Sunday, July 22, 2012


I remember seeing Gattaca around when it first came out & liking it fine.  I think it was the first sci-fi movie to really give me hope for the genre doing something serious (I hadn’t re-seen Blade Runner or Alien as an adult at that point & I generally think of The Thing as a horror movie & while I love Starship Troopers (which came out the same year) it’s more of a fun movie than a serious one).  But oddly there isn’t much I could remember about it.  I know it’s dystopian & I assumed it was Philip K Dick (it’s not) & I remembered it having interesting lighting.  The main thing I remembered though was this girl I was going out with at the time got all hot & bothered by Jude Law & got mad when I referred to him as “the gay dude” (it ends up I guess he’s not gay, just British).

Re-seeing it, wow, this is a different film than I remembered.  I didn’t remember at all that Ethan Hawke is there doing his coffee shop intellectual narration like he did in Before Sunrise.  I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about Ethan Hawke, I generally avoided anything with him back in the 1990s but the things from that era I’ve seen relatively recently (Before Sunrise & Great Expectations, even the Precinct 13 remake) seem fine.  I guess back then I saw more coffee culture intellectuals than I run into now & so I found that stuff way more annoying than I do now & that pretty much seems to be the character he always plays.  I also didn’t remember the first third of the movie before Ethan Hawke is impersonating Jude Law & why he was impersonating him in the first place.  I really forgot a ton of plot points that I am not sure if I should give away in case somebody might re-watch it that has also forgotten them.  So I guess what I’m saying is “spoilers.”  So the murder investigation… I was 100% sure that it was done by Uma Thurman because she was also an illegal impersonator & I was shocked that she wasn’t an impersonator nor the murderer.  I also feel like I wasn’t paying attention because I didn’t realize the one cop was Ethan Hawke’s brother until the reveal.  I did like that there wasn’t a happy ending romance wise (because I believe Ethan Hawke will die before the end of his trip in space) & I was surprised by Jude Law incinerating himself.  This movie is pretty solid & I don’t know why it isn’t put up as one of the top ten sci-fi movies (or at least top twenty) in a lot of lists & instead seems to be drifting towards obscurity….

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I loved Alf as a kid.  I got the puppet with the flexi-disc at Burger King & everything.  I even used to tape it so I could re-watch the episodes with my older brother when he came over on Tuesdays when he came over for dinner.  My buddy Nick Marino (Super Haters) has been talking about Alf lately & even did a parody of him in his comic.  So when I saw it was going to be on TV I said, “What the hell? I’ll watch an episode.”

What’s the theme song kicked on I knew I was in trouble.  I remembered it being a little bit rocking & it was actually a pretty lame muzak thing.  The episode I actually remembered bits of.  It was the one where they think Alf ate the cat & he writes a not making references to the TV show the fugitive when he goes off looking for the cat.  The laugh track was pretty horrible & really negated my ability to enjoy the show in any way.  The only joke I liked was when Alf says something like, “I know the rules, you don’t eat members of your own family.”  I’m kinda confused not by why I liked it when I was eleven as much as why the show was popular with people older than that.  I know the way sitcoms of the era were designed was “normal family with a twist” & the twist being an alien is pretty ingenious (even if it had already been done twenty years earlier).  As much as I think it sucked, I still kinda want to check out the cartoon version of Alf & that movie about the guy who wrote it (is it called Permanent Midnight?)…

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Otherworld (1985)

I have the vaguest memory of this show from when I was a kid.  I thought it sucked because it was a family show & I wanted my sci-fi pretty freaking dark (I was 9, so I’d already seen Road Warrior & Dawn of the Dead).  I don’t know if the rest of America changed the channel for the same reason, but this show was gone pretty quickly.

As an adult, I’m slightly better about mixing genres like sci-fi & comedy & family so I decided to give this show a chance.  This show has some ideas going on.  There’s a family that gets sucked into a vortex & then they are wandering on an alien planet where things are almost normal but not quite, so basically it’s Sliders only with a family.  Every episode seems to be warning against some form of fascism &/or slavery, which is kind of interesting I guess?  I do like that in the episode with androids, mining robots designed themselves into androids with human-like social structure to occupy their downtime to alleviate boredom.  But in general the things that are supposed to be shocking with social commentary are just boring.  Like the state church oppressing rock music (which is the two teenagers covering The Beatles & The Rolling Stones), even at the height of all the Tipper Gore stuff I don’t think it was taken seriously.  But then again I remember around this time a friend of my mom banning her kids from listening to Led Zeppelin because they were satanic (meanwhile my brother blasted Black Sabbath & Judas Priest, shaking the wall between his bedroom & the kitchen in his attempt at teen rebellion that was acceptable behavior in our household), so maybe it was a thing back then.  I don’t know, my mom likes Danzig & Joy Division & I remember one time driving up to Pennsylvania with her listening to Nuclear Assault’s The Plague on repeat for six hours.  I guess kids want to rebel & squashing music is just a metaphor for squashing sex & drugs & poorly thought out ideals.  Maybe it is more interesting if I really try to make it interesting.  There are also a drug episode & a women enslaving men episode & a wealthy enslaving the working class episode & a beauty & the beast episode.  I think the eight episodes made is just about the right number as all of the characters are pretty generic 1980s family straight out of Charles in Charge with no real development.

I do find some of the actors interesting....
The teenage boy is played by Tony O’Dell who went on a few years later to still play a teen (at nearly 30) as the preppy kid that always wore sweater vests in Head of the Class.
Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad) plays a fascistic military leader & is probably the most interesting character on here.  He appears in pretty much all of the episodes as a semi-generic number one bad guy.
In one episode Carolyn Seymour from Survivors is on & is kind of awesome & I wonder how she didn’t become a well known character actress.  I recently found out she went on to be a Romulan on some Star Trek thing.
& check out these bad ass clear cymbals from the rock & roll episode.  Did they really make these things?

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