TV Review – Kids in the Hall (2022)

Kids in the Hall (Amazon Prime)
Written by Garry Campbell & Dave Foley & Bruce McCulloch & Kevin McDonald & Mark McKinney & Scott Thompson & Jennifer Goodhue & Matt Watts, and Julie Klausner
Directed by Aleysa Young & Kelly Makin

I was a nerdy kid. I’m sure that really surprises you. Because I was living in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a two adults’ very dysfunctional marriage, I found solace in odd things. The TV Guide Fall Preview issue was always a highlight, teasing all the fantastic things I’d be able to watch soon. In 1993, when I was 12 years old, I remember coming across a description of a show that was going to air late night on Fridays on CBS. It was called Kids in the Hall, and the description said Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live, was making it. 1993 was around the time I started watching SNL religiously, so I was excited. Unfortunately, I grew up in the Southeastern United States, and I genuinely think our local CBS affiliate chose not to air KITH because it was a very transgressive show that didn’t hide its countercultural take. It wouldn’t be until 1999, during my freshman year of college, that I finally got to see the Kids for the first time as they were rerun constantly on Comedy Central.

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Comic Book Review – Justice League: Origin/A Villain’s Journey

Justice League Volume 1: Origin (2013)
Reprints Justice League v2 #1-6
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jim Lee

Justice League Volume 2: The Villain’s Journey (2013)
Reprints Justice League v2 #7-12
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jim Lee, Gene Ha, and Ivan Reis

In 2011, DC Comics shook up its titles by returning to square one and rebooting the universe. The first book published under the moniker of the New 52 (there were 52 ongoing monthly books) was Justice League #1. In this book, we are introduced to altered versions of classic superheroes. Batman. Superman. Green Lantern. The Flash. Wonder Woman. Aquaman. Cyborg. Through this title, we were meant to see a more modern interpretation of classic characters and narrative arcs. Unfortunately, by 2016, the series would be canceled, and the Justice League title continues to struggle to find its footing. Nevertheless, the series should be a grand slam; it features some of the all-time most iconic American pop media characters. As we look at these books, I hope to figure out if there is anything from this era that should be recognized and re-explored or if this is merely a misstep in editorial decisions.

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Movie Review – Undergods

Undergods (2020)
Written and Directed by Chino Moya

Western society is in its twilight. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not; it is. All it takes is stepping back a bit, viewing this particular political hegemony from an intellectual distance, and seeing the decline in real time. I am 40. When I am 50, society will be worse than it is now. And so on and so on until I die. There is potential goodness in people, but there are also potent, influential institutions devoted to sowing division, agitation, and distraction. So what will that future world, that sprawling landscape of inhuman Hell, possibly look like? Filmmaker Chino Moya posits this blasted wasteland, populated with brutalist architecture. The irony here is that, like all good science fiction, Moya isn’t talking about the potential future but reflecting on what he sees in our present through a lens of fantasy.

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Wake Up

I cannot move past this. I simply won’t. I cannot get the thoughts of this out of my head and honestly, I don’t want them gone. I feel the greatest clarity I’ve ever felt in my life, crystalline purity, I know with every fiber of my body this has to end. A society whose children are slaughtered like this has no future. A society who exports evil into the world through our weapons and propaganda cannot continue. There is no binary political angle to see this from, there is no Republican or Democrat here. Both parties clearly have nothing to offer us. The Senate has gone on their vacation. Joe Biden isn’t going to help us. Donald Trump isn’t going to help us. Tucker Carlson & Rachel Maddow are just yammering twits who sell advertisement time. None of them feel any need to help because the chaos and the violence is how it’s supposed to work, it’s how they and the people before them going all the way back to the start of this experiment designed it. The violence keeps us cowering in fear and doing whatever they tell us because they are the ones in charge, right?

I am so tired of fear & anxiety being the main driver in my life and I have a feeling you are too. It’s time to wake up. You have to wake up. You have to hold onto the best of yourself and burn away the parts that keep us afraid. They put that fear on us like weights to keep us dragging, heads always looking down and unable to look up, to see the light. 

Imagine you’re standing on the cliff, your back to the edge. In front of you are the Smiling Men and they bring you the most delicious greasy salty sweet crunchy treats and they hold screens playing the best shows & movies you could ever imagine. Just behind them are beautiful big amusement parks full of rides where your dreams can come true. But behind, just beyond the edge of that cliff you can hear screams & wails. You might peek a few times and notice the Void, dark and swirling and the people, the forgotten people being swallowed up in its mouth. But the Smiling Men keep tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “Oh no no no. You don’t want to see that. Look over here. Don’t you want to be happy all the time?” 

We have to turn around and look into that Void, that mass of all the suffering, wars, destruction, hatreds, pure distilled evil perpetuated in our name and confront it. It is terrifying yes, I know, I have looked straight into it and it changed me. But I am better for it and you will be too. The thing about that cliff you are standing on, that you may have not noticed is that it stretches the entire horizon and there are people standing shoulder to shoulder with you. I’m there, shoulder to shoulder with you. The Smiling Men have kept us so caught up in their amusements and the fear of losing them that we forgot about that line of people that goes on forever. All you have to do is reach out to the hands of those people next to you, hold them. I will hold your hand when you look in the Void so you’ll know that you don’t have to face confronting that evil alone. But it simply has to be confronted.

There are three natural human responses to danger: Fight, flight, freeze. I choose flight. I understand the scope of history, I can look at where we’ve been, where we are, and get a strong sense of what comes next. It is going to be so horrible, worse than this even. I knew that because of my beliefs, because I’m married to someone who is not white, because my wife is bisexual that it was only a matter of time. That one day all that anger, confusion, pain, and hatred that is so large in my homeland would destroy me one way or another. Moving here was not a joyful experience because I am for lack of a better term a refugee from my homeland. Right now so many are frozen, that’s a natural response. But I am asking you to please start by looking into all that evil that has brought us here. One place that has had a strong effect on me is asking, “What must those children and those teachers have seen in that school? What horrors did they witness?”

No amount of guns, no amount of metal detectors, all the quick but thoughtless solutions aren’t fixing this. The year after I graduated from college I tried to kill myself. That’s not something I have told many people, but I am telling you, whoever is reading this, that face because I love you. And I want you to know that I’m so glad I failed. Because if I had been successful I would never have come to this moment where, despite how afraid they have made me for so much of my life, I’m done with the fear. We do that everyday, pushing away real human connection because we’re afraid. Those in power love that because the thing they fear more than anything in this world is solidarity, the people united as one to make this world a better place. And time is running out, we’re in the final part of whatever this is and things will get so bad. The only way we keep the good alive is by grasping the hands of the person next to you on that cliff. We turn around together and we face it. I can’t tell you the magic solution to solve it all but I can tell you we start by confronting what we have hidden from ourselves. 

You have to wake up!

Message me if you need to (huckabees @ gmail dot com) If you just don’t want to tackle this, I understand but I think this is where we part ways. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but nothing isn’t a choice. If you’re seeking out what that is, talk to me. Let’s figure it out. We don’t have to do this alone.

America is Broken & I Want It To Die Already

Some thoughts I wrote down yesterday about that Hellscape.

I saw someone say the school shooting murders in Texas were “unimaginable”. I can’t think of a single fucking thing more imaginable in America than little children getting shot to death. I’m so fucking tired of seeing these things happen over and over and over and over and over and over and then it’s just “thoughts & prayers” from those in positions of power who then go on to do fuck-all to stop the next one. We were taught so many lies as children about America and I know it hurts to face that fact. It is not a great country when this happens so damn often. Life doesn’t have to be this way, I have seen that every day since I left in September. There isn’t a perfect place on this planet, but my God, there are so many places where children don’t get mowed down in a hail of gunfire. It is insane that so many of my fellow Americans have just accepted this. Don’t you know you shouldn’t have to send your child to school with the worry they’ll be shot to death? That is not an inevitability or the “cost of freedom”. I have come to understand how much abuse & mistreatment I and my fellow Americans have been taught to accept by institutions, political parties, and leaders so that they can live comfortably, safe, well fed, and constantly entertained. Something has to change and it it’s not going to happen through passivity. God gave us brains and hands and feet for a damn reason! And there are certainly more of us regular, working and struggling people than there are of those who sit in power. If we want a safer world we can demand it and we can take it. If we collectively do nothing then damn us to Hell for sitting by while our children’s blood flows in our schools and our streets.

I’m not even in the States anymore. But I am an elementary school teacher and I am feeling this loss so hard today. It hurts like I am there. I just think of all the experiences good and bad those kids won’t ever have. They will never be able to fall in and out of love. They won’t ever grow into who they want to be. I don’t give a fuck about your politics as sports man. This is fucking human beings, teachers and kids. I don’t understand a society that allows this to happen and then goes to work the next day like nothing of value was lost. Those people mattered goddammit. And the solution isn’t going to come from a dude in a suit in DC making a statement, or some blowhard pundit on cable news, or some reporter calmly reciting statistics, or a preacher at the pulpit finding the right verse. It’s us. We have to stop seeing people that are different in some way as a threat. Everyone is struggling to stay alive these days. That shooter was someone in pain and I can’t stop thinking about how different this morning would be if we lived in a world where he simply had someone to talk to or a world where he was taught how to feel and work through his pain. There would be some more kids smiling and playing and some teachers looking forward to their summer breaks. America is fucking broken and that’s okay, because WE are not whatever the fuck that system of institutions and business is. We’re humans and we lost some beautiful humans yesterday from something we could have prevented.

I used to think people who didn’t vote were shirking their duties. Who gives a shit anymore? I’m supposed to work myself into a fervor over which old man I think should be made Daddy America? Kids are having to be identified based on their clothing because the bullets didn’t leave much behind of their heads or bodies. You need to feel this, we all need to feel this. We have numbed ourselves for too damn long. We don’t grieve the way we’re meant to. People pushed back to labor after their allotted grievance period has expired. The monsters are not just the shooters, they are us for going about our lives.

Movie Review – The Scary of Sixty-First

The Scary of Sixty-First (2021)
Written by Dasha Nekrasova and Madeline Quinn
Directed by Dasha Nekrasova

One of the pieces of cultural lore that has rippled through people’s minds has been the revelations surrounding Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein was a native Brooklynite whose first professional job was teaching at the Dalton School while lacking a college degree. Odd, right? Eventually, he was dismissed from the school and entered finance, working at Bear Stearns. As Epstein rose in wealth and prominence, he began cultivating some extremely prominent acquaintances. There are some unknowns about what he did with this wealth & power. However, there are also some things we know for sure. It is an absolute fact that he engaged in the human trafficking of women and children and that they were used for his and his friends’ sexual gratification. Epstein’s life ended when he allegedly “committed suicide” while in prison, a situation whose details are deeply incredulous. 

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TV Review – The Pentaverate

The Pentaverate (Netflix)
Written by Mike Myers & Roger Drew & Ed Dyson
Directed by Tim Kirkby

In the 2000s, Mike Myers was one of the biggest comedy stars in the world. Just Shrek alone made him rich, but add onto that the Austin Powers franchise and the enduring love for earlier projects like Wayne’s World and So I Married An Axe Murderer. Then The Love Guru came along and like magic it was all over. Audiences cringed at that picture and he hasn’t made a big splash since. Until now that is, with his Netflix series The Pentaverate. I watched this entire show for one big reason, I wanted to see just how bad Myers had become and I had no idea just how terrible it would be. This is one of the worst self-indulgent pieces of media I have seen in a very long time.

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Movie Review – Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)
Written by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand
Directed by Akiva Schaffer

So much nostalgia that you feel like you’re going to vomit; this is what American mainstream media feels like these days. Every week, another intellectual property is rebooted, remade, sequel-ized, etc. Most of it is complete garbage. Nostalgia is a type of feeling that appeals to very regressive, reactionary, infantile minds. People are reasonably on edge because Western civilization seems to have reached its zenith and is now in a spiral of decline. The Boomers were the first generation that began to dominate with nostalgia; we saw multiple television series from their childhood made into feature films. Nothing has rivaled the Millennials’ slavering thirst to relieve every Saturday Morning Cartoon and blockbuster movie they saw growing up. So it was only a matter of time until Chip ‘n Dale saw this treatment, shaped by the cynical nature of animated comedy.

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