Heroes in Helmets: Origins

Special Shoutout to @PrimoPicollo for the Banner.

As I mentioned in my Halo reviews, I am a long fan of my heroes wearing full helmets. I always loved the air of mystery that a full faced helmet provided. Again, probably the psychology of it allowing me to put myself into the role and the joy of anonymity that a helmet can provide.

However, this is not going to be a broad topic covering every hero who chooses to wear a helmet. I do have a very specific subject matter in mind for these reviews.

This is the topic that I am generally very nervous about. I generally seek a safe space before I bring it up. I will slap my comic book nerd cred around like no one’s business. But even among nerds, I keep this card a secret. As open and exposed as I am about my other nerd interests, this is the one that I step out on a limb to talk about.

So understand, dear readers, this is me showing that I trust you and opening up. If anyone actually reads this. This is my deep secret.

Growing up, there were a series of shows that came out that I instantly became a fan of.

Yeah, you knew where this was going.

In 1993, Power Rangers hit the United States like a baseball bat the knee. EVERYONE loved Power Rangers. Well, everyone who was under 12 at least. It was a huge success and it had the merch to back it up. Of course all the parents of screaming and demanding children were not huge fans.

Gotta love these well timed Tiger King memes!

I had the first set of rangers(including green and white), the power weapons, the first three megazords, the Dragonzord, the White Tiger Zord, Saba, the Power Blaster, a couple of the quick morph figures, Finster, A set of gloves that made the sound effects when you moved, and the first morpher. I never got Titanus or the Turtle zord. I never really got any of the toys and merch after the first two or three seasons.

Around that time, many other series started popping up from the popularity of Power Rangers.

A series with a very loose understanding of VR
A series that didn’t know how to spell Cyber, but knew to hire Matthew Lawrence.
The reason Toei didn’t let us touch Kamen Rider again for 12 years.
And to be honest, EXACTLY what I would wish for if I encountered a genie ghost.

Yeah, although I was all over the toys for Power Rangers, I never really got more than the happy meal toys for the other series. Which I gotta admit, were kind of cool. One of the Happy meal toys for VR Troopers was the necklace morpher, which was pretty neat. There was also the Masked Rider car that also had the Motorcycle inside, so both vehicles in one.

I actually think I had all these.
I remember the necklace and the glasses, but don’t remember the other 2.

I was really into all these shows and loved wasting all my time watching them, acting them out, and imagining myself as one of the rangers. Of course, over time, all children grow up and put away their childish things. Only I wasn’t done playing yet. Suddenly all my friends were getting into comics, transformers, and wrestling and thought Power Rangers were just for little kids. As popular as Power Rangers once was, it was now considered a mark of shame. Imagine being 11 and being mocked by other 11 year olds for still liking a show about color coded superheroes.

Kids are mean. I now had to like a show in secret. How messed up is that?!? I kept watching the show. I am actually proud to say that I kept watching the season premiere of each Power Rangers season from the original Mighty Morphing Power Rangers to Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. By that point I was able to recognize that they stole the costumes from Starship Troopers.

However, there is only so much time that can pass trying to follow a show no one else will even talk to you about without mocking you (the internet and Bronies weren’t really a thing yet). Eventually I stopped watching. I had Wrestling, Football, and comics to keep me interested.

I remember occasionally seeing a ranger show here or there. I remember seeing Dino Thunder and mockingly thinking, “didn’t we already do dinosaurs?” In the scornful way of an adult who remembers when things were GOOD.

Eventually I started seeing Power Rangers pop up on disney channel. I left it on. And I was reminded of a fundamental truth. They were super heroes. I love superheroes. I talk about them ALL the time. Why am I ashamed of liking a superhero show? Because of other people?

Yes. Because to other people, Power Rangers and anything that remotely looks like Power Rangers is STRICTLY for kids. And to a certain extent they are right. Comics and cartoons were at one time seen strictly for kids, but they slowly aged it up so that the original fans could still enjoy it. Power Rangers still kind of skews to a younger audience. Hell, times when they try to reach a more serious audience either gets laughed out of theaters (Power Rangers 2014) or buried at a 3 o clock show time because Disney wants to kill it (Power Rangers: RPM).

However, I slowly started looking into Power Rangers again. I found out there were now a dozen or so seasons. I found out a brand new season, Jungle Fury, was just starting, so I decided to give it a shot. I instantly was infatuated with it. It was all about Kung Fu, and as I was still watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, this was a huge selling point for me. As I awaited new episodes, I began watching Dino Thunder, the show I had previously scoffed. I briefly glanced at the Japanese version of the show, Gekiranger and saw this:

Thankfully not the rangers, just the mentors.

And the first 30 seconds of episode 1 involves our Red ranger wearing a loin cloth and falling out of a tree while fighting pandas.

EDIT: Credit to @PrimoPiccolo once again for assisting in creating this gif for me. Originally I posted the first episode with Spanish subtitles from youtube. The account that hosted it was terminated. . . maybe my fault. Lo siento. The following jokes are based on the spanish subtitles.

I apologize for the spanish subtitles. It’s the first thing I found. For all my spanish readers, Hola.

Grassy Ass

So yeah, I noped out. Until a few months later when Kung Fu Panda came out and my obsession with Kung Fu became too much to . . . bear.

Yeah, I’m sorry.

So after I got past the first bit and eventually got over having Kung Fu Tarzan as the red ranger, I ended up really enjoying the series. So much so that when I returned to the Power Rangers series, I was kind of really disappointed. What I originally saw as epic Kung Fu fight scenes by comparison were just the actors throwing their hands at each other while saying “HiYa!”

Yeah, Pretty much this.

So yeah, I ended up going all in on Japanese shows. Watched Gekiranger, then I watched the current show at the time, Go-Onger. From there, one of the serious characters in Go-Onger also appeared in a show called Kamen Rider Kabuto. It looked weird, but eventually I decided to check it out.

And I finally found my true calling.

Kamen Rider was a lone hero taking on a normal sized monster. There wasn’t a regular battle that then had to be refought in a giant Megazord just to sell the toys. And although as a kid the giant robot battles seemed cool, as an adult I just can’t separate the massive amount of damage and loss of life every time a building was destroyed.

Also it was slightly more grown up than its Sentai counterpart. In Super Sentai, most of the time the villains are trying to make people sad or ruin their day, or get them to cry to capture their sadness and grief. In Kamen Rider, they are killing people. Even in Den-O, where the goal was to grant a wish to go back in time, they went into the past and began rampaging and killing people.

So I found my calling, Kamen Rider and the genre Tokusatsu in general. Tokusatsu is a word that translates out to Special Effects. It mainly refers to movies and tv shows that use a lot of special effects. Godzilla is a prime example of this. However, in modern terms, it generally refers to shows like Power Rangers, Super Sentai, Kamen Rider and one other show.

You see, back before Kamen Rider, Masked Rider, BeetleBorgs, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, VR Troopers, and even Power Rangers, there was a show that came out in 1992. A full year before Power Rangers took the US by storm. This was the origin story for my love of Tokusatsu.

ULTRAMAN!

Ultraman is likely my first foray into the Tokusatsu genre. I would say this even over Godzilla due to when I started watching Godzilla, I thought Jet Jaguar was Ultraman and I wanted to see him in more Godzilla films.

What can I say? I was stupid.

Ultraman was never really popular and never had a home media release. So if you didn’t see the original release, you likely didn’t see it. Unless you went to your local video store and rented the only Ultraman video they had which was this cartoon.

Yeah, this was also awesome.

I had a few of the toys, I had Ultraman, this weird Mantis monster, and a couple more that defy description.

I had Bogun, Majaba, and Barrangas.

This show always held a fond place of nostalgia in my heart. Just like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, there are many iterations. Over the years, I found many of the shows sitting in the DVD sections, mainly Ultraman Tiga and Dyna. But I never found MY original Ultraman. A few years ago, the Ultraman dvds came out. It was the original japanese series. I figured if I bided my time, they would eventually get around to re-releasing Ultraman: Towards the Future.

Sadly, they have not. However, they have started releasing more of the series on bluray. I decided to try and show my support by buying the first five series of Ultraman.

I dumped $120 on five bluray sets for a show I saw once when I was kid. I have only watched one other Ultraman show to completion.

I clearly should not be in charge of my own finances.

But damn are those cases pretty.

Fortunately, some benevolent individual has put out Ultraman Towards the Future on Youtube. So. . .

Next Week: We start with the series that started it all for me personally.

Sadly no gif.

Halo 3

This Week: Halo 3

This is Master Chief trying to figure out how to tri-wield guns.

The Ad campaign for this game was insane. They had these old soldiers talking about how Master Chief saved their lives, they had live action trailers of battles, and even a giant diorama detailing the battle.

Chilling

The ad campaign was enough to make me pre-order my copy and get my lazy butt in gear finishing Halo: CE and Halo 2.

As a result, this is one of the few games I was ready day one for. I attended a midnight release party at GameStop ready to pick up my copy of Halo 3. I went ALL out and bought the

Standard version, that came with nothing.

Yeah, by the time I was fully invested in the Halo series, it was too late to get any of the fun and fancy editions. And I was two years into college, so I was broke as all hell. I believe I was working walmart at the time.

I had either class or work in the morning, so after picking up the game, I played 1 level and then went to sleep. After completing my obligation for the day, I then burned through the game in about 2-3 sittings. I would say it is probably my favorite Halo game. It focused completely on Master Chief, the ending was satisfying, I liked the Warthog run in this one much better than in Halo:CE, and it decently wrapped up the story while also leaving the possibility for more.

I played a little multiplayer, but again, was not very good at it. Having the ability to play online allowed people from all over the world to T-bag my face. One time I started a match, everyone on my team bailed and I was fighting alone. I think I managed a kill or two. I figured since I was obviously fighting alone, the other team would be cool and let my corpse lie alone.

Nope. . .

Now, this was back on the Xbox 360. Achievements were a fresh thing with the system and I remember looking over my gamer score and found after playing all the way through Halo 3, I had only one achievement. Fear the Pink Mist. For killing 5 enemies with a Needler.

Yeah, you got NO achievements for beating the game on Easy. Halo 3 did not spare your feelings. You want to just play the story and call it a day, then do so with no gamerscore like the b**** you are!

One of the things that was introduced in this game that I got very little use out of was all the extra gear beyond grenades and guns. I almost never used the bubble shield, the flare, the EMP, none of it. Playing on Easy, I was never in enough danger to actually need it and in multiplayer, I was so bad that I couldn’t effectively use them in a tactical way.

It’s like that one time I was playing some fighting game and after getting my but handed to me for the 15th match in a row, I paused the game and asked, “How do I block?”

Is it this one? No. This one? No. Maybe. .

After playing Halo 3 and getting my butt kicked in multiplayer for a week or so, I put the game away to finally rest and watch the sun rise on a grateful universe.

Maybe I should take up farming. Is lead farming an actual thing or was that just a joke?

After Halo 3 we had Halo Wars and Halo 3: ODST. I bought both and because Halo Wars came out first, I had to play that before I could play ODST. Well, I got 2 levels in, lost a level, and then never picked it up again.

So resulted in me missing out on Reach, despite buying it, Halo 4(didn’t buy that one, I don’t think), and Halo 5. I kept wanting to catch up, but in my own. . . my own. . .

So when I got the Master Chief Collection, I figured my comeback was in place. I would play from first to last. And this time I would balls to wall it on LEGENDARY.

And after getting my ass kicked in Halo CE on level 2 and giving up for 5 years, I finally dropped it back down to easy and did the replay.

Now after playing with the God-like graphics of Halo 2, Halo 3 came as a shocking downgrade. Getting a near photo realistic Master Chief and then taking several steps back was disheartening. I heard from a coworker that supposedly the graphics were good enough on Halo 3 that it would be too much to upgrade the graphics for only a minor improvement.

Halo 3 Anniversary please!

Once I got past all my characters not looking as good as they used to one game ago, I really enjoyed playing Halo 3 again.

Also, this time around, I got a bunch of Achievements for beating it on Easy, so suck it 360 version that simply wanted me to do better.

I earned this!

This time around, I finished Halo 3 and kept my momentum up by going right into Halo ODST.

I’m not dead. . . I’m feeling fine

Next Week: Halo can still be fun without Spartans or Halos, right?

Halo 2

This Week: Halo 2

It’s 2 because now he can shoot 2 guns.

So, my memory is really kind of fuzzy on this one. I’m pretty sure I didn’t play this one until Halo 3 started getting advertised. But considering they were two different console generations, it just seems weird to me. But that is the narrative that I remember best, so that is what we’re going to go with.

I remember 2 came out and I just passed it by considering I hadn’t even finished CE yet. Then the map packs and stuff came out and I was kind of relieved I didn’t get tied up in that. I just remember a bunch of gamestops had that Halo 2 statue of Master Chief. It was cool, but I would have rather had the Tobey McGuire Spider-man.

Sorry Chief, of the two statues I couldn’t afford, I chose not to buy Spider-man over not buying you.

One of the things I do remember was seeing the “What if you miss?” Trailer. At the time, I wasn’t too invested in reading the text that was popping up too quick to read and just enjoyed the trailer where he jumps out of ship.

And the only reason this stuck with me is when this same scene happens, it is accompanied by, “I’m going to give the Covenant back their Bomb.” Which was just awesome. Watching the trailer now, having played most of the games, the opening text means more. At the time I originally saw it, I hadn’t even finished the first game. So it was cool seeing a trailer for a sequel game to the one I hadn’t finished. It is always nice knowing you are falling further and further behind.

Assassins Creed also taunts me, at least that has a new hero each time and is quite good at hiding what happened the previous game. Halo 2’s trailer spoils the hell out of Halo: CE.

But like I said, 3 paragraphs ago, I didn’t bother reading, so yeah, jokes on you.

Also not knowing what they spoiled helped.

I did play Halo 2 once around the time it came out. I was at my local gaming store and they had Halo 2 in the back room. I hopped on one of the Co-op controllers and played about five minutes. Probably until I died. Like usual.

When I heard Halo 3 was on the horizon, I decided to play catch up. So getting a very satisfying wrap up in Halo: CE with everyone dead except Chief and Cortana, I loaded up Halo 2.

One thing I do remember people telling me was that the ending sucked in Halo 2. But I ignored that, because obviously they aren’t me. I have previously held that I enjoy things that other people don’t. (See previous entry mentioning Shadow The Hedgehog) I’m happy that I just finished a game while other people want a deep meaningful ending. Again, this was also back when I didn’t have the same critical mindset that I do now.

Well, after playing it, I get it. Story wise it’s fine, and it is definitely neat to see more of the story from the point of view of The Arbiter.

No, not that one.

It’s a fun campaign, but my biggest problem is the ending. I’ve always held it as one of the weaker entries for me because the ending left a poor taste in my mouth.

There are essentially two final levels in Halo 2. One as Master Chief and the other as The Arbiter. In Master Chief’s final level you finish off a prophet and then hitch a ride on a ship headed for Earth. Then you switch to The Arbiter and finish off Tartarus. After doing that, we cut back to Master Chief coming back to Earth to Finish the Fight! And it is over.

It wasn’t as bad for me as others. I finished Halo 2 a few months before Halo 3 came out. I already had a release date and pre-order set up and everything. But there were 3 years and console generation between Halo 2 and Halo 3. Also, in what universe do we want to end on The Arbiter?!? Me and my house, we serve The Master Chief!

Your Assault Rifle and RPG Launcher, they comfort me.

Yeah, if they gave us one more level, or at least finished on a Master Chief level, I think it might have been better. There was just a strong, “What? That’s it?” feeling to that ending. So for me, Halo 2 was always the forgotten middle child of the original trilogy. Not even a warthog run to finish it off.

So just like with Halo:CE, I picked it up again for the quarantine with the Master Chief Collection.

In anticipation of Halo 5, they completely redid the graphics and cut scenes of Halo 2. And oh GOD IS IT PRETTY!

SO
DAMN
PRETTY
Well. . . most of it, anyway.

Yeah, I forgot how fantastic certain scenes in this game were. Every cut scene was amazing and I spent a lot of the replay wondering, “Did we do this in the original?” I honestly don’t recall the fight with the heretic in the first Arbiter mission. But then again, it has been over a decade since the last time I played Halo 2.

However, when I got to the end of Halo 2, I still had the same reminder of, “oh yeah, this is why I didn’t like it.” It just wasn’t a satisfying ending.

I think a lot of people really loved Halo 2 because the multiplayer opened up so many more options with the pick ups and the ability to duel wield weapons, but considering I never really played much multiplayer, it didn’t do a lot for me.

I still love the story and the campaign, but it feels incomplete. Like a teaser for a bigger story. At the end of Halo: CE, you destroyed a ring and closed the chapter. In Halo 2, it feels like you stopped short of the final mission. It’s not like Empire Strikes Back or Endgame where you end in failure and have to find a way back in the next movie. It would be like in Star Wars: A New Hope, cutting off as everyone is approaching Yavin 4.

And ROLL CREDITS!

Yeah, Halo 2 was my first game of major story disappointment. I wanted to enjoy it despite the naysayers, but it just left me wanting.

Fortunately, my wait wasn’t long.

Couldn’t find an Anniversary version.

Next Week: We finish the Fight with Halo 3!

“My Console History” or “I Survived Captain Trips and All I got was this Lousy T-Shirt”

When I was a young Warthog, I had the original Nintendo.

I had a handful of games that I don’t remember. I think at one point I had a Jaws game that we rented.
Then we got the Sega Genesis. I played Sonic 1,2, and 3. Sonic Pinball, Mortal Kombat, and whatever I rented from our local video store, Video City was one, maybe Video Zone the other? Then the Blockbuster attacked. We still went to the other stores more often, because Blockbuster was expensive, but eventually we converted.

Anywho, because we had the Sega Genesis, we skipped the Super Nintendo. For the time at least. We even upgraded the Sega Genesis by adding the Sega CD attachment. We didn’t play a lot of games on it, my favorite was this space shooter game where your ship would transform into a gundam like robot.

We got the N64 for Christmas one year and it was my favorite console.

Actually, due to the ad campaigns, I thought the old Super Nintendos were just going to autoupgrade to N64s, because I was stupid. My sister’s friend had a Super Nintendo and I was convinced that when the N64 released, that her system turned into it. I wasn’t convinced this wasn’t the case until I eventually saw it was still the same system.

Anywho, we got the N64 and I immediately delved into Mario 64, Goldeneye, Shadows of the Empire, StarFox 64, and the Mortal Kombat Trilogy. I was kinda miffed that I kept seeing characters in the Mortal Kombat Player’s guide that was Playstation only.

Because I wanted to play some Super Nintendo games I never got to play because we chose the Sega Genesis side, my parents got me a Super Nintendo years after the N64 had come out. I played a few games on it, like Earthbound, but other than that, I don’t remember much.

As I entered middle school, Xbox and Playstation 2 were coming out. I asked for one of them for Christmas. What I also wanted was a DVD player so I could watch DVDs in my room, but I didn’t want to straight up ask for that. So looking at the two options, I figured I would go with the PS2, because that included a DVD player built in without having to buy anything special to make the dvd player work. The Xbox required you to buy an extra remote.

I don’t know why it would have been beyond the pale or suspicious that I wanted a DVD player in my room, but that’s where my head was for some reason.

Well, Christmas came and I had no idea what my dad had chosen. I was hoping for a PS2 and opened the wrapping paper to find an Xbox. But low and behold, it was also bundled with the DVD remote, so VICTORY ACHIEVED!

As a result, my Dad set me down the path of the Xbox. I played Halo, Simpsons Hit and Run, Altered Echo, Justice League Heroes, and a whole slew of other original games I’ve forgotten about. Everyone complained about the size of the controllers, but because I already had fairly large hands, it was no problem for me. Everyone else immediately switched over to the smaller controllers when they came out, but I remained faithful to the old school controllers until The 360 came out.

My dad ended up getting a used Playstation and Playstation 2 a year or so before the PS3 came out. I only remember playing Megaman Adventures 2 on the original Playstation. I played exactly 5 minute of Final Fantasy 7 before I realized it was a turn based RPG and I noped the hell out.

The only game I remember playing on my Dad’s PS2 before I moved out was a Yu-Gi-Oh game where it was reenacting the War of Roses.

Then I went to college and ended up buying an Xbox 360. I actually bought a 360 game long before I ever had the system. I bought Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Actually the game I was most excited to play on the 360 was Dead Rising. It was what convinced me to get a 360. And I played it once. Died super quickly, and never played it again.

When the PS3 came out, I wait in line for 3 days to buy it. I actually was working at the store I was buying it from. I managed to get my friends and family to help sit in line for me while I was working. I saw people starting to sit in line and then I parked a chair and waited with everyone else. So I bought the top of the line PS3 and IMMEDIATELY sold it on Ebay.

Someone offered me $1200 cash on the spot for it, but I wanted to sell it for more. I actually had it bidding with a Buy It Now option for $10000. One person actually clicked buy it now, but backed out of the sale. I only sold it for about 1,000.

I used that money to buy a big screen for my 360. I also ended up buying a PS2 in order to play one thing and one thing only. The Devil May Cry series. I borrowed my dad’s PS2, but I couldn’t get it to work, so I bought the PS2 Slim.

I also ended up buying a later version of the PS3, but I never really played any games on it. I played God of War a little on it as well as Demon Souls, but it just sat there.

I had a gamecube I never played, a Wii I barely played, a Wii U I played even less, and now I switch I played Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Sword on, but Nintendo has been a backburner for the console wars for me.

Then came the console war of Xbox One VS PS4.

I decided early on that my loyalty was with the Xbox line. I won a $1000 visa gift card through Spectrum and decided to buy an Xbox One. I was excited for a game called Scalebound that looked fantastic. Yes, the PS4 had several games that I wanted to play, but I was sold on this one.

Scalebound went through delay after delay and eventually canceled. I regretted buying my Xbox One. Bloodborne was about to come out and I still had no PS4 to play it on and there were almost no other games I was interested in playing on the Xbox One that were exclusive. I felt like I backed the wrong horse.

So I bought my copy of Bloodborne and had no PS4 on which to play. I decided I would pre-order a PS4 that was coming out. I decided to get the Arkham Knight PS4. It was silver and had the bat symbol on it. It also allowed me to pay in installments rather than all at once.

Then I got a girlfriend right about the same time as the console comes out. And I never play it. I mean seriously, I have had this console for 5 years and I think I played about half an hour on it total. And that half hour was on Elder Scrolls online. What a freaking WASTE!

So now the PS5 and Xbox Series X have both been announced.

I have seen trailer after trailer for PS5 exclusives. Godfall, Demon Souls Remastered, and Spider-man: Miles Morales! These all look great!

Once again I’m looking at the Xbox lineup and see almost nothing.

Almost. . .

I can almost hear the music from this gif.

I keep thinking this will be a tough decision, considering how I felt buyers remorse before, but having an at launch Halo title makes this a no brainer.

Make mine Marv- I mean Xbox!

And honestly, I have bought 3 generations of Playstation and the most playtime I spent on ANY of them was the damn PS2 with Devil May Cry, which I have on Xbox now. I gotta learn the lesson that I just don’t play Playstation at SOME point!

And it will probably be the PS6, because I will definitely pick up the PS5 sooner or later. Demon Souls is calling my damn name!

So first post of the new year, just 6 months late. Isn’t even about movies, just my history of consoles. I’ll try to get back to movie reviews here soon. Still got Stephen King and Christmas to finish.

My bad.

TemplarKnight’s Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!

Hrmmm. . . . What should I do for December?

Worst Christmas Movies Ever 2? Do I even have enough movies for that? No, not this year.

Use this other idea I had for a month of bad [REDACTED] movies? It isn’t really holiday related. Probably would work better for Halloween.

You know, I haven’t even finished King’s Halloween, The Dark Universe, or ThanksKilling 2, so should I REALLY be starting a big Christmas project? Probably not.

So just nothing?

Oh.

Wait.

I have an idea.

And I totally didn’t spoil it by making it the title of the post everyone clicked on to get here.

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES! HD-REMASTERED!

(How is it HD-Remastered?)

Cause it is on the site now instead of just on facebook. And I’ve slightly edited some of the posts. Maybe.

Gotta pay full theater prices to see that 18 seconds of all new footage- I mean writing.

Yeah, it is just a reference to when game companies re-release a game on a later system as an “HD Remaster.” Cause explaining the joke makes it funnier.

Yes, this is kind of a cop out since most of the work is already done and all I have to do is find the old post and repost, but hey. . . shut up.

When I originally did the list, I didn’t make any particular order to the movies. And that is how it will stay. The movie at the end IS my favorite movie, but the rest are just sort of where I put them when I felt like it. Also these are HOLIDAY movies as opposed to Christmas movies because they aren’t all Christmas oriented.

So without further ado, I give you my favorite Holiday movies.

P.S. I’ve finished watching all the King movies and ThanksKilling 2, I just need to write the reviews. Dark Universe is SUPER back burner at this point.

King’s Halloween Update: Miles to go and Promises to Keep

Hey, Stephen King quotes all kinds of poetry in his works, let me use a little Frost.

So watching a movie and writing a full review of it in one night is difficult to do. When I was keeping my streak going, I would be up until just before midnight trying to get my review up in time, several times writing the end of my review shortly after the end of the movie.

Last October it was difficult doing a movie and a review a night. Some of them got put off til the next day. My Christmas reviews didn’t get finished until January.

To double down on the difficulty, I am now working two jobs again. So I am working my regular job, then working a couple hours at my second job, then trying to watch a movie and writing a review AND THEN trying to get to bed at a decent hour to start the whole thing over again.

The center cannot hold. So right now I am two reviews, about to be three, behind. I’ve still been watching the movies, but I’ve been putting the reviews on the back burner for now. I hope to try and catch them back up on my day off, but bear with me. The reviews will continue.

God I hope this isn’t like all those dead webcomics that their final post was “comics will resume shortly.”

King’s Halloween: Misery (1990)

Tonight: Misery (1990)
misery-movie-poster-1990-1020470515

So, when I plan out these marathons, I generally try to find movies on streaming to watch. So far it has worked out fairly well with me only having to purchase a few movies here and there.

Unfortunately there are VERY few Stephen King movies available for streaming. On the other hand, due to Stephen King movies being popular, they are available at my local library.

The reason Pet Semetary remake was on the top of the list was because it was the first one I checked out. I figured it would be in high demand come October, so I got it out mid September. I also started pulling a bunch of movies out shortly after. If no one places a hold on the movie, it auto-renews.

Well, somebody else apparently wants to watch Misery. Sick bastard.

So I haven’t read the book. But like most of King’s more famous works, it has been referenced in MANY tv shows and movies.

My only dream is that one day one of my readers finds me half dead on the side of the road and threatens to kill me if I don’t change one of my reviews that she, or much more likely he, doesn’t agree with.

The hobbling scene keeps popping up on various lists as one of the more horrifying scenes in cinema. In fact, it gets shown on so many watchmojo lists and the like that I am sure they cut away before the REALLY gruesome scene happens. Well, I am somewhat disappointed. I steeled myself to witness a truly cringeworthy scene.

It was okay. In fact, you only see one ankle go sideways. The next one you just hear the crunchy audio. I was expecting bone to pop out. However, I’ve seen the scene so many times that I was largely desensitized to it when I actually saw it in context.

I was hoping for something like the Red Wedding. When everyone was shocked and talking about the Red Wedding, I went and watched it out of context. My thought was, “Meh, I’ve seen redder weddings.” Then I finally decided to watch Game of Thrones and with the context it was just gut wrenching.

But then again, I didn’t know the characters. With Misery, you kind of pick up on the context fairly quickly.

The ending was interesting. Paul writes the ending that Annie Wilkes wants, but burns it before she can read it. Then Paul smashes her over the head with a typewriter. Doesn’t take. Then he smashes her head on the typewriter. Seems to take, then doesn’t. Finally he smashes her head in with a pig statue. Seems to take this time.

Then we skip over how he escapes the middle of nowhere and he’s written a new book, but sees Annie Wilkes everywhere he looks.

Honestly, it is a great movie. Kathy Bates is a national treasure. You know, the one you lock away and dare not touch lest your family be cursed for 19 generations. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed in a Kathy Bates role (but I’m sure if you give me some time I could find one).

Well, all the other movies have quite a while before they need to be returned, so nothing URGENTLY needs to be chosen, so what should I do tomorrow. .

Tomorrow: So we go from an author nearly dying because he tried to kill of his fictional character, what happens when an author nearly dies while trying to kill off his fictional author?

King’s Halloween: The Shining (1997)

Tonight: The Shining (1997)
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This mini-series came out when I was a kid.  For some reason, I didn’t watch it, though in school, my teacher at the time used the popularity of this mini-series to discuss foreshadowing.  I was confused when my teacher kept talking about a hose when I was familiar with blood coming out of an elevator (thanks to the Simpson’s parody of the movie).

This is the one remake this week that I have actually seen the original version.  I watched the Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining a couple years ago when I first started getting into King.  I was really interested in seeing Jack Nicholson’s performance and I hadn’t put a hold on watching all Stephen King movies yet.

I also haven’t had a chance to read the book yet.  I’m only about 3 short chapters in.

So in comparing the two films, this version generally makes more sense and builds over time.  Unlike the Kubrick film which had to fit everything into an feature length run time, this series has four and half hours to build up the crippling psyche of Jack Torrence.  In this movie, it makes sense that the Torrences are a family.  In the original, Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall didn’t seem to have any business being a couple, let alone having a child.

Jack Nicholson going crazy and trying to kill his family seemed like the thing for him to do.  Steven Webber on the other hand goes back and forth from being angry and frustrated to being a caring father.  Hell, in the middle of yelling for Danny to come downstairs so he can beat him with a croquet mallet, as soon as he sees a bruised and traumatized Danny, he immediately breaks and becomes concerned.

I did a little research and so far as I can tell, this follows a lot closer to the book. I’m honestly surprised that Kubrick even bothered keeping the names of everything the same. Cause he seems to change everything else.

In Kubrick’s movie the Overlook has a hedge maze instead of a Rocque court. The haunted room is 237 instead of 217. Jack tries killing people with an Ax instead of a Rocque mallet. Jack dies from freezing to death instead of making the self sacrifice play by allowing the boiler to explode and taking all the ghosts with him.

Honestly, the biggest thing about this that makes me enjoy it over the original is the ending. I loved that Jack decided to take the hotel down with him. Then we see Jack’s ghost at Danny’s High School Graduation. It is a really touching scene.

Yes, the original movie is a classic and you can’t top Jack Nicholson’s manic ax wielding glee, but this movie feels closer to what the story should be.

The movie is the abridged version that was made by someone who didn’t quite understand the original story and just wanted to make things “scarier.” This version is unabridged made by someone trying to get the real story across.

I will concede that I would have liked to see this version except not made for TV. You can tell they had to dig in on “suspense” because they couldn’t go for gore.

Tomorrow: Speaking of TV remakes that can’t go for gore, we will end Remake Week with probably the worst offender. . .

King’s Halloween

I am not a fan of horror.  I generally go for comedies, action movies, and when possible, action comedies.  I generally avoid horror movies because I don’t see the joy in getting scared and being bombarded by jump scares.  Also they tend to have bleak endings that don’t necessarily end with good triumphing over evil.  Usually the last survivor starts to ride into the sunset, only for the sunset to eat them.

As a result, I generally avoided the “Master of Horror” Stephen King.  He already had scared the crap out me and most other children of the 90’s with Tim Curry’s IT, so I wasn’t willing to subject myself to much more.

By the time I turned 30, I had only read a few Stephen King Books, and seen a few Stephen King movies.  I had read Carrie, the Green Mile, and The Regulators, and seen Stand By Me and Green Mile.  At the time, I didn’t even realize either of the movies were Stephen King.

For the most part, I considered Stephen King the “default” answer that people gave when asked who is their favorite author.  Kind of like the Beatles are with music.  Just the mainstream common denominator.

However, 2 years ago we started getting trailers and information for the movie, “The Dark Tower.”  I had previously heard of the Dark Tower series before, but knowing it was “Stephen King” I knew it would be scary and depressing and I wouldn’t like it.  In fact, I was fairly convinced that the “Gunslinger” mentioned in the title of the first book would die in the first book and we would be following around the kid he encounters in the first book.

But the more I looked into The Dark Tower, the more I became enthralled with everything.  I love interconnected universes.  The idea that EVERYTHING in Stephen King’s novels is connected really intrigued me.  In that first year I read more Stephen King Novels and watched more Stephen King movies than I had in the 30 years prior.

Last year I was in a bind to figure out what to do for a October marathon.  On October 1st, I was brainstorming and I came up with 2 ideas.  1. Watch as many Bad Horror/Halloween movies as I could find, 2. Watch as many Stephen King movies as I can.  Due to the release of The Legend of HallowHawaiian, I went with the bad movies.  And for that I was damned.

But I figured this would give me time to read a bunch of the books so I could compare them to the movies and write better reviews.

I have not managed to read all that many books, and in fact the books I HAVE read, I’ve already seen the movies, so no help there.

So like the years before, I have some rules.  These are all going to be movies I have NOT seen before.  So unfortunately none of these movies make the list:
The Dark Tower
The Dead Zone
The Green Mile
ANY of the IT movies
The Running Man
The Shining (1980)
Stand By Me
The Stand

What pisses me off most is that IT: Chapter 2 came out last month and Doctor Sleep comes out next month.  They would have been AWESOME to put on the list.

So tomorrow night we begin KING’S HALLOWEEN with Pet Semetary(2019)

Road to Endgame: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)

So considering I just tore into my entire family for not watching Spider-man: Homecoming in theaters and everyone seeing them months or years after it came out, it must mean that it is one of my FAVORITE MCU movies, right? Eh, not really.

Honestly, I wanted more Spider-man action.  Spider-man was kind of underwhelming.  He spent most of the movie trying to work his suit, without even the fun of his suit wanting to eat people.  I do like the Instant Kill version of the suit looking similar to the Assassin Spider-man.

We also don’t get the same level of competence Spider-man showed in Civil War.  Save for the beginning of the Ferry fight and at the final battle, we don’t see much of his fighting ability.  In Civil War he clowned The Falcon and Winter Soldier.  Hell, he somewhat held his own against Cap.  . . .okay, he got a few shots in, but experiance won out on that one.  In this he spends most of the fighting getting dragged around, getting shown up, or overall just not doing a great job.

However, it does a great job showing Peter taking his role of Spider-man seriously.  He doesn’t use his powers to showboat.  He doesn’t use his identity as Spider-man to gain favor.  When his friend tries to convince him to show up at a party, Peter decides it is the wrong thing to do.  Good on you Spider-man avoiding an awkward situation.

Michael Keaton was brilliant, everyone says so.

Honestly, I wish the comedy came more from Spider-man’s wit than just what is happening to Spider-man.

The main problem is that they took Spider-man away from the buildings and the sky scrapers, and kept him on the ground and out of the areas where he can swing webs like crazy.  Tobey McGuire’s and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Spider-man were both amazingly quick and agile.  Tom Holland spends a LONG time climbing the Washington Monument and when he reaches the top he is winded.

The story is well done, and fortunately no evil Spider-man as the villain, but I wanted a little bit more from my Spider-man.  But I think we have some good foundations to build on.  Really excited for Far From Home.

Well, now we go to a funnier movie than Spider-man, Thor Ragnarok!