Monday, March 16, 2020

You belong in your own private cage.

I don't know if this counts in true nerdom, but I'm way more of a general nerd than one of those a-holes who goes all in on something. I walk into the [overly-elaborate] (costume) party, dap up as many factions as I can, finish my Bai, and keep it movin'. Sam, Frodo, it's been too long. Oh, shit, looking good, Harry - hey, have you seen Ron? Maybe I'm not going home with anyone, but I'm still going to have a good night.

But you hardcore types, honestly? I'm jealous. While I'm shaking hands and admiring the costume you made yourself, you not only know all the same people I know, but are more than comfortable with fiercely ramming your tongue down the throat and dry-humping the shit out of a film series or TV show both proudly and publicly. You think I'm being condescending, but I'm not bullshitting you in the least: I f--king love people who know their shit. And even better?

When you don't see it coming.

If you met my brother Bryan on the street, you'd think he's a (mostly) normal late 40s guy. Hard-working blue collar dude, with a nice house, a big truck, a lovely wife and and an even lovelier daughter (my niece, weirdos). But if you somehow veered the subject to movies (away from New England sports or the pH levels of drinking water), you'd probably find out he's a fan of the Terminator films - a f--king massive one. And when he gets going on the's beyond impressive. And absolutely hysterical.

With a random day off and having the house to myself, I decided to crank up my new soundbar (f--k off, it's the best audio setup I've ever had) and blast the shit out of Terminator: Dark Fate. Had I not been thinking of the conversation I will inevitably have with my older brother (with a dash of Arnold-related anticipation), I think I would have been moderately crushed with this latest sequel. It's not terrible...but could have been so much better.

While we all know time-travel flicks shit all over anything related to a coherent understanding of reality as we know it, the Terminator franchise, at this point (at it's final point?), has totally set the bar for wait, when the f--k did this happen? Maybe if they make a Back to the Future sequel where an elderly Marty McFly runs over a young Emmett Brown with his DeLorean, there will be some conversation, but for now, if you want to a f--ked up timeline, have I got a mostly-human killing machine for you.

In a shocking turn of events, Dark Fate opens with a jarringly realistic Sarah and John Connor looking just as we left them in 1991 (though it's now 1998). They are in some sort of tropical paradise, umbrella drinks and such, when out of nowhere an OG T-800 shows up and finally does its f--king job. John is dead, but the fact they used an older model years later. It's kind of like Apple re-releasing the original iPod, but I guess Robert Patrick was...busy?

My wife, getting out of the car at Target this week.
(for future reference [assuming there is a future]: my wife kind of looks like Linda Hamilton)
Cut to the future, or, well, the present, and it turns out Cyberdine never existed at all. Good news, right? Anyway you look at it, no. No, it's not. Instead of a nefarious tech firm reverse engineering cool shit from the arm of an exoskeleton, the future is ruled by some AI program called Legion, and it's now their turn at sending murderous f--kers back to protect their future selves.

Admittedly, the new tech is pretty cool, with the new Terminator having some amazing features, and our Kyle Reese character is now a badass soldier named Grace. But even with these supposed upgrades, and the inclusion of a grizzled Linda Hamilton (and the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger) I think...we've seen...that movie...too-ooo-ooo. 

Speaking of the familiar and (for most of you) nonsensical, here are the Yays and Boos. They too have traveled back in time to do some damage on unsuspecting contributors to the future (that's you, genius). Or they would have. When they showed up naked in the Raiden's finishing move, they couldn't find anybody who wore the same size clothes, so they've disguised themselves as old men 'slowly getting dressed' at the gym. Maybe you've seen them before?

Things have really gotten aggressive at Dunder Mifflin.
  • Maybe I need to see it again, but that beginning looked ridiculously convincing. Was that unused b-roll or something? Goodness.
  • Taco, you adorable, and hopefully invincible little pup. 
  • Wait, the new guy can just make his own clothes? Wow. Who knew machines have manners.
  • However you end up feeling about Dark Fate is fine with me, good or bad, but the action sequences are indisputably top-shelf. That opener in the factory? F--k me. And then it spills out into a full-on chase sequence? Impressive. Bonus points are awarded for the fact that no one stopped working. Some six-foot tall blonde is kicking the shit out of a security guard? Just another day on the line, apparently.
  • My sound system isn't really all that impressive, I know, but this f--king movie was a wild ride sonically. What a mix!
  • It was in the trailer, and it should have been, but Sarah Connor rolling up, blowing the shit out a Terminator and dropping the I'll be back line on us is f--king magical. 
  • I will (quietly) admit that some of it is cringe-y, but seeing Arnold back as an aged T-800 made me feel something I hadn't felt in a long time. (this feeling is joy by the way, because I'm a miserable prick)
  • Of all the names, he went with Carl. CARL.
  • Also, this is Texas.
  • Even if it gets indecipherable at times, the whole fight-during-a-plane-crash sequence was f--king bananas. 
  • And finally, while I know it all ends up amounting to not much (at least during the first watch), there is something to be said about getting the band back together for one more go. I actually like Rise of the Machines (yeah, I'm that guy), and am somewhat bummed that that flick is undone here, but good riddance to Salvation and Genisys, but if that's what it took for Dark Fate to exist, I guess I'm all for it.
This rebar will leave you, wait for it, fubar.
I'll show myself out, thanks.
  • I don't remember them all, but I'm fairly confident in a highway gets that award for worst drop zone ever. 
  • Aw, that pharmacist guy was so nice  (and they were such dicks to him).
  • Hold on, placing your phone in a f--king potato chip bag is enough to go off the grid? Can we get one big enough to put John Connor/Dani in?
  • Grace flashes the future...and we see what she did to save Dani. This is fine...I guess. But future Dani is absolutely ridiculous. She's got mud on face. And braids. That's how we know it's the future.
  • Their fate can be dark, fine, but trust me, half of this film could really use some proper f--king lighting. I have no idea what was happening on top of that train. 
  • In fact, someone asks What's happening? during the Hummer drop scene and I thought EXCELLENT QUESTION.
  • I don't even remember what her point was, but I do remember she made it by cutting a fly in half
  • Okay, for the thirty-plus years there have been many things in this franchise that might have made one or two of you out there roll your eyes. But here? In Dark Fate? The T-800 has assimilated into society and even settled down with a woman and her daughter. And they've never been intimate. Dude, I'd f--k Arnold. But this lady ain't even curious...
  • For a drape-selling, johnson-less goofball, Carl curiously has a lot of guns in his shed. His very well-lit shed, I might add (seriously, there are a lot of weird similarities to the last Rambo flick).
  • Linda Hamilton might be back, but a script that allows her to do anything but curse like an edgy fifth grader is not. 
  • Good thing all roads lead to a giant turbine, right? It's not like I wanted to climactic battle to take place in a Trader Joe's, but this boss stage is just south of your typical Mortal Kombat level.
  • And finally, there's an odd throwback to the original films that has Dani and Sarah returning to a park to watch children play. You know, kids, the's all very deep. But what's really the best/worst thing ever, is the fact that they are both leaning on ye ol' chain link fence and you know they totally had to install it. Like the rest of the film, it's a nice nod to the past, but yeah, it's also totally effing ridiculous.
I haven't had the chance to see my brother since my grandmother's funeral, so I have no idea whether or not he liked Terminator: Dark Fate. My guess is that he didn't, which usually means he absolutely did. Maybe I'll update this post when the next time I see him.

In the meantime, what about you? What franchise do you know everything about? For a lot of my students it's stuff like Dragonball Z and Naruto (which I did that they dig, you know?). Sometimes I ask them about it and let them drop crazy wisdom on me, but we just got two weeks off from school for the coronavirus...and to be honest?

I didn't see that coming.


  1. I left this movie wondering what the point was because killing John Connor just ain't it.

    As for franchises I feel I know "everything" about, probably Harry Potter. Even though JK Rowling keeps retroactively ruining parts of it.

    1. Agreed. Killing off John was stupid (even though it looked pretty cool). There are probably a million ways they could have gone...*sigh*

      The world of Harry is soooooo immense, I'm sure you're a, wait for it, f--king wizard with Potter knowledge. I'm a bit of a light-weight with HP. Read each book once or twice, caught everything other than Goblet...which is weird.

      Oh, J.K. She's a bit...much.

  2. oh my God why do they keep making these? They are just forgettable flops time and time again and they still persist. I don't know whether that repetition is admirable or pathetic at that point

    1. I'm not sure, Margaret, but at this rate, they'll probably never stop. If I live to a hundred, I'll still go to my grave convinced the Terminator is a kick-ass idea, you know? But it does seem pretty f--king clear, two or three times was enough. I think this is the sixth one and even I want to tap out...

      ...but I know I won't.