Guilty Pleasure No. 46: Bar Rescue


 

As I write this, I’m watching Bar Rescue on the Paramount Network and I’m trying to figure out why it is that I like this annoying show.

Bar Rescue, of course, is one of those shows where a jackass goes into a failing business — in this case, a bar — and basically screams at everyone for an hour until the bar starts making money.  It stars Jon Taffer, who has all of the charm of a low-level gangster who desperately needs to make his quota for the week or else the capo is going to break his thumbs.  The main them of each episode is that Taffer takes “bar science” very seriously and apparently cannot fathom a world where anyone tries to do anything different or quirky with their business.

If you search the internet, you’ll find all sorts of stories about the bars that Taffer “saved.”  A good deal of them went out of business after Taffer gave them their makeover.  Several of them immediately went back to the way they were running things pre-Bar Rescue.  Some of those bars have survived and some of them have not.  Taffer always makes a big deal about renaming almost every bar that he saves.  It’s rare that anyone sticks with Taffer’s new name.

I have to admit that I rarely drink so I’ve never really cared that much about bars.  In fact, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine anyone caring about the decor of the place where they’re getting drunk.  That may be one reason why I always find it oddly compelling to listen to Taffer rant and rave, as if designing the perfect bar is somehow the same thing as restoring the Sistine Chapel.  Whenever Taffer brings in his bar experts, I find myself smirking a little bit because Taffer’s experts are usually just people who are obviously angling for a show of their own.  The “experts” tend to be so condescending that I actually look forward to people talking back to them.

Speaking of people talking back, another reason that I watch Bar Rescue is because there’s always a chance that someone might throw a punch at Jon Taffer.  Seriously, he’s just obnoxious!  It’s interesting to compare him to someone like Gordon Ramsay, who is just as loud and overbearing but who also somehow remains likable through the whole ordeal.  Taffer just comes across as being a bully.

(What’s funny is that, while I was researching the bars that the show previous rescued, I came across several comments from people who worked at those bars.  Most of them said that Taffer was actually very polite and rather affable off-camera.  He plays a bully for the ratings and …. well, Hell, I’m watching so I guess it’s working.)

Watching the show in the age of Coronavirus, Bar Rescue almost feels like an artifact from a different age.  Today, I watch it and I notice the huge crowds of people, all pressed up against each other in the bar.  I notice all of the hand-shaking.  (Taffer almost always shakes the bar owner’s hand at the end of each episode.)  Just the fact that the show features a different bar every week makes Bar Rescue feel like something you might find in a time capsule.

Like I said, I don’t usually drink.  But, as soon as all this is over, I’m going out and getting so drunk.  (Well, buzzed.  Actually, I’ll probably just go out and have a glass of water while everyone else gets drunk.  But still, I’m going out, dammit!)  Until then, I guess I can just watch Bar Rescue….

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer
  40. Parking Wars
  41. The Dead Are After Me
  42. Harper’s Island
  43. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
  44. Paranormal State
  45. Utopia

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, S3, Ep2 “Drag Me to Hell” (Dir Alex Pillai)


sabrina

Have you have ever been in a relationship that goes sour, but occasionally you get the hang out phone call and it’s really fun? That is what this show is.  It’s usually terrible, but every now and again, it has an episode so good that you’re like- Why can’t it be like this all the time?!!! Why’d you marry Tom?!!!! I mean…TOM?! REALLY?!

This episode through me for a curve because the director – Alex Pillai is not known for horror, but he really knows the soul of this show.  It’s supposed to be suspenseful with some shots that show that we are in comic book reality with practical effects.  The episode established the stakes early on, built up the tension, and pulled you into the characters. In short, this director has a gift for horror and should be hired right away!

The writing by Ashley Chin was really well done as well. I was seeing a lot of dramatic pieces and wondered? How did he have such a great head for horror/thrillers? Then, I saw it: The Walking Dead!!! BOOM! I hope he writes more horror; he is gifted! WHY WHY WHY can’t it be like this anymore?!!!!!!

Sabrina is getting used to her job as the new Lucifer all while juggling being a…. cheerleader? Sure, why not? Fine.  It turns out that Sabrina needs to be like Sam in Reaper and take sold souls to hell.  The first soul she meets is this elderly chess master and she….lets him go? Why? Well, this does not sit well with Hell’s bureaucracy!

So, the next soul to take is this seemingly nice ice cream van vendor.  Sabrina was about to get all mushy with him too because she is preternaturally incompetent, but this changes when he says that he should get another 7 year extension by killing a child.  In fact, he already kidnapped her, sending Sabrina (and her much happier friends when Sabrina is not around) to find the child and send the ice cream man to Hell.  Side Note: could they have gone Reservoir Dogs on the ice cream man and shortened the episode by 45 minutes? Yes, but this poor judgement is in character for Sabrina to NOT think of that because as stated before she is BAD AT EVERYTHING!

Sabrina searches and searches and when she discovers the whereabouts of the child, she ignores her friend who says she should not do the rescue alone and…. she gets captured because of course she does.  Don’t worry Sabrina finds a way o….just kidding no way not Sabrina; she needs to be rescued because she is BAD AT EVERYTHING! Despite Sabrina’s incompetence, the episode did not let up the suspense, the plot moved nicely and there is a great practical effect pay off when the ice cream man is caught.

Other events: Blackwood is captured, becomes the new vessel for Lucifer, and the Eldritch terrors are coming.  So you know what that means: Nick is back and there’s gonna be trouble. Hey na, hey na, Nick is back!

Get ready for Lisa’s reviews of 3 and 4!!!

cheer!

 

 

Scenes That I Love: Cooper Says Goodbye In Twin Peaks: The Return (Happy Birthday, Kyle MacLachlan!)


Happy birthday, Kyle MacLachlan!

Kyle MacLachlan is 61 years old today.  While MacLachlan has appeared in a lot of different movies and tv shows and he’s also played a lot of different characters, he will probably always be best known for playing FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks.  MacLachlan, with his combination of earnestness and darkness, was the prefect choice to play Cooper and it’s impossible to imagine Twin Peaks without him.

Of course, MacLachlan didn’t just play Dale Cooper during the third season of Twin Peaks.  He also played Cooper’s evil Doppelganger and, for the majority of Twin Peaks: The Return, he played Dougie.  Dougie could barely speak and usually had no idea what was happening around him but he still thrived in Las Vegas.  MacLachlan’s performance as Dougie was both funny and poignant.  At the same time, I do think that every fan of Twin Peaks breathed a sigh of relief when Cooper finally woke up from that coma, stopped acting like Dougie, and started acting like himself.

Today’s scene that I love comes from Part 16 of Twin Peaks: The Return.  In this David Lynch-directed scene, Cooper — who has only recently reclaimed his identity — says goodbye to Dougie’s wife and son.  Like so much of Twin Peaks; The Return, this is a scene that could be unbelievably mawkish in the hands of another actor.  However, Kyle MacLachlan plays the scene with such sincerity that it’s actually very touching.

In honor of Kyle MacLachlan’s birthday, enjoy today’s scene that I love:

 

A Few Final Thoughts On The Oscar Ceremony


Parasite made history and Bong Joon-ho proved himself to be one of the most charming people alive.  That was the best thing about Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony.

Yes, Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger did ramble on a bit in their acceptance speeches but ….. I can’t complain.  They’re both so sincere in their spaciness that you can’t help but be a little bit charmed by them.  Plus, Renee’s a Texas Girl so I’ve got her back.

The show itself was incredibly dull. It was nice to see so many deserving winners but, beyond Parasite making history at the very end, there really weren’t any huge moments.  There were no major fashion disasters.  The speeches were all pretty much gracious.  It was the way an awards ceremony should be but let’s be honest.  One reason we watch award shows is so to see rich and famous people screw up.  When that doesn’t happen, it just turns into a bunch of people patting themselves on the back.

Best Documentary Feature went to American Factory.  The best documentary of the year was Apollo 11, which wasn’t even nominated.  The documentary’s director called on the workers of the world to unite and it felt as vacuous as 70s-era Godard.

Brad Pitt finally won an Oscar for acting.  (He already has one for producing.)  My hope was that he would drop to one knee, produce a ring, and ask Jennifer Aniston to marry him again.  Instead, he gave kind of a boring speech.  Those of us who were hoping that stoner Brad Pitt would show up tonight were a bit disappointed.  Brad shaved and washed his hair before the ceremony and was basically on his best behavior.

This was the 2nd year in a row that show didn’t have a host and …. eh.  I enjoyed it when they went hostless last year but this year, the show felt like a formless mess.  There was no one to steer the ship or to set the mood and, as a result, the ceremony felt somewhat directionless.

I get that we’re supposed to get excited whenever any former SNL cast member shows up to present an award but I always instinctively cringe whenever Will Ferrell or Maya Rudolph step out on stage.  Both of them are such attention hogs that their arrival usually means that the show is going to come to a dead halt while they run a joke into the ground.  This year, Ferrell wasn’t quite as bad as usual but Rudolph had me totally cringing.  Speaking of stage hogs, I was actually surprised at how quickly Rebel Wilson and James Corden got through their bit.  I assume they wanted to hurry up and get backstage so they could get out of their cat costumes.  (Just imagine — Rebel Wilson actually had an important supporting role in one of the best picture nominees but, instead of celebrating that, the Academy made her put on her cat costume.)

Billie Eilish won the night with her reactions to …. well, everything.

As I said, this year’s ceremony was dull.  Beyond Parasite winning and making history, this was probably the most boring ceremony since 2010.  Interestingly enough, history was made there as well, when Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director.  Why do good things always happen during boring broadcasts?

So, for next year, I hope we’ll see a return of a host, a return of tone deaf fashion choices, and hopefully a few undeserving winners, at least enough to liven up the ceremony a little.

For now, though, congratulations to the cast and crew of Parasite on winning Best Picture and making history, all in the same night!  Woo hoo!

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, S3,Ep1, “The Hellbound Heart” (Dir. Rob Seidenglanz)


sabrina

Welcome to horrorth….Wait a minute, it’s not October….it’s …February?  Yes.  Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is like a failed marriage, aging football player, or your dad posting a video on YouTube; it should’ve stopped awhile ago.  Kiernan Shipka is a great actress, but it’s like she’s been shackled to the Detroit Tigers.  It doesn’t help that the director Rob Seidenglanz could make the Titanic sinking feel like watching C-Span.

The entire episode from the Party City inspired costumes to the bad middle school sets to the pedestrian camera angles….it was just awful.  Although I do like seeing a Lead Character as a self-centered incompetent, it’s refreshing and accurate for life.  Am I going to watch and review this season? Of course I will, but I will be sharing the pain with Lisa who will review episodes 3-6. We may even do another Livetweet … Fingers Crossed!

We left off last season with Nick trapping the devil inside his brain and got carried off to Hell to save humanity.  Well, I guess to heck with all that heroism because Sabrina misses her boyfriend and she REALLY doesn’t care about anything or anyone else.

First, going to take Nick out of Hell, puts everyone at risk who is strong-armed into going with her on this unnecessary adventure. Second, if they get Nick back and he dies, Lucifer is unleashed upon our world.  Third, I don’t need a third; this is dumb.

Sabrina decides that she wants to go to Hell and get Nick out. Fine. She of course does the reasonable thing and just takes herself into Hell and doesn’t risk her friends lives.  No, she risks everyone: Harvey, Theo, and Rosalind.  Side Note: Rosalind was blind for a while, but can see now…that’s weird.  Sabrina pushes her friends around and then they agree to go to Hell with her.  One note, the second Sabrina isn’t around all of her friends they start singing and start a band.  They need to read some self-help books about toxic friends.

The group goes into hell and it really looks like a British Columbia beach. They run into Theo’s uncle who’s being tortured in Hell. Of course, Sabrina insists that they stop and help Theo’s uncle. NO, Sabrina’s an Owner of Lonely Heart and she’s gotta get Nick back or there’s gonna be trouble hey na hey na. During the journey, we see that Lilith is ruling Hell in a Party City outfit and 10 dollar crown.  For some reason, Lilith is angry at Sabrina and it’s not clear why.  There’s also this boring intrigue competition for the throne of hell and can you blame them?! It’s British Columbia beach front!!!!

Sabrina confronts Lilith… because I just don’t know why. Sigh. Sabrina ascends to the Hell Throne – I’m assuming that’s what it’s called.  However, Sabrina is just going to run Hell part-time like an Uber side-hustle because she’s got debate team, mathletes, and 4H; so, this is the LAST extra-curricular. Period.  Lilith will advise Sabrina in her part-time Hell-gig.  This is the best of the worst: Sabrina gets Nick out of hell and them…. puts him in a … dungeon. Yep, after all that, she puts him in a dungeon.  Fine. There’s a lot of exposition that there’s some “Old Ones” coming to town and I keep thinking it’s going to be Wilford Brimley.  Maybe, Sabrina will come down with Dia-beetus? Beach party

Lisa’s Top 6 Super Bowl Commercials


So, as far as this year’s Super Bowl was concerned, the commercials were disappointing.  I mean, sure, we got a few movie trailers that looked really good.  I’m super excited for Black Widow and Mulan, not to mention Hunters and WandaVision. 

But, otherwise, it was a pretty forgettable year for commercials.  I mean, I guess we should be glad that, for the most part, we didn’t have any gigantic corporations trying to sell themselves as being woke crusaders.  (We did get that one beer commercial that had to include clips of people at a protest mark because that’s definitely something you want to do while your drunk off your ass.  Why are beer commercials always so pompous?)  With the exception of one well-meaning but rather creepy spot for Google, there also weren’t any disturbingly morbid commercials like that one from a few years back where the TV crushed the child.  There was also a definite lack of grotesque commercials.  There was no Puppy Monkey Baby or whatever the Hell that thing was.

Instead, the majority of the commercials were kind of tasteful and a little bit dull.  There was one commercial where Martin Scorsese invited Jonah Hill to a party and that would have been fun if Jonah Hill hadn’t looked so depressed.  I was like worried about him the entire time I was watching the commercial.  And then there was another one where Ellen DeGeneres wondered what people did before Alexa and that would have been a funny commercial if not for the fact that it felt like it went on for like an hour.  There was a Facebook commercial where Sylvester Stallone beat up Chris Rock for some reason.  And, of course, there was a Mike Bloomberg commercial because there’s always a Mike Bloomberg commercial.

Anyway, usually I do a top ten list after every Super Bowl but this year, I’m just doing my top six because that’s the type of year it was.  As I said previously, my favorite commercials were for Black Widow and Disney+ but, since I already shared those on this site, I will not be listing them below.

In other words, here’s the best of the rest:

6. Cheetos

I liked this commercial because it was basically the opposite of all of those incredibly pompous beer commercials where they act like their product is going to save the world.  Instead, Cheetos proudly announced, “Buy our product and you’ll never have to help anyone again!  And really, let’s be honest.  The world is not full of people who want to help you move.  The world is full of people looking for an excuse to say, “Sorry, can’t do it.”  This commercial is for them.

5. Mr. Peanut

Seriously, Baby Nut is freaking adorable.

4. Mountain Dew

Bryan Cranston as Jack Torrance?  Hey, it works.  To be honest, even if not for Cranston’s cheerfully demented performance, this video would have worked just for the final shot of the elevator.

3. Hard Rock Hotel

A lot of people on twitter didn’t care much for this commercial because …. well, I’m not sure what their problem was.  I thought it was fun.

2. Tide

I enjoyed all of Tide’s Super Bowl commercials, mostly just because Charlie Day is adorable.  I was a little bit annoyed when they tricked me into thinking that I was about see a new commercial for Wonder Woman 1984 but, even in that case, I have to give them credit for taking me by surprise.  Tide should definitely use Charlie Day in all of their commercials and get rid of that boring couple talking about “the funk.”

  1. Jeep

From the minute I heard about this commercial, I knew it would probably end up being my favorite of the night and it turns out that it was.  Usually, I hate Jeep commercials because they tend to be almost as pompous as beer commercials but how can you resist Bill Murray and Phil?

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone!  I hope your team won.  And if they didn’t, I hope they win next year.  And if they don’t …. well, maybe look for a new team.  I don’t know.  Football’s not really my thing.  I do like the commercials, though.

Here’s The Super Bowl Spot For Hunters!


Hunters is a show that I’m very much looking forward to.  Al Pacino hunting down Nazi war criminals?  Seriously, how can you not want to see that?  Here’s the Super Bowl spot for Hunters, which is definitely intriguing.  I like the contrast between the placid surface of suburbia and the truth lurking right underneath the surface.

The first episode of Hunters will drop on February 21st!