Posts Tagged ‘tv’

By John Ruberry

Late October arrived with what I thought would be a pleasant surprise, a new Netflix horror and suspense series, Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Del Toro, known for the superb art direction in his films, is an Academy Award winner for directing The Shape of Water, that film contains a controversial scene which we’ll discuss shortly.

There are eight episodes, set either in the early 20th century or the latter part of the century. Oh, for balance, there’s one set around 1950. All but one of them are based on short stories, two of them by del Torro, and two by H.P. Lovecraft, a horror and fantasy writer, the bulk of his work was published in the 1920s and 1930s.

First the good. The acting is superb and not surprisingly, so is the art direction and cinematography. The bad–well, the stories aren’t very good, and in what is becoming common with Netflix, the episodes are too long, each one of Cabinet of Curiosities‘ segments could be trimmed by anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. The episodes run from 38 minutes to slightly more than an hour. And like many Netflix original series, funding doesn’t seem to be an issue. That was not the situation with the low-budget horror movies that I grew up with and enjoyed, such as Vincent Price’s American International Picture films. Netflix needs to focus on the basics of entertainment, not the frills.

Del Toro, just as Rod Serling did with The Twilight Zone, introduces each episode. The titular character of Alfred Hitchcock Presents performed the same duty, and there is a Game of Thrones-style cabinet animation device as the opening credits run. Del Toro doesn’t direct any of the episodes.

But Cabinet of Curiosities, rather than emulating The Twilight Zone, harkens back to Steven Spielberg’s mid-1980s NBC anthology series, Amazing Stories. It should have been called “Stories,” because that heavily hyped series was anything but “amazing.” The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents were rebooted around this time, both fell flat. As the saying goes, if Hollywood ever had an original idea, it would die of loneliness.

I’ll briefly sum up each Cabinet of Curiosities entry, in the order of their release. If you are running out of time with my post, or if you are running out of patience, I have this message. Just two of the eight episodes are worth viewing, “Pickman’s Model” and “The Murmuring.”

Lot 36: Nick Appleton (Tim Blake Nelson) is a bitter Vietnam veteran who is physically and emotionally damaged from that war. This entry is set just as the First Gulf War is breaking out. Appleton, who makes his living by buying abandoned storage units, is a racist who listens to conservative talk radio. The implied message of course is that everyone who listens to what liberals call “right-wing radio” is a bigot. But everyone I know who listens to conservative talkers do so because they are tired of government overreach and they don’t like high taxes, among other things. Appleton purchases a storage unit owned by a Nazi who recently died. Get it? American bigot, Nazi, white supremacy. I’m stupefied that the director of this bit didn’t dye Nelson’s hair bright orange here. “Lot 36” is based on a del Toro short story. I hated this segment.

Graveyard Rats: And this episode is based on what? Okay, the answer to that question is easy. Masson (David Hewlett) is a formerly well-to-do man who is now struggling along as a graverobber in a town known for the macabre, Salem, Massachusetts. There’s plenty of plot build-up here, as is the case with much of Cabinet of Curiosities, but little payoff.

The Autopsy: Minor spoiler alert: Just as with surgeries, autopsies are never solo projects. F. Murray Abraham, who never gives a bad performance, portrays a dying coroner, Dr. Carl Withers, who is investigating a mysterious accident at a Pennsylvania coal mine. Again, the set-up doesn’t match the ending of this episode. Watching the autopsies got me wondering. Why weren’t twenty minutes of this segment sliced off?

There is also an age-restricted YouTube video available here.

The Outside: Set in the late 1970s, as was “The Autopsy,” Stacey (Kate Micucci) is an unattractive and socially awkward bank teller surrounded by pretty but shallow female co-workers. Her hobby is taxidermy. Stacey’s life is altered as she becomes enamored with commercials touting a facial cream; the ads are subtle parodies of the faith healers who were often found on late night television at the time. Some of the facial cream comes to life. There is an erotic scene, an homage to Amphibian Man getting it on with a woman in The Shape of Water, in “The Outside.” I hated this episode too.

Pickman’s Model: Although this offering is extremely disturbing, “Pickman’s Model” worked for me. Will Thurber (Ben Barnes) is a wealthy art student at a Boston area college. All is well for him–until he sees the nightmarish paintings and sketches of Richard Pickman (Crispin Glover). A well-known lesson from the life of Vincent Van Gogh is that the boundaries between creativity and insanity are narrow. Oh, one little correction. Pickman tells Thurber that one of his ancestors was burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials. In fact, all of the executed accused witches in Salem were hanged, save one who refused to enter a plea. He was pressed to death.

Dreams in the Witch House: After his twin sister dies, a now-middle-aged Walter Gilman (Rupert Grint) is attempting to reconnect with her by way of spiritualists. There is a kissing scene with Gilman and a witch–she has been burnt to a crisp. Eww. There’s a lot of other weirdness here too. And while for the most part it is visually striking, “Dreams in the Witch House,” plot-wise, is vacant. As with “Pickman’s Model,” this segment is based on an H.P. Lovecraft story.

The Viewing: An eccentric wealthy man, Lionel Lassiter (Peter Weller), invites five seemingly unconnected celebrities to his mansion to view a mysterious object. To place them all on the same mental plane, they snort high-grade cocaine. And while there is a lot of action, it’s impossible to ascertain what it all adds up to. Nothing, is what I think. At nearly an hour in length, there is plenty of time for the scriptwriters to present their message. But they don’t. Perhaps the writers were on drugs when the produced the script. This piece was too boring for me to despise.

The Murmuring: Two married ornithologists, Nancy (Essie Davis) and Edgar Bradley (Andrew Lincoln), are devastated by a tragedy. They travel to a remote Canadian island to study the murmurations, that is, the cloud-like flocks of a wading bird species, the dunlin. But the crumbling old house they are staying in offers them plenty of distractions from their work. As a nature lover, I particularly enjoyed this entry–and I could easily see it fitting in as an episode of the original Twilight Zone. Not so with the other seven segments. “The Murmuring” is the other episode based on a del Toro short story.

Each entry is a stand-alone, you can watch one of them, two of them, or all of them. If you choose the last option–you’ve been warned.

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is rated TV-MA for violence, disturbing themes, nudity, drug use, vivisection, and gore.

John Ruberry regularly blogs Marathon Pundit.

Apparently all the hope among fans that Doctor Who would adopt a course correction after a year off was false, the series is back next year with both Chibnall and Jodie Whitaker.

The realities on the ground do not matter. No amount of actual failure can compel the BBC to allow the 1st Woman Doctor and most woke Doctor in history to be seen as a failure, Sort of like Barack Obama.


Speaking of Obama & Doctor Who you might remember that in Russell T Davies last episode for Doctor Who his plot suggested that Barack Obama had a plan to fix the economy that was interrupted by the Master taking over the world. After the latest jobs report we now know that the plan apparently was to have Donald Trump follow him in office and fix it.


More TV apparently the L Word is back. I’m slightly surprised. The show’s primary draw was to provide a way for men to openly watch lesbian porn, even with their wives, while pretending they were not. But with porn and particularly lesbian porn now so mainstreamed that you can find it anywhere if you want it I don’t see the point.


I remember back in the Bush years the West Wing was liberals wet dream about having the White House when they couldn’t win it in real life. Madam Secretary was the modern counterpart where they could have a pretend Hillary Clinton who was honest and competent and now they have finished the series with their pretend Clinton being elected president.

Alas Madam Secretary never was embraced as the West Wing was. Perhaps is more of the left dived into that fantasy they would not be acting so insane now over Trump in real life.


Finally I was going to close with a bit about Clint Eastwood’s new Film Richard Jewell which opens this week but this trailer for the Ghostbusters Afterlife movie….

…a sequel to the Original Ghostbusters movies as opposed to the woke flop reboot, has got the woke brigades in an uproar. Here is a typical tweet and my response:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This may or may not be a movie I end up liking but I can sure tell you one thing, I love the way it’s driving the left apeshit.

The unsuitable 90 Day Fiances

Posted: October 16, 2019 by fausta1 in Uncategorized
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Why settle for a totally unsuitable romantic partner who lives here in the USA, when you can quit your job, travel thousands of miles to a miserable-yet-exotic location where you don’t speak the language, and spend your life savings on an alien you met through the internet ?

That is the premise of the 90 Day Fiance TV franchise on the TLC cable channel.

The 90 days refer to the K-1 visa
“If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).”

The franchise has several series: The original 90 Day Fiancé (now on its sixth season), 90DF: Before the 90 Days (three seasons), 90DFHappily Ever After (four seasons), 90DF: What Now? (three seasons), and 90DF: The Other Way (one season).

There’s also Pillow Talk, where 90DF alumni comment on 90DF: Before the 90 Days in bed while consuming a lot of snacks. The funniest are black American brothers Tarik and Dean, and married couple David and Annie (he’s American, she’s from the Philippines).

I came across the 90DF: Before the 90 Days one day when I was fighting a cold, and quickly became hooked. It’s a soap opera without the fancy clothes.

There are cougars Darcey, Rebecca, and Angela. Rebecca and Angela are grandmothers. Darcey can’t seem to stop crying (maybe because her clothes are two sizes too small), and Angela can’t stop verbally abusing her Nigerian boyfriend (who is 20 years younger, wants a baby, quit his job to become a kept man at her request, and is a Trump fan). Darcey’s boyfriend Tom is English but they detoured to Albania (miserable location); Tom is a crackerjack salsa dancer, which made her cry because she can’t dance. Darcey and her identical twin sister wear matching outfits, as do Rebecca and her boyfriend. Angela hasn’t matched outfits … yet. Rebecca’s Arab boyfriend, who took her money to buy her a ring, just rode off on an ATV into the Sahara desert when she told him she’s still married to her third husband. 

The guys are not faring much better: religious Ben’s sweating bullets over negotiating the bride price for his Kenyan girl, ultrametrosexual Tim can’t summon the energy to make love to his beautiful Colombian girlfriend, and Caesar’s spent US$40,000+ on his Ukrainian catfish (look up the word if you never heard of it) who sounds like Peggy from the Discover card ads. Through it all, Tim exfoliates and moisturizes daily.

These are all grownups who ought to know better. The one that has her parents worried is nineteen year old Avery, who six months ago converted to Islam, and went with her mom to Lebanon where she married Syrian Omar four days after first meeting him in person. Two million Syrians are camping in Turkey seeking shelter from the war but Avery insists that she’ll move to Syria if Omar is denied a visa. You can hear the audience saying, “if she were my daughter … “

If it sounds complicated, it is!

Get some popcorn in the microwave, watch the fiances and you’ll be hooked soon after.

Fausta Wertz is enjoying her retirement from blogging about more serious matters.


Over at Nerdrotic they have a video about the reviews of the new extremely woke Batwoman.

Now the 9% fan reviews which during the video shoot actually dropped to 8% is very telling when compared to the critics who loved it.

Now of course the professional critics live in a bubble world where if you do not use the right pronouns they are out because it’s not hard to find someone to type something for money so the line that has to be followed will be, but real people in the real world don’t have that problem so the end result with be a show with bad ratings and either very targeted ad revenue or a dumping ground for compensation spots.

I suspect that despite this it will get a second season because like Doctor Who which has taken a year off, it will be considered “too woke to fail” or to be allowed to be seen as failing.

And that brings us to the whole “impeachment” business.

It’s already been noted that we are seeing skewed polling with samples designed to produce the “evidence” to justify the desired meme but unfortunately for the media they have not quite caught on to the fact that their access to the general public is no longer exclusive and that no amount of astroturf in town halls are going to convince real people to doubt the evidence of their own eyes, a fact that some of them have figured out:

The problem is, that room is not representative of the majority of America. Yes, attitudes towards LGBTQ people have improved remarkably in recent years. But just as in 2016, the general election could very well come down to a handful of moderate districts in swing states, places where nonbinary driver’s licenses and teaching gender identity in schools (both of which candidates endorsed last night) are going to resonate a hell of a lot less than Donald Trump screaming about his record on jobs.


It’s a real problem: To garner media attention and win the primary, the candidates need to be beyond progressive on all the issues. But to win the general, they’re going to need to be a little more moderate—or at least talk less about identity and more about the issues that affect everyone in America: things like jobs, healthcare, taxes, infrastructure, and retirement.

emphasis mine

And consider that wasn’t written by someone like me, it was written by someone who actually believes in all this crap but understands that it can’t be sold to people who live outside of their bubble, not that people outside of the bubble are actually watching CNN, but she understands that these town halls are ready made Trump ads made to order.

We’re seeing the same thing with impeachment, you don’t have to skew pols when the numbers actually are going your way and no matter how many time the MSM and even now Drudge claims that impeachment “furor grows” the reality, even in a place like the woke Massachusetts I live it, nobody is talking about it outside of the media, the various activists and the like

That’s why I’m not greatly worried about what is coming, because I understand that the future belongs to those who show up and that while I’m not big on Dawinism as a whole I AM big on the idea of natural selection and Mark Steyn’s maxim that the future belongs to those who show up. Yeah woke la la lands like Massachusetts are going to get a lot worse before they get better but as a state we are marginalizing ourselves to the point where in the scheme of things we increasingly don’t matter. This is due to one basic thing about reality

Reality doesn’t care how woke you are, reality is and despite all attempts to warp it, reality in the end, whether we are talking about always asserts itself.