Let’s Watch Zydereen of Neptune!


Last night, the Late Night Movie Gang and I watched Zydereen of Neptune!

Never heard of Zydereen of Neptune?  Well, don’t feel bad.  It’s not really a movie.  Instead, it’s three episodes of an old 1950s TV series that someone edited together.  According to The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, Flash Gordon aired in 1954 on a now defunct network called DuMont.  The eponymous space hero was played by Steve Holland, a clean-cut model with an impressive head of hair.  On the show, Flash was a member of the GBI, which is like a galactic version of the FBI.  Working with him was scientist and love interest Dale Arden (Irene Champlin) and scientist and non-love interest Dr. Zarkov (Joseph Nash).  Flash was not a scientist but he had really nice hair.  Did I mention that?

(Seriously, the Late Night Movie Gang estimated that Flash was 90% hair spray.)

Anyway, in three episodes, Flash and the GBI had to defeat the machinations of Zydereen (Marie Powers), an evil witch who lived on Neptune and who yearned to escape and take over the universe.  She caused quite a bit of panic on Neptune, the majority of which, according to Wikipedia, was portrayed via stock footage of a 1953 anti-communist demonstration by citizens of East Berlin.  Having been made in 1954, it’s not surprising that Flash’s struggle to keep the universe safe feels a lot like America’s effort to keep the world safe from communism.

I was fulling expecting to be dismissive of this low-budget television show-turned-movie but actually, I enjoyed it.  From the threadbare production values to the grainy stock footage to the model rocket that crossed the screen whenever Flash was on a mission, there was an undeniable charm to the film’s low budget aesthetic.  Steve Holland grew on me as well.  At first, he seemed like a stiff but by the 30 minute mark of the film (or the second episode, if you will), Holland seemed a lot more comfortable with the role.  If nothing else, he had really impressive hair.  (Did I already mention that?)

Plus, Marie Powers was a good villain.  Again, it helps to remember that she was playing a space witch on a low-budget TV series that was mainly aimed at children.  As a result, neither she nor her schemes are particularly subtle but who cares?  It was right for the show.

As I’ve said many times in the past, I’m a history nerd.  And, if nothing else, Zydereen of Neptune was definitely a piece of history!

Want to watch it?  Well, here it is:

 

What The Hell Did Lisa Watched Last Night #182: The Proposal Episode 1


Though I’m really hesitant to admit it and I’ll probably deny it if anyone asks me in the future, last night I watched the first episode of the new ABC “reality dating” show, The Proposal.  How soul-searingly bad was The Proposal?  It was so bad that I am now convinced that not only is our current world about to end but also whatever world comes along to replace it is probably doomed as well.

 

Why Was I Watching It?

Because I’m an idiot.

What Was It About?

If you’ve ever watched The Bachelor, you know that it’s pretty much a tradition for the women (and the men, in the case of The Bachelorette) to announce that they can see themselves marrying the Bachelor after only knowing him for three days.  Of course, the audience at home always rolls their eyes when they say that.  We know they’ve probably been pressured to say that by the show’s producers, just like we know that there’s little chance that anyone on the show’s actually going to end up getting married to anyone else on the show.  It’s a fantasy and it’s kinda fun to get lost in it.

Well, The Proposal is basically The Bachelor on cheap steroids.  Now, instead of taking a whole three days to fall in love, The Proposal suggests that it can be done in an hour!  Woo hoo!

Here’s how last night’s show worked.  A man named Mike was sitting in a pod, hidden from the view of the audience.  Host Jesse Palmer assured us that Mike was a good guy and a police officer who deserved a good wife.  We were also told that, as the result of getting hit by a drunk driver, Mike lost part of his right leg but he was still an athlete who loved to go on hikes.  The message was clear: “If you think what’s happening is totally regressive and problematic, then you’re a terrible person who is saying that a one-legged first responder doesn’t deserve a chance at happiness.”

Ten heartbreakingly insecure women were brought out on stage.  While wearing swimsuits, each one made a pitch to Mike (who, keep in mind, was hidden from view the whole time).  Mike proceeded to cut five girls, all of whom were promptly ordered to get off the stage.  Mike then asked the five remaining girls a question.  Based on their answers, two girls were cut and three were left on stage.

From the beginning, it was obvious that the final three were going to be Jessica, Monica, and Kendal.  Jessica and Monica were the most attractive while Kendal was the only one who had a real job.  In fact, Kendal was a neuropsychologist who spoke movingly about how happy it made her to help stroke victims.  Given Mike’s own stated to desire to want to inspire people and create something good from his accident, Kendal seemed like the perfect choice…

Until, Mike’s best friend, Andrew, asked some questions!  Andrew wanted to know if the women were interested in having children. Kendal said that she didn’t want to have children.  The audience gasped in horror and Kendal got this panicked look on her face.  Oh my God, I’ve missed out on my chance to get proposed to by a man I’ve never seen before because I was honest about not wanting to have children!

Mike announced that the final two would be Monica and Jessica.  Sorry, Kendal!  I guess you should have lied until you got that ring!

Once Kendal was gone, the pod opened and Mike emerged.  Everyone breathed a sign of relief as Mike turned out to be a generically handsome guy who basically looked like a cop.  (He even sported the shaved head look that is oddly popular among police officers.)  At this point, I was sure that Monica and Jessica would get a chance to ask a question but no.  That’s not the way The Proposal works.  The fact that Mike looked like he might be distantly related to Wentworth Miller was good enough.  There was no need to know how he voted or if he was religious or if he drank or anything else.  Instead, Moncia and Jessica were sent backstage to work on their final plea and change into a nicer outfit.

After a commercial break, both Jessica and Monica returned and made their final pleas but it didn’t really matter what they had to say.  Mike was staring at Monica even while Jessica was talking.  Mike announced that he had been smitten with Monica from the first time he saw her an hour ago.  He got down on his one knee and proposed to her.  She said yes.  While Jessica silently headed backstage, Monica and Mike shared their first kiss.

“You’re a wonderful kisser,” she told her bald pod person, before adding, “Just wait until later!”

What Worked

Oh God.

Actually, let’s give credit where credit is due.  The off-stage announcer was properly snarky as each women was introduced.  The tone basically said, “Yeah, I can’t believe this is actually happening, either.”

Plus, I had a lot of fun live tweeting the event!  My anxiety was acting up something awful all day yesterday but making fun of The Proposal on twitter helped me calm down.

What Did Not Work

Every single moment of this show was icky and regressive.  Imagine The Bachelor without any of The Bachelor‘s goofy charm and you’ve got The Proposal.

“OH MY GOD!  Just like me!” Moments

None.  Absolutely none.  Well, okay — I did relate to the women’s obvious terror when, at the beginning of the show, they were forced to walk down a steep staircase in high heels.  I’m amazed that everyone made it down safely.

 Lessons Learned

The world is doomed.

Also, I’ll apparently watch anything.  What’s really sad is I know I’m probably going to watch next week’s episode, too.

Goodbye, Rick Grimes: Andrew Lincoln Is Leaving The Walking Dead


According to Collider, the next season of The Walking Dead will be Andrew Lincoln’s last.  After eight seasons as the star of The Walking Dead, Lincoln is apparently ready to move on and that means that The Walking Dead is about to lose Rick Grimes.

Of course, the television show began with Rick Grimes waking up from a coma and finding himself in a world that was far different from the one that he remembered.  In the early seasons especially, Rick stood-in for the audience.  We discovered the realities of the zombie apocalypse at the same time that Rick did.  When we were upset over the death of a character, Rick got upset with us.  When Rick hoped that a new, better world could somehow be created from the ruins of the old, we hoped along with him.  Among an ensemble cast that was filled with talent, Andrew Lincoln was the often underappreciated anchor that held the show’s narrative together.

Of course, many would argue that the show lost its way over the last few seasons.  I certainly would.  As the show grew more inconsistent, so did Rick’s character.  Often times, it seemed like Rick’s personality would change from episode to episode, depending on what the show was trying to accomplish that week.  It’s hard not to feel that, as an actor, Andrew Lincoln deserved better than to have to spend the majority of season seven in a nearly catatonic state, silently suffering as Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan devoured every inch of scenery.

And yet, Andrew Lincoln was always good.  Sometimes, the scripts were weak.  Sometimes, Rick was required to do things that didn’t make much sense.  But, through it all, Lincoln remained the anchor.  For all intents and purposes, he was The Walking Dead.

In much the same way that Lost simply had no choice but to end with Jack Shepherd sacrificing his life on the island, I’ve always felt that The Walking Dead had little choice but to end with Rick dying.  The show has always been his story and it’s always seemed that, when Rick’s life ended, so would the show.  Of course, the perfect ending would have been for Rick to die and Carl to pick up the mantle of leadership.  Unfortunately, Carl’s dead so that’s not going to happen.

(I realize that the Collider article stated that Lincoln was leaving the show and not that Rick was going to be killed off.  But, honestly, it’s hard to imagine this show not milking Rick’s death for all the drama that it can.  And, at this point, it would feel like a cop out not to kill him.  That’s just not the way things work in the world of The Walking Dead.)

Who will take over as the new leader on The Walking Dead?  Maggie was an obvious choice but Lauren Cohan just had a pilot picked up by ABC.  (Of course, there’s no guarantee that the ABC series will be a success.  For one thing, it’s entitled Whiskey Cavalier, which is one of the stupidest titles I’ve ever come across.)  Norman Reedus just managed to get himself a nice pay raise, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Daryl become even more prominent.  Or Negan might suddenly turn into a good guy and become the new leader.  Who knows?  About the only thing we can say for sure is that, with Carl dead and Rick leaving, the show is inevitably going to move further away from the comic that inspired it.

Though they’re two very different shows, it’s hard for me not to compare Andrew Lincoln leaving The Walking Dead to Steve Carell leaving The Office.  Let’s just hope that Rick’s replacement won’t be Andy Bernard.

Finally, in honor of the legacy Rick Grimes…

Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone
But in my mind I know they will still live on and on
But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn’t easy, but I’ll try
If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high ‘To Sir, With Love’
The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end
And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend
A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong
That’s a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return?
If you wanted the moon I would try to make a start
But I would rather you let me give my heart ‘To Sir, With Love’

Scenes That I Love: Wally Brando Arrives In Twin Peaks: The Return


“My family, my friend, I’ve criss-crossed this great land of ours countless times. I hold the map of it here, in my heart, next to the joyful memories of the carefree days I spent, as a young boy, here in your beautiful town of Twin Peaks.”

— Wally “Brando” Brennan in Twin Peaks The Return: Part 4

Last year, there were many Twin Peaks moments that many of us could not stop talking about.  There was Cooper announcing, “I am the FBI.”  There was Matthew Lillard’s interrogation.  There was Naomi Watts telling off the loan sharks and Jim Belushi talking about his dreams.  There were the musical performances at the Roadhouse.  There was Laura’s scream at the end of the Part 18.  And of course, there was every single minute of Part 8.

And then there was the arrival of Wally Brando.

Played by Michael Cera, Wally Brando was the son of Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz).  They were obviously quite proud of their son and Wally … well, Wally really loved Marlon Brando.  (That probably has something do with the fact that Wally and Marlon Brando shared a birthday.)  Interestingly enough, in the scene above, Micahel Cera is speaking to Robert Forster, who co-starred with Brando in 1967’s Reflections in a Golden Eye.

(Of course, by imitating Brando’s look in The Wild One, Wally Brando reminds us that Twin Peaks took place in a world where pop culture and society’s darkest secrets collided.)

How big of a splash did Wally Brando make?  When Part 4 of Twin Peaks premiered, Wally Brando immediately started to trend on twitter.  People were reminded that Michael Cera was capable of doing more than just playing sensitive teenagers.  It was one of the first great moments of the Twin Peaks revival.  As much attention as Cera received for his performance, I also think that Harry Goaz, Kimmy Robertson, and Robert Forster deserved just as much credit for making this scene work.  Andy and Lucy were so proud and Sheriff Truman’s reactions were just priceless.

Today would have been Marlon Brando’s 94th birthday and I’m sure that, somewhere, Wally Brando is wearing a party hat, opening his presents from Lucy and Andy, watching Guys and Dolls, and smiling.

 

TV Review: The Walking Dead 8.9 “Honor” (dir by Greg Nicotero)


So, has everyone seen the latest episode of The Walking Dead?  If not, why are you reading this review?  I ask because, on another site that I write for, I’ve got two people bitching at me for revealing too many spoilers about the shows that I review and, as a result, I felt the need to post an apology to those people.  As far as apologies go, it was fairly passive-aggressive and I’d hate to have to be that insincere on this site.  So, in other words, if you haven’t watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead, don’t read this review.  Thanks!

(Okay, I think I’ve rambled on long enough that anyone who didn’t want spoilers should have left by now.)

On Sunday night, the eighth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead resumed and oh my God, I have got such mixed feelings about what I just watched.  Before I go any further, allow me to share something that I tweeted back in April of 2017:

In other words, I can’t say that I’m shocked that Carl’s dead.  In fact, to a certain extent, I kind of respect the show for following through as opposed to coming up with some last-minute contrivance to allow Carl to live.  At the same time, I do think that the death of Carl has robbed the show of some potentially intriguing future storylines.  In the comic, Carl is still alive and he’s even bonded a bit with Negan.  During Season 7, the show seemed to be laying the foundation for that storyline but apparently, Negan’s going to have to bond with some other kid now.  Maybe Henry.  Maybe Judith.

I guess the main thing that bothers me about Carl’s death is that I really do feel that it was mostly due to the fact that the show’s pace has slowed down to such an extent that Chandler Riggs was getting too old to play the role. The Walking Dead has been on the air for 8 seasons but how many years have actually passed in the show?  It’s hard to say but really, it doesn’t seem like Carl should be any older than 14 or maybe 15.  Meanwhile, Chandler Riggs is closing in on 19.  It’s hard not to feel that the show’s producers decided to kill Carl off rather than maybe just wrap up a few storylines and have season 9 open with a “Four years after the defeat of the Saviors” title card.

Myself, I’ve frequently gotten annoyed with Carl as a character, even though I’ve always appreciated Chandler Riggs’s performance.  That said, Carl was one of the few characters left on the show with room to grow.  Rick is never going to change.  If Negan does become the friendly gardener that we saw in Carl’s fantasy, it’s going to have more to do with expedience than anything else.  Carl, though, was still discovering who he was and what he believed.  The majority of the characters have spent the last three or four seasons in a rut.  By virtue of being young, Carl was one of the few characters who actually had a chance of breaking out of that rut.

I mean, to be absolutely honest, I always assumed that the show would end with Carl shooting Rick before he could reanimate.  If you go all the way back to season 1, that’s the ending that the show has appeared to be logically building up to.  Now, I guess Judith will have to do it.

As for the episode itself … again, my feelings were mixed.  This episode was determined to wring every last drop of emotion out of Carl’s passing.  When it worked, it was largely due to the performances of Riggs, Danai Gurira, and the always underrated Andrew Lincoln.  At the same time, there was a part of me that started to resent just how much the show dragged out Carl’s death.  I know that AMC likes to do “super-sized” episodes of The Walking Death but, in this case, I think this episode would have been more effective if it had just been an hour.  Yes, that single gunshot was heart-rendering but, up until I heard it, there was a part of me that feared the show was planning to drag Carl’s death out over the entire rest of the season.

While Carl was dying, Carol, Morgan, and a few other people went off to rescue Ezekiel.  Gavin, who was always one of the most obnoxious of the Saviors, is now dead and yay for that.  Morgan has apparently decided that he’s okay with killing people again.  Morgan also apparently now has Jason Voorhees-style super strength.

It wasn’t a bad episode, though it certainly didn’t carry the power that it would have carried if it had happened during the fourth or fifth season.  On the one hand, I’ve always appreciated the fact that anyone can die on The Walking Dead.  On the other hand, characters die so frequently (and then pop up on the Talking Dead to say goodbye) that it’s now easy to get cynical about the whole thing.

In fact, it may be too early to say whether The Walking Dead handled Carl’s death the right way.  It depends on how this all plays out.  Will the show use Carl’s death as an excuse to go off in an unexpected direction or will we promptly get back to Negan chuckling and Rick giving speeches?  I’m actually looking forward to next week, just because I’m interested in seeing which Rick we’re going to get.  Are we going to get the crazy Rick who appeared after Lori died or are we going to get the catatonic Rick who showed up after Negan executed Abraham and Glenn?  Or maybe it’ll be the return of the Stoic Rick who shot zombie Sophia because he knew he had no other choice.  Which Rick will it be?

We’ll find out next week … hopefully.

 

Lisa’s Favorite 2018 Super Bowl Commercials!


Well, this is quite the quandary.

Usually, at the end of the Super Bowl, I post my ten favorite Super Bowl commercials.  However, this year, most of the commercials were kind of bland.  There were a few that were undoubtedly terrible and tasteless.  I definitely could have done without the commercial that suggested the best way to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. was to buy a pickup truck.  And there were a few commercials that were cute.  Fortunately, we didn’t have any of the condescending “super woke’ commercials that we had to deal with last year.  But, at the same time, there was a general lack of brilliance this year.

In fact, the majority of my favorite Super Bowl commercials were for movies and TV shows.  But I already posted all of those.  Posting them again would be … well, kinda of exhausting.

I was tempted to just not post a favorite commercial list this year but … well, if you know me and my tendency toward compulsive behavior, you know not making a list is never an option with me.

So, here are six commercials that I did like.

1. T-Mobile “Evil Babies Planning On Taking Over The World and Killing Everyone In Their Sleep”

I liked this commercial because it was hella creepy.

2. Doritos Blaze “Don’t Fuck With Peter Dinklage”

3. Mountain Dew Ice “Morgan Freeman: The Cold, Hard Truth”

4. Tide “No Exit”

5. Sprint “Ex Machina Part Two”

6. Solo “Oh my God!  It’s Donald Glover”