TV Review: The Walking Dead 8.3 “Monsters” (dir by Greg Nicotero)


Before watching tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, I was starting to worry that I might be impossible to please.

I spent all last season complaining that The Walking Dead was too talky and slow-paced.  Then last week’s episode was pretty much nonstop action and I ended up getting bored out of my mind, largely because I didn’t feel like I had any sort of emotional stake in any of the characters.  When tonight’s episode started, I was literally wondering if perhaps I’m destined to never be truly satisfied with anything that happens on The Walking Dead.

When the episode started with the attack still going on and Morales and Rick still talking, I was a little bit concerned.  I was really worried that the entire episode was just going to be the two of them discussing what constitutes morality during the zombie apocalypse.  I honestly didn’t remember much about who Morales was so I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly affected by his tales of woe and death.  Morales explained that he lost everyone.  Rick mentioned that he had lost a lot of people that he cared about.  (Rick didn’t mention that most of them died as the result of Rick being a terrible strategist but no mater.)  I was really starting to get concerned that the conversation was never going to end but then Daryl showed up and killed Morales.  Thank you, Daryl.  From now on, whenever a minor character threatens to hijack an episode, Daryl kills them.  That’s the new rule.

The episode definitely picked up after the death of Morales.  In fact, thing got so much better after Morales died that I almost felt as if, by killing Morales, the show’s producers, writers, and directors were specifically telling us, “Don’t worry.  We learned our lesson last season.  We’re not going to let random characters wander in and take over the show this season.”

As for the rest of the episode, I know that many would probably say that the fight between Morgan and Jesus was a highlight and I’ll agree that it was a very well-done sequence.  (It helped that it was combined with scenes of Rick and Daryl fighting their own battle, for once giving us a chance to understand where all of these characters are in relation to each other.)  The scenes with Aaron and Eric were definitely the episode’s emotional high point and the sight of Eric wandering around as a walker served as nice reminder that, before it all became about Negan and Alexandria, The Walking Dead a show about … well, the walking dead.

For me, though, the best part of tonight’s episode was Gregory showing up at Alexandria and begging to be allowed to come back in.  Maggie, of course, immediately noticed that Gregory was driving Father Gabriel’s car.  Gregory lied and said that he had just found the car.  (Of course, we all know that he deserted Gabriel, leaving him with Negan.)  When Maggie said that Kal had told them that Gregory went to see Negan, Gregory announced that Kal couldn’t be trusted.

Suddenly, Kal leaned over the side of the wall.

Gregory looked up at him.  “Kal,” he sad.

Kal gave Gregory the finger.

Now, it may be a case of me being easily amused but that one hand gesture made the entire night for me.  It was so simple and yet so appropriate that it was pure genius.  If Gregory had been caught telling lies about Rick, Rick would have launched into a speech about why no one is allowed to lie in this new world.  If Gregory had been caught telling lies about Negan, we would have had to spend three episodes listening to Negan’s lecture.  Gregory got caught telling lies about Kal and Kal responded quickly, silently, and efficiently.  Everyone on The Walking Dead should try to be more like Kal.

Anyway, Maggie did let Gregory back into the compound.  Rick probably would have shot Gregory in the head.  Maggie does things differently.

Speaking of which, at the end of the show, Rick promised a savior that he would be allowed to escape if he would just tell Rick and Daryl where they could find a case of guns.  The savior told them and Daryl promptly shot him in the head.  I can’t say that I blame Daryl.  That’s just the way things work in the heartless world of The Walking Dead.

Anyway, despite a shaky start, this episode turned out pretty well.  It was certainly a huge improvement on the previous two episodes of this season.

Allow me to end this review with a question and prediction.

First, the question: “Where’s Carl?”

A prediction: The first half of season 8 will end with a zombiefied Carl walking towards Rick.  I know that would be a major departure from the comic book but, honestly, it makes sense.  On the show, only two or three years have passed since Rick woke up from that coma.  In the real world, it’s been nearly 8 years and Chandler Riggs isn’t getting any younger.

We’ll see what happens!

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A Movie a Day #301: Keaton’s Cop (1990, directed by Bob Burge)


Mike Gable (Lee Majors) is the angriest cop in Galveston, famous for tossing people out of windows.  Jake (Don Rickles!) is Gable’s partner, who seems to be too old to still be on the force.  Gable’s best friend is Keaton (Abe Vigoda), a retired mobster who now lives in a nursery home.  When it becomes apparent that someone has put a hit out on Keaton, Gable and Jake are sent to investigate.  A shoot out at the nursery home leads to Jake’s death.  Another shoot out at a hotel leads to the death of several other cops.  Gable can either toss Keaton out a window or he can team up with him to solve the murders.  Imagine 48 Hours with Lee Majors replacing Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy stepping aside for Abe Vigoda.

In the style of both 48 Hours and Midnight Run, Keaton’s Cop tries to combine comedy with action but the comedy is too lame to be funny and the action is too brutal to be light-hearted.  For some reason, Don Rickles plays his role completely straight while Abe Vigoda mostly just looks happy to have the chance to play a leading role for once.  Lee Majors is believable as an angry cop, mostly because he appears to be pissed off about having to appear in Keaton’s Cop.  It can’t be easy to go from being the Six Million Dollar Man to a movie like this.

What would have improved Keaton’s Cop?  How about an appearance from the stars of Shattered If Your Kid’s On Drugs:

Right, Burt?

Cleaning Out The DVR: Consenting Adults (dir by Alan J. Pakula)


(Lisa is currently in the process of cleaning out her DVR!  It’s going to take a while because Lisa has over 200 things recorded.  However, one thing is for sure: it’s all getting erased on January 15th.  Will Lisa be able to watch everything before doomsday?  Keep checking here to find out!  She recorded the 1992 thriller, Consenting Adults, off of Cinemax on February 22nd!)

Consenting Adults is a rather silly film from 1992, one which starts out as a typical sex-and-sin-in-suburbia type of film and then turns into something else.  It was directed by the distinguished director, Alan J. Pakula and the cast features people who have been nominated for (and, in some cases, won) multiple Oscars, Tonys, and Emmys.  It also features the daughter of somewhat overrated playwright, Arthur Miller.

“Wow!,” you’re saying, “who exactly is in this film?”

Well, there’s Kevin Kline and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.  They play a seemingly happy married couple.  They have a nice house in the suburbs.  Kevin Kline has a good job as a composer.  Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio has really pretty hair.  It should be a perfect life but they’re both secretly bored with their safe marriage.

And then there’s Rebecca Miller.  She’s the wife of the new neighbor.  She does thing like sing and bathe in front of an open window, allowing Kline to peek in at her.  She’s also apparently murdered about halfway through the film.  As the result of a wife-swapping scheme that was suggested by his neighbor, Kevin Kline’s semen is found in her body.  Kline goes to jail for murder.  His wife divorces him and marries the neighbor.  Hmmm….does it sound like maybe someone set Kline up?

That’s what Forest Whitaker thinks!  Whitaker plays an insurance agent who is investigating Kline’s neighbor.  It seems that the neighbor has made most of his money through insurance fraud.  Whitaker looks incredibly young in Consenting Adults.  He’s probably the most likable person in the film.  He seems to be amused by it all.

“Hey,” you’re saying, “you keep mentioning this neighbor but you have yet to tell us who played him.  You just keep saying, ‘the neighbor,’ which seems kinda awkward…”

I’m getting to the neighbor!  The neighbor is the evil genius behind all of Kevin Kline’s misfortune.  He’s a totally and thoroughly evil suburbanite and, even when he’s pretending to be a good guy, he doesn’t make much of an effort to hide the fact that he’s not to be trusted.  In fact, you could argue that Kline and Mastrantonio both had to be complete idiots to trust this guy in the first place.  That’s kind of one of the problems with this movie.   Not only is the neighbor’s scheme ludicrously complicated but, in order for it to work, he had to find two of the stupidest people ever…

“We get it, Lisa,” you’re saying, “Just tell us who plays this super villain neighbor!”

Uhmmm… *whispers* Kevin Spacey.

When I saw Consenting Adults on my DVR and I also saw that it starred Kevin Spacey, I figured that I would watch it as a test.  After everything that’s come out about Kevin Spacey, is it still possible to watch him in a movie and forget about the fact that you’re watching Kevin Spacey?  Or does Spacey’s very presence now make it impossible to watch any of his previous films?  In the grand scheme of things, of course, that should be the least of our concerns when it comes to Kevin Spacey but still, regardless of who he may be as a human being, he has appeared in some very good movies.

Of course, I quickly learned that Consenting Adults is not one of those very good movies.  That was obvious from the very first scene, which featured Kevin Kline looking like a madman while composing some of the most maudlin and less interesting music that I’ve ever heard.  In fact, Consenting Adults turned out to one the silliest movies that I’ve ever seen.

As for Kevin Spacey, he is cast as a cold-hearted narcissist who hides his true self underneath a charming and witty facade.  I think a lot of people would watch this film and assume that Spacey is basically playing himself.  (I have to admit that was pretty much my reaction, despite the fact that I usually try to separate the art from the artist.)  Since Spacey’s playing a loathsome villain, his presence doesn’t make Consenting Adults any more or any less difficult to sit through.  If anything, you really can’t wait to see him get his comeuppance.

(So, I guess the real Spacey test will be whether or not I can still watch L.A. Confidential and Baby Driver.)

Anyway, Consenting Adults is occasionally entertaining in an over-the-top, WTF is going on sort of way.  Spacey’s scheme is just so out there and makes so little sense that you can’t help but be impressed that everyone making the film kept a straight face.  Otherwise, this is a truly forgettable movie.

Cleaning Out the DVR: The Wrong Crush (dir by David DeCoteau)


(Lisa is currently in the process of cleaning out her DVR!  It’s going to take a while because Lisa has over 200 things recorded.  However, one thing is for sure: it’s all getting erased on January 15th.  Will Lisa be able to watch everything before doomsday?  Keep checking here to find out!  She recorded The Wrong Crush off of Lifetime on July 2nd!)

The mistakes of the past.  Can we overcome them?  Can we forgive ourselves?  Can we convince others to forgive us?  Can we ever recover or are we destined to be forever punished?

These are some of the questions asked in The Wrong Crush.  Veteran Lifetime viewers will, of course, immediately recognize that this is one of the many “wrong” films that David DeCoteau has directed for Lifetime.  There’s also The Wrong Roommate, The Wrong Student, and The Wrong Child.  Myself, I always look forward to the latest “Wrong” film because they’re usually enjoyably (and intentionally) melodramatic and, as a director, DeCoteau always seems to have a sense of humor about going through all the of the required Lifetime “beats.”  At times, the characters in these films almost seem to be aware that they’re appearing in a Lifetime film.  Also, DeCoteau always seems to film in the nicest houses in Canada.  One of the fun things about watching a Lifetime film is getting to see where everyone lives and the Wrong films always seem to take place in the right homes.

Anyway, in this one, Victoria Konefal plays Amelia.  A few years ago, Amelia did nothing but party and drink.  But then, after a car crash claimed the life of her best friend, Amelia straightened out her life.  Though she’s still on probation and her own mother (Lesli Kay) doesn’t seem to want to have much to do with her, Amelia is doing her best not to fall back into her old ways.  She doesn’t drink.  She goes to therapy, even though she rarely agrees with what her therapist has to say.  She’s channeled her anger into running and now, she’s the star of her high school’s track team.  It even appears that she might set a few records before the year is over.

She’s even got a boyfriend.  Well, kinda.  Scott (Pedro Correa) is nice and super supportive but he only moved to town a year ago so he doesn’t know all of the details about Amelia’s former life.  He’s heard rumors but he doesn’t know that she’s on probation or that some people still blame her for the death of her friend.  Whenever he starts to get too close, Amelia pushes him away.

Plus, there’s a new guy at school!  Jake (Ricardo Hoyos) is handsome, charming, and polite.  And, like Amelia, he’s got some secrets in his past.  He was kicked out of military school, for one thing.  Soon, Jake and Amelia are growing close.  Scott may not like it but Scott should be more concerned with the drugs that Jake’s hidden in his locker.  See, Jake has an agenda of his own.  He also has a really big knife that he’s not afraid to use…

For the most part, The Wrong Crush is an enjoyable Lifetime melodrama but Amelia’s strained relationship with her mother and her struggle to forgive herself serve to give this film a little more emotional resonance than the other Wrong films.  Victoria Konefal and Lesli Kay both gave good performances and Ricardo Hoyos really threw himself into the role of Jake.  Those who know Hoyos best for playing sweet-but-stupid Zig on Degrassi will be in for a surprise when they watch The Wrong Crush.

Music Video of the Day: Don Quixote by Nik Kershaw (1985, dir. Storm Thorgerson)


For those of you in an area that celebrates Daylight Savings Time, remember to make sure your clocks are set back an hour.

This is the last of the Thorgerson/Kershaw music videos that I can find. It also means that along with The Riddle, Wouldn’t It Be Good, and Wide Boy, we’ve done all the songs that Kershaw performed at Live Aid.

I have never read Don Quixote or even come close by seeing Man Of La Mancha, so I can’t really speak to what it has to do with it beyond a few things like the tilting at windmills bit. But that’s something that has become a saying independent of the book. He’s asking Don Quixote, among other things, if we are seeing imaginary enemies. This song is from 1985.

If you read the lyrics while watching the video, then you can see what they were going for with this. Especially tying television to delusional thinking about ourselves and our actions. After reading a couple sentences from the Wikipedia article on Don Quixote, I can see why that is the name of the song and the person the song is addressed to.

I would love to know who that is at the beginning of the video. My best guess is that it’s supposed to be Salvador Dali since he did at least one painting based on Don Quixote. That would explain the inclusion of the clock too.

I’m not sure what the dancers are there for, but I’m willing to bet that’s a Man Of La Mancha connection.

Enjoy!