So I haven’t written on here in awhile and I was just keeping it in the hopes that I had some sort of inspiration and just had to write something down. The reality is I’ve been really busy with work, uni and actual fiction writing (which is what this was originally meant to be practice for haha).
Having seen that for whatever reason, this page is still getting a slow trickle of page views, I thought I’d just do a quick dot summary – ie. what’s good Miley – of Media/Pop Culture recommendations.
Also I’ve been in Japan for the past month and it was fucking awesome. Although I probably wouldn’t recommend going in summer if you don’t handle heat well because it gets bloody hot. A couple of pro tips: Buy the JR pass before you get there because you will use the subway way more than you think. Don’t get stuck in Tokyo, make sure you leave plenty of time for the other places (especially Kyoto). Not many people speak English, Taxi’s are expensive, mainly cash economy and you can sleep on the street quite well as I found out one night (I think my wallet actually had more money in it after I woke up lol).
As far as Netflix goes, I’m looking forward to season 2 of Stranger Things and Riverdale. The two trailers for season 2 of Stranger Things look phenomenal so I hope it avoids the trap of just making another season because it was successful.
Season 2 of Master of None was phenomenal. I have a deep love for that show. I bought the Mondo vinyl of the season two soundtrack – so I popped two cherries in buying my first vinyl and Mondo product.
Steven Universe continues to be pure joy.
Logan, Dunkirk, Baby Driver all great movies.
The Wolf Among Us season 2 frick yes!!! Also Fables continues to be amazing.
Also on the comic front, I’ve been reading Tokyo Ghost which has some of the best cyberpunk art I’ve seen in a comic.
Titanfall 2 has had the best post-release content. All free, substantial, no shitty-microtransactions and that game is as fun as the first game should’ve been.
Looking forward to starting The Handmaid’s Tale. Don’t know much about it which is always good.
Finished all of the Witcher books. Gosh they’re just the best. Have started the Name of the Wind to fill that Fantasy hole in my life.
I can’t see the Dark Tower movie being good (having read all the books and seen the trailers).
I’ve enjoyed a tonne of other stuff as well but can’t think of it atm. It’ll probably occur to me later and I’ll get annoyed at myself.
I’ve been keeping up to date with Riverdale – which I am continuing to enjoy despite its ups and downs – and I haven’t really seen anything that would further suggest that they are going to go down the Afterlife route which is what I said in the original article. It didn’t get a lot of traction at the time, in hindsight it was probably a bad time to post the article on reddit considering it was right after the third episode aired in the US and I’d only just finished the second one. However, overnight, for whatever reason, the article blew up and it has had over 1000 views in the last two days alone. Buzzfeed even linked to it in an article which was pretty nice.
With that in mind I would just like to do a quick update going over some new developments in relation to either supporting or disproving the theory that Riverdale will eventually go the Afterlife with Archie zombies route. I wasn’t going to do one of these before any more really strong evidence was suggested either way but there have been a few notable advancements which I’d like to sum up.
Going into episode 5, I kind of stopped thinking about the whole zombies thing because nothing really seemed to happen to support it and then this gem of a troll happened at the very start of the flippin episode. You can imagine my reaction right? Considering this turned out to be Cheryl dreaming, I initially thought that this actually disproved the idea that it would go down the Afterlife route, because it’s really on the nose and kind of just seems like a nod to the comics. However this seemed to give a few other people the idea that Riverdale would do the whole zombies thing, and now they’ve gone back and maybe that’s why my original article, which was published three weeks ago, started to get some traction. Anyway, I wouldn’t really look too much into this other than the fact that the creators are obviously thinking about the whole zombies thing. The first thing you learn as an English/media/film student is that 99% of the time, nothing is put in by accident.
So let’s break down the new things we learned, with the main one being the fact that showrunner Roberto Aguirre Sacasa has stated that Sabrina (the teenage witch) is going to appear in the last episode of the 13 episode series. The Sweetwater river, which is the side where everything occurs with Jason, splits the two towns of Riverdale and Greendale where the Sabrina universe is. The creator has specifically said that Sabrina, a character who is almost wholly defined by being a witch, exists in this universe and will only be appearing in the last episode – talk about setting up the next season. Plus the whole symbolism of Jason traveling from the non-magical to the magical side and then returning.
In Afterlife, Jughead’s dog Hot Dog is hit and killed by a car. It is Sabrina who resurrects Hot Dog who becomes patient zero in the outbreak. Isn’t it also funny how Archie’s dog, (I think it’s Spot?), is specifically shown at his house yet Jughead’s more famous dog Hot Dog is very specifically shown as not existing in Riverdale. There is a quite touching scene where Spot sacrifices himself for Archie in Afterlife as well. Dogs aside, it is not too much of a stretch to see that Sabrina will have something to do with Jason and resurrection, with the reveal being right at the end of the first season thus setting up the next as full blown weird voodoo magic Riverdale.
Considering that we’re nearly halfway through the season, and we’ve learned barely anything more about the killer since episode 2, it suggests that it’s not the traditional murder mystery type story that it is pretending to be. There are still huge questions relating to the scene with the coroner and Jason’s body. We know: his feet were frozen, he was bound with rope, he was shot in the head and he died a week after the 4th of July which is when Archie/Grundy heard the shot fired which everyone is assuming is the one which killed Jason. The couple of new posts on reddit I’ve seen have barely mentioned this. There’s no way he went missing a week before the 4th of July and then got killed on the day. He has to have been killed a week after the 4th of July.
Then there’s Dilton. No one really believes that Dilton is the one that killed Jason, yet he fired the only shot which was heard on the 4th of July, the day Jason went missing and a week before he was killed. I think in coming episodes, they’re going to have to go deeper into Dilton firing the gun because that shot couldn’t have been the shot which killed Jason because even if he’d been reanimated as a zombie, the headshot would’ve killed him (also the whole out of place thing with Dilton being a survival nut could very handily work out if Afterlife happens). I still think the most likely explanation, which was mentioned in the first article, is that someone out there (possibly Sabrina) had to tie up a zombie Jason or ended up with him after stuffing up some witchcraft and then was forced to kill him. Somewhere along the way, someone or something got bitten, which will eventually emerge from the woods, leading to the outbreak right at the end of the season, where Sabrina will reveal what happened and the next season will be full blown Afterlife.
Apologies for the long-windedness of this but I haven’t seen a very clear summary of the theory as yet. I’ll be keeping up to to date with the show and will update with any new info. As always, let me know what you think and have a good one.
Steven Universe is an utterly fantastic show that has no right to be as good as it is. It’s like ingesting pure joy. The characters are complex and flawed, yet likeable and endearing. The show is funny, the art and voice acting is amazing and the songs are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a TV show. I usually hate it when they do the singing episode but the songs in this are so good that they often make the best episodes. It must be said that order is important in the show because there is a heck of a lot of continuity, more so than a similar show like Adventure Time. With that paragraph of gushing out the way, I thought I’d do a quick Steven Universe skippable episodes guide to help those on the fence about getting into the show.
I remember when I first started out, I actually looked up a guide like this and found a couple of okay ones. I’m hoping this one is a bit more comprehensive. I’m gonna keep it spoiler free and only comment on the episodes where my decision may need justifying or it’s a give or take episode. With the exception of one or two very noticeable episodes which I will mention, every episode is generally worth it and even if it isn’t, so what, you wasted 10 minutes of your life – big deal. I’m gonna be focusing mainly on Season 1 because I’m going to assume that if you’ve got to the end of a 52 episode season that you like it enough to watch every episode and also because there are very few skippable episodes after season 1 apart from one very notable exception which I will mention later.
Without further adieu, this is JK Pimento’s very personal and very subjective skippable episode guide for Steven Universe.
Pilot: The pilot is entirely skippable. I never even watched it until today where I decided to youtube it. It’s a fun little 7 min thing and is probably only worth watching for fans because the difference in art style and character designs for the gems is interesting. The designs are actually a little more elaborate than they are in the final show, Pearl looks way more punkier and hip and Garnet looks like Rick James or Milli Vanili which is hilarious.
Gem Glow: This one’s really only required coz it’s the first.
Laser Light Cannon
Cheeseburger Backpack: Cheeseburger backpack is an overall fun episode which sheds some light on gem history. This specific episode links to another near the end of the season and is very almost a must watch.
Frybo: Introduces the character of Peedee and the Fryman family who are one of the core families in Beach City. A fun episode but entirely skippable.
Cat Fingers: Establishes the limits of the gem’s and Steven’s shapeshifting powers.
Tiger Millionaire: A really fun episode which you’ll love if you’re a wrestling fan. Really only not entirely passable because of Amethyst’s character development.
Arcade Mania: Mentionable because it’s the first time Garnet is seen without her shades which is important to her character later on.
So Many Birthdays: Almost must watch episode which deals with how long the gems live and how this works in regards to Steven.
Lars and the Cool Kids: Introduces a few notable supporting characters and expands on Rose’s personality a bit.
Onion Trade: Similar to the last episode but really only introduces one character. I would recommend watching it only because Onion is one of the best side characters because he’s such a shitbag and his episodes are always really funny.
Steven the Sword Fighter
Lion 2: The Movie
Beach Party: Essentially introduces the Pizza family, one of the key families of beach city. A pretty fun episode, making fun of the ‘beach episode’ trope as the gems get into costume, also Nanefua gets some airplay here and is one of the funniest characters on the show.
Joking Victim: Really one of the sweetest episodes in the season. Deals with Sadie and Lars’ relationship and is only skippable plot wise as they are two of the more important supporting characters.
Steven and the Steven’s: Not a bad episode, just entirely skippable, although there are some throwbacks to past episodes and sneaky looks into the future.
An Indirect Kiss
Mirror Gem (Part 1)
Ocean Gem (Part 2)
House Guest: Expands on Steven and Greg’s relationship but little else.
Secret Team: Explores the dynamics of the gems and is only really not skippable because it explores parts of the temple and how it works which is cool.
Island Adventure: Continuation of Joking Victim, watch if you’re invested in Sadie and Lars’ relationship.
Keep Beach City Weird: Introduces Ronaldo and actually prophecises a little.
Garnet’s Universe: Super skippable unless you’re particularly attached to Garnet or are an old school RPG fan (like Zelda 1/Square Enix era rpg’s).
Watermelon Steven: Steven gets a new power, plus a location and it’s inhabitants wont make sense for an important episode later on.
Lion 3: Straight to Video
The Test: A strong episode which deals with how the Gems treat Steven and connects up with an earlier episode.
Future Vision: Details a specific power of a Gem but not much else.
On the Run
Horror Club: A pretty good episode with a lot of horror references but little connection to overall plot.
Winter Forecast: I would almost say that any episode with Connie is a must watch and this one is no different.
Maximum Capacity: A really memorable episode which is all round funny, sad, and complex. Explores the relationship between Greg and Amethyst.
Open Book: Another required Connie episode, explores Rose’s room some more.
Shirt Club: Fun, sweet episode about the Dewey’s, another important family, and father-son relationships.
Story for Steven
The Return (Part 1)
Jail Break (Part 2)
Must Watch: 1,2,4,7,8,10,12,16,17,19,20,23,24,25,26,28,32,35,36,37,40,44,45,48,49,50,51,52
Out of 52 episodes we’ve got 24 somewhat/entirely skippable episodes and 28 must watch, not bad for a first season. Let me know if you agree or disagree and why. If this gets some traction then I’ll do another one for season 2/3. If not just a heads up, the “Uncle Grandpa” episode which is number 3 of season 2 is godawful terrible. It’s so bad that Pearl says at the start of the episode “don’t worry, this isn’t canon” as if the show’s creators knew how bad it was and were acknowledging how cartoon network forced them to promote their new show. If for some reason you like Uncle Grandpa…you know…for whatever reason…then you’ll love this episode. For everyone else however, steer way clear, it almost hurts the show overall it’s that bad.
On that pleasant note, have an awesome day and let me know what you think.
Quick update: Just finished watching Samurai Champloo and it was simply amazing. Shinichiro Watanabe does it again. I’ve mentioned him before here with Kids on the Slope and he is fast becoming one of my favorite directors. Champloo has one of the best soundtracks of anything and I watch the opening and closing themes every time because they are so damn good. Certainly the best anime OP’s I’ve ever seen.
I’ve continued reading Fables and it continues to be fantastic. I got two tpb’s for xmas (I think vol. 7 & 8 or thereabouts) and I read them both in single sessions. I think Fables would make a fantastic tv show, however it would be difficult to get the tone right. It goes from being really fun and whimsical to really dark and dire so that would be the main issue.
– Also I finished Metro 2033 redux and am about half way through Metro: Last Light now. I have finished both games before but wanted to play them again and the redux versions are perfect for this. They’re both really fantastic games, the type of which don’t really exist these days. You would probably call them AA games, but apart from some minor polish issues, they feel like AAA games. Also they are completely single player FPS’s and the way the story is delivered is really effective.
I’m playing Last Light on Hardcore Ranger mode which means you take more damage but deal more damage, no HUD, no hints and much less resources. I would definitely recommend playing on the harder difficulty for Last Light, far more context appropriate and challenging. Last Light I think is a lot easier than 2033 as well. I heard 4A games is working on a new Metro game and I will eagerly look forward to it as long as there’s no multiplayer, but I don’t think there would be.
– I finally finished a proper first draft of the novella I wrote. I wrote most of it about a year ago and I’ve just been editing it since then. I’ve sent it out to some friends for some feedback and semi-professional editing so I’ll keep this blog updated to see how that goes.
I just finished watching Hail, Caesar! the latest film to be written, directed and produced by the Coen Brothers. For some reason, I PAID for this film on blu-ray and when it finished all I could think was ‘I got nothing out of this’. Now I don’t know why I bought the film, I think for some reason I thought it was a Wes Anderson film. Considering that The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of my most favourite films of recent years, I was looking forward to a new Anderson film. But no, just another Coen brothers affair and I’m left dissapointed.
Hail, Caesar! is a day in the life of a big shot producer, Josh Brolin, at a big movie studio in the Golden Age of Cinema, 1950’s Hollywood. Now I’m no schmuck, I’ve studied film and what the Golden Age was like, so I’m not one to miss the references and all that. Also many of the actors in the film I really enjoy, but for the most part, there are so many shoved in that many only have a single scene or two, so there is limited character development or even room for comedy. This has the added overall effect of taking time away from the main plot lines. In the end, I was left feeling like Hail, Caesar! was a fun, kinda quirky historical piece and that was it. I’ll probably never think about it again.
Don’t get me wrong, for all intents and purposes it’s a very well crafted and executed film but there’s so little substance, and I know the Coen Brothers films are more about characters than plot, but come on give me something to follow, someone to root for. I think that’s the problem with Coen Brother’s films, they are well made and unique movies with lots of star power so they’re really hard to criticize. I like the fact that they’re meant to be for an audience of a certain educational level and you get more out of them the more you watch them. However, this is meant to be a comedy and I barely laughed a single time. I like the actors in the movie, appreciate the characters, understand (most) of the movie industry references and yet I have no reason to watch it again and have no idea who I would recommend this to.
Maybe my expectations were too high, but if someone like me found the film forgettable then who is it for? 1950’s cinema historians, the George Clooney Josh Brolin fan club, anyone still alive today who worked in the Golden Age of Cinema? The Coen Brother’s could take a lesson out of Anderson’s book in that The Grand Budapest Hotel featured a tonne of actors playing oddball characters, yet each was given appropriate screen time for their role, the narrative was charming and engaging and we had likeable characters to root for, oddball characters to laugh at and villainous characters to despise.
Just like Anchorman 2 was criticized for straying into the self-indulgent at times, I feel as though the Coen Brothers are at risk of the same here. Fargo was a fine film, I enjoyed it much more the second time when I understood more about the subverting of cinema conventions in the narrative. The Big Lebowski is a cult classic that I have to watch again, No Country for Old Men was a great film with a strong central plot and Inside Llewyn Davis was a critically lauded film that I’m yet to see. The Coen Brothers make well crafted movies…when they focus on the narrative.
Once again the problem remains, who is Hail, Caesar! for?
Last night, I went to the theater to see Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival and the night before that I watched Terry Gilliam’s Brazil on blu-ray. I do love my sci-fi and both of these are very different approaches to the genre. I’ll talk about Brazil first because I watched it first.
Brazil is a 1985 dystopian science fiction film starring Jonathan Pryce (played the High Sparrow on Game of Thrones), plus a slew of cameos from noted British character actors and – strangely – Robert De Niro. This is a strange film, really bizarre and surreal. If you know any of Terry Gilliam’s other works, like 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, then this shares many of the similarities of those films. I think the best things about the Gilliam films I’ve seen thus far are his skills in world building and the whimsical machines which exist in the dystopia.
The actual narrative itself feels somewhat bloated and there’s some ridiculous dream sequences which perhaps drag on for a bit too long. I did really enjoy the film overall and I can’t get the stupid song out of my head that the film is based around. I probably wouldn’t recommend this to your general viewer, but if you like dystopia, sci-fi, Terry Gilliam or just weird stuff from the 80’s then you’ll get a kick out of Brazil.
My feelings were kind of mixed when I went to see Arrival, mainly because I knew the movie had been received well and Denis Villeneuve was a good director (from Sicario and Prisoners), but I can’t stand Amy Adams. Her role as Lois Lane in the new Superman films and whoever she was in American Hustle (which still stands as one of the most overrated movies ever) really put me off her. I don’t know what it is about her, the fact that she seems to play the same character every time, or I just don’t buy her acting. Anyway, I did really like her in this role so maybe I’ll come around.
So Amy Adams plays a linguist who’s haunted by flashbacks of her daughter who died young from some rare disease. Aliens…arrive (see what I did there) and the military sends after language experts to try and communicate with them. It gets a bit silly with the whole China thing, like ‘oh China is irrational and of course will be the first who wants to blow them up’. Then like the rioting and looting and stuff is dumb and the fact that there is always some dumb American soldier who does something rash because he needs to protect his family. Man am I getting sick of that trope.
The whole reason that stuff is dumb is because the Aliens literally do nothing. The ships just sit there, a door opens every 18 hours and they converse with whoever goes in for a bit. Then the world just loses their shit because aliens are here and the government seems to be doing nothing. Apart from those gripes, the film was quite good. Really smart sci-fi, that avoids alot of the dumb action stuff that often bogs down the genre. The film is so like a Christoper Nolan one in it’s structure that to say any more would spoil it.
Overall, would very much recommend Arrival, especially as a debut sci-fi film for the director that will have you thinking long after the credits role.
So I finished work, got home around 10ish and started playing Inside by Playdead, the developers who made Limbo, with this game sort of being a sequel to that. Roughly 3 and a half hours later and I finished the game and holy shit was it good.
Firstly it seems a little short, but I have to mention that I’ve finished Limbo a few times and gotten all the secrets and that stuff. This is a very similar platformer to that – basically just run, jump and interact – so if you haven’t played Limbo then it would probably take longer. Furthermore the pacing is so goddamn on point, in the sense that I was never like ‘oh I wish this section was over’ that I didn’t mind. There was only one section where I had to look up how to c0mplete the puzzle, and I realised I’d already tried that method but didn’t execute it properly so forgot about it and spent ages doing the wrong thing.
The amount of new areas and mechanics and ideas that the game throws at you is just phenomenal. I’m already thinking about replaying it and getting all the secrets to unlock the secret ending. I only found the first one and apparently there’s like 10 which is crazy because it’s not like I didn’t know they were there. In Limbo, they were hard to get but you accidentally stumble upon them by going a certain way or doing a certain thing.
tldr; Play both games they’re great, the order doesn’t matter but if you play Inside before Limbo then you may feel let down a bit just because of the advancement in production quality, although the art style on Limbo certainly holds up.
I smashed through the last three seasons of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in the last week after finishing uni for the semester. Boy does that show pick up speed after the first couple of seasons. There’s so much going on and it seems like the internal logic of the show makes sense but there were a couple of things I didn’t understand at the time. I’m sure it’d be like one of those things where you watch it again and pick up on a tonne more stuff…but I rarely rewatch things unless I’m crazy about them.
Would highly recommend, if you’re finding the first season a bit slow then I reckon you can just wiki plot summary the first couple of seasons and blitz through the last three seasons. They’re only 24 minutes episodes so it’s not hard. One thing which bothered me about the show was that the two main love interests finally get together but they never kiss! The whole goddamn, five season, 60 whatever episodes and they never kiss. Now I gotta go OVA hunting, what a pain.
That’s all for today, Have a good one!
ONE OTHER THING! I was flicking through tv late the other night and I started watching Peep Show. I recognised the show but I never really got it, probably because I’m not the biggest David Mitchell fan. Anyway, it’s this unique British comedy which is shot entirely (or almost) from the point of view of the characters, with their inner monologues narrating the scenes as they go. In the episode, the two guys go to this party, end up going bowling and then back to their place with their respective women they hook up with. The sex doesn’t go well for one of the dudes and is interrupted. Later he thinks about going back in for another try and then gets put off by the sound of his mate doing it in the next room. So he leans over and grabs a tissue box, on the nightstand next to the bed the girl is on, as we watch him from her eyes. The unapologetic face that he makes as he shuffles off was the funniest shit.
Here’s a link to the episode, I thoroughly recommend watching the whole thing but if you want to skip to the part I mentioned, it’s right at the end (23 min). It may be somewhat NSFW also. I can’t speak for the series as a whole but this episode was great.