Movie Review – Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest (1999)
Written by David Howard & Robert Gordon
Directed by Dean Parisot

Tim Allen is a real bastard. He’s leaned into his conservatism and allowed his current sitcom and his social media presence to promote people like Trump and some pretty rotten ideologies to go along with that. It doesn’t surprise me, to be honest. His first tv-series Home Improvement, always had a weird regressive feel to it, in my opinion. I watched it growing up, but I can’t ever say I enjoyed it; it was just sort of on because the television was always on. In the late 1990s to mid-2000s, Allen dominated the quasi-family friendly movie shlock business, likely due in part but not exclusively to his role as Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, a part I suspect that has kept him wealthy ever since. Despite Galaxy Quest having a strong fan base, I just sort of lumped it in with The Santa Clause or Jungle 2 Jungle as something not worth watching. But then I did.

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by John Byrne Volume 3

Wonder Woman by John Byrne Volume 3 (2019)
Reprints Wonder Woman v2 #125-136, additional material from Wonder Woman Secret Files #1 & Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant #1
Written by John Byrne
Art by John Byrne, Phil Winslade, and Tom Palmer

The final act of John Byrne’s run on Wonder Woman did something a little unexpected; it nearly sidelined Wonder Woman until the last issue. Now, you might be wondering, “What would you do in a comic titled Wonder Woman if the main character isn’t around much?” Byrne hands the title over to her supporting characters and Hippolyta and gives the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick almost more space in the book than Princess Diana herself. 

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TV Review – Saved by the Bell (2020)

Saved by the Bell (Peacock)

Written by Tracy Wigfield, Josh Siegal, Dylan Morgan, Amy-Jo Perry, Matt Warburton, Aaron Geary, Ben Steiner, Erin Fischer, Shantira Jackson, Beth Coyle, Dashiell Driscoll, and Marcos Gonzalez

Directed by Trent O’Donnell, Katie Locke O’Brien, Kabir Akhtar, Daniella Eisman, Matthew A. Cherry, Angela Tortu, and Claire Scanlon

There was a war on our television on Saturday morning in the 1990s. You see, Fox’s X-Men animated series aired at the same time as NBC’s Saved By The Bell. This led to a high level of tension between myself and my sister. The compromise was using the VCR to tape one while we watched the other. We were a single television household for most of my upbringing. Despite not wanting to watch the students’ antics at Bayside High School, I did and continued watching with my siblings when the made for television Hawaiian Style movie aired, The Colleges Years came and went, and the Las Vegas-centered wedding of Zack and Kelly wrapped things up. We don’t talk about The New Class in this household. When I saw Peacock was putting out a reboot of Saved by the Bell, I’ll admit I balked, just some more dumb nostalgia bait. But then I saw reviews coming in and the bona fides of its showrunners, and I decided to take a look. I am so delighted I did.

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Movie Review – The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Written by Caroline Thompson and Michael McDowell
Directed by Henry Selick

While the idea and production design were initially conceived by Tim Burton, the actual execution of The Nightmare Before Christmas was done by a bevy of other talented creators. However, the film is associated with Burton, and many mistake him as the director. We love and remember the picture for Danny Elfman’s music, Henry Selick’s direction, and the fantastic script by Thompson and McDowell. Thompson co-wrote Edward Scissorhands, and McDowell also penned the screenplay for Beetlejuice, so they brought all those elements to the table. The result is a gorgeous macabre take on the Christmas spirit that endures because it stands out from the crowd but reminds us of childhood favorites.

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Comic Book Reviews – Justice League International Omnibus Volume 2

Justice League International Omnibus Volume 2 (2020)
Reprints Justice League America #31-50, Justice League American Annual #4, Justice League Quarterly #1, Justice League Europe #7-25, Justice League Europe Annual #1, and Justice League International Special #1
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Adam Hughes, Mike McKone, Bart Sears, Chris Sprouse, Darick Robertson, and Marshall Rogers

The JLI came across my radar with Justice League America #42, a cover that promised a team’s recruitment drive. I was nine years ago, and my knowledge of the Justice League came mostly from watching Challenge of the Superfriends, so you can understand how shocked I was when I opened up this book and found none of the characters I expected. Where were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman? Instead, I was given new faces and names like Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, and Guy Gardener. I didn’t have any idea who these people were. And they didn’t fight anyone; they spent a lot of time talking with a very comedic tone. I was confused as a child but still intrigued. A decade later in college, I would rifle through quarter bins on the floor of comic book shops, slowly but surely assembling a near-complete run of Giffen & DeMatteis landmark controversial run on the League.

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Movie Review – Home Alone

Home Alone (1990)
Written by John Hughes
Directed by Chris Columbus

Home Alone came about when John Hughes was making a checklist for an upcoming family trip and thought for a moment what would happen if he forgot his kids, who weren’t on that list. After making some notes about what antics the child could get into, he realized that a good source of conflict and fear for a child would-be robbers. Some unwanted intruders coming into the safety of a child’s home would be a pretty harrowing thing, and thus Home Alone was born. Director Chris Columbus came on board and did a quick rewrite, weaving in the emotional beats that unite Kevin and his neighbor. 

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by John Byrne Volume 2

Wonder Woman by John Byrne Volume 2 (2018)
Reprints Wonder Woman #115 – 124, Annuals #5,6
Written by John Byrne
Art by John Byrne, Norm Breyfogle, Dave Cockrum, and Tom Palmer

The one thing that can’t be denied about John Byrne’s run on Wonder Woman is that he most certainly made it his own thing. At this point in his career, his name carried tremendous clout, and he could essentially do what he wanted. In the early 2000s, he rebooted the Doom Patrol during his run on JLA and completely scrambled established continuity that rippled through characters in the Teen Titans and didn’t care. His run on Wonder Woman definitely carries on George Perez’s rebooted version of the heroine and the Amazons, but he seems much more interested in pitting her against very different foes.

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Movie Review – Seven

Seven (1995)
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker
Directed by David Fincher

There is a depth of humanity in Seven, hidden beneath the stylized neo-noir aftermath of violence that its detectives stumble across in crime scene after crime scene. David Fincher movies often get swallowed up in the fervor over aesthetics and jolting set pieces that we often forget the richly developed characters that make up his world. Detectives Somerset & Mills and Mills’s wife Tracy are beautifully written roles performed by actors who understand nuance’s power. The infamous finale of Seven, a scene that has somewhat become a parody in the pop culture in the ensuing decades, almost brought me to tears this time around. I empathized with the trio of protagonists so that this final obscenity tore right through me.

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by John Byrne Volume 1

Wonder Woman by John Byrne Volume 1 (2017)
Reprints Wonder Woman v2 #101 – 114
Written by John Byrne
Art by John Byrne

I first became aware of John Byrne when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I remember being at K-Mart (I think) and picking up one of those 3 for a dollar polybagged comic book grab bags. Inside, I had two issues of the Superman reboot helmed by John Byrne (issues 2 & 3) to be specific. I remember I really liked the art, especially Byrne’s take on Jack Kirby’s New Gods characters. I’d been aware of who Darkseid was from watching Challenge of the Superfriends, but this was my first introduction to the larger pantheon of characters in that niche of the DC Universe. Being a child at the time, I wasn’t quite aware of John Byrne’s love affair with the work of Jack Kirby, but fast forward to the mid-1990s, and the writer-artist was folding in those elements to his run on Wonder Woman.

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Movie Review – Scream

Scream (1996)
Written by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Wes Craven

I do not enjoy slasher movies. Of all the subgenres of horror, I have just never found people running around with knives all that scary. Yes, in real life, if someone was running at me with a weapon, I would be terrified. But when it comes to horror fiction, I am always more disturbed by existential horror and stories with Lovecraftian themes about unavoidable cosmic terrors. The 1980s and 90s were dominated by slasher pictures, most notoriously the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series. The latter film franchise was started by Wes Craven, one of the slasher flick founding fathers, beginning with the gruesome The Last House on the Left in 1972. After almost twenty-five years of making these movies, Craven delivered what I think is the final word on the whole affair with Scream.

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