Media Update 11/24/2016


The Grinder

I knew I was going to watch this show when I heard the premise around the time I started thinking about studying the law. After the election, I decided to watch it and it is a very funny and relevant show right now. Rob Lowe plays Dean Sanderson, an actor who played a lawyer on television. He has now decided to help out at his brother’s actual law firm. It is a great story about a man with a ton of ideas but no training trying to bluster his way through being successful. Meanwhile, his intelligent and well-trained brother comes in and saves the day. It is a great story about how you cannot just charge into a situation and be successful without knowing the rules. The rules matter and watching somebody with great confidence fail and adapt is very funny and interesting to me. Fred Savage, who plays Stewart Sanderson, often acts as the last sane man and tries to reign in his brother. Happily, Savage is not viewed as the villain for doing this because he is both correct and Lowe’s character is usually being flagrantly ridiculous. A lot of the humor comes from the clash between the everyman and the celebrity. There is a big of vaudeville in Fred Savage’s performance and a ton of melodrama in Rob Lowe’s performance. The two characters slowly start to affect each other so that they can take on a bit of each other’s positive characteristics. They are backed by a great cast and great guest stars. The first episode even has Kumail Nanjiani in it. It is a little unfortunate that a good show like this went off of the air so quickly but there is a lot of that going around. I definitely recommend it, especially for how it tears apart shows like Boston Legal, JAG and Law and Order.


The Big Short

I was glad to have an excuse to make myself watch this one because I have had access but had not gotten around to watching this movie. It was right up my alley. First, it had Christian Bale in it and that is an automatic point in favor of a movie for me. Christian Bale does not really play sane and normal people and this movie is no different. Here he plays a guy in charge of managing an investment fund who is a genius who is good with math but not people. He sets in motion a chain of events which leads to himself and others shorting the US housing market in 2007. Everybody thinks they are crazy because up until 2007 the housing market was mostly stable. As we know, the subprime mortgage crisis along with horrible banking practices created a financial crisis that we are still recovering from. Early on, the movie is actually kind of funny and quirky as we meet our characters. As it continues, it becomes more of a horror movie as the characters begin to realize just how messed up things are and how doomed the economy is. It is also a story of realists vs. optimists as we see professional economists and bank representatives try to paint on a smile as the world starts to burn around them. The movie could have been much more melodramatic but one of the things that breaks the tension a bit is the constant breaking of the fourth wall. The characters (who are based on real people) turn to the camera and explain the economic and banking concepts involved or explain what happened in real life. They also cut to famous celebrities three times to help explain things which is great because it gets a bit complicated. Slowing down to explain the concepts really helped the movie. It ended up being a really good but sickening movie because a lot of the stuff in it really happened. I definitely recommend it.


Dice, Camera, Action: The Curse of Strahd

The tabletop roleplay gaming group that I am in is gearing up to play Dungeons and Dragons. While I have watched my share of streams and listened to podcasts, I am not completely in tune with the new fifth edition rules. As I have stated in the past, I am a huge fan of “Commander” Holly Conrad who is a YouTuber and a cosplay wizard. I am also a fan of Chris Perkins, who has become kind of a dungeon master to the stars as a Wizards of the Coast employee. So, it was a no-brainer to start watching episodes of this stream. Watching it reminds me of our gaming group and how our characters instantly like or hate each other and all of the group dynamics. The story is also interesting as it covers a module called The Curse of Strahd which is set away from The Sword Coast or the Forgotten Realms. Instead, the players are magically transported to a new but dark land where vampires are the main threat. This makes the story pretty dark and Halloween-y but the players manage to keep it light. For instance, they call themselves the Waffle Crew and constantly bicker and snark at each other. I was not as acquainted with the other players but I really like NateWantsToBattle and Jared Knabenbauer who both know their stuff. I have absolutely fallen in love with the sunny, silly portrayal of a paladin that Anna Prosser Robinson achieves. Of course, I love Holly’s socially awkward tiefling warlock and her epic weirdness. I am way behind on this show but I will continue to watch it.

Music of the Week:

Cashmere Cat – Trust Nobody ft. Selena Gomez, Tory Lanez

Slapbak ft. Miss Aleida “Dance All Night”

Television – See No Evil

Em Sea Water- The Box Theory

Train – Play That Song

Weekly Updates:
– I watched more Galavant and it just gets better and better
– I watched a lot of Markiplier’s Undertale streams
– As I mentioned, I watched a ton of WWE programming
– I watched a bit more Lucifer
– I continued Once Upon a Time Season 6
– This week’s theme is “The Importance of Rules”
– Happy Thanksgiving!

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