I was a week behind on podcasts, and a month behind on TV, but I’m catching up.
- Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights came up on Remap recently, so I downloaded the audiobook, and, though McConaughey’s voice is obviously very good to spend six hours with, the book itself is, frankly, a rambling parody of both him- and itself. Except if you’d deliberately written a “McConaughey’s warrior poet autobio” parody book, it might actually be funny. Oof.
Desert Bus for Hope
- It was a good bus.
- Children in Need special: Destination: Skaro.
- First 60th anniversary special: The Star Beast.
- Enjoyed the new McGann incarnation boxset Audacity. The stories are solid, and the inimitable Jaye Griffiths brings a lot of very compelling gravitas to an interesting new companion. Had heard about where it ends and worried what that meant for how much it’s actually setting up a fresh new part of Dr Who’s life, but who cares when it’s such a nice, fun place to get to. Very excited for that Christmas followup.
- Started Enter Wildthyme!. Surrendered to the Magrsiverse hypercontinuity almost immediately. Never mind. I’ll get back to that one eventually.
- Started Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Squire’s Crystal. All the body swap clichés you want from a 90s sci-fi novel and several you don’t. But you know what, they’re clichés because they work. Benny’s immense frustration at having to prove that she’s not just herself, but even a woman at all really got me.
- Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Stone’s Lament is a good followup to Squire’s Crystal — it’s good to establish the deal between her and Adrian in both mediums.
- I liked all of the Tales of the TARDIS framing scenes a lot, very charming, cried a bit. Great way to start the anniversary month.
- The Zygon Invasion novelisation is mostly a fairly straight prose version of the two episodes, but where it thrives is, one, in its internal Zygon monologues, making even stronger the Zygon refugee metaphor, and two, in its addition of interludes featuring Zygon-Clara Bonnie and her accomplice Clyde, who we never knew about on TV, whose human appearance is based on Danny Pink. That would’ve been cool to see on TV.
- Rogue Encounters. I’ve been saying this, but: The War Master range is so fucking carried by the Jacobi performance — sinister, dark, delicious — that barely anything else matters. Are these stories good? Yeah, sure. Does that matter? God, Jacobi is terrific, isn’t he.
- Dudman-as-Tennant set Defender of the Earth sure is yet another Big Finish release recorded at the absolute start of the pandemic. Is it weird to record in your house? Tell me less. As Chronicles releases go, it’s fine, but the fourth story, The Siege of Shackleton, picks exactly two of the Second Tennant incarnation’s1The one the First Tennant incarnation turns into in the cliffhanger between The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End. tics, to derisively call humans stupid for their every bad choice, and to brag and hype himself up constantly, and has him either do 120% of one or 120% of the other at all times. Insufferable. Awful. I also still don’t think Dudman is that good as the non-Smith incarnations.
- Which is convenient, because Broken Hearts dropped right after — the Dudman-as-Smith has been an absolute shitter to Valarie Lockwood, and this one-off story has rightfully been inserted between volume 4 and the impending volume 5 to put that right. Totally does it. Valarie is totally right to be furious, Dudman and Ingar sell both the heartbreak and the resolution.
- Blank Check status report: Michael Mann still really hit or miss.
- I don’t really mention this on Masto or Letterboxd, but there’s one specific way I thought The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Whatever the Rest of This Title Was Again really got something right — for, you know, being a YA dystopia thing that doesn’t have to go that hard on this stuff, I thought it was a really good depiction of how a relatively upstanding citizen in a fascist system can be demolished and crushed by that system until there’s nothing left but a shithead with a machine gun, and what it means to rebuild yourself inside that system after that.
- Finished the Transformers films. Though the way the politics of these evolve is an interesting journey to have gone on, I think I might enjoy them more (significantly so) when they’re not made by Michael Bay,2I watched the two that weren’t made by him before, so this was me catching up. which is a lousy conclusion to come to after five Michael Bay films. It’s all just shallow, stupid nonsense, guided by no creative vision but a boomer’s idea of what’s “awesome.”
- Finished the Shrek films. They stop being parodies and become their own thing, which would be good if that own thing wasn’t still dumb.
Bits from Letterboxd
Cube 2: Hypercube (2002):
a shame to get the fellas with the guns and the phone at the end — I really like the very silly idea from the first one that it’s just a public works project that got extremely out of hand, where nobody’s in charge, and it’s just freelancers and subcontractors all the way down.
The Keep (1983):
The low resolution of the LaserDisc rip I watched gives this almost a travel documentary vibe, it feels very real, very grounded, like it was filmed by enthusiasts on potato cameras. Hard to tell how much of that feeling would persist in a proper HD release, but it totally works for this sort of John Carpenter-esque foggy mysticism.
fuck, imagine dying and going to Transformer heaven where everything is pointy and miserable, I’d un-die, too
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (2020):
it’s a chill vibe, all
light pastels and thin, soft lines.
a bit off-season.
it’s a cute romance
her with her friends, and
him, his mall walkers
i’d not seen before,
as cinematic climax,
some public speaking
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009):
thought I’d watched at least four of these but I guess this is the third one, a sentiment I’ll probably also feel when I put on the next Transformers picture
i guess the one thing these horrible ennui-inducing cretin pictures have going for them over the Transformers flicks is these are a firm 90 minutes instead of looking at a third hour like it’s a goal instead of a canyon
i thought this was miserable when daddification hit the crude animal movie for toddlers, but then a second daddification hit the crude animal movie for toddlers, and it did not improve after that point
God is a Bullet (2023):
I was vaguely aware 2023’s God is a Bullet existed, but it looked like one of those where every character has a Large Opinion about the American flag, and let me tell you, I would not endorse or even encourage any of these people’s (entirely unstated) Large Opinions that I am sure they all, every single one of them, have about any flag.
shot like a dream sequence and colour graded like a Saw movie, everyone is so riddled with horniness a rhinoceros might take notes, it’s genuinely ridiculous from the first frame to the last
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011):
the stakes here can only be measured in quantities of 9/11s — and when the bad guys just moving down the street is like a crane falling over, we start the count at maybe 15 9/11s? how is a win condition even still on the horizon when you’re five of those 9/11s in?
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009):
Bella Swan is just a sadder Guillermo from What We Do in the Shadows
first vampires are real, then werewolves are real, and now Italians are real? really stretching believability here.
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017):
i’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe… four aspect ratio changes in twenty seconds of a shot reverse shot dialogue scene… I watched the aspect ratio touch the subtitles and then not even come close to it… all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain…
time to die.
Shrek Forever After (2010):
having faced a world where he was happy, the ogre surrenders and submits to the heteronormative nuclear family forced upon him by the values of not his own world but the one that brought him into his horrible, miserable existence
- Bodies never takes any huge turns I didn’t see coming, and I think the resolution to the central mystery is a little weak, but I enjoyed the journey.
- Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix. You can’t open a show on a serious terrorist message, then cut to Rayman’s talk show, then to an over the top car chase that involves a gay kiss, and not expect me to be interested. It retains that wild tone the whole way through — there’s a whole FMV section?? — and I think it’s a really interesting… experiment? Truly nothing like it on TV.
- The Curse is so deeply fucking haunted.
- Finished The Fall of the House of Usher the day after Halloween. Like I said last month, great depiction of the extremely rich — even at their most sympathetic, with one exception, they’re largely gonna be awful, craven people, and you’ll always enjoy seeing them get offed one by one at least a little bit. …Oh, so the House literally Falls at the end of the– Okay.
- Insane For All Mankind alternative history detail of the month: LaserDisc still the dominant home media format as of 2003.
- Goosebumps still knows exactly how to deploy Justin Long.
- Just impeccable quite how thoroughly the title Monarch: Legacy of Monsters fails to communicate literally anything about that show. It literally has the word “monsters” in there and you still turn it on unsure whether monsters will meaningfully feature. (Spoilers: They feature less than you want but more than you expect.)
- The Morning Show gonna Morning Show.
- A Murder at the End of the World is the new show by the folks who made The OA and I hope it goes places.
- I no longer think Izzy from Our Flag Means Death is gonna lay claim to the Blackbeard name in the end.
- Pluto asks the question “what if Astro Boy was a very serious murder mystery drama,” and it answers it “that would be pretty good.”
- Scavengers Reign. Gorgeous animation. Not that much to it, though. Dropped it after three episodes.
- Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. 💀💀💀 Terrific stuff.
- Star Trek: Lower Decks. An easy nomination for Best Trek in a world where Strange New Worlds didn’t exist, though it’s really starting to make me feel like I should… actually start TNG/DS9 sooner rather than later.
- Wolf Like Me. Fully forgot this show existed. Wish this second season wasn’t all so focused on the pregnancy thing — it gives them just a little too much “permission” to make her irrational, to have her make stupid decisions.
- 1The one the First Tennant incarnation turns into in the cliffhanger between The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End.
- 2I watched the two that weren’t made by him before, so this was me catching up.