Well, I’m certainly glad to not live in Florida as I can’t say I don’t blame Dwayne Wade for moving out of the state to protect his transgender daughter. I don’t know anyone aside from my sister’s in-laws (who split their time near Tampa and their real home in Boston) who would want to live in a Fascist state where its governor is suggesting about building a state prison next to Walt Disney World as a way to stick it to Disney. Man, you have to a real fuck-head to think this is a good idea. Ron DeSantis is truly a monster who obviously wants to create this idea of American Fascism into the country as he plans on running for the U.S. presidency but does anyone remember what happens to Fascism in the end? Unfortunately, we live in a country that is full of dumb-fucks so they probably wouldn’t know the answer nor would they care.
With all of the chaos of the world and here in America, you have one foot in the real world as a way to know what is going on and not be disconnected from everything. Yet, you have to have the other foot somewhere else to escape from reality. There are moments where I want to get away from the realism as I prefer to read the news rather than watch bullshit like FAUX News and CNN as both channels got rid of their popular talking heads in Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon, respectively, as I think it is a good thing as both of them are assholes. Lemon maybe the lesser of two evils but he’s still a prick as maybe he and Carlson could work together spouting bullshit for North Korea and Russia. I hear they’re hiring.
Then there’s the world of pro wrestling as it’s been a crazy month with major returns happening although not everyone is excited. In AEW, the return of CM Punk this coming summer is imminent with a new 2-hour show airing live on Saturdays as I have mixed feelings about it. I can understand the money and drawing power Punk has but there’s also a lot of this baggage that he might be bringing as well as the possibility of a roster split which I don’t think is a good idea. Plus, I am not interested in watching a wrestling show on Saturday nights as I’d prefer to relax and watch a film. There’s more to life than just pro wrestling as there’s other things that I want to do. Something that the WWE has been unable to understand as they were starting to entice me with what they were doing at WrestleMania as it had some great matches until the main event in which Cody Rhodes was unable to defeat Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Yet, it was a backdrop to something even bigger as WWE has sold itself to Endeavor with Meekmahan returning to the fold but with a new look as Solomonster has called him Vincenzo.
Yes, a man in his late 70s has died his hair black and sporting a poor-man’s John Waters mustache is back in WWE and already his fingerprints are back on its product where more dumb shit occurs on the TV. Yet, I’m not entirely surprised knowing that he would worm his way back into the company he helped build but now it is part of an umbrella with the UFC as some major changes are to happen while WWE continues to get a lot of money. Still, not everyone is excited about this as contracts are set to expire with rumors that Drew McIntyre might be leaving and also Bayley has been expressing her own frustrations recently. No one knows what is going on as WWE continues to do what it does while they have to watch out for AEW who are trying to regain some momentum. In the month of April 2023, I saw a total of 27 films in 17 first-timers and 10 re-watches with two of those first-timers being films directed/co-directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. An improvement from last month as a highlight of the month has been my Blind Spot pick in Gentlemen Prefers Blonde. Here are the top 10 first-timers that I saw for April 2023:
1. John Wick: Chapter 4 2. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris 3. The Strange Thing About the Johnsons 4. Year of the Scab 5. Embrace the Panda: Making Turning Red 6. Basically 7. Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda 8. Munchausen 9. Big Shot 10. The Turtle’s Head Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’m Watching
Year of the Scab One of two films from the 30 for 30 series that I saw on Disney+ is about the NFL player’s strike and the replacement players that helped the Washington Redskins win some games until the strike ended. It is a film that showcases the many problems that was happening during the strike as it is largely told from the perspective of these replacement players who are called scabs. The Redskins organization did a lot of what is right in dealing with replacement players while many of the organization including some of the players who weren’t happy being replaced do feel like the replacement players not only deserved some credit but also for helping the team to get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. It is a strong entry that showcases the moment of players getting that chance to play in the NFL but also some of the darkest aspects such as greed exemplified in how the Dallas Cowboys handled the strike.
Boygenius: the Film
Directed by Kristen Stewart is a short that consists of a trio of songs by the supergroup boygenius that consists of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus for their full-length debut release The Record. Each video provide a sense of the personality of the three women with little interludes shot by Stewart that does a lot into playing up the musicality of the three women.
Big Shot The second 30 for 30 documentary I saw is directed by Kevin Connolly of Entourage and most infamously is the director of Gotti is a film about the New York Islanders in their hey-day as well as how the team were falling apart into the 1990s until a man named John Spano arrived in the hopes of saving the team. The only problem was that Spano never had the money to buy the team despite his many claims as Connolly does interview Spano who had good intentions but was also a scammer. Connolly also gets the perspective of the locals in Long Island where the Islanders play as it was their team and also showcase their feelings on Spano. The film does have some pacing issues but it is still a good film from Connolly.
The Strange Thing About the Johnsons
One of seven short films that I saw from Ari Aster in anticipation to Beau is Afraid is probably a film that I don’t think I’d watch again though the reaction videos about the short film itself is fucking hilarious. This is a film where once you watch it, you can’t un-watch it afterwards as it is about a relationship between father and son and well…. It is not for the faint of heart as it involves sexual abuse but not what is to be expected. It is a film that is truly FUCKED UP!
The second Aster short is about a woman dealing with her son leaving for college and what she would imagine as she would do something to prevent him from leaving. Starring Bonnie Bedelia, Liam Aiken, Richard Riehle, and Rachel Brosnahan, it plays into Aster’s recurring theme of parental issues as it is largely told from the perspective of the mother. Even when she takes one step too far from having to leave home as the results prove to be troubling.
TDF Really Works
The third Aster short is pretty fucked up as it’s also one of his weakest as it is presented in the form of an infomercial. It is about dick farts. Yes, dick farts. That is all I have to say.
C’est La Vie
Starring Bradley Fisher as a homeless man ranting about everything around him, Aster’s short film is set entirely in Los Angeles where this man to the camera about everything he and lost. Even making some claims, true or false, about his life and the things he wanted to do while there’s a lot of shit that is going on around him. It is an excellent short from Aster.
Herman’s Cure-All Tonic
A short film Aster made early in his career that he didn’t right yet it does play into this theme of family dysfunction as it revolves around this meek pharmacist who works for his abusive father while he also deals with these horrible customers. Yet, he would find something that allows him to get revenge on his father but also make money where things eventually go wrong when his customers become addicted as it lead to all sorts of trouble.
The Turtle’s Head
This short sort of inspired by film noir revolves around a private detective who is more concerned about objectifying women than the cases he takes on. Starring Richard Riehle, it is this hilarious short that has Riehle as this detective where he deals with the unthinkable as it relates to his penis. The way he deals with it is hilarious as well as the reaction from his secretary and mistresses as it is a fun short from Aster.
The last short by Aster I watched is one of his best as it stars Rachel Brosnahan as this entitled actress talking to the camera about her life while being aware of everything around her. Brosnahan is a fucking riot in everything that she is doing including moments that are very explicit as she just rants about everything and everyone including her mother in the background. It is quite extreme in terms of Brosnahan ranting yet it is also funny as it is something fans of Aster must watch.
Embrace the Panda: Making Turning Red This making-of documentary from Disney+ about the making of Turning Red isn’t just about the film but also the four women who put a lot into the film in director Domee Shi, production designer Rona Liu, visual effects supervisor Danielle Feinberg, and producer Lindsey Collins as they all talk about their own growing pain experiences and such. Even as they put their own ideas into this film about a Canadian-Chinese girl who loves boy bands in the early 2000s in Toronto with three of women being mothers themselves with Liu being pregnant late in the film’s production. It is a great making-of documentary for a film that never got a proper theatrical release as it should be seen by a wider audience.
There is No Modern Romance
In celebration of the 20th anniversary release of Fever to Tell by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is this 2017 documentary film that was released in a limited deluxe edition version of the album as the band uploaded it on their YouTube page. The 28-minute documentary by Patrick Daughters showcases the band in early 2003 just six weeks before the release of their full-length debut album as they tour the U.K. where they deal with hype as well as the physical and mental they put into their live performances. It is a film that fans of the group will definitely want to see if they don’t the limited deluxe edition while it also showcases a band who are about to blow up into something big as well as becoming one of the finest bands of the 21st Century thus far.
The Mandalorian (season 3 episodes 6-8) The third season of this show is a step down from its predecessors yet it is still a fun and engaging series as the last three episodes have elements of humor but also lots of adventure. Notably as it has Djin, Bo-Katan, and Grogu going on a journey to reunite all other Mandalore clans to reclaim their home planet as well as face an old foe. The episode does feature the return of Moff Gideon but also some surprising revelations into what he is creating as it would set the seeds of the First Order. The season overall is uneven but it is still full of adventure and does have a nice conclusion as I hope there will be a fourth season as it was able to show the chaos that the New Republic is unknowingly creating.
Ted Lasso (season 3 episodes 4-7) Five more episodes left into the third season and the show is fucking killing it as it doesn’t just play into AFC Richmond not only going through a losing streak after their loss to West Ham but also Zava’s sudden retirement in the fifth episode. It also play into Lasso not just struggling with the revelations about his wife in a relationship with their former marriage counselor but also how much he misses his son who went through a bad day himself as the end of the episode showed a team struggling with this losing streak. It would lead to the sixth episode which I think is not just one of the best episodes of the series but also one of the greatest episodes in television history similar to other defining episodes in TV such as Pine Barrens from the third season of The Sopranos. It has the team playing a friendly against AFC Ajax where AFC Richmond lost as there are multiple storylines involving Rebecca, Ted, Jamie and Roy, Higgins and Will Kitman, Colin and Trent Crimm, and the rest of the team as it went over an hour. Yet, it was worth as it brought something in which the characters bond while Rebecca gets the chance to find a glimpse of happiness through this man she meets. Then there’s Ted who drank some spiked tea that Coach Beard made and a dip into his favorite barbeque sauce at this American restaurant in Amsterdam as he watches an old Chicago Bulls game becomes this eureka moment relating to triangles as he would come up with ideas that is the basis of one of the greatest tactics in Total Football which was popularized by the Dutch in the 1970s. It would be something the team would use in the following episode where despite a loss to my favorite English team in Arsenal but they would score a goal as it looks like AFC Richmond are going to get their mojo back. There’s a lot happening in the show as Nate is starting to regain elements of his old self as he’s feeling regret over what happened with Ted while Keeley is in a new relationship with her boss Jack though Rebecca is warning her about Jack believing she is love-bombing her. I await for what will happen next.
Wrestling Match of the Month: Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – WrestleMania 39 Night 2 – 4/2/23
WrestleMania 39 was a damn good show that featured some amazing matches such as the two women’s championship matches in Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship and Bianca Belair vs. Asuka for the WWE RAW Women’s Championship plus some surprising gems in Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio, Brock Lesnar vs. Omos, the Street Profits vs. the Viking Raiders vs. Alpha Academy vs. Ricochet & Braun Strowman, and Edge vs. Finn Balor in a Hell in a Cell cage match. One major standout of this year’s WrestleMania was the main event of night 1 in the Usos vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship as it was full of emotion and a lot of storytelling. The night 2 main event between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship was good until its horrendous ending.
Then there’s the Intercontinental Championship in which Gunter defended the championship against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre as it exceeded expectations in not just being hard-hitting. It was also intense in the fact that all three men wanted the championship with Sheamus wanting it more than anyone as it’s the only other championship (aside from the WWE Universal title) that he’s never won. All three wrestlers brought in a European style to what they did as a lot of it was discomforting as the chops all three did to one another hurts. While I was disappointed that Gunter won and retained the championship as I wanted Sheamus to win. There is that possibility of Gunter doing the impossible which is to beat the record of longest Intercontinental Champion held by the Honky Tonk Man at 454 days as Gunter has more than a 120 days to hold on to that title.
Top 10 Re-watches
1. 22 vs. Earth 2. Burrow 3. Lava 4. Sanjay’s Super Team 5. Your Friend, the Rat 6. George and A.J. 7. Popeye the Sailor Man meets Sindbad the Sailor 8. Donald’s Golf Game 9. Mike’s New Car 10. Brave Little Tailor Well, that is all for April. Next month will be devoted almost entirely to the Cannes Film Festival as this year’s marathon will be for the month as I have a list but I’m also going to improvise by watching whatever is available including my next Blind Spot film for the month in La Haine. Along with a theatrical viewing for Guardians of the Galaxy and maybe Book Club: The Next Chapter as a Mother’s Day gift for my mother. That’s all I have for next month. Before I close, I want to express my condolences to the friends and families of those we lost in Harry Belafonte, Mark Stewart of the Pop Group, Otis Redding III, Murray Melvin, Michael Lerner, Ian Bairnson from Pilot and the Alan Parsons Patrick, John Regan from Frehley’s Comet, Lasse Wellender who was the session/touring guitarist for ABBA, cinematographer Bill Butler, Butch of the Sheepherders/Bushwhackers, and Jerry Springer as they will all be missed. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…
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