Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #109



TV

The X-Files Season 11 “My Struggle III” **/****

Undoubtedly The X-Files is one of the most successful TV franchise in the last 25 years. “Wait,” you say, “25 years? That’s impossible!” But it’s not, this series which debuted back in the fall of 1993 has been around so long that as of right now most people alive have never lived in a world without The X-Files. To them this series has always been around in one for or another be it via the two feature The X-Files films or the 211 episode series which kind’a wrapped up in 2002. I say “kind’a” since a six episode continuation series appeared on FOX back in 2016 and now two years later a ten episode season is currently airing there too.

The 2016 season divided viewers of the series. On the one hand, some wanted The X-Files to be setup like more modern series with a strong season-long story. On the other were people, myself included, who thought that the six-episode continuation of The X-Files was just that, a “continuation,” so why mess with success?

That being said, I thought the first episode of this latest season of The X-Files was a bit of a mess. I’m a fan of the show, watched the old series along with the new and even I was confused as to what was going on here. It seemed like the cliffhanger in the final episode last season, which had most of the planet being overcome by a sickness meant to wipe out humanity with Scully (Gillian Anderson) being abducted by aliens in the final moments of the show were a dream. Or maybe really a vision of the future that our heroes might be able to stop since Scully’s having seizures? Or were they in fact visions sent by Scully and Mulder’s (David Duchovny) son? And maybe the kid really isn’t Mulder’s son like he thinks? But maybe he is. And the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) makes a return after seemingly being killed decades ago in the series and is out to murder Mulder and Scully. Or maybe he’s really trying to protect them? Or maybe it’s all a double cross and he’s really out to murder them after all?

At the end of “My Struggle III” I was more confused as to what was all going on than when I started the episode and found myself hoping later ones, especially the “monster of the week” episodes that were so good last season, will be the ones to see.

LA to Vegas **/****

LA to Vegas is a new FOX sitcom about the lives of the crew of an airline that makes flights from LA to Las Vegas each weekend. The crew intermingles with passengers who make weekly flights with them and others who are going to Vegas for the first time. The series has an interesting mix of characters from Ronnie (Kim Matula), a flight attendant who wants out of her boring airline route and routine, pilot Dave (Dylan McDermott) who’s a bit too laid back at his job and weekly passenger Artem (Peter Stormare) who goes to Vegas to gamble and will gamble on anything that’s going on in the plane.

I think the concept of *LA to Vegas is a strong one where each episode stars the crew of the plane, the regular passengers and new passengers who cycle in and out as well. The first episode’s new passengers were a couple who’d set off to Vegas to elope, but where the boyfriend ends up coming home alone and unmarried in the end.

I enjoyed LA to Vegas but thought that the first episode, humorously the pilot episode which could be the actual title of the episode, was a little flat since every funny moment in it was already played out on the constant stream of TV spots FOX has been airing promoting this show the last few months. Also, I’m not sure if the tone of the series is quite there yet. In some cases LA to Vegas was a raunchy FX-like show, in others it wanted to be a sweet sitcom.

Still, I’m interested to see where this goes and am planning on adding LA to Vegas to my weekly TV watching schedule.

Movies

The Movie Chain #1: The Hunt for Red October (1990)

The Movie Chain is a weekly, micro-movie review where each week’s film is related to the previous week’s movie in some way. Since this is the first part I randomly decided to start with the movie The Hunt For Red October since it happened to be on TV when I thought of this idea.

The Hunt for Red October is one of my favorite movies of the 1990s. Based on the book of the same name by writer Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October became the prototypical “techno-thriller” that was very popular in that time period where the technology of the movie, here a submarine that is silent and undetectable and therefor could nuke the US without warning, is as important as the characters or story. Most of The Hunt for Red October deals with the captain of said Soviet submarine (Sean Connery). Trying to help is CIA agent Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) who has to figure out how to help him pull the defection off without a) getting everyone aboard the sub killed in the process, b) not letting the Soviets know what’s happened and, most importantly, c) not accidentally starting WWIII.

The Hunt for Red October is a movie that once it gets going never lets up right to the end. Directed by John McTiernan who was in the middle of one of the hottest streaks any director could have, coming off of Predator and then Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October was really a harbinger of movies to come that were also based on best-selling books and would be turned into hit films like Jurassic Park and The Silence of the Lambs.

Next week: MORE UNDERWATER MADNESS!

The Reading & Watch List

Cool Movie & TV Posters of the Week




At the Drive-In



I was watching the film Grindhouse the other week which is a celebration of low-rent movies that used to play in low-rent theaters. That movie is made up of two films; Planet Terror and Death Proof, shown back-to-back with faux trailers before and in-between. Since I’m of a generation who came of age after grindhouse cinemas had already start to disappear I thought to myself that I’d never actually seen a true double feature at the movies like Grindhouse is a love letter to. Then I caught myself — actually I have seen a double feature, two in fact.

The Hunt for Red OctoberWhen I was a teen there was a drive-in movie theater near the town I lived in. Before I had my driver’s license I’d hang around with some neighbor friends and would end up doing whatever it was they were doing. And a few times they’d be going to the drive-in to catch a feature so I’d end up tagging along.

That drive-in was located just east of town, off a highway in an open stretch of country. You could see the movie screen from the road and would pull off and onto a short gravel track where you’d drive up to the ticket booth. I’m not sure but I think tickets were for the carload, but I could be wrong. Regardless, after you paid you’d drive out into a field with all these posts sticking out of the ground situated in front of a large white metal movie screen. At the center of the field was a building that housed the concession stand as well as the projection booth.

Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia

We’d find a nice spot, park, get out and setup lawn chairs — I only ever remember watching from inside the car once when it rained. You could hear what was playing by a speaker attached to the pole with a long wire or via an FM station on you car’s radio. Since there were literally hundreds of posts and speakers planeted throughout the field it was a weird sort of stereo sound since the movie was playing all around you at once.

The drive-in was a social event more than anything and most teens whom would roam around car to car meeting up with friends. My guess is that if kids in my town weren’t out “cruising” city streets summer evenings they were at the drive-in back then.

The movies I remember seeing there were the spider-horror Arachnophobia, the druid-horror The Guardian, the thriller The Hunt for Red October and horror-anthology Tales from the Darkside the Movie all from 1990. Now I’m not sure as to what movies played when, but they played as a double bills.

The Guardian

The Guardian

Why did we chose to go see those movies? Easy answer — we didn’t. We saw them ‘cause that’s what was playing!

I remember sitting out in that field as the night would come on and everything would start becoming damp because of the humidity and dew. The time it rained meant that we’d scattered from our seats to the dryness of inside the car for a while until the shower passed and we went back out to finish the movie. I remember families sitting in the backs of station wagons watching the first film and leaving before the second, and that I fell asleep sometime during The Hunt for Red October and woke up just as the Soviets were attacking their own sub. And I remember heading home in the wee hours of the morning after we’d stay until the closing credits of the last movie started.

Tales from the Darkside the Movie

Tales from the Darkside the Movie

That drive-in had been open for decades before I ever went to it, but the year after I first went it closed not because of lack of business, but because a bypass was set to change the landscape around it. Nowadays, the place that used to be the drive-in is owned by a church, and a screen that once showed all the terrors b-grade movies could muster for decades now, on occasion, plays religious themed movies a few times each summer.

I only ever went to the drive-in twice but every time I cruise past it on the bypass and see the movie screen still sitting out in the field all alone I think of that summer and those movies I saw at there.




Jack Ryan, hasn’t the position of Jason Bourne already been filled?



Jack Ryan, motorcycle rider and @ss kicker

Jack Ryan, motorcycle rider and @ss kicker

After watching the trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit I have to wonder about the direction of the Jack Ryan franchise? In the previous four films, the Jack Ryan character was an everyman* who spent his days as a CIA analyst/history teacher and was not a person of action. But when Ryan was thrust into situations like trying to stop WWIII when the captain of a Soviet nuclear missile sub wanted to defect or saving British Royals from terrorists he wasn’t afraid to step up and take risks in order to do the right thing.

And I’ve always thought that’s the appeal of the Jack Ryan character; if an everyman* like him could find the courage to step up, then maybe just about anyone could step up too?

With the new Chris Pine Shadow Recruit Jack Ryan, the character has been morphed to a head-kicking ace-shot super-secret-agent who is part James Bond, Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt. In fact, watching the trailer I’m not sure there was any substantial difference between Ryan and Bond and Bourne and Hunt. They’re all just on the human side of super-human who are action first, second and last.

It seems to me that by making Ryan an action star there’s a possibility that he’ll get lost in all the clutter of those other characters who are all but alike. In fact, I was struck by just how much Pine as Ryan looked like Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in the first Mission Impossible movie. I wonder if this is intentional?

I understand that the modern movie tastes today are different than the were 20+ years ago when the Jack Ryan character was introduced in The Hunt for Red October, I just wonder if it’s tastes that should be dictating the direction of movies rather than film makers striving to deliver something different and interesting?

Besides, we already have perfectly good James Bonds and Jason Bournes and Ethan Hunts, do we really need another?

*An everyman who just happened to look like Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford or Ben Affleck.