Monday, November 30, 2015

Jessica Jones - Never heard of her, too bad, she's pretty good

Jessica Jones is a new series by Netflix that was released last week. I had never heard of this character that has her own story line in the Marvel universe.

That's not a shocker as I don't read Marvel comics, even though I've become a pretty big fan of its movies and tv show.

Anyway, we binged on Jessica Jones (starring Krysten Ritter, best known to me for her role on Veronica Mars and the Blacklist)  this weekend and needed to finish the series before my dad returned home. He does not have Netflix, and even if he did, he wouldn't know how to use it.

The series is fairly entertaining. although when you binge, the action sequences, the fights, the push-pull between Jessica Jones and her villain gets a big repetitive.

I wonder if when they sketch out the stories if they keep that under consideration?

Probably not.

Anyway, orphan Jessica Jones is a gritty, hard-drinking, kind of lonely character, who was used and abused by the big bad (a Joss Whedon phrase used in the show). The enemy was Killgrave, a mind-controlling Brit who ordered folks to kill themselves quite regularly.

The actor playing Killgrave, David Tennant, was quite familiar to our family. He had a starring role as a flawed detective in the two seasons of Broadchurch, a mind-thrilling British murder mystery.

So it's a bit bizarre that it took three-quarters of Jessica Jones for our heroine to realize she could resist Killgrave's mind control. They had quite a few flashbacks to the episode where Killgrave had Jessica Jones kill Reva, a woman of no significance except that she's the dead wife of a bartender Jessica Jones later hooks up with.

I think the one flaw in the series is that it was never explained how Jessica Jones developed the ability to resist Killgrave. She eventually realized she could, except she should have known that eventuality because the only reasons Jessica Jones and Killgrave were no longer an item was because she left him - despite his ordering her to stay - to get hit by a bus.

There was a satisfying conclusion to Killgrave. Although he tried to set up an ultimate battle, it ended quite simply.

A lot of reviews of Jessica Jones are discussing abuse, rape and male domination. Although those themes ran through the show, I don't want to think that hard when I'm watching television. Sometimes it is just entertainment.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Is Missouri a hotbed of racism?

Is that a provocative question? I don't think so.
The reason I ask is because for the past year or two incidents have bubbled to the surface that lead me to think Missouri is firmly entrenched in a southern attitude towards race and in denial about it.

Let's take what's going on right now: University of Missouri President  Tim Wolfe resigned.
He didn't quit because he was ashamed that he had overly racist elements on campus.
He didn't quit because he was embarrassed by his inaction when students wanted to discuss what he was going to do about the racists elements. (Remember, he refused to talk with students who blocked his car at a parade).

He quit because if he didn't his school would have paid a $1 million penalty for not playing football this coming weekend.
He quit because students, professors and coaches stood in solidarity in demanding change.
He quit because he didn't get it - and still doesn't get it.

What I don't understand is how the public is appalled by the student protests. How the public is supporting the president because maybe they think the students are intimidating? Uppity?

So let's contrast Tim Wolfe with University of Oklahoma President David Boren - also a white man who had to confront racist elements at his school earlier this year.
When Boren was made aware of fraternity students chanting racist songs on a bus, he joined protesters. He banned the fraternity. He suspended students. He took action.

It's clear to me that the University of Missouri should hire Boren to clean up Wolfe's mess and rout out the racists on campus.

Let's move away from the university. I don't want to get into Ferguson mostly because much has been written and exposed about the racist and biased police department who harassed black residents resulting in the death of Michael Brown. It's not that I don't think the event is important. It is. But unfortunately, when it comes to Missouri, there is more racism to discuss.

I want to talk about the mostly black Normandy School District. This was the school district Brown graduated from before it lost its accreditation. In fact its accreditation was suspended for more than a decade before it was revoked. The school district was horrible, had crappy teachers and no real plan to provide students with an education.

When black students tried to go to Francis-Howell, a mostly-white neighboring school district to get an education, well the folks weren't going to have it.  
Despite a year of integration with few, if any problems, the white parents successfully lobbied state lawmakers to pass a law to boot out the black students. This was a shameful episode in Francis-Howell's history. A judged overruled the law and some black students returned to Francis-Howell, but for the students, it was a nightmare.

When you listen to the public hearing of Francis-Howell parents objecting to black students coming to the school district on NPR's "This American Life" you'll understand that the University of Missouri racism incidents are not a momentary blip in a bad time - but a common thread throughout the state.

Racism is alive and well in Missouri, and it's only up to enlightened Missourians to change it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Nooooooooooooo Glenn ...... Nooooooooooo

I was sad last year when they killed off Beth. It was sudden. It was quick. It was heart breaking, and I hate it when they kill off regulars who have been on the show for several years.

But last night I thought there was an injustice done to Glenn. What a pedestrian way to die.

Glenn really was one of my favorite characters on The Walking Dead.
He's been on since the program started and was this quick footed runner who really matured as the series grew. He did some really dumb-ass stuff in the first couple of seasons - going into the well on Hershel's farm with the walker inside - but eventually he developed smarts.
So last year he looked like a gonner when Nicholas trapped him inside the revolving door in the solar panel factory. In that move we lost Noah - better known as the actor who played Chris Rock in the show Everybody Hates Chris. It was a gory death and Glenn seemed scarred, but he wasn't so damaged that he turned on Nicholas. No, he gave the turd another chance. And then he gave him another chance
after Nicholas shot and tried to kill him.

During Nicholas' suicide Sunday night, it turns out Glenn doesn't have nine lives.

Glenn kicked the bucket in the show long before he does in the comics. He was due to die by the end of this season or early next season when they brought in Negan. The television show does its own thing, and for some reason, I was starting to believe they'd keep Glenn alive because he was the heart of the show.

Glenn's death is tragic and sad. I know that the Walking Dead producers feel the need to kill off characters we care about to keep up the fear and realism factor, but the show will get to the point where there won't be any people left that I give a hoot about.

This is a fantasy zombie apocalypse and I guess everyone dies in the end. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Walking Dead graphic novels

I may have spoiled everything.
One of the greatest things about the Walking Dead is I didn't know what was going to happen next and I loved it.

I don't watch the show for the blood and guts, but instead for the adventure, twists, turns, the people.
Well a few weeks ago I discovered the Walking Dead issues in my library. Firstly, the TV show is better.
On the TV show the dialogue is spectacular compared to the comics, but I have to admit, the comics have blown me away with their casual - and stunning way - they eliminate characters. That bothers me. It seems heartless, but I guess the message is that it's an apocalypse and no one is safe.

I also noticed that while the characters aren't always the same in the show as compared to the comics (Andrea is still alive in the comics) the plots follow very well.
And I know the stunning moments of last season - the doctor who went nuts and slashed Deanna's husband's throat and then Rick killed him - a blow away scene - came directly from the comics.

Perhaps the surprise is that in the previews to this season it appears that Morgan is going to be an irritant - a thorn in Rick's side - instead of a partner in crime. That is a role that some other characters played in the comics.

My compliment to the TV show is I feel that Andrew Lincoln's portrayal of Rick is much scarier, more unsettling than how he is in the comics.  

That being said, our Zombie apocalypse survivors are headed for some really hard times.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Game of Thrones!!!

So they had to end season five of Game of Thrones just like the book!!!
I guess there was no other way to end it if they were to stick to the book. And yet this whole season the television show went in a direction with story lines that weren't in the books.

It's very obvious to me the television show went in a direction that will be revealed to us in book six.
The big question is whether we get book six before season six. I'm betting on season six.
Firstly, Stanus invades and loses.

Second, Brianne moves to kill Stanus. I say moves to kill because we don't see her do it.
In the book, Brianne is long dead.
In the book,  Sansa is not at Winterfell, but heck, she could be on her way.
In the book, Jon is stabbed lots by his Night's Watch men and is left to die.

This is tortuous.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Game of Thrones season five

The television show is moving away from the books in some subtle ways or my memory of what happened in the books is full of holes. Either could be true.

I don't remember Aria being turned away from the black/white cult. I remember her being accepted and having to endure multiple trials, blindness, etc. in her training as an assassin. I also don't remember the man (can't remember his name) who gave her the coin returning. I know the assassins have many faces, and I remember him changing his when he left her, but I don't remember him returning to the island of Brazos.

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Second, Jamie didn't team up with Bronn and go to Dorne to rescue Marcella.

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Third, Brienne never found Sansa.

Fourth, Daenerys didn't have an adviser executed, although she had unrest in her kingdom because of her dragons and the revolt by the former slave owners. I loved the hissing and rock throwing scene.

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Five, Tyron and the unic didn't stay together. I'm glad they seem to be straying away from Tyron as a circus act because that was just too horrendous. Yet there is still time.

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I loved last night's episode. I'm very pleased they are moving away from the books because then I feel like we have two great sources of entertainment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Catching up with fans

It's been so long. I've been teaching a journalism course at the local community college and that's been sucking up all of my time.
Oh the stories I could write.

On to more important discussions, the second half of season five of The Walking Dead was just amazing. It took me a couple of weeks to watch the last two episodes on my DVR in part because I was afraid of a massacre and Rick was making me nervous.

The Walking Dead is partly an examination of the human mind and spirit when faced with dire circumstances. It's a dog eat dog world, literally.  (Animal lovers who were upset by that scene, well, how bout this, I rarely brake for cats and dogs, especially if it's going to cause an accident.)

It's also clear that everyone has evil in them. Although I do wonder why it seems mostly the evil survived? I think in real life there are 1 million in prison, but 300 million who aren't!!!

More later. I'm eating dinner.

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