Mar 31, 2023

The Circus Begins

2023 Phillies Opening Day
Globe Life Field - Arlington, TX
Well, another season has begun.  The 2022 National League Champions started this season against Jacob deGrom and the Texas Rangers.  The Phillies got off to a strong start by tagging deGrom for five runs before the end of the fourth inning, but the wheels fell off the wagon when the Rangers scored nine runs in the bottom of the fourth, knocking Nola out of the game in 3 ⅔ innings and chasing Gregory Soto from the game before he could record a single out.  The Rangers went on to defeat the Phillies by a score of 11-7.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has rolled out several new rules for Major League Baseball that are in effect for the 2023 season.  Some of these new rules are practical, like the shift restrictions that will force infielders to play their position.  Some are silly, like the increase in the size of the bases from 15" to 18" to artificially increase the number of stolen bases in a season.  However, the most ridiculous of these new rules and the ones that are the most damaging to the integrity of the sport are the timers.

For the first time in the 154 history of Major League Baseball, the game is being micromanaged with a series of stopwatches.  There is now a 30 second timer between batters, and a 15 second timer between pitches when the bases are empty (extended to 20 seconds with runners on base).  The batter has to be in the batters box when the 15 (or 20) second clock reaches 8 seconds or else they'll be charged with a strike.  The pitcher has to begin their motion to pitch within 15 (or 20) seconds or else they'll be charged with a ball.  Pitchers are allowed two "disengagements" per batter where they're allowed to step off or attempt to pick off a runner.  If they violate this rule, they're charged with a balk.  Batters can call time out once during a plate appearance, though I'm not sure what happens if they attempt to do so a second time.  They obviously can't charge a batter with a balk, so I guess it's an automatic strike.  All of this nonsense is being done because they tested the rule in the minor leagues and found that it shaves an average of 26 minutes off of each game, and the Commissioner believes that doing this will draw more fans to the ballpark and to watch the game on television.

If Rob Manfred wanted to do something that might actually draw more fans to the sport, he could work to put a stop to the asinine blackout restrictions, but they make too much money from exclusive contracts with television networks so that's not going to happen.  I can't imagine that anyone who doesn't already enjoy baseball is suddenly going to find themselves being drawn to the sport because they made the bases bigger and added a bunch of countdown clocks.  The fact that they weren't willing to put these rules into effect during the World Baseball Classic suggests that the Commissioner is aware that these rules have little to do with improving the fan experience and a lot more to do with appeasing advertisers who want to squeeze more commercials into a shorter period of time.  Well, there's nothing I can do about it, so it is what it is.  Moving on.

Even with the Phillies starting the season without Rhys Hoskins or Bryce Harper, I think they have a pretty good chance to return to the post-season in 2023.  I doubt that they'll overtake Atlanta for the NL East division crown, but that doesn't really matter.  With the number of Wild Card spots to reach the playoffs, winning the division has never been less important than it is right now.

Once the post-season begins, it's all a question of who's healthy and who's hot.  Last year, the Phillies were at full strength and got hot at the right time.  We'll see if they can repeat and win just two more post-season games in 2023.

Mar 30, 2023

I Myself Am Strange And Unusual

Warner Bros (1988)
Tim Burton's second full-length feature film premiered in theaters 35 years ago today.  The horror comedy earned over 8 million dollars in its opening weekend and ended the year as the 10th highest grossing film of 1988.

Although I've seen parts of this movie many times over the past thirty years, the first time that I ever sat down and watched Beetlejuice from beginning to end was at the Mahoning Drive-In two years ago.  Now that I've seen it, I can't imagine allowing a Halloween season go by without playing it at least once.  It's available to stream with an HBO Max subscription or to rent on YouTube.

Mar 29, 2023

Moose Tacos

Bullwinkle's Taco Crunch Club card
Taco Bell (1993)
Thirty years ago, Taco Bell partnered with Jay Ward Productions for a series of promotion.  One of these was Bullwinkle's Taco Crunch Club.  Participating restaurants would punch your card for every taco that you bought, and you would receive a prize after every ten punches.  The first prize was soda, followed by a taco meal.  After that, you would start to receive Bullwinkle swag.

If you purchased thirty tacos during the promotional period, the fast food chain would reward you with a Rocky & Bullwinkle moose antler painters cap.

The grand prize came after you filled up the Bullwinkle's Taco Crunch Club card by purchasing your 40th taco.  When you did, you received this stylish Bullwinkle t-shirt that's suitable for weddings and funerals, as well as any and all moose-related social gatherings.

Mar 28, 2023

Food Of Distinction

The Schweitzer's
Route 103 - Sunapee, NH
A postcard of this restaurant came up when I was doing research for my family tree.  I'm not sure how (or if) the people who ran this place are related to me, but it looks like it was a pretty cool place.

There isn't too much information about this restaurant online, but I believe that it opened in the 60's and remained in operation until the mid 90's, but I can't say for sure if I have either of those correct.  I'm reasonably sure that they're not still open today, but if they are, they're doing a hell of a good job of keeping the place hidden.

The only other things that I was able to find from this restaurant is a scan of one of their matchbooks and part of their menu from the 1960's.  Included on the menu is their German potato salad, which was raved about by a reader of Uncle Phaedrus Consulting Detective and Finder of Lost Recipes blog.  Unfortunately, Uncle Phaedrus wasn't able to find the recipe.

Mar 27, 2023

Such Is Life

John Wick: Chapter 4
Regal Cinema - Hazleton, PA
I was very late to the party when it comes to the John Wick franchise.  The first time that I saw Chapter One and Chapter Two was during the pandemic, and I watched John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum for the first time last week on The Cock.  Does anybody else refer to the Peacock streaming service by that name or is it just me?  Well, anyway, I loved all three movies and I have no good explanation for why it took me so long to get to them, but better late than never.

This may come across as hyperbole, but I don't care.  My first reaction to seeing John Wick: Chapter 4 is that this is greatest action flick that I have ever seen.  This was better than Bond... better than Batman or the MCU.  This absolutely dwarfs anything that has ever come out of the Fast & Furious or Max Max franchises.  I'll even go so far as to say that it's better than Indiana Jones, and I have loved the Indy movies since I was old enough to press play on the VCR.  The only thing I can think of that even comes close is Kill Bill and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but when you consider the entire franchise as a whole, I think I'd still give John Wick the edge even after the afterglow dies down.

From the opening lines to the post-credit scene, this movie never lets up.  It pays tribute to everything from Shaw Brothers flicks to The Warriors.  It is beautifully shot, perfectly written, and it tells a story that makes 169 minutes fly by in the blink of an eye.

Mar 26, 2023

Powered By The Super FX Microchip

Super Nintendo (1993)
The game that introduced polygonal graphics to Super Nintendo was released in North America 30 years ago today.  Starfox was heavily promoted throughout the spring and summer of 1993 as a leap forward in what console games were capable of.  Its 3-D presentation was made possible by the Super FX microchip, which almost instantly turned into ammunition in playground arguments between Nintendo and Sega kids, who countered with boasts that their console was capable of "blast processing".

Starfox has been overshadowed by Starfox 64 which was released just four years later.  While the Nintendo 64 version is an improvement over its predecessor on the SNES, the original is still a lot of fun to play.  If you don't have an original console and cartridge, you can play both Starfox and the unreleased Starfox 2 on the Super NES Classic Edition plug-and-play mini console.  Both games are also available to play on Nintendo Switch Online.

Mar 25, 2023

The Tollbooth Capital Of The World

What Am I Doing In New Jersey?
George Carlin (1988)
The twelfth album and sixth HBO special by the great George Carlin was recorded at Park Theater in Union City, New Jersey 35 years ago today.

left:  The North Jersey Herald & News  (March 11, 1988)
right: The Jersey Journal  (March 24, 1988)

Mar 24, 2023

This Season Just Got A Lot Harder

Rhys Hoskins
First Base - Philadelphia Phillies
One of my favorite Phillies of all time was injured in a Spring Training game when he suffered a torn ACL.  As a result, he will miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season.

I've been a fan of Rhys Hoskins since he was one half of the Bash Brothers with Dylan Cozens in Reading.  In 2017, I sat in the 8th row on the first base side to see him get his first hit in the big leagues after he was called up to Philadelphia.  Shortly thereafter, he tore through MLB pitching at a historic pace that resulted in 18th home runs in just 34 games, which is the fastest accumulation of home runs from a player's first appearance in the history of the sport.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Phillies would not be the defending National League Champions this season without Rhys Hoskins.  He had his second season where he reached 30 home runs and was a key contributor to the Phillies offense during the regular season, and although the World Series didn't turn out the way that we hoped, his four home runs in the NLCS got the Phillies there in the first place.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Pursell

The player who will try to fill Hoskins shoes at first base is Darick Hall.  At 27 years old, Hall is older than most of the team's top prospects, but I'm cautiously optimistic about his chances to succeed.  He made his MLB debut last season on June 29th and established himself by becoming the ninth player since the expansion era began in 1969 to collect three home runs for his first three hits in the big leagues.  I was in attendance for his third career MLB home run which came on my birthday.  On that night against the St. Louis Cardinals, Hall's homer in the sixth inning gave the Phillies the lead in a game that they'd go on to win 5-3.

I'm not expecting Hall to replicate what Hoskins brings to the Phillies lineup.  He hasn't been able to draw nearly as many walks as the man that he'll be replacing, and he's got an uphill climb to prove that his power can come anywhere close to Hoskins.  Still, his minor league career has been incredible, and he's been hitting extremely well in Spring Training.  The Phillies also have the option to move Alec Bohm to first base and start Edmundo Sosa at third base against left handed starters (Hall hits right handed pitchers much better than lefties), so it's possible that they could make adjustments throughout the season that will allow the Phillies to get a lot of production out of the first base spot in the lineup, but there is absolutely no question that the team's chances of getting back to the World Series in 2023 have just taken a massive hit.

Photo Credit: Yong Kim

Hoskins is going to hit free agency for the first time in his career after the 2023 season, so there has been speculation about whether or not this injury represents his last appearance in a game as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.  I'm not willing to go that far.  There's a slim chance that he could be healthy by the end of the season, or potentially for the post-season if the Phillies make it that far.  Even if that doesn't happen, it would be both Hoskins' and the team's best interest for him to accept a qualifying offer for the 2024 season.  It would give Hoskins the opportunity to reestablish his value after a lost season before hitting free agency, and it would give the Phillies another year of their home grown slugger at first base.  Time will tell.

Mar 23, 2023

The Art Of The Hot Dog

Jimmy's Quick Lunch
Doug Brown
There's quite a bit of artwork on the walls of this 85 year old icon of downtown Hazleton.  I'm not sure when this watercolor was painted, but if I had to guess, I'd say that it was sometime in the mid 2000's because I remember that the Support Our Troops sign was put in the front window during the Second Gulf War.  If you stop by the restaurant, they will sell you a nice print of this work for ten dollars.

Jimmy's Quick Lunch
Nicolene Fulton
There were no prints of this painting available, but it's still a very nice work that I wanted to share.  It was painted in the mid 90's.  The red candle decoration on the light post to the right of the Jimmy's Quick Lunch sign suggest that this was painted in November or December, as these decorations are hung during the Christmas season in downtown Hazleton.

Mar 22, 2023

You'll Stumble In My Footsteps

Songs Of Faith And Devotion
Depeche Mode (1993)
The eighth studio album by Depeche Mode was released thirty years ago today.  It became the first record to make its debut on the charts at #1 in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
I would tell you about the things they put me through
The pain I've been subjected to
But the lord himself would blush
The countless feasts laid at my feet
Forbidden fruits for me to eat
But I think your pulse would start to rush

Now I'm not looking for absolution
Forgiveness for the things I do
But before you come to any conclusions
Try walking in my shoes

You'll stumble in my footsteps
Keep the same appointments I kept
If you try walking in my shoes

Morality would frown upon
Decency look down upon
The scapegoat fate's made of me
But I promise now, my judge and jurors
My intentions couldn't have been purer
My case is easy to see

I'm not looking for a clearer conscience
Peace of mind after what I've been through
And before we talk of any repentance
Try walking in my shoes

You'll stumble in my footsteps
Keep the same appointments I kept
If you try walking in my shoes

Mar 21, 2023

Let's Try This Again

Regal Mystery Movie Monday
Regal Cinema - Hazleton, PA
We went to Mystery Movie Monday last month, but something went wrong and they weren't able to show it at my local theater.  I'm glad to say that there was no trouble this time around.

The mystery movie was Paint, which stars Owen Wilson as an artist named Carl Nargle who stars in a painting show on PBS.  Picture a demented Bob Ross who seemingly has no understanding of the world around him or any of the people in it, with the exception of Mount Mansfield, which he paints over and over again.  Carl's world begins to fall apart with the appearance of a younger artist named Ambrosia, played by Ciara Renée, who gets her own PBS show in the timeslot immediately after Carl's show.

This movie reminded me a bit of Napoleon Dynamite, both for the presence of outdated technology in the modern world and in the way that the characters behave and interact with each other.  It makes the city of Burlington, Vermont seems as if it exists in a parallel dimension.  It's a lot weirder of a flick than the trailer makes it out to be, but it works.  I don't know if I'd recommend this to everybody but I thought it was pretty good.  It hits theaters nationwide on April 7th.

Mar 20, 2023

People Aren't Always What They Appear To Be

Wild Things
Columbia Pictures (1998)
This neo-noir crime thriller premiered in theaters twenty-five years ago today.  It's a big budget film that I couldn't imagine being made today with the prudish trends that Hollywood has taken, but it was definitely a hit in the late 90's... and for good reason.  This movie is a lot more than its sex scenes.  It's a mystery that unfolds with twists and turns that you won't see coming, and it has an ending that you won't forget.  It's available to stream on Showtime and to rent on YouTube.

Mar 19, 2023

A Great Place For Pasta

Eli's Penne Pasta with Chicken
Eli's Place - West Hazleton, PA
This is one of my favorite restaurants and it's within walking distance of my house.  We stopped for dinner after going to see 65 on Sunday night.  Everything was delicious, as always, and the portion sizes were so big that I had lunch for the next day.

Mar 18, 2023

Did That Give You An Erection, Coach?

Regal Cinema - Hazleton, PA
We went to see Mystery Movie Monday a few weeks ago, but there were technical difficulties that the theater were not able to resolve.  The movie that was supposed to be shown that night was Champions, which hadn't premiered yet.  The trailer for this movie was funny, but I was a bit apprehensive about going to see it on the chance that it would either be schmaltzy or disrespectful to people who have intellectual disabilities.  I'm very glad to say that neither of those things were the case.

This movie hit on the right combination of being both funny and heartwarming.  Woody Harrelson as Coach Marcus was fantastic, as always, but I particularly enjoyed the performance of Kevin Iannucci, who plays Johnny, and Kaitlin Olson, who plays his older sister and Harrelson's love interest, Alex.  The other standouts of the cast include Casey Metcalfe, who is hysterically funny, James Day Keith, who delivers an inspiring performance of a young athlete who stands up to his ignorant boss so that he doesn't miss the big game, and Madison Tevlin, who plays the bad ass who whips her teammates into shape when they won't listen to the coach.  I was also very glad to see Ernie Hudson and Cheech Marin, both of whom deliver powerful understated performances.  All together, Champions is right up there with the best sports comedies that I've watched in a long time.

Mar 17, 2023

Do The Risks Outweigh The Reward?

Photo Credit:  Sam Navarro (USA Today Sports)

Edwin Diaz
New York Mets (2023)
After striking out the side and earning a save to close out Puerto Rico's Wednesday night victory against the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, Mets closer Edwin Diaz suffered an injury to his right knee while celebrating on the field.  As a result, he is expected to miss the 2023 season.

The elephant in the room is the fact that this happened at the World Baseball Classic - a series of exhibition games that, like the All-Star Game, stand separate from the 2023 season. When you strip away the marketing, the tournament is essentially a clever gimmick cooked up by Major League Baseball to exploit the national pride of the players and the fans to lure a global audience to their product.

On the surface, I have no problem with this.  If it draws new fans into the sport, that's great.  However, I'd be lying if I said that I have any interest in how Team USA is doing in the tournament.  I could not care less if they win every game in a blowout, or if they're no-hit by every country in the world.  The only attention I've ever paid to it is to see how current and former members of the Phillies are doing, regardless of which country they represent.  Many of the players and fans take a greater interest in this than I do, and I respect that.  However, I can't help but to chuckle about the national pride sales pitch when I remember that Shane Victorino, who is of Hawaiian and Portuguese heritage, was recruited to play for Team Italy in the 2006 World Baseball Classic because they thought his last name sounded Italian.

I suppose that the reason that I don't care too much about this tournament is the fact that I really don't have any national pride.  My nationality is purely an accident of birth; I happened to be born to American parents in Pennsylvania.  Being proud of that makes about as much sense to me as taking pride in the cleanliness of the bathrooms of the hospital where I was born.  My nationality is not an accomplishment, so Major League Baseball's efforts to use it to make a buck isn't something that I'm ever going to be receptive toward.  Would I feel differently if I was from Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic?  I don't know... maybe... maybe not.  It's a moot point though, because I'm not.

I'd be much more interested in the World Baseball Classic if it was an exhibition of amateur, collegiate and minor league players who aren't on the active roster of an MLB team (or the equivalent pro league of other countries).  It would give future stars of the sport a place to showcase their abilities and compete for national pride in a way that could benefit their career... especially if it took place in the Fall instead of immediately following the winter.  Spring Training is held for a reason... to give the players an opportunity to ramp up slowly and prepare for the season.  Coming out of a long winter layoff and being tossed immediately into an emotionally charged tournament is not at all the same thing.

The Edwin Diaz injury is a direct result of his participation in the World Baseball Classic.  Players are pushing themselves much harder in the WBC than they ever would in a Spring Training game, so instead of slowly ramping up to begin a long and grueling season, they're putting unnecessary wear and tear on their body.  Innings can add up pretty quickly, so that alone puts a pitcher at a disadvantage for the regular season.  The fact that the injury took place while celebrating after the win doesn't absolve the WBC of responsibility.  I strongly doubt that Diaz would be pitching and celebrating like it's Game 7 of the World Series at the end of a Spring Training game in Port St. Lucie, no matter how many mock celebrations the Mets have.

The bottom line is that, yes, injuries can happen anywhere, but this injury didn't happen at some random place and time... it happened while an MLB player was competing for a team other than the one who is paying his salary.  If Diaz was an avid skateboarder and suffered an injury on Wednesday competing for Team Puerto Rico in an international skateboarding competition, I suspect that the fans, the media, and the league would be lining up to lay blame and to ask the question of whether or not this should void his contract... just ask Jim Lonborg.  But because it happened at the World Baseball Classic, everybody's just supposed to shrug their shoulders and pretend that it's no different than if it happened during Spring Training or a regular season game.

The Mets will not have their elite closer, who they just signed to a $102 million dollar extension, for the entire 2023 season.  I'm a Phillies fan, so this actually helps my team's chances of getting to the playoffs, but I'm not happy about this in the slightest.  It's a damn shame, and it didn't have to happen.

So, does the reward of the World Baseball Classic outweigh the risk?  Go to Citi Field this season and ask a Mets fan.

Mar 16, 2023

Fifty Years Of The Trixie Virus

The Crazies
Cambist Films (1973)
A plague film that was decades ahead of its time is half a century old today.  The Crazies was written and directed by George A. Romero and premiered in theaters on March 16th, 1973.

The Crazies wasn't a hit at the box office, but it found its audience on home video in the 80's and 90's, which is where I experienced it for the first time.  It got a remake in 2010, and it's one of the few times that I've enjoyed the new version as much as the original, but both films are definitely worth watching.

If you want to watch the original on its 50th birthday, you can stream it on Tubi and Shudder.

Mar 15, 2023

Winter Movies Recap

Regal Cinema
Hazleton, PA
We spend a lot of theater, and I don't always think to write a review (or whatever passes for a review on this blog) for everything that we see.  With that in mind, here is a brief recap of some of the movies that we've gotten to see throughout the winter that I haven't mentioned before.
Regal Cinema - Hazleton, PA
I'm not sure how to explain my thoughts on movies like this, so I usually avoid writing about them altogether.  It's the same way I feel about most comic book movies, which is to say that I enjoy them while I'm watching them, but I usually forget all of the details about the characters and the plot after a day or two, and I have no desire to watch the movie a second time.  This isn't how I feel about every big budget action adventure or comic book movie, but it's true about most of them.

Before we went to see the second Avatar movie, I couldn't remember the names of any of the characters, or the race of native people of the planet, or the animals on the planet, or even the name of the planet itself.  The only thing I could remember is that the mineral was called "unobtanium", and I only remembered that because it was ridiculous name.

I saw the first Avatar movie on January 15th, 2010.  It was a visual spectacle and I enjoyed it, but I thought that the story was a beat-for-beat copy of Dune that used a rainforest planet instead of a desert planet.  You've got a group of the wealthy elite landing on a planet with an unfamiliar environment to strip it of a rare and valuable natural resource.  Their presence is a threat to the native people of this world who live in harmony with the environment, but one of the newcomers adopts the native's way of life and is later found to be the "chosen one" who is destined to lead the natives to fight off the group that brought him to the planet.  This "chosen one" wins the trust of the native people by adopting their customs, falling in love with a native woman, and taming one of the wild creatures that is held in a spiritual regard.

Avatar: The Way Of Water is just more of the same thing I saw in the first movie, but with a little family drama and sibling rivalry sprinkled on top.  It still looks as visually stunning as the first film, but we're all used to it now so it doesn't feel as special.  The story is alright.  The acting performances are alright.  The whole movie is just... alright.  It's worth watching, but I can't imagine anyone over the age of 9 would ever say it's their favorite movie.

This is one of the reasons I didn't write about Avatar 2 after we saw it, and why I didn't write about the first movie for that matter.  It comes across as negative or overly-critical, but it's just the way I feel and I'd be lying if I said anything else.  Movies like this remind me of a Big Mac - I'm glad they're available and I enjoy them once in a while, but it's just not something that I can get too enthusiastic about.  If I didn't have the Regal Unlimited pass, I probably wouldn't have gone to see it at all.

One positive that came from the release of Avatar: The Way Of The Water was their partnership with a children's charity called Variety.  The theater was selling these pins, with the proceeds helping to provide equipment and services to children who live with special needs or who are disadvantaged.

I'm a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan's films; even the ones that people don't seem to like.  For example, I loved The Happening, even though it's mostly remembered these days for the asinine memes shared by people who either didn't see the movie or didn't understand what it was meant to be.  The same goes for The Village and Lady In The Water, despite the fact that the latter has a role played by the director that is the very definition of self-indulgent nonsense.  This is the first time I've seen one of his movies that I really can't get behind.

Knock At The Cabin has an interesting premise, but really poor execution.  Spoiler alert: four people show up at the cabin of a gay couple and their adopted daughter to tell them that one of the members of their family has to sacrifice their life to prevent the apocalypse from happening.  If they don't, there will be a series of cataclysmic events that will kill every human being on the planet except for the three of them.

Before I go any further, please know that if the plot of this movie ever plays out in real life, and the four strangers choose my house as the one that has to make a sacrifice, then you can kiss the human race goodbye.  I don't like people very much to begin with, so the idea of knowing for a fact that my family will survive and that we'd have the world all to ourselves after all of the chaos is over sounds like a good deal.  Judge me for that if you want to... I don't care.

Anyway, the home invaders are doing all of this because a dream told them to, and every time that the family they are terrorizing refuses to sacrifice one of their own, the home invaders kill a member of their own group which unlocks one of the plagues that fall on the human race.  Doesn't that seem kind of stupid?  Let's set aside that these morons are only doing this because a dream told them to.  Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that god himself came down from the sky and told them what they have to do.  According to their own rules, the plague only gets released on humanity when the little terrorist gang kills one of their own members.  So... um... maybe just don't do that?  Seems like a pretty easy way to avoid the apocalypse, dontcha think?

The whole film is just absurd, and not in a fun b-movie kind of way.  The premise is stupid, the special effects are cheesy, and for all of the praise that's been heaped on him, I think Batista sounded like a guy who had never acted a day in his life and was reading his lines off of cue cards.  I really wanted to like this, or to find some redeeming quality in it after it was over, but it's just an all around stupid movie.

There's not too much that I can say about this movie other than the fact that I enjoyed it.  I probably would have gotten more out of it if I saw the first and second Ant-Man movies, but I understood enough of what was going on to have a good time watching it, and the characters kept me interested enough to make me want to circle back and see the first two films of the trilogy.

This movie was truly something special.  I went into this knowing absolutely nothing about it except for the fact that it was set in Post-WWII London.  It was beautifully filmed with perfect pacing and a performance from Bill Nighy that brought a tear to my eye several times.  I don't want to say too much about the plot because I don't want to spoil it, but also because it's the kind of story that isn't going to sound appealing on paper, but if you've ever felt like things were hopeless or meaningless, either in your life or your work, this movie is going to appeal to you.

The previous movie in the Scream franchise was a master class in how to bring a beloved franchise from the past into the next generation.  Scream VI took that ball and ran with it by continuing the story of the "Core Four" and put more distance between the current film universe from the Wes Craven originals.  Everything you're expecting from a Scream movie is present and done well: brutal kills, a "whodunit" mystery, some laughs ,and a lot of meta commentary about the horror genre and movies in general.

The movie listing didn't make it clear that the 5:30 screening was in 3-D, but when they told us that it was, we just said the hell with it and paid the upcharge.  There's no reason why this movie should be in 3-D.  It didn't add anything special to the film, and there were no scenes that really took advantage of the technology.  If you go to see it, save yourself a few bucks and go to a regular screening... you won't be missing anything.

They didn't have these at my local theater, but if you're interested in a Ghostface popcorn bucket, it's not too late to order one from Cinemark.  The one that I ordered isn't being delivered until August, but I'll still have it in time for the second half of drive-in season this year.

The first time I saw the trailer for 65, I jokingly called it "Jurassic Planet"  It's the story of two travelers from another planet who crash land on Earth 65 million years ago, just before the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck the Yucatán Peninsula.  They have to work together, despite the fact that they don't speak the same language, to find the escape shuttle that broke off of the main ship and escape the planet before it's too late.

This is a very fun action-adventure movie, but since it isn't a sequel, or a reboot, or a movie based on a comic book, it's getting unfavorable reviews.  I'm not going to pretend that it's an Oscar-worthy masterpiece, but with the exception of Living, I enjoyed 65 more than any of the other movies in this post.  It's an original idea that is well executed, and Adam Driver does a great job as the lead of an action flick.  If you can't have fun watching a movie like this, you have my sympathies.

...and that's a wrap for now.