Things I Noticed Last Week – 5.11.2015

I’ve got some things I’m excited about and some things that have disappointed me greatly. I guess it is just the way the world works; some people get it right and some people get it wrong.

1. Is there anything Quentin Tarantino doesn’t get right? If you haven’t seen it yet, this weeks Entertainment Weekly has a shot of Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Kurt Russell from Tarantino’s upcoming film, The Hateful Eight.

When you open the magazine up, you find photos of the rest of the cast: Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, and Demian Bichir. The photos, as you may expect from a Tarantino film, are just awesome. The thing he does better than anyone, other than possibly the Coen Brothers, is he makes his characters truly characters.

I was unsure as to what I should expect from The Hateful Eight, sure I could have read the script that was leaked (which was a first draft according to Tarantino) and almost caused the film to be canceled, but why would I want to ruin a ride only possible in the hands to QT? After seeing the photos, I’ve bought in hook, line, and sinker.

Kurt Russell with a mustache longer than most people’s hair, Jennifer Jason Leigh bruised and battered, and Bruce Dern looking like a crazy old kook; also known as a central casting in the Tarantino universe.

I know little about the plot other than the tag line, which oddly enough sounds like the real life affair surrounding the script leak. What EW did reveal about the film however, is it’s likeness being more comparable to Reservoir Dogs than Tarantino’s more recent efforts. Say what?!

This should be tremendous news for Quentin’s most devoted fans, as Reservoir Dogs is arguably his best film. It was shocking upon it’s release, it took independent cinema into another stratosphere, and the biting dialogue is the best he’s ever written. Sure people will think I’m crazy for not clearly anointing Pulp Fiction as his greatest feat (which is definitely a tremendous film) but had he chose to do Pulp Fiction first and unleashed Reservoir Dogs as his sophomore effort (with more name recognition and cash in tow) people might be more aware of the tour de force it truly was. The first scene of the film with the camera slowly circling a group of petty thugs talking about Madonna’s affinity for large genitalia and a disdain for tipping waitresses is a doctoral class in script writing.

So Quentin (Can I call you that? I’d love to be friends.) if you are going to give me a dialogue driven story about eight people in the wilderness trying to figure out who crossed who, and then tell me the intention was to make a film that shares more than just coincidental subject matter with Reservoir Dogs, you can take my cash now and I’m already getting in line.

Also, I truly hope the script leak was intentional and was intended to build folklore about the release of the film. A meta reference to the inability for QT to trust the actors in his film who’s characters cannot trust each other. If it wasn’t, who ever leaked the script is an awful, awful, awful, human being.

2. As for people who seem unable to get anything right; WHAT WAS FOX THINKING?!

As is usual for this time of year, major networks are taking a hacksaw to the dead weight on their network to make room for new shows, many of which will just get hacked the following year. Many of the shows getting the ax I hadn’t even heard of; then Fox dropped a couple of bombshells.

I first read they had canceled The Mindy Project. Really?! You decide you’re going to cancel one of the funniest shows on television starring one of the funniest people in show business? On what planet does that make sense?

Then, I was alerted of their cancellation of The Following. The Kevin Bacon thriller was one of the better written cop dramas on television revolving around a cult leader and detective who were for better or worse, obsessed with one another. The show seemingly had everything: drama, horror, thrills, and star power. Plus my fiancee and I really, really enjoyed it (whatever that’s worth).

The only reasonable explanation I can find is Fox still depends on a beyond antiquated system to inform them of how well their shows are doing. The standard TV ratings system does not account for the number of people who watch their shows on delay, via a streaming service, or on DVD. I for one cannot remember the last time I watched a television show in real time, on an actual TV network (not to mention I don’t have a Nielsen Ratings box). I subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus for the sole purpose of never having to watch anything other than when I want to. So I guess the answer to my question about what my enjoyment is worth: NOTHING! Everything I watch goes completely unaccounted for so maybe I’m to blame. I will apologize to Mindy Kaling and Kevin Bacon on behalf of cord cutters everywhere for not helping to boost their numbers, my advice: take your talents to a streaming service.

If Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc., should be lined up to pounce on these shows. The advantage they have: they know exactly who is watching, when they’re watching, how much they are watching, and how often they are watching. There has been rumor Hulu has been interested in potentially picking up The Mindy Project, so just as I complete my apology to Kaling, I would inform her how my binge viewing of her show on Hulu Plus was integral in her revival.

3. I don’t really get into music much here, mostly because I like what I like and I’m not entirely sure how to go about describing why. I can’t help but to comment on the recent video Miley Cyrus released of her singing Androgynous by one of the greatest bands ever, The Replacements, with Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! and Joan Jett.

I’ve long, no matter how unpopular the sentiment, been a supporter of Cyrus. I felt like she had a much deeper understanding than many of how to make it in the music industry and how to stay relevant. Her act from top to bottom is a performance and I don’t believe for a second she is the lunatic people make her out to be. Her latest endeavor, The Happy Hippie Foundation, a charity for LGBTQ and homeless youth, proves her continued commitment to helping those who have been ostracized by their communities. A noble cause and one that she deserves a lot of credit for.

Like I said, I have trouble putting in to words why I like what I like when it comes to music, but trust me; kick ass musicians singing a kick ass song by a kick ass band for a kick ass cause is pretty well… kick ass.

4. (***SPOILER ALERT*** the following may contain things you previously were unaware of it you have not seen The Avengers or Marvel Agents of Shield)

Lastly, Joss Whedon has mentioned recently, in terms of the film world, Agent Coulson is dead. I’m not entirely sure as to why he would say this. After all, he was the man behind killing him in the first Avengers film, and he is the man responsible for bringing him back in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series. If he didn’t like the choice on one or the other, he certainly could have walked away from being the driving creative force behind one or the other. It almost appears as if he does not know what he wanted for the character and is trying to please everyone while leaving us all puzzled.

Ultimately, I could not care less as to whether he is or isn’t breathing. What I do wonder however, is how do they explain anyone dying in the Marvel Comics Universe now or in the future. If Nick Fury was willing and able to bring Agent Coulson back to life, what happens when they want to kill off Iron Man or Captain America. Let’s not forget, there are two films in the not so distant future entitled Civil War and Infinity War, both insinuate the idea of casualties. How do you have a Civil War without a body count consisting of key members within the group? Maybe you don’t but why not call it Civil Skirmish then? Or maybe just Civil? (I can see it now, Stark invites Cap over to watch football. They throw back some beers and eat some pizza. At the end of the night Stark thanks Cap for coming over and pays a cab to bring him home.)

Let’s say for a minute the goal of Captain America: Civil War is to kill off one of our beloved heroes. Why should I believe Nick Fury wouldn’t just bring them back to life? He would bring back non-super, non-billionaire, non-genius, and non-vital Phil Coulson, but Iron Man is expendable? Really?

Thanks for reading and see you next week!