Monday, July 22, 2019

This is not a time to celebrate.

Outside of my nephew, I don't really get the chance to talk to high school kids all that much, and to be quite honest, I'm more than okay with that. 

Typically, they're either shiftless drifters or goal-oriented weirdos, inhabiting each end of the almost adult spectrum with inherent cluelessness. The slackers don't care how much they don't know while the go-getters are certain they know everything. Either way, as an adult, you're either pulling teeth to get them to talk, or pulling your hair out hoping they'll shut the f--k up. 

And even worse, is knowing that at one point in your life, you were just like them.

(and look at you now!)

While I wasn't outright slayed by Booksmart like I assumed I would be, instead this flick is the comedy equivalent of a death by a thousand cuts. Consistently hilarious (and at times, just f--king brilliant), this coming-of-age flick features amazing performances top-to-bottom, but with especially killer turns from leads Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein. And in the crowded sub-genre of end of high school flicks, Booksmart somehow raises an already high bar even higher.

Molly and Amy have seriously kicked ass in high school. Not only have they been involved in everything, they've excelled, and, when we meet them, are one day away from graduating at the top of their class. Unfortunately, all the academic perfection has come at a cost, as this dynamic duo has never f--ked up or around. But at least they got into great colleges, right? Yeah, did everyone else. 

This jarring realization leads the girls on a quest to have four years of fun in what amounts to one helluva night. Molly is looking to hook up with Nick, the handsome jock she's secretly had a crush on for years. Amy, infinitely more introverted than Molly, would be cool if she could hang with Ryan, a skater-chick she has a thing for. If only they had the address to Nick's house, where the big party is going to be held.

(by the way, we (or should I say they?) called them ragers...which sounds so f--king lame now, huh? [though I recall certain east coasters saying rippers which is surprisingly less cool, if that's possible).

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The most worthwhile path, my young friends, is seldom the easiest.

In Mrs. Well's room, it was Cars. The first one (!).
In Mrs. Montgomery's, it was Bill Nye videos.
In Mrs. Bleacher's room...well, they were still doing math (which is hysterical).
As long as summer vacation have been imminent, every teacher approaches those final glorious (/dreadful) days a bit differently. Some keep going till the end, others, like me, simply show a movie.

In Mr. Brown's room, the criteria for the movie is simple, though typically effective: show them something they haven't seen...and make sure it was released within the last sixth months ('old movies' will be met with equal parts scorn and confusion).

Even though they wanted to watch Endgame (these pirates have no respect for a film currently in theaters), I opted for screening The Kid Who Would Be King, which was, at the time, newly released on home video. I knew the whole knights and wizards angle was going to be a hard-sell for these kids, but so was actually basic human decency, so why not roll the dice? And being that only one of my 90+ students had actually seen the film (and I think all he had seen was the trailer), I was two-for-two with the aforementioned rules.

Good news, right? Well, yeah. But here's the rub: For each of my four classes, it would take three days to complete the latest film from director Joe Cornish (Attack the Block [review]). And while I'm just a social studies teacher, safe to say four times three equals an infinite amount of minutes with Gollum's son. Good thing young Louis Ashbourne Serkis is a pretty likable chap.

Young Serkis plays Alex (Like Alexander the Great, Mr. Brown? [no.]), a quiet product of a single-mum more than content to hang out and do magic with his buddy, Bedders. Shocking no one, the two goofballs (though mainly the amiable Bedders) often find themselves in the cross-hairs of the school bullies, Lance and Kaye. Alex, not long after we meet him, gets in a wee bit of trouble for fighting back. Proving once again, school administrators are the worst.

Monday, July 15, 2019

We are the infection.

If the world was ending...again...and I was told I had to get to Boston, honestly, I'd be pretty f--king stoked. And if my last breath just so happened to be in Fenway Park of all places, well, even better. Dying on that field is probably a dream I share with half of New England, in the literal sense of course, as the Sox have killed me there metaphorically countless times. But if you're telling it's really over, like I'm done-done, can I least touch the Monster one last time?

No, no. The green one.

No, no. The other green one. The one not shooting lasers out of his face.

Considering I grew up in the eighties, it's pretty much a given that I have a modest (and very much radioactive) boner for all things Godzilla. But after the one with Ferris Bueller back in '98 and the one without Godzilla [review] in 2014, frankly, I'd just about given up on the scaly, fire-breathing bastard. But when I saw the preview for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, like a screaming old woman in Tokyo, there was simply no way I could turn my back on the majestic beast. I mean, look at him. He's pretty much the coolest thing ever.

Unfortunately, this latest attempt at bringing him back to the big screen, while an improvement over the other two, still can't do the big fella justice.

Outside of the impossibly rad Godzilla-related turbulence the action brings (though at times, it's also impossible to see), this creature feature is bogged down by a different two-headed monster. On the left, is Incomprehensible Plot which while brutal, is nowhere near as deadly as the right side, where Family Drama No One Cares About resides. I'm not sure which head to should cut off first, but as the one dragged on, I started to think I should start with my own.

Friday, July 5, 2019


Saying I'm reading it might be a bit generous, but I'm currently reading/experiencing(/surviving) a book called Welcome to Night Vale. I guess it's based on a popular podcast or something, but for the most part, I absolutely hate every minute of it. It's so bizarre and illogical, I feel like I'm getting absolutely nothing out of it as I get further into it. Honestly, I could derive a better narrative perusing the newly updated terms and conditions of my Amazon Store Card. That said, regardless of how nonsensical and repetitive this novel gets, I'm going to tackle each chapter until there aren't any left.

Even if it f--king kills me.

I don't even know where to begin when discussing the latest John Wick film, Parabellum. Initially, I found the film to be absolutely f--king electric (my god, he killed f--king Boban with a book! A BOOK!), but by the end of it I was nearly comatose, rendered lifeless by the sounds of incessant gunfire and shattering glass. And when I finally trudged out into the world (and apologized to my wife, again), all I could tell myself is at least it was better than Chapter 2. Because, you know, f--k that movie.

But then I did something stupid. Really stupid. I rewatched the second film. 

And I f--king loved it.

So now I don't know what to say. Like, even more than usual. Keanu Reeves is still the coolest motherf--ker on the planet, and the third John Wick has him doing even cooler shit than before (with the help of animals, no less). But in that theater, on that night? It seemed to go on forever. I'm going to assume I'll have a much better time with Chapter 3 the second time, but for now, mark me down for Parabellum landing somewhere between f--king exhilarating and impossibly tedious. Sounds reasonable...if you're an asshole.