Posts Tagged ‘2020’

Media Update 12/31/20

December 31, 2020

Letters to Satan Claus

This movie is a parody of Hallmark Christmas movies in the best way. A reporter, Holly Frost, must return to her hometown of Ornaments to cover the annual Christmas hullabaloo. Holly is bitter about Christmas after her parents were murdered on Christmas morning when she was a kid. However, the town of Ornaments has plenty of sexy guys and booze to pass the time. However, her past is rising up to haunt her and a simple transposition of letters may spell doom for Holly and Ornaments. The movie touches on all of the annoying cliches by either playing them straight or turning them on their ear. Karen Knox is great as the embittered yet ambitious reporter. Joseph Cannata plays a somewhat oblivious ruggedly handsome attorney. His cute yet dumb daughter is played brilliantly by Jessica Clement. Jana Peck is delightfully dark as the title character, cracking one liners as she stalks her victims. The rest of the cast does great as too dumb to live small town denizens. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.

Black Christmas

I remember liking the original Black Christmas but the 2006 version was not very exciting. I wanted to see this version because Blumhouse is really knocking it out the park with their remakes and reimaginings. This movie took the basic premise but fleshes the characters out more and adds more to the story. The sorority getting stalked is now a feminist sorority with a bone to pick with the biggest frat on campus. The movie has a great air of mystery as we watch the young ladies get stalked by unseen predators. Imogeen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, and more are all great as very likable college students. Director and writer Sophia Takal does a really good job of staging the movie to make me feel anxious during every scene. The movie is beautifully shot and a lot is left up to the imagination to make you worry more for these girls. I defintiely recommend this movie.

Better Watch Out

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie so it was time to finally watch it. This movie is a babysitter home invasion story set during the holidays. However, there are some touches that really made this different from standard faire like When A Stranger Calls or The Strangers. The Christmas season does not have much impact on the story but it does make for some fun props and a pretty background. Olivia DeJonge plays the babysitter who is taking one last job before she goes off to college and is definitely a confident and cool young lady. Levi Miller plays her charge, a young boy almost too old to need a babysitter but his parents worry about him. Ed Oxenbould plays the stoner friend of Miller’s character who decides to visit and add more on DeJonge’s shoulders. The movie is very playful and had a lot of twists and turns that I did not expect. The acting was spot on and the action sequences really delighted me. There is also an undercurrent of dark humor and an actually interesting message. I definitely recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Psychostick – Zombie Claus

New Years Day – Kill or Be Killed

Pop Smoke ft. Dread Woo – Woo Year

Scrawl – 11:59 It’s January

Run The Jewels – Out Of Sight

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Christmas Horror 2020”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched more Doctor Who Season 12
I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 11
I finished Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults
I finished EVIL Season 1

Media Update 12/24/20

December 24, 2020

The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again

Two years ago I was enchanted by a simple Christmas version of The Prince and Pauper starring Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens was so good at playing two distinct characters, one who felt like they had emerged from The Crown and the other who felt at home in Riverdale. This movie revisits the characters from the first movie while upping the ante as all great sequels do. This time there are three identical people played by Vanessa Hudgens and the swapping leads to a very fun and interesting Christmas story. Hudgens uses about four or five accents in this movie and it is delightful. She is so good at it that I felt like I immediately knew who was in each scene without getting confused about which of the three was present. Sam Palladio and Mark Fleischmann return as the love interests and are given more to do to flesh out their characters. It also shows how happily ever after is not so simple as kissing just before the credits and that you really have to put in the work to make relationships that matter and last. I definitely recommend this movie.

The Shop Around the Corner

This is a Christmas classic that I had heard about before but it took my cousins for me to actually check it out. This movie was later remade as You’ve Got Mail but honestly the movies are fairly different. The movie is about two strong-willed workers at a department store who start a correspondence relationship. There is also an intrigue plot but it focuses mainly on the two. The guy is played by James Stewart and his earnest delivery really serves him well as the ultimate good guy with a playful streak. The gal is played by Margaret Sullavan, she plays the epitome of the fast-talking go-getter who is able to turn any situation in her favor. Frank Morgan plays their boss, a kindly old department store owner. The movie is very sweet and much of it falls on the shoulders of Stewart and Sullavan whose chemistry is electric. The main draw of the movie is watching a cat and mouse game with kind of an old sitcom comedy style. The movie does not go as heavy on the holiday stuff and instead focuses on the interactions between the characters with Christmas as more of a backdrop. I recommend this movie.

The Bishop’s Wife

This is an odd sort of movie that goes hard in the paint for the holidays. The basic premise is that a bishop asks for holy guidance for how to raise money to build a new cathedral. His prayers are answered with the appearance of an unassuming angel who does not directly answer the bishop’s question. Instead, he moves into the bishop’s house and cozies up to the bishop’s wife and daughter. As the bishop is busy with work, he is frustrated that this stranger is suddenly very chummy with his family. David Niven plays the bishop, a frustrated and somewhat uptight individual. The wife is played by Loretta Young who is good at being the dutiful yet neglected wife. Cary Grant plays the goofy yet debonair angel. This movie actually rubbed me the wrong way. Cary Grant’s character came off as kind of sadistic and I felt that the plot was made needlessly cruel for that reason. Your mileage may vary. At least Elsa Lanchester was in it. I do not recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Kurt Russell and Darlene Love – The Spirit of Christmas

Sarah Jeffery, Jadah Marie – Audrey’s Christmas Rewind

Sabrina Carpenter – It’s Finally Christmas

Panic! At The Disco – Feels Like Christmas

China Anne McClain – This Christmas

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Misrepresentation on the Holidays”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched more Doctor Who Season 12
I watched more Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults
I watched more EVIL Season 1
I started watching Bob’s Burgers Season 11
I watched My Little Pony: The Best Gift Ever
I watched The Last Shark (Rifftrax Version)

Top 5 Christmas Movies

December 21, 2020

I tuned in last week to watch the above video from one of my favorite YouTube channels to hear the thoughts of two of my favorite perfomers (Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara) and their guest. As with most lists of this kind, I disagreed with some of their choices. Instead of tearing their lists down, I decided to make my own. I decided to exclude a lot of what I consider joke answers to this question such as Die Hard, Batman Begins, and Gremlins. I also put Christmas Horror in a completely different boat. Also, even though I love the movie dearly, I do not think of A Nightmare Before Christmas as a Christmas movie even though it uses a lot of the assets.

  1. White Christmas

To be fair, this is the Bing Crosby Christmas movie without the blackface. I watched this with my mother a couple of years ago and we both really enjoyed it. Bing and Danny Kaye are army men who finish their tour of duty and head back to the States. They become successful performers as a singing and dancing duo. They meet up with two performing sisters played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. The four end up heading to the middle of nowhere Vermont to spend the holidays at an inn where the girls are booked to perform. However, the inn and the town are in trouble without any snow so the four of them decide to put on a show to save the day. It is an endearing story of four witty and artistic people who have such great chemistry with each other. The movie is full of great songs like “Sisters”, “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”, and starts and ends with “White Christmas”. Bing Crosby became synonymous with Christmas and that is probably a big reason why this movie made this list.

  1. A Christmas Prince

This was the second movie that helped launch my getting back into watching Christmas movies. I chose this movie originally because it stars Rose McIver, an actress I loved so much in iZombie. In this, she stars as a reporter tasked with getting the scoop on a prince’s coronation in a foreign country obsessed with Christmas. She stumbles into a lie which gets her close to her subject but when feelings develop, she starts regretting everything. McIver really makes the movie as she is at times sarcastic, wide-eyed, clever, and just plain funny. She is paired with Ben Lamb who plays the titular role with such playful wholesomeness. His sister really steals a lot of scenes (played by Honor Kneafsey) walks the edge of what could have been an annoying character and makes it into a very smart and funny one instead. Theo Devaney is so great as the smarmy “villain”. However, the movie very well could have failed if they had not been given a really great supporting cast. The two sequels are even better though this is the one I kept coming back to.

  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol means a lot to me. When I worked professionally in live theater, we did the same production five years in a row and the story never got old. This is a story that I have experienced starting at a very young age and this version may have been the very first. It came out when I was nine years old at a time when I had already experienced The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. Seeing these familiar characters acting out this story was truly magical. Michael Caine as Scrooge is almost the only human character and that made it feel like an extended episode of The Muppet Show. Caine acts so earnestly in the movie and always reacts to the Muppets as if they were fellow performers which, in a sense, they were. The movie adheres to the original story very well but also adds in much needed laughs along with what is essentially a Christmas ghost story. The movie is also a musical which helps to keep the story bouncing along in what can be a very long-winded story. This was absolutely a marriage of three things I have loved since I was a kid: The Muppets, Horror, and Christmas.

  1. Klaus

I am a sucker for Santa Claus lore because I have been fascinated with (ahem) research about the man, the myth, the legend. This movie is a throwback to the more traditional two-dimensional animation comparable to the Disney Rennaisance period. It utilizes 2D drawings with a new 3D lighting software design which really produces a breathtakingly beautiful movie. The story follows a young mailman-in-training who is sent to an island town to reopen their post office. In order to do that, he befriends a hermit in the woods and basically invents the man we know and love. The movie is such a touching portrayal of a world similar to ours but with some invented politics and geography. It is also wildly funny at the same time. Jason Scwartzman plays the excitable Jesper, a young screw up who now has to make good. JK Simmons plays the titular character, an emotionally wounded man who just wants to make good. Rashida Jones plays the clever school teacher who gets sucked up into the madness. Joan Cusack and Will Sasso play the heads of two feuding families that has absolutely destroyed the town. Norm Macdonald basically plays his usual sarcastic self. The production also involved actual Sámi people with authentic Sámi language in a very touching manner.

  1. The Christmas Chronicles

This movie absolutely caught me off guard. It felt like an entirely different kind of Santa Claus tale which managed to shine a spotlight on Santa while making him a supporting character in his own movie. The movie follows two kids played by Darby Camp and Judah Lewis. They are a brother and sister who have grown apart due to the death of their father. Lewis plays a teenager who has grown cynical too early and is annoyed by Camp’s optimistic and sunny character. A chance run-in with Santa Claus sets the two on a whirlwind adventure that will teach them about themselves and realign both of them on the right path in life. Santa is played by Kurt Russell and it is the coolest portrayal that has ever appeared in a movie previously. This is a Rock and Roll Santa who absolutely loves his job. The lore building that they created in this was absolutely a draw for me. They explained a lot of the Santa stories without explaining too much or getting too detailed. The spotlight remains on the two kids as they learn together and separately the true meaning of Christmas. The movie is an exciting rollercoaster from start to finish while still allowing for a lot of heartwarming moments that directly confront the dysfunctionality and bonds of family.

Honorable Mentions:
The Year Without a Santa Claus
The Knight Before Christmas
Shop Around the Corner
Let It Snow

Media Update 12/17/20

December 17, 2020

Christmas Chronicles 2

I enjoyed last year’s Christmas Chronicles very much as a genuinely sweet Christmas movie that just happens to have good worldbuilding. In this movie, we get even more and it did not feel like they were just returning to the same well. Kurt Russell returns as one of the coolest Santa Clauses in film history. He is action hero with a lot of heart and ten tons of charisma. This movie adds in Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, a whip smart and determined healer and magician. She is such a delight and really helps to drive the movie along. Darby Camp returns as Kate but is now an adolescent reeling from all of the changes in her life and wanting to go back. Jahzir Bruno is great as the new kid, a bit of an outsider who is anxious but with a lot of enthusiasm. Julian Dennison is new as the boyish yet bitter villain Belsnickel. The movie involves and reveals the inner workings of the North Pole. It allows Santa and Mrs. Claus and the elves to be more of a character instead of a supporting player. Still, there are very human stories about love, loss, and the courage to move on. I recommend this movie and you do not need to see the first one (but it helps).

Alien Xmas

When I learned that the Chiodo Brothers who are legendary animators were creating a Christmas special, I was excited. Among other things, the brothers were directly responsible for Killer Klowns From Outer Space. The special was also executive produced by Jon Favreau. The short film really felt like classic stop motion specials from my childhood like Rudolph, The Year Without Santa Claus, and many others. The animation looks so cute and smooth and I love that the Chiodos can do heartwarming and scary in different projects. The music by veteran composer Adam Schiff fit the piece perfectly. At only 42 minutes, the piece does not overstay its welcome and provides plenty of heartwarming moments while still having a bit of a modern tweak. I definitely recommend this short movie.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Sometimes you just want to watch a movie with a heartwarming yet exciting story with batshit insane visuals. I knew that this movie would have a lot of worldbuilding and interesting set and character design and I was not led astray. The movie is an interesting take on the traditional Nutcracker story as we are shown a young girl being flung into a fantasy world in order to process the death of her mother. Mackenzie Foy plays the young woman in question who is a brilliant inventor like her mother and her uncle. She was very good at playing somebody on the edge between child and adult who is struggling with her emotions. Her uncle is played by the always charismatic Morgan Freeman. The title character is played by Jayden Fowora-Knight, a military man who is impressed by this new face. Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren play denizens of this strange new world. Both were practically unrecognizable in the best way. Special shout out to Jack Whitehall who was creepy as hell. The movie has a lot of really cool effects and interesting design and everything is baked by the music of the ballet. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Big Freedia – Make It Jingle

DJ Cummerbund – All I Want For Christmas Is To Bury A Friend

No Doubt – Oi To The World

Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me

Hava Nagila – Techno Remix

Weekly Update:

This Week’s Them is “The Young Finding Their Way at Christmas”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched more Doctor Who Season 12
I watched No Retreat, No Surrender (Rifftrax Version)
I watched The Girl from Rio (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Firehead (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Laser Mission (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Arachnia (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Planet of Dinosaurs (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Future Force (Rifftrax Version)
I started watching Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults

Media Update 11/5/2020

November 5, 2020

The Witches (2020)

I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl books as a kid and read every single one before the end of third grade. I tend to watch anything adapted from his works. I loved the original Witches because it was one of the most scarring adaptations of his works. I was super interested to see the update especially after hearing how over the top it was. It is basically the same story as the book and original movie where a boy and his grandmother get stuck in a hotel with a convention of witches. The boy gets turned into a mouse. The boy is played by Jahzir Bruno and he’s great at being the plucky hero. The grandma is played by Octavia Spencer who is, as usual, absolutely delightful and sassy. They are joined by Codie-Lei Eastick and Kristin Chenoweth who play two other heroic kids. Of course, almost every scene is stolen by Anne Hathaway who plays the Grand High Witch. The movie was great in that over the top kind of way. It was funny, it was beautifully shot, and it had a lot of the same old body horror but just done in a different way. I recommend this movie. https://www.youtube.com/embed/8WzUYkzRgBE

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

I previously reviewed The Babysitter when it came out and I was excited to see a sequel. This movie is a big dumb, self-aware horror comedy movie. Judah Lewis returns as the terrorized boy from the previous movie and is great as a nervous but likable guy. Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Hana Mae Lee, and Andrew Bachelor all return as villains and they are just as goofy as before. They are joined by Juliocesar Chavez and Maximillian Acevedo who are just as dumb and fun. Emily Alyn Lind returns as the neighbor/love interest from the first movie. They added Jenna Ortega as a new weird girl and she really helped breathe fresh air into the movie. They were able to go over a lot of the same ground while keeping things fresh and fun. I recommend this movie. https://www.youtube.com/embed/WQ_Yo06kIIA

Hausu (House)(1977)

This was definitely one of the strangest films I have seen and that is really saying something. This movie was purposefully made to be artsy yet really loopy. The filmmaker has admitted that he threw a lot at the wall to see if it stuck. The movie is about a group of high school girls who visit one of their aunt’s house for a retreat when all hell breaks loose. It stars nobody I had ever heard of before but everybody’s performance was perfect for what it needed to be. The movie is a surreal acid trip of a horror movie which is definitely intended to be funny and cartoony. There are so many interesting special effects that may never have been used before and may not be used again. If you do not watch this movie, at least look up some of the scenes on YouTube because wow. I do recommend watching this movie as it does have an interesting underlying message about Hiroshima and the gap between the young and the old in Japan.

Music of the Week:

Flamingods – Marigold

Fit For A King – God Of Fire

Dazy Chain – Good Life

Myk Eff – Cosmic Ray Juice

A#keem – When I’m With You

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Halloween Hangover 2020”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched more Harley Quinn Season 2
I watched more Doctor Who Season 11
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched WNUF Halloween Special
I watched Seed People
I started watching Agents of Shield Season Seven

Summer Games Done Quick 2020

August 31, 2020

The world is chaos and darkness but there are some bright spots here and there. Personally, I have friends and family and things are clipping along professionally for me. The world needs a lot of help and that’s why organizations like Doctors Without Borders are necessary. Medecins Sans Frontieres has been an organization for as long as I can remember. They go where medical professionals are needed and help as best they can. Traditionally, I feel like that mostly included going to underserved and third world locations to provide healthcare without political strings attached. Now they are responding to crisis after crisis. For the first time, MSF has set up shop in the USA to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic. They are all over the globe and they are selfless.

The reason why I bring them up is because the charity event Summer Games Done Quick just ended last week. Games Done Quick runs multiple events a year and each one is assigned a charity. SDGQ chose Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and they were able to raise 2.3 Million dollars from crowdsourcing. The event lasted for one week and was jampacked with speedrunners plying their skills and arcane knowledge. A wide range of games are chosen and each one has a runner, commentators, and a host. The runner or runners operate the game while they and the commentators explain the techniques and tricks that are being performed. The host keeps an eye on the donations coming in and reads out messages attached to donations. This year was special because it was done entirely online instead of in person which allowed for an expanded roster of runners but more technical obstacles.

There are a lot of great runs but some have absolutely blown me away, made me laugh, or just entertained me in general.

The first that I can think of is the above run which is a race between two runners of a game I talked about on this blog previously. Hollow Knight is an incredibly difficult game played casually but speedrunners make it look easy. Both of the runners here play the game beautifully and bosses that I spent hours trying to beat look like a beautiful ballet of spinning blades.

This is a run from early on in the event of a first-person shooter called Dusk which I have not played. The developers bill it as the fastest first-person shooter. The reason why this run was so hilarious is because one of the developers of the game was commentating. The run was just full of the developer protesting, sputtering, and joking as somebody absolutely exploited and destroyed the game he worked so hard on.

This run is from the Silly Block of games (at AGDQ this is called the Awful Block) which is full of the silliest and weirdest games on the schedule. That includes the Alf computer game, Hypnospace Outlaw (which I should write a post on), and the above Pringles run among others. The Silly Block is very fun and often a great place to start watching since most of them are short and fun runs.

There are so many more runs and here is a link to the playlist so you can see if something appeals to you more.

Deposition – A She-Hulk Story

April 4, 2020

Patsy Walker felt weird being out of costume. She usually did a lot of her work as an investigator for Jennifer Walters (alias She-Hulk) under the guise of Hellcat. That meant that she wore a mask as she crept around and figured out the truth of the matter for Jen’s cases. OF course, she did ask plenty of questions without the mask but she still felt like Hellcat when she was doing that. Patsy Walker was famous for her mother’s dumb soap opera. She felt so disconnected from that life. She also felt pretty disconnected from superhero life. She was happy to do some investigation for her old friend but also loved running the job agency she had founded while Jen was in a coma.

She also felt uncomfortable because of why they were sitting at the oak table so early in the morning. She glanced over at Jen. Jennifer Walters, Esquire was the picture of calm looking serious but with that warm nature that her best friends knew she had. Patsy knew that she was angry. Who wouldn’t be? Unlike her cousin, Jen could control her anger. She would remain professional and she would continue to conduct business in the interest of her client. Patsy was ready to go out and get revenge, maybe enlist somebody like fellow investigator Jessica Jones to help her. Jen would be so disappointed in that, though.

At 10:05, just 5 minutes late, the potential client walked in wearing a scarf over her hair and large sunglasses. As she took those off, Patsy saw how beautiful she was. Of course, Patsy had seen pictures in the paper and news footage but it was different when you saw somebody in person. Her name was Amber Guttierez but the public knew her as Lightblaster. She had been born with the power to generate and control light which she easily used for offensive and defensive capabilities. She had been part of the superhero group known as The Blockbusters, a C-level team that had achieved some notoriety as good crimefighters.

Jen stood up, towering over both Patsy and Amber with her gamma-irradiated condition. Patsy scrambled to her feet and tried to smile brightly. Jen’s smile came off as warmer and welcoming. Amber held out her hand and Jen and Patsy both shook it in turn. Jen gestured to the seat opposite where Patsy and she had been sitting.

“Please, Ms. Guttierez,” Jen said. “have a seat. Can we get you anything? Coffee? Water?”

“No,” Amber said. “I’m fine. You can call me Amber.”

Jen and Patsy sat back down in their seats. “Thank you for coming, Amber,” Jen said. “This means a lot to us.”

“I’m not sure how much I can help,” Amber said. “I just don’t know.” She looked away and down and Patsy could not help but feel for the woman. She knew something but was afraid to talk. If she did not talk, then the case was weaker for it.

“That’s ok,” Jen said. “We’re not about to make you do anything you don’t want to. That’s what we’re trying to stop.”

Amber looked at her helplessly. “I signed a paper,” she said. “My hands are tied.”

“There are ways around that,” Jen said. “We can help protect you. I know, why don’t we tell you what we have so far? That way you can see where you stand and with whom.”

“Ok,” Amber said softly and nodded, a little hesitant.

There was a pause and then Jen nudged Patsy and she blinked. “Oh,” Patsy said. “Right. It’s nice to finally meet you, Amber. My name is Patsy Walker.”

“The Patsy Walker?” Amber asked. “I’ve read all of your comics.”

“Yeah, that’s me,” Patsy said, trying not to show her annoyance. “Nowadays I work as an investigator.”

“And you’d be working on this case?” Amber asked.

“I already have been,” Patsy said. “Yours is not the only story we’ve gotten wind of. I have interviewed many young women with situations similar to yours. I can’t exactly name names but what we are seeing is a pattern of behavior. The superhero (and I use hero with extreme quotes here) known as Hardliner has exhibited a lot of inappropriate behavior. He has been aggressively sexual with over a dozen different superheroines and probably more. He might even have done the same to civilians.”

“I’m not the only one?” Amber asked, tears starting to form in her eyes.

“You’re not alone,” Jen said. “We’re here to tell you that if you choose to move forward with us, then you will have company. He did this to other girls and that will not stand.”

“Are you telling me that he hurt other girls? That maybe if I had done something, he would have stopped?” Amber asked.

“He would not have stopped, Amber,” Jen said. “Guys like that do not stop until they are stopped.”

“How can I do that?” Amber asked.

“How can *we* do that?” Jen said, correcting her gently. “We do it by standing together. We do it by adding your story to all of the other stories we have.” She held out a box of tissues.

“Alright,” Amber said, dabbing the tears away. “I’ll tell my story.”

Patsy reached out and turned on her recorder and gave Jen a nod. “Whenever you’re ready, Amber,” Jen said.

(Marvel Comics was suggested by my friend Liz on Twitter)

Clear Skies – A Breaking Bad Story

April 3, 2020

Jane Margolis looked out at the sunset and took a drag from her cigarette and then blew it into the wind. She watched the smoke disappear and just let the moment be. She stretched and put out the butt in the ashtray on the railing. She was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and the breeze momentarily made her clutch her arms. She looked down and saw once again that her track marks had healed now too. That made her smile a bit. She looked over at Detective Knight.

“I’m sorry,” Jane said. “What was the question again?”

“We’re still looking for your ex-tenant,” the Detective said. “The one who was a drug dealer. Do you remember his name yet?”

“You know what,” Jane said. “I really don’t.”

“Look, Ms. Margolis,” the Detective said. “I know that you went through a lot. You OD’d. You almost died. This guy put that shit in your hands, he nearly killed you. He’s nothing but a drug dealer.” He was obviously losing patience and Jane did not really blame him. Of course, she did not really blame anyone anymore. She was at peace.

“Detective, I chose to do heroin,” Jane said. “It was not his fault. Sure he supplied it but I made the choice. I would have made the same choice no matter who was offering. I was sick.”

“Look,” the Detective said. “This guy is out there. He’s putting drugs in the hands of people. He’s a scumbag.”

“I was going to move to New Zealand with that ‘scumbag’,” Jane said. “He was a good guy. He was better than all of that. I think he’s going to be alright eventually. I think he’s going to break free.”

“That’s really sweet and all but I’m concerned with closing off drug sources,” the Detective said.

“And I’m interested in not ratting out somebody I used to fuck,” Jane said. “I’m interested in the beauty of the universe and the spirit of creativity. I’m not interested in what you’re interested in.”

“We didn’t arrest you, Ms. Margolis,” the Detective said. “We did you a favor.”

“You didn’t arrest me because I went to the hospital,” Jane said. “You didn’t arrest me because you didn’t have anything on me. There’s no possession when it’s in my veins.”

“That’s not necessarily true, Ms. Margolis,” the Detective said. “We did you a favor.”

Jane laughed. “New Mexico has a Good Samaritan law,” she said. “It protects the person who overdosed from prosecution if somebody seeks medical assistance. I don’t know who called the ambulance but they saved me.”

“Do you think it was the guy who called?” the Detective asked. “Is that why you’re protecting him?”

“I don’t think it was him,” Jane said. “We were both lying in bed totally gone on some good, good shit. I don’t think he was even conscious. I’m surprised he didn’t overdose too.”

“What do you think happened?” the Detective asked.

“I think the universe aligned so I could finally get my shit back together,” Jane said. “I think whoever took him away, did us both a favor. He and I were toxic together. We loved each other but we did not mix. I never want to see him again and yet I do but I can’t.”

“Ms. Margolis, were you threatened?” the Detective asked. “Is that what’s happening? We can protect you.”

Walt’s face flashed before Jane’s eyes but she shook the image away. An image of Jesse slipped into her mind and she pushed that away too as if the Detective could possibly see them too. “I’m fine,” Jane said. “I’ve moved all the way out here and away from all of the bullshit. I just want to focus on my art. I want to move on.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” the Detective asked.

“I’m more than sure,” Jane said. “I’ve answered your questions. Please leave.”

“Once again, Ms. Margolis, if you think of anything, don’t hesitate to call,” the Detective said.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Jane said and then she turned to look back over the railing and lit another cigarette. She really needed to quit this too but one day at a time.

(Breaking Bad was suggested by my friend Steve on Twitter. This is the first thing that came to mind.)

Agares Be Damned – A Hellboy Story

April 1, 2020

Agent Meredith Harper had been first on the scene, there had been reports of screaming and gunshots. Headquarters had gotten wind of the situation through FBI channels and had locked things down. Local authorities were advised that everything was fine and that it had all been a false alarm. The location was an art museum after hours so there was not much worry that the public would get in the way or figure things out. Merry had been ready to scout things out herself through the power of her third eye but there was a problem. One of the amulets tied to her wrist had started to glow and float. The various amulets acted as warning signals for different kinds of supernatural threats. The red one, the one that was currently going off, was for demons.

She was trying to look casual as she waited outside of the museum for backup. She leaned against a wall and started to review demon protocols on her phone. She was pretending to be bored but she was still a newbie and she felt like she was vibrating. She hoped backup would come soon. Due to her psychic powers, there was a chance that she would have been given a job at headquarters or a field office like other seers. Such talents were often used to guide agents where they were needed most to save the most lives. However, she lacked the gift of foresight and had begged to go into the field anyway. Now she had to prove herself.

A large truck turned onto the street and pulled to the stop right in front of the museum, parking next to a fire hydrant. Merry walked over to the truck from the passenger side. She heard the driver’s side door open and heavy boots hit the payment. A seven-foot-tall, red-skinned demon with broken horns and a long coat came around the front of the truck smoking a cigar. It was the legendary Hellboy and Merry found herself blushing and blinking in surprise before she regained her composure.

“Director!” she said, a bit too loud. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Director Hellboy grinned as he stomped out his cigar on the pavement. “Well, I was in the area so I thought I’d kick some ass,” he said. “What’s your name again newbie?”

Merry was momentarily thrown off by the use of the word again. “Agent Meredith Harper, sir,” she said and saluted.

Hellboy waved his hand as if trying to waft away smoke. “Don’t call me sir and don’t salute,” he said. “People call you Merry, right?”

Merry’s eyes went wide. “Uh yes,” she said, nearly saying ‘sir’ again. “How did you… we haven’t met, right?”

“Not until now,” Hellboy said. “Liz put together a dossier of every agent on staff with pictures. I need to know who’s putting their asses on the line out there while I’m stuck with paperwork. Well, while I stick Abe with the paperwork.”

“Agents Sherman and Sapien,” Merry said. “Wow.”

Hellboy let that go. He was kind of amused by the hero-worship and at least Merry was not staring at his horns like a lot of the other newbies through the years. “Well,” he said. “Let’s do this thing.”

“Without backup?” Merry asked, surprised.

“They’ll be here soon,” Hellboy said. “They’ll seal things off. In the meantime, let me show you how it’s done.”

“Sure,” Merry said, throwing away all of the protocol that had been drilled into her during training. She followed Hellboy as he started toward the museum entrance.

“By the way,” Hellboy said. “I love your amulets. Very old school. The tech always jams up.”

“Thank you!” Merry said. “I keep saying the same thing but nobody listens.” This drew a chuckle out of Hellboy.

They made their way into the museum. Merry drew her service weapon and Hellboy drew the legendary Good Samaritan heavy pistol. Merry pried her eyes away from it and focused in. They made their way through the museum until they reached the main hall. The double doors were closed but Merry could smell the iron smell of blood coming from the room.

“I smell it too,” Hellboy growled. “This is it. You ready?”

Merry nodded although she was not entirely sure she meant it. However, she was side by side with a legend and how was she supposed to say no? Everything would be fine. While all of that was going through her head, Hellboy slammed his rocky right fist into the double doors, knocking them both off of their hinges. They moved into the room and Merry saw dead bodies everywhere and the blood she could practically taste as the smell filled her senses had painted the room. An empty frame for a painting sat on an easel in the middle of the room. In front of that was a gray-skinned male demon who growled as they approached.

“Of course,” the demon said. “My traitor cousin shows his face.”

Hellboy looked annoyed. “Cousin?” Hellboy asked. “If you were on my family tree then you fell off and rotted.”

“There are many of us, traitor,” the demon said. “My name is Agares, Duke of Hell also known as The Want of Man.”

“All I want from you,” Hellboy said. “is to go back where you came from.”

“My too-trusting followers released me from that painting where I was trapped by Merlin,” Agares said. “I won’t be going back there.”

“Then to Hell it is,” Hellboy said and leveled the Good Samaritan at the demon’s head. Merry followed suit and aimed her weapon.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” Agares asked and waved his hands.

Hellboy seemed to be reacting to something that Merry could not sense. She reached out and touched the Director’s arm and opened her third eye. She watched as out of the shadows, an old man and a gaunt man in a suit stepped out of the shadows. Merry recognized them from their portraits hanging back at headquarters.

“I know how tired you are, my son,” Trevor Broom said. “It’s time to finally rest.”

“We can take over from here,” Thomas Manning said. “We know you just want to go back to the field. We can take charge again.”

A single tear slid down Hellboy’s cheek. Merry could see that he was buying the illusion. Hellboy started to lower his weapon. She had to act. She activated her third eye again and shoved her own vision into Hellboy. She wanted to show him that he was being tricked.

“There’s nobody there, sir!” she shouted.

In an instant, Hellboy’s vision cleared and he brought Good Samaritan up again. Merry joined him in shooting at Agares whose eyes went wide. He vanished. They waited for several tense moments and Agares did not reappear.

“I told you not to call me ‘sir’,” Hellboy said after a bit.


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