, I was of the age to remember and have fond memories of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Admittedly, though, I never owned one. I was a Sega kid by the point of SNES's releease. Because all the cool kids had a Genesis. Remember, Sega does what Nintendon't! In my opinion, Sega was more grown-up, while Nintendo was still for little kids. The biggest example of this was when they removed the blood from their SNES port of Mortal Kombat.
That's not to say I never played a Super Nintendo. I too can wax nostalgia about this beautiful 16-bit machine from 1991. Through countless display machines, and even going over to friends' houses to play with their consoles, I got in plenty of practice on a Super Nintendo. The first time I played Mario Kart was on a display at Montgomery Ward, which was, oddly enough, the place where my folks bought me the original Nintendo Entertainment System. K-Mart and Wal-Mart always had decent enough display systems. I remember advancing really far in StarFox at a K-Mart location that currently only exists as a Planet Fitness in Haltom City, Texas. Super Mario World was played at a Sears that still stands today.
Some games required a bit more attention, like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which I didn't get to play until years later when the Game Boy Advanced version came out. I played that one at a friend's house, and my sessions went on for so long that my friend would just get up and go about his day while I sat in his bedroom, engrossed in the wonderful gameplay. It got to a point where it would get dark and my mother would call his mother, and I'd have to go home. I played Super Street Figher II at another friend's house, in between trying to scare his younger sister with readings from Scary Stories To Read in the Dark, and viewings of Jean Claude Van Damme movies with my bud. Around middle school I got a girlfriend, and I spent a lot of time at her place playing Donkey Kong Country. Even Ken Griffey Jr Presents Major League Baseball (which is not featured in the Classic) was first played at a preview display at the 1995 All-Star Fan Fest. I still remember beating the pants off a middle aged woman who dared challenge me.
For me there are so many memories tied to that system, and I never actually owned it. I remember my college roommate brought his Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the dorm, and we played hours upon hours of the only games he owned for the console, the three Star Wars games. I wasn't very good at them, but I remember watching him excel at the games. While we were roommates I got to borrow games from other people I knew, and I played quite a few games that I never thought would interest me, like that Beavis & Butthead game.
A few years ago I was at convention and I came across something called IndieBox. The idea behind IndieBox was that they made modern retro games. These games came in SNES replica boxes with their own unique branding on them. Also, the first box came with a third-party knockoff SNES controller. I used this controller on my computer, and downloaded a ton of SNES games to play with. The experience was great, but nothing like having the actual console itself.
The SNES Classic came out today, and I got ahold of one. I took it home and plugged it in. The memories came rushing back to me, especially the whir that Super Mario makes when he does the twisting jump, and the sound that happens when Yoshi first breaks out of his shell. Even Donkey Kong Country, with its unmistakable music, had me thinking back to hogging the controller from my junior high girlfriend, while she would try to show me how to tag Diddy Kong in and out. I wasn't hearing it, of course, I was too focused on catching bananas, and stepping on aligators.
Alas, much like the NES Classic, the nostalgia wore off fairly quickly. I haven't tried all the games yet, but I know I will soon. I'm keeping it around for parties and when friends come over. I love these trips down memory lane. I love that the controllers have the same feel and weight as the old controllers, and I love touching the actual device, even if it is a teeny-tiny version of what it once was. This is a much cheaper alternative to tracking down a working SNES and all the games. Well, that is, unless you're a collector, like I used to be. Is it worth the $80.00 and the inevitable headache you'll get trying to track one down? Yes! If you love games, especially retro games, you will do yourself a favor and pick one of these up.
Last year around this same time, Sega announced their Sonic Mania game. The game would be download only, and the only physical release would come in the form of a cool collector's edition. It was all slated for April of this year. The game was eventually pushed back to late August for some reason. Cool. I pre-ordered the collector's edition because I knew it would be a hot item. Sure enough, I was right.
I picked mine up the day it was released. Just look at that thing! Isn't it cool? The statue is a 12 inch Sonic the Hedgehog standing on top of a replica Sega Genesis system. It's an exact replica, too, including every minor detail about the old system. If you switch the power on it makes the classic "Seegaaaa!" sound. There is also a metallic card. The coup de grače, however, is the old school Genesis cartridge that opens up to reveal a Sonic ring. This whole collector set is really impressive, and it was definitely worth the wait.
The game itself is really good. I can't speak for where it ranks among the other Sonic games, but I'm told by others that it's probably the best Sonic game since Sonic 2. That's high praise, since Sonic 2 was really good. Sonic Mania starts out exactly like Sonic the Hedgehog, in the Green Hill Zone. I've played the original Green Hill Zone so much that I know the map by memory. Halfway through Green Hill Zone you start noticing little changes, bouncy springs that weren't there before, and the level design changes up slightly. By the end of the level you realize you're playing an entirely new map that they eased you into by giving you a small taste of the past. It was quite excellent.
I watched The Founder last night. I was originally drawn in by the fact that Michael Keaton was in it. He's always given great performances. I used to be miffed that I never got to see him in the role Steve Martin eventually took over in the film Leap of Faith. I got my wish, sorta, when Michael Keaton played a shady faith healer on the show Frasier. Him being great in that role just made me even sadder that he dropped out of Leap of Faith. Nevertheless, Michael Keaton shined in the film Birdman, a film where the main character laments having been known only for playing a superhero. The ironic twist in this being that Michael Keaton is most famous for playing Batman in the two Tim Burton movies. In another weird and ironic twist, after playing this part of Birdman in Birdman, Keaton comes back as another flying winged comic book character, Vulture, in this year's blockbuster Spider-Man: Homecoming.
In The Founder, Keaton isn't playing anyone from any comic book. He's playing real life fast food icon Ray Kroc. My first thought after watching this movie was, what exactly were they going for here? Ray Kroc was a huckster who conned the McDonald Brothers out of the business they started. Nowhere in this film is Kroc painted as a sympathetic character. Not only does he randomly leave his wife one day, he replaces her with another man's wife. On top of that, he makes it to where his ex-wife doesn't get any part of his business, pretty much leaving her destitute with a house and the cars. In the climax of the film, Kroc buys Mac and Dick McDonald's shares of the company, renegs on a handshake deal to give them royalties, and then, makes them change the name of their original McDonald's stand. To drive the point home and to be an even greater asshole, he opens a McDonald's across the street from the original store, now known as The Big M. In reality, he opened a McDonald's down the street a bit, but still, it was seen as a hostile move that eventually forced the McDonald Brothers out of business within two years.
Character aside, the performances from everyone in the film were top notch. Keaton's interpretation of Ray Kroc reminded me of his role in a not very well known '80's film, Gung-Ho. In that movie, Keaton is an auto plant manager trying to save the small town he lives in by convincing a Japanese company to reopen the plant, thus bringing jobs back to the town. Keaton's character's drive to success in that film reminded me of just how hard Ray Kroc in the movie was trying to move milkshake machines, and later McDonald's franchises.
Nick Offerman did an amazing job as Dick McDonald, as did John Carroll Lynch portraying Mac McDonald. I had just watched John Carroll Lynch's performance as Arthur Leigh Allen (one of the many men believed to be the Zodiac Killer) in Zodiac. While I had seen him in other things, including The Drew Carey Show, I didn't take him serious as an actor until Zodiac. Here he does a great job as the timid, weaker of the two McDonald Brothers. Nick on the other hand, plays the more alpha Dick McDonald. Mac was the strong-willed brother, but often he was outsmarted and out foxed by the slickster Ray Kroc. Laura Dern also did a greate job as Ray's first wife.
The movie was well done. Most documentaries of this kind, where the story is somewhat already known, we get just a smattering of scenes and some bad dialogue (I'm looking at you, Notorious). But this movie was actually paced really well, and the acting really drove home the parts that some of us already knew. The only cringey moment was when Ray met Fred Turner for the first time. "What's your name, son?" "Fred Turner!" *pause so the audience can gasp*
While I don't think the filmmakers went out of their way to paint Ray Kroc in a bad light, I think they were just trying to present the facts as best they could. I did some Googling after watching the film, and for the most part, everything happened the way it appeared in the movie. Ray Kroc was a dastardly asshole, and here is how he used his cunningness to yank away the dreams of two small-time hamburger makers from New Hampshire. The only negative is that I wanted a little more on the personal side of Ray Kroc.
I was finally able to see Dunkirk last weekend. It was a really good movie that I have no intention of watching again any time soon. This isn't because it wasn't good, it's because I've seen it already, and the suspense just won't be there upon a second viewing. Perhaps in the future I'll give it another watch, but for now I'll just stick with what I saw the first time. I can't say much about the movie that others haven't already said. Tom Hardy does such an amazing job in this film, and he barely says three things. Also, his face is obscured throughout 90% of his time on screen. He knocked this performance out of the park with just his eyes, it seems like.
The film is about one of England's biggest failures in World War II, that they were able to turn into a positive. After being run off by the German army, England and some other allied countries were waiting on the beach at Dunkirk for extraction. German gunners swooped in and started picking these soldiers off, and they also sank the British ships that were sent to rescue the men. The movie is slow in its pacing, and it comes off as a bit of a shock to modern audiences who are used to the high energy, high action films. As I was telling a friend, if you have ADHD, this is not the movie for you.
These days I don’t find too much on Netflix that I want to watch. Aside from the Marvel shows and some random documentaries, I don’t get much use out of the service. One of those documentaries was the PBS one about the Oklahoma City bombing. It was very detailed and told Timothy McVeigh’s story about how he got disillusioned with the United States government after his participation in the Gulf War. That, along with Ruby Ridge, and the Waco tragedy, really fueled his anti-government sentiments. It ultimately led to him parking a Ryder truck in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City and setting off his bomb.
The filmmakers pointed out how many white nationalist groups were out and about during that period. Oddly enough, growing up in Texas, I didn’t see any of those sorts of thing. This could have simply been childhood naiveté, as I was probably shielded from the horrors of such close-mindedness. I do remember going to the indoor flea market in town and looking at one man’s display of old-timey photographs. While some of these were simple ones, like old baseball players and old soldiers, a few of them were group photos of KKK members. Believe it or not, I saw more racism at the antique mall. Some of the items on display included ceramic mammys and seemingly innocent photos from blackface productions.
Be that as it may, racism was very much alive and well in the south during this era, and Timothy McVeigh and his actions are living proof. I was in junior high school when I first heard about the bombing. I think I was coming out of shop class when this really annoying kid named Mark declared to all of us as we exited the shop room, “There has been an explosion in Oklahoma City!” I didn’t think very much of it and went about my day. It wasn’t until a little while later that I saw the magnitude of what had happened. All of the news channels were featuring on-location reports of the incident, and it made front-page headlines in the newspaper the next morning. I guess it was a big deal.
Years later, in early 2003, I lived in a small town in Oklahoma, just north of OkC. At my job I heard a lot of stories from survivors and people who had family in the Murrah Building that day. For the first time I was finally able to put actual faces to the Oklahoma City bombing. Not that it wasn't real to me before then, but talking to the people made the tragedy more tangible to me, and less abstract.
The documentary gave a lot of insight into the ordeal, and even included small clips from some of the fanatic, fringe documentaries that came out a little bit after the Waco tragedy. I used to frequent a mom and pop video store in my neighborhood, and I remember soaking up all these crazy documentaries. While I was never sure what to believe, I do remember thinking that some of these crackpot ideas were way out of left field.
This PBS documentary was really good, and it shed a lot of light on a subject that some thought had happened so long in the past that we had either put it out of our minds, or no longer put the weight on it that it deserves. Oklahoma City deserves to be more than just a mere footnote in the history of our country. It is the ultimate act of domestic terrorism, and it shouldn’t be ignored just because it happened so long ago.
I've never really seen myself as much of a film buff. Sure, I studied film in college, and I've seen enough movies to in my lifetime, but I am no expert. I've seen most of Quinten Tarantino's movies. I won't say I'm as enamored with him as a lot of people are, but the man does good work. The first time I saw Reservoirs Dogs I was completely shocked at the over the top violence. I was also taken aback by the fact that these were awful people, and here I was rooting for them to escape. The same could be said for Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. While the title character of Tarantino's 1997 film was in a dire situation, she wasn't completely clean, or a damsel in distress. Jackie was a tough as nails lady who had fallen in with some bad people who were making her do bad things. While it took me a long time to see Kill Bill, I realized very quickly that the protagonist was a former member of an assassination team. My reservations about seeing that movie came from the trailer that I saw where Uma Thurman was wearing Bruce Lee's jumpsuit from Game of Death, an honor I didn't think she'd earned.
The point I'm trying to make is that Tarantino has done his part in pushing along the anti-hero trope. In some way, these once bad people had been wronged, and now they must make it right. This, however, is not the case when it comes to the heroes in Inglourious Basterds. Morality of war aside, these are people who are fighting for the side of good. The Basterds hunt nazis, and they're very good at it. Shosanna wants revenge for the death of her family at the hands of Hans Landa.
I really enjoyed the film. I don't know what took me so long to see it. Perhaps it was because I figured it would just be your standard Tarantino blood fest. When I saw Eli Roth's name attached to it, I was sure this was going to be a gory film. I always had chances to see it, but never did.
I'm glad to see that Quinten Tarantino's style has matured over the years. He still can't help himself when it comes to his usual Tarantino tropes. There is usually a long, drawn out opening scene. Heroes can and will die at a whim (Michael Fassbender). Lots of blood, lots of death. Plenty of oddly, overly emotional tense moments. My personal favorite, however, is the affable enemy. In previous films there was Bill, Jules Winfield, Mr. White, and Ordell Robbie. In Inglourious Basterds, we have Hans Landa.
While I won't spoil the ending, I will say that if you want some historical accuracy, this is not the film for you. You should go watch Band of Brothers or The Pacific, if you want a painstakingly detailed depiction of World War II. If you want an over the top and very, very, very loose portrayal of the war against nazi Germany, look no further.
At one point in my life I said I was done eating gimmick Twinkies. Those seem to be the norm now, especially after the delicious treats were brought back from near extinction in 2013. I get on the gimmick Twinkie (Which I will now call Gwinkies) train and almost immediately got off. The Gwinkie that did it? It was the abhorrent X-Men movie tie-in Twinkie with blue raspberry mutant creme filling. They were garbage, and I was forced to eat the entire box (not all at once), because I refuse to throw food away.
It happened while I was walking by the snack cake shelves in the grocery store. I picked up a box of the USA red, white and blue Gwinkies. Those are just twinkies with patriotic sprinkles in the creme filling. I figured I was safe there. I couldn't leave well enough alone, though, and this box of cotton candy Gwinkies beckoned me to pick them up as well. I thought about it, and thought about it, and eventually I put them in my cart as well.
"But, what if they suck?" That little voice told me.
"Hey, pipe down there!" I told the little voice.
"Remember the blue!" The voice whispered as it faded away.
I admit they were eye-catching. Pink filling inside a delicious snack cake that we all loved as children. Heck, the very mention of the word, "Twinkie" brings a flood of memories rushing back to us. Plus, what kind of monster doesn't like cotton candy? Cotton candy invokes memories of trips to the circus, the carnival, and maybe even the zoo. It's a slice of Americana!
Alas, these memories should have stayed there. Twinkies and cotton candy do not mix well at all to me. They are way too sweet, and I just don't need that type of flavor assault overloading my taste buds. I will say that the taste was very authentic to the cotton candy flavor, but I just didn't like it together with my Twinkies. Also, they have a very strange aftertaste that doesn't quite go away until about 30 minutes later. There is nothing really foul about them, they're just not for me.
So, great, now I have to finish this box. ugh.
What lesson did we learn here?
Will I learn, though? Probably not. Will I buy other gimmick Twinkies? Definitely.
Samuel Colunga is a writer/podcaster from Texas by day, and superhero by night.