Dumplin’

Jennifer Aniston and Danielle Macdonald in Dumplin' (2018)

Last night I watched Dumplin’. I was skimming through the lists on Netflix when this caught my eye. My girlfriend sent me a song from the soundtrack, which is provided by the great Dolly Parton, so I thought of her when I saw it and said I’d give it a watch. It was the best decision in an otherwise gloomy day.
Dumplin’ tells the story of Willowdean, played by Danielle MacDonald. She is the daughter of former beauty pageant queen Rosie Dixon (Jennifer Aniston), and there could not be more difference between the two in looks and personality. Will was much closer to her aunt Lucy who instilled in her a love of Dolly Parton. Will finds a chance to rebel against her mother and all of the skinny girls and bullies at her school by entering the same pageant her mother won all those years ago, while also honoring the memory of her late aunt.

I’m sure you can tell from my brief description above that Willowdean, Will for short, is a big girl. She acts like she doesn’t care, and for the most part she doesn’t, until it comes to her Mom and the boy she likes. She feels like he can’t possibly like her back because of her weight, despite his protests of his love. Constant fights and cold silences fill the space between her and her Mom, usually started by Will because of Rosie’s perceived problem with her daughter’s weight or her use of her childhood nickname, Dumplin’. Will fights with her best friend because of her insecurities about her weight. Elle (Odeya Rush), retorts, ‘I never thought of you as fat’.
While Dumplin’ is a celebration of Dolly Parton, her music and the inspiration she brings to people, it also conveys a message of acceptance…but not in a preachy way, thank God. We are shown that once you have a good group of friends you can gain that confidence to be accepting of yourself. Obviously, the real world is a little tougher than that. Sometimes it can be hard to even look at yourself in the mirror, no matter your size. Dumplin’ does a good job of showing the trials and tribulations it takes to get to your happy place. Even in your happy place there can be dark days. There can be very dark days. It is up to you to seek help and accept help when it is given to you. You are beautiful. I’m a ride. We’re all absolute stunners.

This movie is very emotional so from now on I am going to rate them twice. Once on what I thought of it and once more on whether you should watch it hungover.

Rating: 4.5/5. Loses a half point for not having Dolly make an appearance herself. The drag queens make up for it though.

Hangover: No. Don’t do it to yourself. Totes emosh in the last half an hour.

Happiness, Parts 1 and 2.

Happiness – Part 1 – 17th July, 2018.

Oftentimes throughout the day, whatever day it is, I’ll have brief moments of happiness, or frustration, or sadness, or whatever emotion happens to strike me at that point. A hangover could bring a certain emotion. A good meal or a coffee with a cigarette could bring another emotion. What I have been struggling with recently, is that I don’t know when I last felt a pure, raw version of an emotion. When was the last time I felt true happiness? When was the last time I felt pure joy? When was I last in a proper angry mood? When did I last cry out of true sadness? Those are tough questions to ask or answer. I think that, as adults, we tend to gloss over certain periods in our lives with one big emotional brush. A whole season or year could feel sad to us because of a certain event. I can’t remember the last time I was truly sad. That’s not great. Sure, there have been times when I’ve been drinking that I’ve felt down in the dumps. Those weren’t true emotions though. I woke up the next day after these binges and felt fine after a while.

Coincidentally, I haven’t felt pure, red anger in years. I used to reserve that anger for playing G.A.A. matches but a switch flipped one day, and I just stopped caring. Again, I’ve been angry when I’ve been drunk but that isn’t true anger. That’s an anger fueled by two many neat whiskeys and cigarettes. That’s an anger I haven’t felt sober since I was a teenager. Sometimes I miss it.

I can’t for the life of me remember when I last felt true happiness. I’ve been happy when I’ve received tips from work at Christmas. I’ve felt happy when I’ve played well in a match. I’ve been happy when I’m having the craic with the lads and when I get a few likes on my blog posts. The last time I felt true happiness must have been opening my Leaving Cert results and realizing that I did well enough to get into my chosen course. Or when I was a child. I’m not sure. Drink doesn’t bring on true happiness.

This has got me thinking about what could possibly be wrong that I haven’t felt a pure, raw emotion in some shape or form. I can’t keep going on binges. How did this turn into another fucking self-examination of me, my lack of direction, emotion and my problem with drink? I’m done with this. I’m out.

Happiness – Part 2 – 11th September, 2019

A lot can change in a year. People come and go from your life. You may leave one place behind in search of something new. You may leave a place behind in search of something old. It is all a part of your own journey and nobody can judge you or question you for what you decide to do.
A little over a year ago I wrote the above paragraphs. I saved it, exited it and went back to pretending like everything was OK. And everything was, to a certain extent. I was still having the time of my life and I was happy. I was just not totally enjoying the day to day life. I look at it now and realise I should have spoken to someone. One of the lads would have listened to me, but I did the Irish thing and kept it in. In a selfish way I’m glad I did.

I moved home with the hope of doing a Journalism masters in Dublin. As soon as I realised I would be flat broke straight away I declined the offer, opting to apply for one in Cork instead. A couple of weeks later, after accepting my offer, the coordinator told me that the course would not be going ahead. I decided I would make a go of it at home for a while. Strings of rejection letters, calls and emails from jobs followed. Each one felt like a hammer blow to the chest. I wanted to go straight back to the states. I could have been forgiven for upping sticks straight away. But something in me felt like I needed to stay.

A little over a year ago I wrote that I couldn’t remember the last time I was truly sad. Now, I know it was the time I thought I had ruined my chances with my girlfriend. I sat in the car on the way back from the airport and just sunk into the passenger seat, trying to put on a brave face and happily explain my holiday while wanting to scream inside.
Coincidentally, the last time I was truly happy was this morning when I woke up to a snapchat and message from her. Yes, lads, I’ve gone soft. And I love it. And her.

I’ve felt blood red anger on the pitch a few times this year. I wish that I stuck with it a bit more but the politics of Junior football and hurling proved too much. I’ll try leave it all behind me next year and just enjoy the game. But, the anger is back, and while it is not an emotion I wish to always have, it is nice to feel that passion once again.

I do think that I need to give up the drink for a while. Or at least stop drinking spirits. My hangovers turn into all week affairs where I question my life decisions and mistrust everybody in my life. I will try document my progress here. The same goes for junk food and eating meat. I’ll try and cut it down to where I don’t eat meat two days a week. That one will be fun.

If you’ve made it through all my ramblings, I guess I just wanted to say thanks to everybody who has been a positive influence in my life over the past few years. You helped me through some dark times even if you or I didn’t know it. To the lads in America, the friends here at home, my family and girlfriend. Thanks for putting up with me and hopefully ye will be around to see the finished product. Me, as a happy old man, fat with pizza and beer.

Hobbs and Shaw: Movie Review

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Despite dealing with shitheads daily and getting complaints about said shitheads from other paying customers hourly, the cinema has its fair share of perks. Free popcorn, free soft drinks (Oscar, mate, do you want a soft drink?) and free movies are pretty good, but my favourite has to be that we have the ability to put on movies the night before they are released to the public! Is that legal? Probably not. Should I be telling you this? Definitely not. Do I care? Not at all.
Now that I’ll be back covering the very odd supervisor shift I asked my manager, Gill, to show me how the projectors work. She showed me two years ago, she showed me again yesterday and begosh and begorrah with the way I make life choices she’ll be showing me in two years time. While we ran through Hobbs and Shaw, she skipped ahead and I decided that I must see this movie based on characters that they introduce throughout. Now, I won’t spoil who these actors are because they are hilarious and give the film some fresh faces. I will tell you what I thought of the movie and why you should definitely go see it.

Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

First of all, the film is grand. You’ll enjoy the outlandishness of the action and you’ll enjoy the comedic partnership of Dwayne Johnson (Hobbs) and Jason Statham (Shaw). You’ll cringe at the emotional bits that are shoehorned in, as well as some romantic storylines that are just, meh. You’ll laugh at some of the violence and you’ll groan at some of the dialogue. But, and this is important, you will enjoy yourself. The actors that I mentioned earlier that make special appearances will have you laughing out loud, or lolling as the kids say these days.
I, personally, had a great time. I left my brain at the door and enjoyed the two hours and fifteen minutes of carnage! Yes, it is that long. Buy a large soft drink and a small soft drink (Neen, would you like a soft drink, NEEN?!). I thought that Johnson and Statham were great together. Statham was almost as funny as he was in Spy, the hilarious comedy about desk-jockey Melissa McCarthy as she is forced to go out into the field to save the world. Watch that and watch this. The Rock has made his name as the biggest action star of the last decade, and this film is no different. He’s also hilarious, and as he says in the film, people like him. Vanessa Kirby, of The Crown fame, is great in her supporting role of Hattie Shaw. She kicks ass, literally, and is the only character with a catchphrase!

Jason Statham and Vanessa Kirby in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

The movie starts big and maintains the action and carnage all the way through. There are maybe three or four quiet scenes that aren’t interrupted by or immediately followed by a car chase, a fist fight or an all out war. It is a proper popcorn movie and one that will satisfy audiences. This means it’s loud as fuck too so that’s a blessing for me as it will mask the noise of teenagers laughing and joking in the back row. Youths!

My only problem with the movie was the fact that Idris Elba’s character, Brixton, the unstoppable half man, half machine, is barely in it. Now, I realise the movie is over two hours long and villains generally get a lot less screen time than our heroes, but I thought that this would be different due to his stature as an actor. Alas, I was wrong. I understand that the film is named Hobbs and Shaw and not Brixton, but I’m still a bit put out.

Actually, I have a much bigger problem with the finished product. Towards the end of the movie, Hobbs returns to Samoa, his homeland, where he meets all of his estranged brothers. They continually call each other ‘uso’, which is the Samoan word for ‘brother’. Now, the wrestling tag team partnership of Jey and Jimmy Uso are called the ‘Usos’. Their ring names are Jey and Jimmy Uso which means that the WWE are calling one of their most long serving pairs the ‘Brothers Brothers’, or Jey Brother and Jimmy Brother. Upon firther research, I have found, dear reader, that the Uso ‘brothers’, are strangers who were made a team for the WWE because they looked alike. Jesus H. Christ. For some reason, I feel like I have been duped. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I’ve been calling a pair of athletes the Brothers Brothers for a long long time. And that I still watch wrestling. And that I’m broke. I need to lie down.

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The Brothers Brothers

Go see Hobbs and Shaw!

Trailer Watch

Happy Wednesday, folks! Hope ye had a great weekend. I went to the zoo myself and had a look at some of the exotic, foreign animals. Then, I got the train back to the city and start my shift at Blackpool’s local zoo: The Reel Picture. Kids, shitheads and uninterested parents ran riot and gave me anxiety. Anyways, here’s my trailers to watch this week.

Zombieland 2: Doubletap

Just after the cult comedy Zombieland was released in 2009, some asshole on Youtube made a fake trailer for the second movie, fooling 15 year old me into believing a sequel was greenlit so early in the film’s life. Looking at it recently, I was a stupid 15 year old.
This film introduces a whole new cast of hilarious characters to support Colombus, Wichita, Little Rock and Tallahassee. I have a feeling that it will be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. In this metaphor, the actors are the cooks and the film is the broth. Too many actors spoiling a sequel as the original movie centered so well around four funny yet complicated characters. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

The Witcher (Netflix)

I have tried to play the Witcher 3 on PS4 about three times and the game is just so vast and expansive that I can’t commit to it. I see my future when I load up the game again and it is one in which I am sat in front of the T.V., food down my front and dribble down my chin. I can’t do it to myself. I need to be more productive. So instead, I go into the other room and do the exact same thing watching Love Island. Now I can keep up with my friends.
This trailer looks like it will appease people who have never played the game while fans probably have something to say about Henry Cavill’s clean shaven-ness. Have a look.

His Dark Materials (HBO)

I don’t know if any of you remember The Golden Compass (2007)? The movie was meant to be the first in a series based on the award winning books by Phillip Pullman. However, the critics hated it and that was the end of that. This series, staring James McEvoy (Atonement, X-Men) and Ruth Wilson (Luther), looks to remedy that and do the books justice. It looks darker, grittier, and with the addition of Lin Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins, Hamilton), it looks set to enjoy numerous musical numbers and dance routines. Joking in the last part, but I am really looking forward to seeing this when it airs in the Fall.

Trailer Watch

I had a bit of a break in the lovely land of Italy last weekend, so apologies for the lack of posts. If anyone cares. Do I even care? Yeah, I suppose. Sorry, me. No problem, man. OK, cool. Will we get on with the post? Yeah, let’s rock it.

Cats

Oh. Dear. God. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I had no idea they were making a Cats movie. I’ve never seen the musical or any adaptations of it. I know it is world famous and allegedly a work of art. However, this trailer is so terrifying that I don’t think I’ll ever go see the stage production. Have a look for yourself and keep a bottle of whiskey near by. You’ll need it.

Maverick

Tom Cruise returns as Maverick in this sequel to the 80’s classic. Cruise is almost 60 and looks unreal. Jennifer Connolly is and always will be a stone cold fox. Jon Hamm is also in there with his chiselled jaw. I might skip this movie for my self-esteem.

The King’s Man

The third installment in the Kingsman chronicles seems to be a much darker and more serious affair than the first two films. I’ll let you decide for yourself but the backdrop of World War I is a lot bleaker than cellphones causing you to go mad or drugs paralysing you. However, the cast is impressive and with Ralph Fiennes as the head of this timeline’s Kingsman, we’re definitely in for a stunningly shot movie full of outstanding performances and action scenes.

Catch me Monday for another Trailer Watch if ye want. If not, it’s happening anyways so get bloody used to it ya clems. Peace and Love.

A Moment in Time

I humbly come before you today as a mere reviewer of other people’s art. I love watching music videos, t.v. shows and movies because it is someone’s original idea brought to life on the screen. It is the culmination of their work alive in front of us. They have put some serious work into the publication of their craft and it has manifested itself into our entertainment. I review and judge and I have no work of my own that I put out there, or very little. I am afraid of judgement and rejection but I am going to overcome this.

I watched Hudson Taylor’s video for their hit song Feel it Again. The song was released last year sometime, as was the video, but I only discovered it last week. I had heard it before in bits and pieces on the radio but as soon as I heard the full thing I fell in love. I felt like a teenager again, lying on my bed singing the lyrics over and over again. I found the video today. It is a piece of art that the artists obviously enjoy and love and love to perform. Looking at the joy on their faces was something to behold. Something I strive for and struggle to go for. Something I wish to maintain in the future.

I see friends of mine happy in their jobs and happy in the art they create and it is a powerful driving force. It is not always possible to change your job and it is not easy to change your situation but your mindset is very important. It is important to believe in yourself but to also be content with where you end up. And remember, that it is not always the end of the road.
I’ve been giving out about being home and being in different jobs but I have to stop that. It is merely a stepping stone on the way to somewhere better for me.

It sometimes feels like you are stuck in time if you aren’t moving forward. Everybody else is moving onwards and upwards, leaving you in their dust without meaning to. You feel sorry for yourself. You look at their posts about work and work nights out, jealous and trudging to work at odd hours of the day. But if you keep the small things in they grow into big things and make you feel ten times worse.
It’s almost as if everyone is making their way around the clock, holding onto the hands for dear life while you are stuck in some weird sort of limbo between dawn and dusk, not moving forward or backward, just inching back and forth with no idea where to go.

Not to fear, though, because you make your own journey. You make the decisions to move or to stay, and either is fine. Not everything is defined by success or money, but as long as you are happy then that is the main thing. Create, smile, jump and hang on to the hands for dear life. It’ll be a long journey no matter what you do.

Swiped – Netlfix review

If I don’t like something I won’t review it. I won’t recommend it and I won’t watch the rest of it. But, unbeknownst to me I stumbled upon a cursed movie. A movie so bad that I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I must share it with you and implore you to watch it whenever you get the chance. You’ll laugh yourself sore.

Swiped, starring teen heartthrob Noah Centineo is the WORST movie I have ever watched. It narrowly pips The Dark is Rising (2007), a movie me and my 13-year old friends walked out of. Just to clarify, I was 13 at the time too, I just wanted to give some context. I messed up. I don’t hang out with 13 year olds.
The reason it pips that to the post of biggest piece of shit movie I’ve ever seen is because I watched the whole thing. We walked out of The Seeker and had no regrets. But this time, me and my brother couldn’t take our eyes off of this absolute trainwreck.

This teen rom-com-dram tells the story of James, a talented by socially awkward coder who starts his first year of college. His roommate is ladies man Lance who, with his two friends whose names I’ve forgotten, recruit James to create an app for them that will blow all other dating apps out of the water. The quartet become wildly successful but James doesn’t agree with the ethics so keeps his involvement quiet. He becomes even more disillusioned when he knows his Mom is using the app and deletes the data, trying to help women realise that they don’t need apps for love. They need to trust themselves.

Christian Hutcherson, Nathan Gamble, Noah Centineo, and Shelby Wulfert in Swiped (2018)
Hannah reading, which is unusual for her

I think I realised that this movie was going to be trash when James asks his love interest, Hannah, what she is reading. Now, this is just after she told him she wants him to leave her alone but he follows her down the hall, asking her about her book. Hannah finally responds and tells him that she’s reading Pride and Prejudice. “Oh, Jane Austen,” James replies with no emotion because he’s a terrible actor.
“Oh, my God, you know Jane Austen?”. He’s a fucking first year college student in North America, Hannah, yes he knows who Jane Austen is.
Now, James and Hannah are badly written characters (Hannah literally goes around reading all the time and even in scenes that she is participating in and conversing in, every time someone talks to her she rips her head out of the book with a look of vague surprise as if she wasn’t aware where she was), but the whole cast is just horrible. Noah Centineo didn’t seem bad in To All the Boys I loved Before, and I actually liked that movie but in this one, despite being the best actor, he’s still the worst somehow. Maybe its because I know he can do better. Maybe I’m just disappointed.
Also, the actor who plays James, the main character, looks exactly like an old friend from secondary school and I’d just laugh and laugh every time he came on screen. This movie didn’t stand a chance.

Kendall Ryan Sanders and Noah Centineo in Swiped (2018)

There were so many laughably bad scenes dotted throughout the movie. The extras and background actors were abysmal, but the main characters were always worse.
I’ve already mentioned Hannah’s need to read but one scene in particular had me howling. So, just after deleting all the data for the dating app, James seeks refuge in the girl’s sorority house (first mention in the entire movie that they are all in the same sorority by the way, and this is with about 20 minutes left). Hannah greets him at the door, lets him in, introduces him to all the girls and intently listens to the start of James’s speech about women empowerment. The camera pans to James for the rest of his speech, he sees the other girls nodding and then ask Hannah what she thinks. Hannah is now reading and pulls her head away from the book, as if she wasn’t aware James was talking. Its almost as if she wasn’t in the scene just before and stumbled in to the living room while being engrossed in the same Jane Austen novel from the start of the year.

Another scene that made no sense was the one in which James’ sister, who has been extremely horrible to him all movie long and most probably his entire life, says she’ll miss him a little bit when he goes back to college. She hugs him and looks lovingly at him. This is off the back of constantly telling him he has no friends and will be a loser forever. She even cuts short his mother’s goodbye to him at the start of the college year because she had a party to go to. I just don’t even know about this film.

If you want to have a bit of fun with this movie, have a look out for Hannah reading in every scene she’s in. It’s almost Waldoesque. Pause the movie and if there’s a character studying or with a book, that’s our stereotypical studious love-interest who the main character doesn’t really have a hope with but will end up with anyways.

Another gem of a scene is when Lance reveals to the world that James is the actual creator of the dating app in an attempt to do something. They never actually say what their intention is. It is very odd. I assume it is to stop him getting friendly with the girls which the guys feel they have ownership over. That must be it.
Anyways, the whole world knows that James is the master coder who created Jungle (sorry, I never mentioned the name of the app. The awfulness of this movie consumes me). James’ Computer Science teacher, upon hearing the news, whips her glasses off her face, staring into the distance, perplexed by the news. It’s phenomenal acting, akin to the scene where Chaz Palminteri drops his coffee cup as Keyser Soze limps off into the distance.

Kendall Ryan Sanders and Kristen Johnston in Swiped
Keyser Soze and Dave Kujan


Also, Lance is the biggest piece of shit in the movie but is given a redemption arc. He outs James as the creator of Jungle to destroy him and tries to force him to work for him when he doesn’t want to anymore. After trying to destroy James and never apologising for it, he decides he wants to treat one of the girls better and asks her on a date. She agrees and he immediately makes a joke about their marriage. Like, run sis, he’s gonna use and abuse you. He’s in love with Lara Jean and everyone knows it!

One thing I do feel bad about in this movie is that as the directors name came up on the screen at the very end I flipped the bird on each hand and yelled ‘F**k you Director Fishman’, and me and my brother laughed and laughed. Just then, an in memorian sign to her parents popped up on the screen and I just deflated. As shit as the movie was and as shit as the production value was, it is still someone’s work that is up on Netlfix and I should respect that.

0/10.

Stranger Things 3: Tokyo Drift

Image result for stranger things

Please forgive my title. Whenever I see a sequel or a spinoff I always try and give it the ‘Electric Boogaloo’ treatment or assign it a title from one of the many Fast & Furious Movies. It’s a disease that I will not be seeking help for because it makes me laugh every time.
Anyways, I’m here to tell you about the majesty of Stranger Things 3. I won’t lie, I wasn’t that hopeful going into this season. I mean, how many times can the demigorgon or the mind-flayer terrorise the town of Hawkins without the townsfolk or the people of America taking notice. Every year there was a new story explaining away the deaths of a significant number of members of the community. I think, then, that you’ll forgive me for not waiting with baited breath for Eleven and her comrades. I think, then, that I should hold my hand up and apologise because it was the best season yet.

This season expanded its horizons. The younger kids are growing up and pairing off while the older kids are trying to figure out what to do with their life. The danger has moved away from Hawkins lab and migrated to the Starcourt mall while it is no longer just corrupt Americans that Hopper and the gang have to fight. The Russians have found their own source to the Upside-Down and are trying to break in. It’s what will break out as a result that will be the problem.
I really enjoyed the fact that they explored the kids development and showed them as they tried to navigate relationships and girls. I didn’t care for all the smooching they showed between Mike and Eleven but that’s just me. There are several hilarious scenes between Mike and Lucas in which the latter tries to explain how girls behave when he has no clue himself. He just has a girlfriend for a few months longer than Mike.
This season delved deeper into Hopper and Joyce’s will they/won’t they charade, with comical results in the form of Murray Bauman, the eccentric man who sheltered Nancy and Jonathan in Season 2.
This season also packed some serious emotional punches. While the last two seasons seemed formulaic almost, in the fact that I knew there was no credible danger to the main cast members, this year they differed from type and really let loose with the deaths. I’ll go into detail later.
Overall, a fantastic season and one that will live long in the memories of fans. Unless, of course, you binge watched it and have forgotten most details as it all turns into one massive blur of character, plot and theatre.

Breakout

D’Acre Montgomery, known for his portrayal of Jason in Power Rangers (2017) gave a powerful performance as the tortured Billy. In Season 2 we just saw an angry young man intent on fighting with the local guys and making out with the local girls. He was a colossal douche to his little sister, Max, and was generally unlikable. He was never involved in any of the dealings with the monsters and to the best of my recollection was just used as a device to get the kids to stand up for themselves.
He arrives in season 3 as the hunky lifeguard at the pool. He is the eye candy for every single female in there, especially Mike and Nancy’s mom. He has the town of Hawkins and every female in it at his feet. Unfortunately, he is infected by the mind-flayer and used to do the monster’s dark bidding around the town. His turn as the demented destroyer that Billy evolves into is mesmerising and there seems to be no way out for Eleven and the gang. His final scene in the final episode is beautiful, yet devastating to watch. Montgomery already has plenty of credits under his acting belt but he really showed his acting chops throughout these eight episodes.

Dacre Montgomery in Stranger Things (2016)
Dacre Montgomery as Billy

Millie-Bobby Brown turned in another electric performance as Eleven, or Elle. I didn’t see her in Godzilla because I had no interest in the movie, but I heard nobody really came out of that movie looking great. However, if she goes on to other shows and features while putting in the types of performances she has while playing the pre-teen superhero, she will be one of the best actresses of her generation.
In the penultimate episode she is almost struck down and must rely on her friends to save her. Her depiction of unbearable pain and despair was so real that I almost forgot it was a t.v. show for a moment. The agony was etched onto her face and just showed that as well as being the best character in the show, bar Hopper, she is the best performer.

Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things (2016)
Millie Bobby Brown and Sadie Sink as Eleven and Max

Final Goodbye?

I told ye that I would go into detail about the emotional punches that are landed on your heart and soul throughout this season. It was tough guys. It was like Game of Thrones Season 3 when most of the Starks die. Except a bit more lighthearted throughout the rest of the show and not all doom and gloom.
In the final episode, as the final battle with the shadow monster rages on elsewhere, Joyce and Hopper have a chance to end it once and for all. Due to Russians and other unforeseen circumstances, Hopper gets caught on the wrong side of an explosion that will close the gap between worlds forever. Our Dad-bod hero is gone and it seems like there is no way back for David Harbour in the show. It wasn’t his death that got me, although that was devastating; it was his final look at Joyce and into the camera and the emotion that he showed. As his eyes welled up a chill went up my spine and I realised that Hopper had no way out. He would finally give his all to save Eleven, Hawkins and Joyce.
Now, there is a cut scene at the end which shows a prisoner being sacrificed to one of the demidogs from season 2. The scene is set in Russia in a military compound and as the guards approach a certain cell that is blocked from view, they say, “No, not the American.” Certain speculation has gone up online in which the ‘American’ could be Hopper who was somehow rescued from the blast or miraculously survived.
If the Police Chief is to return in the next season, he would have to be changed somehow by the blast and would not be himself. It could be a totally different American but for the moment we have to believe that Harbour will return for another outing as chain smoking legend Jim Hopper.

Winona Ryder and David Harbour in Stranger Things (2016)
Winona Ryder and David Harbour as Joyce and Hopper

What Next?

Will, Jonathan and Joyce are moving away from Hawkins and Elle is going with them. The rest of the gang are staying put. How will the story be played out next time? We know there is a creature in Russia used to eat prisoners and that that creature will most likely facilitate the spread of the monsters again.
Despite the explosion and the inference that the portal to the Upside Down is gone forever, we get no verbal confirmation that this has happened.
Where did the Russians get the demidog?
Will Elle get her powers back? Does she even want them back? She has a chance at a proper normal life now. Well, as normal as being psychologically tortured up until her teens, not getting a chance to know her mother and losing the only caring father she ever knew can be.
Will Mike grow out of being a shithead teenager? Pressing questions indeed.

Verdict

A solid 8/10 for this season. Loses a few marks for all the smooching I was subjected to and that we didn’t get to see more of Wheeler’s mom in a swimsuit. I am but a man.

Trailer Watch – Disney Edition

The world of the cinema is awash with remakes and sequels, and this week’s Trailer Watch is no different. Disney, long the proprietor of heartwarming, animated tales, has now become a relentless machine intent on remaking every single one into a live-action blockbuster. So, naturally, here is three trailers recently released by the corporation.

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Mulan (teaser)

The latest in Disney’s attempts to keep their finger in the pie is the remake of the 1998 animated hit, Mulan. The trailer dropped Sunday to millions of views and a clear indication of how well the film will do when it is released.
However, die-hard Disneyites (new knickname I’m trying out for all you Disneyites out there) would do well to read the description for the video on Youtube. This movie is based on the 6th century poem, the Ballad of Mulan. While the animated version is dear to many of us, this one will take a different direction; one more true to the original ballad and more sensitive to Chinese culture and history. I, for one, cannot wait for Spring 2020 and can’t wait to see Yifei Liu as Mulan kick ass.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

I was pleasantly surprised when Maleficent (2014) turned out to be a rather good movie. I wasn’t convinced that a villain’s origin story would be appealing as a Disney movie but it was dark, hopeful and filled with enough emotion that I thought it worked very well.
The trailer for the sequel dropped yesterday and it looks fantastic. More family drama looks in store for Maleficent and Aurora when the young princess is sought out for marriage. Michelle Pfeiffer plays a definite villain judging by her glances to the distance as a plan forms behind those wonderful eyes.
There is a twist in the tale as the trailer gives away pretty much the whole story. But I won’t. So have a look.

Frozen II

2 Frozen 2 Feckin’ Cold will be released towards the end of this year. Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff will reprise their roles in the sequel to the 2013 smash hit which drove parents crazy. This time around Anna, Else, Kristoff and Sven head off to save Arendelle and the world while discovering the origins of Elsa’s powers. Stay strong, Moms and Dads. Stay strong.



Hashtag Pogbout

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Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and Angel Gomes

Paul Labile Pogba looks set to leave Manchester United for the second time. His second spell at the club was almost as underwhelming as his first. This time, at least, he featured in the majority of the games played across all competitions. This time, however, he under-performed in most. I can only remember a handful of standout moments for the creative midfielder in his three years at the club; his stunning header against Leicester in the 4-1 rout at Old Trafford; his rising half volley against Swansea; and his pin-point pass against Tottenham in the F.A. Cup earlier this year. There were many more moments where he rose above the other members of the squad, which his stats speak for, but the 80 million price tag deserved more. The fans deserved more. And we didn’t get what we deserved.

I do believe that Pogba has gotten his unfair share of criticism over the course of the season. Each player was ripped apart week after week on Twitter but Pogba was targeted for horrendous abuse. His demeanour on the pitch didn’t help his case and his alleged involvement in the sacking of Mourinho didn’t go down too well with some of the Mourinho diehards on social media. He didn’t deserve all of the abuse he was getting and one could be forgiven for feeling sympathy for him. However, the feelings of good will have well and truly dried up.

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Ed Woodward and Avram Glazer

I was one of those that despaired while watching him play but also realised that he was not the only one at fault. He was constantly creating chances and spreading the play, but with Lukaku and Rashford unable to hit a barn door between them, Alexis and Lingard unable to keep the ball between them and a defense and goalkeeper leaking goals, it was never going to be enough. Last season we needed a Roy Keane or a Brian Robson to defend, attack, score and lead all at once. It is clear that Pogba is not that type of player, at least not for United.
I was happy enough a few weeks ago for Pogba to stay. Ole knows he’s a fantastic player and it would make footballing sense to build a team around him. That will never happen with snakes and clowns running the club but a man can dream. After hearing the star’s comments in Tokyo and his agent compounding the message yesterday, it is time for Pogba to get out.

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Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

No amount of star power and talent can rise above the name Manchester United. Pogba and his cancerous agent can’t disrespect one of the greatest clubs in the history of football. It is a sign of the post-Ferguson times that there have been numerous players, former players and former managers badmouthing the club while in and out of contract. Lukaku and Pogba have expressed desire to leave the club in the past few months. Both have underperformed and underwhelmed in the past year and both are probably going to get big paydays in the near future. Di Maria and Falcao massively underperformed while with United under the tutelage of Van Gaal. Di Maria has badmouthed the club in public. Falcao criticised Van Gaal on the pitch. Van Gaal has badmouthed the club to the press.
I think we all know that this is down to the Glazer’s ownership and Ed Woodward’s transfers. It is also down to the poor performance of the squad. While I don’t think that the fans should despair over a few poor seasons I know that Twitter will go into meltdown if this season pans out like last season. The ideal outcome would be that the Glazers will sell and get their poisonous ilk out of the club. The only realistic solution to Pogba’s arrogance and disrespect is for him to leave the club. The only realistic outcome will be that as the tweet I saw earlier said, the transfer will be drawn out until it is too late to source an actual replacement for a midfielder that promised so much yet delivered so little.

I for one am really looking forward to signing Pogba again in 2024 after he has won the Champions League with Real Madrid for the third time.