Iron Man 3 – “It’s a limited edition”

Date: June 29, 2021

Music Video of the Day:

It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all…

Interstellar News: Yesterday my writing brain did not want to work. It’s not so great tonight, so I’m going to focus on each of the characters in the next installment in our Marvel movie marathon.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 poster with Pepper and Tony
“I’m Tony Stark. I build neat stuff, got a great girl, occasionally save the world. So why can’t I sleep?”

“You’re in a relationship with me. Everything will never be okay. But I think I can figure this out, yeah. I almost had this 20 years ago when I was drunk. I think I can get you better. That’s what I do. I fix stuff.”: After the events of Avengers Tony Stark can’t sleep and he obsessively makes new Iron Man suits. I love how we start with Stark in his younger years, when he was still the Stark we met in Iron Man. It’s a wonderful way to show how all of our actions have consequences, even if they happen over a decade later. I remain very torn about this movie, for reasons I will make clear below.

Happy gets to be more useful, but then he spends so much time in the hospital. “Yeah, a little movie called “The Party’s Over”, starring you and your junkie girlfriend, and here’s the ticket.

Maya Hansent
He’s thirteen. And no, I need your help.

Maya makes a heel turn and attempts a redemption arc, but it gets cut short by Killian. I love that the goal was to help those who have lost limbs “grow” them back, but it also shows how dangerous technology or innovation can be in the wrong hands.

Aldrich Killian
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Killian is the world’s dumbest villain. He’s trying to cover up for his mistakes and his plan is to kidnap the president so the VP will keep giving his lab money forever… that’s it? That’s your plan? What a researcher (rolls eyes dramatically). Also, why does he keep going with the plan when the Mandarin isn’t there?

Rhodey gets to do a little more. He not only gets some really excellent lines but he’s part of a lot of the action. “You… You breathe fire? Okay.

The Mandarin
But, um, hey, if you’re here to arrest me, there’s some people I’d like to roll on.

The twist with the Mandarin is excellent, and Kingsley is a national treasure who has SO MUCH FUN with the role.

Harley next to the Iron Man helmet that's badly scratched
Well, my mom already left for the diner and dad went to 7-Eleven to get scratchers. I… I guess he won, ’cause that was six years ago.

Harley, the kid, is one of my favorite characters. He starts off trying to shoot Tony with a potato gun and then he becomes the very thing Stark needs to become his old Iron Man self. I love that Stark gifts him his own lab at the end and that Harley will make an appearance in End Game. I also love the in-joke about his sister’s limited edition Dora the Explorer watch, it’s absolutely precious.

Pepper holding a badly damaged Iron Man helmet
Am I going to be okay?

Pepper gets to be in a suit, watch her world disappear, get herself kidnapped, and Hulk out. She saves Tony and gets the best comeback line of the whole show… “Who’s the hot mess now?” I absolutely love how she takes out Killian and she inspires Tony to blow up all of his suits.

Last, but not least, there’s the Iron Man himself… Tony Stark. I love how the end credits show him having a “therapy” session with Bruce Banner, who promptly explains he’s not that kind of doctor and zoned out for most of the story. It’s a wonderful way to frame the movie as flashbacks that have their own flashbacks. He deals with panic attacks, does some detective work, mechanics a bit, and eventually saves the day with a little help from his friends. One of the most heartbreaking moments is when JARVIS goes offline, but there’s enough levity throughout the rest of the movie to make up for it. I love that he decides to undergo surgery himself but I hate that he throws the arc reactor into the ocean – I mean, come on… pollution much?

All in all, it’s absolutely not the worst movie of the marathon and there are lots of goof character developments for most of the recurring cast.

TA Out!

Sports Night: The End of Season 2

Date: June 27, 2021

Season 2, Episodes 20, 21, and 22

Music Video of the Day:

“You never seem to run out of things to say…”

Interstellar News: We’re back from traveling up North! I got to see my Dad and step-mom, our dear friends in NY, my godmother, some other dear friends in NJ, and some equally dear friends in VA. Professor Zoom was the absolute best he’s ever been on a trip and got to sleep a lot in the car because we hit ALL THE TRAFFIC. Today, I did five loads of laundry and recuperated from all the driving… so it’s time to get back into writing. These are the last three episodes of Season 2 and all of Sports Night, two of which feature our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Phil Coulson.

Episode 20 – “Bells and a Siren”

Catherine and Danny in his office
Catherine: “It’s gonna be a hot place.”
Danny: “It’s in New Jersey.”
Catherine : “It’s gonna be the hot new place.”
Danny : “New Jersey’s gonna be the hot new place?”

“Red lights are gonna start going off on the computer with bells and a siren, and that means we’re all in trouble.”: Danny hires a publicist, Natalie goes on an interview at Saturday Night Live, Isaac’s grandson is a little scared of him post-stroke, and Casey tries to understand the stock market. Danny is an absolute shit to Catherine, but eventually she puts him in his place and he starts to turn a new leaf. Dana, Jeremy, Isaac and everyone else are horrible to Natalie, but she knows it’s out of love. Despite all the “head games” she kills the interview but turns them down to stay with the Sports Night family. The absolute best part of the episode, though, it when Jeremy is being snotty to Casey and it comes back to haunt him at the end when the fire alarms go off and the Continental Corp network is put up for sale.

Episode 21 – “La Forza Del Destino”

The stranger and Dana talking at the bar
“It’s three beers and a piña colada. You want a mnemonic device?”

“John Rocker’s a big honkin’ doofus.”: The crew keeps going to Anthony’s for “luck” and Dana meets a stranger, who will become very important next episode. Danny realizes he never had a secretary and he gets flowers from the mysterious “R.W.”. Natalie can’t figure out if she loves or hates Jeremy while Isaac and Dana speculate on who is going to buy them. This episode isn’t terribly exciting but it’s a wonderful setup to the finale. There’s also a good bit in there where Danny is probing Casey and it’s clear Casey isn’t moving anywhere away from his son, the son the show basically forgot most of the time and Danny doesn’t seem to remember either. I also love the bit about fast internet and coaxial cable, it’s a subject I’ve taught on in the past. There are so many good lines in this episode, like “Is it possible I got flowers from Raquel Welch?”, that I love to watch it and the next episode back to back almost always.

Episode 22 – “Quo Vadimus”

Rebecca Wells, as a blonde
Isaac, I don’t know if you heard, at 6:00 this morning there was a bid from an Italian airline called Platypus.”

“Anybody who can’t make money on Sports Night should get out of the moneymaking business.”: Calvin’s (the stranger) company buys Continental Corp, but no one knows it’s him until Dana pieces things together in the end (“I just wrote a check for $18 billion, Dana. My scouting says you don’t keep a secret so good.“). Rebecca Wells, newly and actually divorced, comes back for Danny. I love the banter between the two of them. For her, nothing has changed, but Danny’s whole demeanor is noticeably different and you can tell she hurt him really badly. This is a wonderful ending to Sports Night because it leaves it open for a third season and hope that the characters will be able to do their best once there is someone who wants them to succeed. I hate that this is all we get of the show, but every episode is wonderful in its own way… especially the snappy dialogue and the interesting characters. It was a wonderful product of the early 2000s with strong female characters, not enough diversity, and a complete lack of Luthor Sachs in the entire run. This is a show that mostly aged well and was not given nearly enough consideration.

TA Out!

Sports Night: Season 2, “April is the Cruelest Month”

Date: June 20, 2021

Season 2, Episode 19

Music Video of the Day:

I promise, this will make sense in just a minute

Interstellar News: Today was a memorial for my grandfather-in-law who passed away earlier this year. It was a wonderful service, but a very long day. Tomorrow we’re heading to New Jersey to see my Dad and several other people we haven’t seen in a long time, we’re even taking Professor Zoom! The trip is about 500 miles, so I thought the song would be appropriate.

Favorite Quote:

Dan: So, it’s Passover.

Jeremy: Yeah, I know. I’d have known anyway from being 28 and looking at a calendar, but my mother called me this morning just in case.

My mother used to call, or text me, before everyone’s birthday in the family – or special occasions like an anniversary, despite me having a perpetual calendar and digitizing all of the important dates and most of the time having already spoken to the person. Sigh, it’s a Mom thing.
The SPORTS NIGHT crew sits around at the Seder table in the conference room (candles are lit, etc.)

” ‘Cause it’s the sensitive hand of finance that always leads to prizewinning coverage.”: Dana and Isaac find out the network is cutting their budget for the Olympics, Danny and Casey try to make up, Jeremy and the crew put on a Seder complete with pageant, and Natalie is told to consider looking for work elsewhere.

Bert is played by our favorite Q actor, so this episode is totally Trek related, and the smarminess translates through to a “budget guy” very well. The writing’s on the wall when Olympic coverage is what’s pulled, but Isaac takes everything in stride and knows how to handle the network – to a degree. I absolutely love that Jeremy throws himself into the Seder pageant and kind of takes over what Danny and Will were planning, but for all the right reasons. It’s wonderful to see those who aren’t Jewish still taking part in something that clearly means a lot to their co-workers. This episode, and show, were truly ahead of their time. A non-Christian holiday with everyone participating, it’s MADNESS (that’s my sarcasm voice, by the way). In the spirit of this very holiday, Danny and Casey begin to make up and the episode ends on such a positive and hopeful note. It makes me sad thinking about the fact that there are only THREE episodes left, and there should have been a million more.

Isaac said it best: “For God then looked down at his lineup card, pointed to a kid on the bench, and said ‘Moses, you’re up!'”

TA Out!

Sports Night: Season 2, Draft Day Parts 1 and 2

Date: June 19, 2021

Season 2, Episodes 17 and 18

Music Video of the Day: Happy Juneteenth my friends!

“If you’re ever in trouble, I’ll be there in a double…”

Interstellar News: Yesterday I went to a funeral. I tried to nap when I got home and kept getting interrupted, so I was quite grumpy. My in laws are here and we have a memorial tomorrow while we also celebrate Father’s Day, so it’s going to be a weekend of ups and down.

Episode 17 – “Draft Day Part 1: Rain at Indian Wells”

green tshirt with white writing: "I survived draft day at sports night"
Natalie: “I’m saying where are the men? I’m saying what happened to the boys?”
Dana: “I’ve been telling you, Natalie, they all went off to fight Germany and Japan. Best we can do is sell war bonds and give them a dance at the USO.”

“Dana, the t-shirt says, “I survived Draft Day,” which I’ve not yet done.”: Dana and Casey bet on “the draft”, Jeremy invites Jenny to the show, and Dan has a golf date with David Duval… until it rains at Indian Wells and they have to cover more rounds of the draft. This episode it’s never clear exactly what sport is being drafted for. Methinks football, but it could be baseball, hockey, or even basketball for all the script gives away. Dana is SO EXCITED and wants to cover more rounds, a wish she gets when it rains, but Jeremy and Danny are anything but happy about the change in plans. Danny is pissed and begins acting unprofessionally while Jeremy is panicked because he invited Jenny up for when other people wouldn’t be around and now everyone will be there. It’s a great set up to the second part where all will be resolved… or will it?

Episode 18 – “Draft Day Part 2: The Fall of Ryan O’Brien”

Natalie and Jenny shake hands in front of Jeremy, who is clearly distraught
“I make up dances for cartoon characters?”

“She’s not a choreo-animator, she’s a porn star. You got a problem with that?”: Jenny comes to visit and Dan throws Casey under the bus after they fight. In the first sentence, we finally figure out that it’s the NFL draft because no other sport has “offensive linemen” and then there are a lot more hints throughout the episode. Dan and Casey fight about their partnership, their pay, and a whole lot else… Danny still reeling from not being on “the list”, and he makes a stupid comment on air. Casey rises above it in the moment but it will be something that comes into play for the next few episodes. I hate how much of a jackass Danny has become, but to be honest he’s in therapy and things get a hell of a lot worse before they get better.

Jenny comes to visit and Jeremy panics and lies about her profession. Too late he tries to make up for it, but Jenny understands he might never get there and she’s just not willing to wait around for him to maybe, eventually, possibly be okay with what she does for a living. She doesn’t want to be fixed, she just wants to be loved for who she is. I completely understand that feeling, of wondering if someone is worth the wait or thinking about what it will take for someone to accept you for who you are in that moment. Jeremy learns a hard lesson, as do Danny and Casey.

We’re in the home stretch as there are only four more episodes in this season and also, sadly, this show. I haven’t decided how I’ll divide them… so we’ll all just have to be surprised when it happens.

TA Out!

VOY: “Nightingale”

Date: June 17, 2021

Season 7, Episode 8

Music Video of the Day:

Happy Birthday Uncle Michael!

Interstellar News: Yesterday I had a migraine, so sorry about the absence from writing. Today I had a ton of meetings, did six loads of laundry, and got a workout in. I also want to wish my Uncle Michael a very happy birthday today! On the topic of birthday, me and the husband person had a blast at the Classics Track birthday panel for co-director Joe Crowe, who has a birthday tomorrow. The question of the day is: do you think Batman would consider a hot dog a sandwich?

TL;DR: Voyager is doing a major maintenance update, so they’ve landed and will resupply. Icheb is lent to engineering where he thinks Torres is hitting on him, and it gets super awkward. Kim and Seven get involved in an alien conflict and Kim’s first solo command goes seven kinds of sideways (only a partial pun intended).

Favorite Quote:

Kim: Someone died following my orders.

Seven of Nine: You can’t blame yourself for that.

Kim: A captain’s responsible for the lives of his crew.

Seven of Nine: People sometimes die on missions, despite the captain’s best efforts.

Kim: I should have stuck to playing Buster Kincaid.

Seven of Nine: A holodeck program can be turned off when it no longer suits you. Reality can’t. If you really feel responsible for this crew, you’ll help them get home, because they won’t survive without you.

Seven helping school Kim, for the second time this episode.
A nightingale on a branch
This is now how I will picture Harry Kim.

“Have you thought about applying to the Advocate General’s office? You’d make a good lawyer.”: So I love that Icheb has a knack for engineering and Torres is praising him. I also get where he’s an adolescent and could think that Torres was hitting on him, with all those Borg hormones swimming around, BUT IT WAS SO AWKWARD AND PAINFUL for the rest of us. It shouldn’t always be about sex, sometimes your crew mates really just want someone new to hang out with… especially when you’re LOST IN SPACE!

As for the Kim and Seven adventures, of course Kim believes the one side and it goes pear shaped and he doesn’t know how to actually be leader and he gets discouraged. It was a boring trajectory I saw from the beginning – and I usually don’t see the threads that early in a story. I just find not much redeeming about this story, so it gets one brownie covered in coconut cream… but that’s it, no seconds!

TA Out!