TV Review: The X-Files 11.1 “My Struggle III” (dir by Chris Carter)


Well, let’s get this over with…

(Seriously, if I ever get tired of “Stay supple!,” that’ll probably be my new catch phrase…)

As you my remember, way back in 2016, I reviewed the 10th season of The X-Files.  With the exception of the episode that featured Rhys Darby, I didn’t care much for it.   In fact, the episode that was set in Texas almost drove me to throw a shoe at the TV.  However, the 10th season did end with a big cliffhanger and, since I hate the idea of a story going unfinished, I knew I would have to watch the 11th season whenever it premiered.  And I also knew that I’d have to review it because that’s what I do.

Well, tonight, the 11th season premiered.  Armed with as much knowledge as one can hope to gain from scanning Wikipedia, I twice watched My Struggle III.

The episode began with a lengthy monologue from the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), in which he talked about how, if the American people knew about what was truly going on in the darkest corners of the government, there would be riots in the streets.  Personally, I love conspiracy theories and I’m generally opposed to all forms of controlling legal authority so I enjoyed that part of the show.   The episode managed to work footage of every U.S. President except for Obama into the opening conspiracy montage.  Personally, if I had edited the show, I would snuck Obama in there just to mess with people and their expectations.  But that’s just me!

Anyway, as much fun as that little conspiracy monologue may have been, I was more concerned with how the show was going to deal with the fact that the world literally ended at the end of season 10.  Well, it was quickly revealed that nothing that happened during My Struggle II actually happened.  Instead, it was all just a vision that Scully had.  Apparently, it’s a premonition of what will happen unless Mulder … does something.

Does what exactly?  I’m not sure and, to be honest, I’m not really sure that the show does either.  I understand that this episode is meant to be part of a bigger mythology and, as a result, it was supposed to be a bit open-ended.  However, as I watched My Struggle III, I got the feeling that the episode was mostly just something that was hastily whipped up so that the show could do away with season 10’s disastrous finale.  And it was hard not to feel that, narratively, the show took the easy way out.

The majority of the episode was made up of Mulder driving his car from location to location, searching for the Cigarette Smoking Man.  This led to Mulder breaking into a mansion and having a conversation with Mr. Y (Alexandre Campion) and Erika Price (Barbara Hershey) about aliens and the secret history of the world.  To be honest, it was kind of boring and it didn’t really hold my attention.

Meanwhile, the Cigarette Smoking Man and Agent Reyes (Annabeth Gish) were having a conversation with Skinner (Mitch Pileggi).  During the conversation, the Cigarette Smoking Man revealed that he, and not Mulder, is the true father of Scully’s son, William.

And twitter exploded in rage.

Don’t fear, twitter!  There’s always a good chance that next week’s episode will open with the Cigarette Smoking Man revealing that he actually isn’t the father or maybe it’ll just turn out that someone else was having a vision.  By dismissing season 10’s cliffhanger as just being a dream (or a vision or premonition or whatever), The X-Files has reminded us that nothing on the show actually means anything.  Who needs to maintain continuity or narrative integrity when you can just shrug and say, “Well, y’see, it’s all a part of the conspiracy…”

(As I watched tonight’s episode, I found myself thinking about Twin Peaks: The Return.  No matter how weird or convoluted Twin Peaks got, I still never doubted that David Lynch did have a definite destination in mind.  That’s not a feeling that I got from tonight’s episode of The X-Files.)

Now, here’s the good news!  I have heard, from people who I trust, that the upcoming episodes are nothing like the premiere.  Apparently, the premiere was one of those “we have to do it” things.  The upcoming episode will be stand-alone episodes, much like the one where Mulder met the Were-Monster.

So, with that in mind, I will tune in next week to see if episode 2 is any better than episode 1.

Will you?

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Cleaning Out The DVR: Psycho In-Law (dir by Jeff Hare)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 184 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Psycho In-Law off of Lifetime on October 5th, 2017!)

You’re probably looking at the picture above and you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh my God, that’s one psycho in-law!”

Well, that picture doesn’t even begin to do justice to just how crazy Joyce (Catherine Dyer) tuns out to be.  I’ve seen a lot of crazy people in a lot of Lifetime films and it’s hard to think of any who go quite as batshit insane as Joyce.

Joyce, of course, does have her reasons for being upset.  She was overjoyed when her daughter, Lorna, married the handsome and successful Brock (Mike Faiola).  She was even happier when Lorna gave birth to her granddaughter, Harper (Brooke Fontana).  But then Lorna died, the result of an accident that was pretty much all Joyce’s fault.  In the two years since Lorna’s death, Joyce has doted on both Brock and Harper.  She’s become a very important member of their family.

But now, Brock has met Tina (Katie Leclerc).  After dating Tina for six months, he finally feels that he’s ready to move on and to marry her.  Brock is happy.  Tina’s happy.  Harper’s happy.  Tina’s sister, Ellen (Pamela Mitchell), is happy even if she chooses not to admit it.  You know who isn’t happy?  Joyce.

And it makes sense, it really does.  After all, Joyce sees Tina as someone who is trying to not only replace her daughter in Brock’s life but also to replace Joyce in Harper’s life.  It’s no surprise that Joyce wouldn’t approve of Tina.  That’s just the way people are.  However, Joyce does take things a little bit too far.

For instance:

She hires a private investigator to dig up dirt on Tina.

She murders her husband when he suggests that she’s getting a little too obsessed.

She contacts Tina’s ex-boyfriend and leads him to believe that Tina wants to get back together.

She tricks Tina into throwing away a hairbrush that Lorna gave to Harper.

She pushes someone out of a window.

She lies to Tina about what time Harper gets out of school, causing Tina to look irresponsible when she doesn’t pick Harper up.

She tries to poison Tina.

She utters every passive aggressive comment that pops into her mind.

She cases Tina around with a big knife…

Yes, Joyce does taking things just a little bit too far.

Anyway, Catherine Dyer’s completely and totally twisted performance as Joyce is the main reason to watch Psycho In-Law.  She totally throws herself into the role and she’s a lot of fun to watch.  That said, my favorite character — and the one to whom I definitely related — was Tina’s sister, Ellen.  As played by Pamela Mitchell, Ellen had a sarcastic quip for every occasion.  I related.

Psycho In-Law, of course, was followed by Psycho Brother-in-Law.  I’m looking forward to Psycho Second Cousin sometime this summer.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Psycho Brother-in-Law (dir by Jose Montesinos)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 186 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Psycho Brother-in-Law off of the Lifetime Movie Network on December 28th, 2017!)

From our friends at the Asylum comes a film about love, marriage, family, and murder!

You may think that Eric (Mike Duff) has the perfect life.  He’s got a good job and a nice house.  He has a loving wife named Kay (Brittany Falardeau) and an intelligent teenage daughter named Laura (Megan Ashley Brown).  Good for Eric, right?

However, scratch the surface and you start to discover that things aren’t quite as perfect as they may appear.

Eric’s good job is keeping him away from his home and his family.  That nice house isn’t cheap and it’s big enough to store a lot of hurt feelings.

He sees his wife Kay (Brittany Falardeau) so sporadically that she has been reduced to scheduling sex with him.  “After date night?”

Laura, meanwhile, is dating Ron (Billy Meade) and we all know that Ron is bad news because he plays the guitar and he’s always hanging out in the high school’s hallway, instead of actually going to class.  Eric says that he thinks Ron is a punk.  Kay thinks Eric is overprotective.

And then, there’s David.

David (Zack Gold) is Eric’s brother.  One night, he mysteriously shows up at the front door, needing some place to stay.  At first, David seems like a good guy to have around the house.  He’s seems to be a nice guy.  He’s good at fixing stuff.  When Eric misses date night, David takes Kay to a movie.  When Laura rolls her eyes a little too much at her mom, David reminds Laura about how hard Kay has been working.

But there are little hints that David has some issues.  For one thing, he has trouble holding down a job and he’s remarkably tight-lipped about what he’s been doing for the past few years.  For another thing, Eric doesn’t seem to be too happy to see him, even though David is always willing to beat up anyone who gives his brother a hard time.  It seems that David is a bit overprotective himself.  He’s the type of guy who you never know whether he’s going to use a wrench to fix the sink or to bash your head in.

Of course, the main clue that we have that something is wrong with David is the title of the movie.  Since David and Eric are the only brothers in the film and Eric is the only one of them who is married, it doesn’t take much thought to figure out who is going to be the psycho…

BUT NO MATTER!  I love Asylum films like this.  The Asylum is so shameless and unapologetic about embracing the melodrama that you can’t help but love them.  I fell in love with this film as soon as David’s eyes bugged out when some fat slob accidentally bumped into Eric at the bar.  I was like, “Yes, this movie is totally going to live up to its title!”

And it did!  This was a fun movie, with Zack Gold totally turning it up to 11 in the role of the psycho brother-in-law.  According to the imdb, it only cost $200,000 to produce Psycho Brother-in-Law.  It was money well spent.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Cradle Swapping (dir by Michael Feifer)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 186 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Cradle Swapping off of Lifetime on May 7th, 2017!)

This year, there was a surprisingly large number of Lifetime films about babies either getting kidnapped or switched at birth.  If Lifetime films tend to use to melodrama to bring to life the fears of its audiences, 2017 was a year when everyone was scared about who or what their baby would grow up to be.

In Cradle Swapping, Grandma (played by Patrika Darbo) takes one look at the baby that her daughter has brought home from the hospital and announces that it doesn’t look anything like her supposed parents.  Needless to say, neither Alicia (Amanda Clayton) or Ray (Brandon Barash) are happy to hear this.  They argue that all babies look the same.

No, Grandma says, all of her babies looked exactly like her.

Of course, that’s not the only time that Grandma points this out.  Later, after Alicia and Ray have just returned from the hospital with their baby, Grandma takes another look at it and announces that the baby still looks nothing like her mother or father.  This time, Alicia gets even more upset about it.  “Way to go,” everyone tells Grandma.

Grandma actually has a pretty good point but it’s understandable why Alicia doesn’t want to hear it.  Alicia already has a lot to deal with.  Baby Hannah refuses to look her in the eye.  Baby Hannah refuses to breastfeed.  Baby Hannah is always crying.  When Alicia and Ray take Hannah to the hospital, a doctor demands to know if Alicia has ever used drugs.  “Just in college,” Alicia replies, “experimenting.”

It turns out that Hannah is going through opioid withdrawal!

At first, Ray blames Alicia for taking prescription medication.  Alicia blames Ray for not being supportive.  Maybe they should be redirecting their blame at hospital…

See, it turns out that Hannah is not their baby.  Instead, their baby was taken by the incredibly sleazy Tony (Tyler Johnson), who left another baby in her place.  Getting little help from the hospital or the authorities, Alicia and Ray take matters into their own hands, setting out to track down Tony and find their baby.  However, what they don’t know is that Tony is involved in a much bigger conspiracy than they even suspect….

I have to admit that I liked Cradle Swapping more than I thought I would.  Amanda Clayton and Brandon Barash were sympathetic as the parents and they were easy to relate to.  I appreciated the fact that they started the movie in over their heads and they were still in over their heads when the movie ended.  They never turned into action heroes or superhuman investigators.  Instead, they were just two ordinary parents trying to find their baby.  You want them to succeed and the end result is an above average Lifetime film.

Here’s The 2nd Trailer For Eli Roth’s Death Wish!


Judging from the majority of the comments on YouTube, a lot of people do not seem to understand that Eli Roth’s upcoming Death Wish is a remake of an earlier film.  And the few who do realize it seem to be under the impression that it’s either a remake of one of the Punisher films or a rip-off of The Foreigner.

I mean, seriously, that’s kinda pathetic.  There’s no excuse not to know your film history.

Anyway, here’s the 2nd trailer for Death Wish!  It doesn’t really look that good but hopefully, it’ll still be better than The Brave One!

I Dare You To Watch The Trailer For Truth or Dare


AGCK!  Those smiles are creepy!

Otherwise, Truth or Dare basically looks like a remake of It Follows with a little bit of The Ring tossed in.  I have a bad feeling that this is going to be one of those movies where the entire plot is dependent on everyone being beyond dumb but as long as it’s scary, who cares?

 

Things Get Creepy With The Slender Man Trailer!


You know, I think we all know that the Slender Man movie is not going to be that good but the trailer, which dropped earlier today, certainly is creepy!

Here’s the trailer:

(Myself, I’m hoping the 2019 will see the release of a related film called Fat Man, to be followed in 2020 by Slender Man vs. Fat Man.)