Trailer: Game of Thrones Season 8


Got 8 Night King

Well, we are now at the home stretch of what has been 9 or so years following the events of a little place called the Seven Kingdoms. It’s been a very long wait since the Season 7 ended in the summer of 2017.

When it was announced that there would be over a year of waiting before the final season of Game of Thrones would air, there was a lot of grumbling and bemoaning the fact that such a wait was just too long. Especially since the ending of Season 7 saw the final pieces on the chessboard finally begin to move towards a final showdown between all the different factions.

On one side we have the consummation of the Alliance of House Targaryen and House Stark. On another side we have Queen Cersei in King’s Landing still scheming to try and get the upper hand on all comers. Yet, all must contend with the threat that has just passed through a broken Wall and heading south as the Night King finally invades the Seven Kingdoms.

The series began in 2010 with the tag line, ‘Winter Is Coming,” and Season 7’s finale made a great show of it as winter has even come as far south as King’s Landing. It looks like Season 8 will show everyone that Winter has arrived and fans cannot wait to get on that ride come hell or high water.

Season 8 of Game of Thrones arrives worldwide on April 14, 2019.

A Few Thoughts On The Oscars….


Well, that was …. interesting.

Actually, I really enjoyed the 91s Annual Oscar ceremony this year.  And you know why I enjoyed it?

There wasn’t a host.

For all the talk about how not having a host would be the death of the Oscars, the ceremony functioned just fine without an endless opening monologue.  It turns out that the Oscars don’t need someone organizing a huge selfie.  It does’t need someone demanding that the audience buy girl scout cookies.  It doesn’t need Jimmy Kimmel bringing in random tourists or sending actors to crash the theater across the street.  The presenters can do the job of the host just fine and, even better, they’re gone before you get sick of listening to them.

The show seemed to move quicker, though it still went over 3 hours.  In fact, at 3 hours and 20 minutes, it wasn’t really any shorter than the previous ceremonies.

The audience seemed strangely subdued.  Perhaps that’s because so many mediocre films were winning.  Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most Oscars, 4 in total.  Of course, not once was the name Bryan Singer mentioned.  Singer was like Voldemort at the Oscars.  In fact, you could kind of sense that people in the auditorium were cringing with every award that Bohemian Rhapsody won.  They were probably imagining what some of the headlines will be tomorrow.  “While patting themselves on the back for being woke, the Academy honored Bryan Singer.”

According to my TSL colleague, Leonard Wilson, there were boos in the audience when Green Book won best picture.  I didn’t hear them but I don’t doubt they were there.  Green Book isn’t a terrible film as much as it’s just a rather bland one.  It’s a film about a different era that feels like it was made in a different era.  Much like the last film to win without being nominated for best director, it seems destined to be forgotten.

(That last film, by the way, was Argo, which was an okay film — much like Green Book — but which isn’t exactly held up as a groundbreaking winner.)

The top moment for me was Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga performing Shallow. Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech was amazing.  My second favorite moment was when Olivia Colman defeated Glenn Close for Best Actress.  That’s nothing against Close.  It’s just Close was such a favorite that it was nice to see Colman score an upset victory.

Now, we just wait for the ratings to come in.  My fear is that the ratings are going to suck and ABC will be say, “It’s because we didn’t have a host!  It’s because we didn’t do Best Popular Film!  It’s because we didn’t give out any awards during the commercial break!”

Of course, the opposite is true.  Despite some unfortunate winners, this was a pretty enjoyable broadcast.  This was what the Oscars should always be like.  We don’t need a host.  We just need better nominees.

(In my opinion, Eighth Grade was the best film of the year.  Of course, it didn’t get a single nomination.)

Well, this concludes another Oscar Sunday!

Thank you, everyone, for visiting the site today.  With the Oscars now out of the way, we can focus our attention on the films of 2019!  Let’s hope this year in film is a good one!

Thanks, everyone.

Love ya.

 

Confession of a TV Addict #13: Remembering Peter Tork and The Monkees


cracked rear viewer

Before the advent of cable and MTV and music videos, there was The Monkees. Now I know some of you are going give me flak about “The Pre-Fab Four”, how they weren’t a real band, just a commercialized, bubblegum TV concept, so let me put this in perspective… if you were an eight-year-old kid  like me back in The Monkees’ heyday, you watched the show every week, bought the records, and actually enjoyed them! That’s where I’m coming from, and that’s why I’m writing this tribute to the late Peter Tork, who passed away today of cancer at age 77.

Peter Thorkleson was born in Washington, D.C. on February 13, 1942, and as a child loved music, learning to play piano, guitar, bass, and banjo early on. After college, he shortened his name to Tork and hit New York City, becoming part of the burgeoning Greenwich Village folk scene. He…

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Guilty Pleasure No. 40: Parking Wars


Strange show, Parking Wars.

Between 2008 and 2012, A&E aired 104 episodes of Parking Wars.  Even though the show’s no longer in production, episodes still seem to air on nearly a daily basis.  If you can’t find it on A&E, check on FYI.  If you can’t find it on FYI, check WGN or TBS or any of the true crime networks.  Nearly seven years after it stopped producing new episodes, Parking Wars airs so frequently that one could be forgiven for thinking that it had never been canceled.

It was an odd show.  It was a reality show, one that allowed viewers a chance to see what it was like to be a part of the parking authority.  You read that correctly.  This show was devoted to perhaps the least useful members of law enforcement.  The first two seasons focused exclusively on the employees of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.  Since the members of the PPA were all municipal employees, I’m going to assume that the show’s producers had to get permission from the city to follow them as they worked.  One assumes that the hope was that the show would improve Philadelphia’s image.  That’s why it’s interesting that the main lesson to be learned from those first two seasons of Parking Wars appears to be that everyone should stay the Hell out of Philadelphia.

Seriously, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would book a flight to Philly after watching an episode of Parking Wars.  Not only do all of the traffic cops come across as being assholes but so do most of the citizens that they meet over the course of their day.  Everyone comes across as being a jerk.  On the one hand, you have the motorists who regularly ignore posted signs and who often have no hesitation about double parking or blocking traffic.  At the same time, the show’s parking cops tend to the biggest bunch of self-important pricks that I’ve ever seen.

Each episode is usually divided into three sections.  In Ticketing, we follow some civil servant in a uniform while they walk up and down the street, looking for anyone to whom they can give a ticket.  While they do this, they talk to the camera about why their job is important and why people shouldn’t hate them.  It usually only takes a minute or so to realize that we’re not exactly dealing with the most eloquent or witty group of people here.  Typical words of wisdom: “People think I’m picking on them but ….. I’m just doing my job.  If they hadn’t broken the rules, I would not be writing them a ticket.”  Never mind that, half the time, the parking meters are broken or that the “No Parking” sign has weathered so much abuse that it can barely be read.  Whenever someone asks a legitimate question about why they’re getting a ticket, the show responds with a silly sound effect.  “Only dummies question authority,” the show is saying.  On those occasions when someone actually proves that they’ve been wrongly ticketed (and it happens more than a few times), they’re told to call a number or go to court and get it dismissed.  “Once I start writing the ticket, I can’t take it back,” the parking cop explains, as if that somehow excuses any inconvenience that anyone else might suffer.

The 2nd section of each episode often took place at the impound lot, where the citizens of Philadelphia would go to get their cars after they had been towed.  The impound lot sequences basically highlight everything that intelligent people hate about bureaucracy.  I’ll always remember the woman from Delaware whose car was impounded in Philadelphia, due to a mistake made by the Delaware Highway Patrol.  Even after the woman got a signed letter from a judge in Delaware exonerating her and saying that her car shouldn’t have been impounded, the lot supervisor said that the car couldn’t be released because the state of Pennsylvania still had her on its impound list.  When the woman was told that she could hire a tow truck (at her own expense) and have the car towed to Delaware, the lot workers were shocked when the woman angrily announced that she wasn’t going to pay any more money just because of someone else’s bureaucratic snafu.  When Pennsylvania finally did get its act together and announced that the woman could have her car back, one of the lot workers had the nerve to say, “Y’know, my supervisor went to a lot of trouble for you.”  (From what we saw on the program, it appeared that the supervisor made one phone call, mostly to get confirmation that she should refuse to release the woman’s car.)  The look the woman from Delaware gave that worker pretty much said it all.

Finally, an episode would usually wrap up with a sequence about booting.  The booting sequences dealt with the people who drive around and randomly search for people with multiple unpaid tickets, so that they can put those big yellow locks on people’s tires.  On the one hand, the booting sequences were a bit less annoying that the ticketing and impound sequences because most of the people getting booted did owe several thousands of dollars in parking tickets.  On the other hand, it wasn’t hard to notice that the boot crew usually only seemed to search for cars in lower-class neighborhoods.  It was rare you ever heard anyone suggest maybe going to a rich neighborhood and seeing if anyone there needed a boot.  Instead the people being booted were often the very people who would need a car if they were ever actually going to get the money necessary to pay their tickets.

Throughout it all, the show punctuated every action or comment with a combination of zoom lenses and silly sound effects.  If someone declared that they needed their car for work, we’d hear someone dramatically go, “DAMN!” on the soundtrack.  If the parking cop pointed out a sign that said no parking, we’d get a zoom to the sign along with a smack-smack sound effect.

Even though the show is less than ten years old, watching it can be strange today.  Parking Wars was clearly made before the era of #MeToo.  If the parking cop is a woman, one can be sure that we’ll get at least a few interviews with the citizens of Philadelphia talking about how cute she is.  If the parking cop’s a man, one can be sure that he’ll take the time to leer at any passing women while the camera zooms in on what part of her body has drawn his attention.

Eventually, it would appear that the city of Philadelphia figured out that being advertised as being the worst cities on Earth was perhaps not the boon for tourism that they thought it would be and Parking Wars started to focus on other cities.  When they started to film in Detroit, we were introduced to a parking cop named Pony Tail.  Pony Tail was perhaps the most obnoxious character to ever be unleashed on the brave viewers of A&E.  Pony Tail was the type of creep who would brag about how he was punishing evil doers (because being parked at an expired meter is a sure sign of evil) but who would then spend his entire segment pouting after a random passerby yelled out, “Parking Authority sucks!”

Things got even worse once the show expanded to New York and started to feature “independent” towing companies.  If it could be said that the parking cops were at least enforcing the law, the independent towing people were just straight-up assholes.  Whenever they towed a woman’s car and responded to her complaints by calling her “sweetheart” or “honey,” you just wanted someone to jump in and smack the Hell out of them.

And yet, oddly enough, Parking Wars was (and is) addictive viewing.  I can’t speak for everyone but for me, it’s a show that I almost hatewatch.  It confirms everything negative thing that I’ve ever felt or suspected about the people in authority.  If you believe that most people will let even the slightest bit of power go straight to their head, this is the show for you.  If you distrust the government and think that most bureaucrats are petty tyrants, Parking Wars is a show that will confirm your every suspicion.  The best moments of Parking Wars are the ones that suggest that maybe the show’s producers were secretly poking fun at the parking authority’s delusions of grandeur.  I’m talking about the moments when the ticketed got their chance to yell at the ticketers and the ticketers, for the most part, were reduced to weakly saying, “I’m just doing my job….”  Could it be that Parking Wars was one of the biggest practical jokes in reality show history and perhaps Pony Tail and the folks at the Impound Lot were being punked without even realizing it?

Probably not but it’s fun to think about….

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

The Lesson Of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown


Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown may not be as acclaimed or well-known as It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or A Charlie Brown Christmas but it’s one of my favorite of the Peanuts holiday specials.  It has a very important lesson to teach us all.

It’s all about faith.

Hardly anyone in Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown has a good Valentine’s Day.  None of them should have been surprised.  All of the Charlie Brown holiday specials are about how days like Halloween, Christmas, and Thanksgiving rarely live up to our expectations.  Why should Valentine’s Day be any different?

Charlie Brown shouldn’t have been surprised when he went home empty-handed.  Sure, he thought he’d get a lot of valentines.  He even brought a briefcase to school with him because he was expecting to get so many.  After Schroeder handed out all of the valentines, Charlie Brown even went to big red box and turned it upside down.  There was nothing for Charlie Brown.  There’s never anything for Charlie Brown.

And Linus shouldn’t have been surprised when his teacher left school before he could give her that big heart-shaped box of candy.  After spending all of those Halloweens in a sincere pumpkin patch and waiting for the Great Pumpkin, Linus should have been used to the disappointment.

And Lucy should know that she’ll never be able to compete with Scroeder’s love of msic, no matter how many times she destroys his piano or tells him that Beethoven was overrated.

In the world of Charlie Brown, only Snoopy gets what he wants but he’s a dog so he doesn’t want much.  All he has to worry about is keeping Woodstock happy, finishing his new book, and shooting down the Red Baron.

But they never give up.  None of them.  No matter how wishy-washy or crabby they may be, all of them keep the faith.  None of them surrender their hope.  That’s the lesson of every Peanuts holiday special but it’s especially the lesson of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.  Someday, the teacher will accept Linus’s gift.  Someday, Schroeder will learn to appreciate Lucy’s finer qualities.  Someday, Sally will be able to make a Valentine just as impressive as Snoopy’s

And someday, maybe today, Charlie Brown will finally get that Valentine!

Never lose hope.  Never give up.  That’s a good lesson for Valentine’s Day.  That’s a good lesson for any day.

My Favorite Super Bowl Commercial 2019


cracked rear viewer

Well, there were slim pickings in this year’s Super Bowl commercial race. Mercedes Benz featured The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Stella Artois gave us the return of The Dude, and that Bud Light/Game of Thrones mash-up was pretty cool. But the ad that had everyone at the Super Bowl I attended roaring with laughter was this one starring Craig Robinson:

Yeah I know, it’s sophomoric, but also funny as hell!!

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6 Super Bowl Commercials that Lisa Won’t Forget


So, I’m sitting here like I do every year and I’m trying to pick my favorite Super Bowl ads.  (After all, the commercials are the only reason that I ever watch the Super Bowl.)  And I have to say that I’m having some difficulty doing it this year because, for the most part, all of the commercials were hella forgettable.  There were a few good ones and a few bad ones but the majority of them were just kind of there.

The bad ones, of course, were easy to spot.  There was that creepy Robochild who I guess is supposed to convince you to get your taxes done or something.  The first Google ad — the one about people using Google translate to discover how to say “I love you” — was a bit too desperate to convince us that Google is a force of good as opposed to evil.  (As long as I can always use it to check the weather, I really don’t care what Google does in its spare time.)  I might have liked the Steve Carell Pepsi ads if they had been for Coke instead.  You have to understand that, down south where I live, we kind of find Pepsi to be offensive.

To be honest, the best ads were the movie trailers but I just spent about 5 hours posting all 16 of those to the site.  Here are 6 other commercials that, regardless of whether I liked them or even found them to be effective, I won’t forget.

1.  Every Super Bowl, I look forward to the new M&M’s commercial.  This year’s was as cute as always and Christina Applegate did a good job selling the frustration.

2. I didn’t necessarily like this Audi commercial but it did spark an interesting theological debate between me and my sister about whether or not anyone would really need a car in Heaven.  Eventually, we concluded that the guy was actually in Purgatory, or at least he was until his life was saved.  It bothers me that, at the end of the commercial, that guy has a half-digested cashew somewhere on his desk.

3. I preferred the robots from this Michelob commercials to the Robo Child.

4. I’m not really sure what’s supposed to be going on in these commercials for Turkish Airlines.  I’m assuming that this is meant to be appeal to international assassins.

5. I did like this Olay commercial, mostly because of the horror angle.

6. And finally, there’s this commercial, which starts out as a Bud Light commercial but then quickly becomes something else.  I know I already shared this earlier tonight but seriously, this was so obviously the winner of the Super Bowl commercial sweepstakes that I simply have to show it again!