The Black/White Controversy of The 2016 Oscars

This year’s Oscars are weak.  Flat out, they are weak.  Leo will probably win his first because really he is just the best of a bad situation (if that).  However, this is not what the current monstrosity is that is surrounding the prestigious film awards. Instead of the mediocre work that was produced this year, we are focused on the selection committee and their decision making process of this year’s acting nominees.

Now days the world is overly sensitive and protective. You can’t make a joke anymore without at least offending a fourth of the population, everyone thinks that every modern decision involves racial profiling, and the people who think they are fighting for their racial rights are usually the ones bringing racism into our world more and more. This has come into a sort of play in this year’s Oscars Awards Ceremony.

We have seen a predominately white cast of nominees this year and it has our overly sensitive world causing unnecessary commotion. I think a lot of people were surprised to see Will Smith not get nominated. We all know he took that role just so that he would be, and instead all we’ll remember of it was his Cool Runnings-like Jamaican bobsled accent. In the grand scheme of things, if he gave a halfway decent performance, he probably should have been nominated (but I haven’t seen the film so I can’t go too far into it).  The fact of the matter is, a committee chose what they believed to be, the best acting performances of the year. If black actors were left off the list, it’s probably because they didn’t give the year’s best performances.

Let’s put this into a scenario: This is like me arguing that not enough white basketball players get chosen to play in the NBA. I believe there are many talented white baller out there, but do I think they deserve to be in the NBA? Nope. Sure don’t. I can honestly say, black people are usually far better basketball players than white people. Or let’s say I’m not upset about the league’s amount of white players; let’s say I’m upset about the lack of white NBA MVP or all star candidates. Look guys, white people don’t get picked for MVP or All Star Games because the black players (that get picked) are better and have better performing years.

Now I am not in any way saying that white people are generally known to be better actors than black people. In no way, shape or form is that what I am saying. What I am saying is that this year, white people seem to have done better jobs at acting in major movies than black people did (at least for the top 6 selections). It is nothing to get worked up about. Rather it could be used as motivation. We are in the most culturally diverse time that has ever existed and yet we are making controversy of it at every angle.

I do believe it can be hard at times when some movies call for a predominantly white cast, but those things are changing now more than ever! I’ll leave that at that.  This photo does give people who aren’t white, a right to be a little upset though.  I think there are arguments for both sides, I just believe that we have grown to a day and age that we shouldn’t call racism at every moment there seems to be a lopsided scale.

Charlotte Rampling was quoted recently saying, “One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list,” and this made people lose their shit. She believes it is racist against white people for anyone to boycott this year’s selections and I totally agree.

I think everyone just needs to chill and realize these decisions were not made with racist intentions (hopefully).

True Detective Season 2 Review

Let’s just start by saying season 1 of True Detective won a 10 out of 10 review by me.  it was phenomenal.  In a sense, season 2 was doomed from the get go for the simple reason of the follow-up act.  It’s like if you were to do a stand up comedy routine immediately following Dave Chappelle: You’re fucked.  Maybe if season one were a bit more like Amy Schumer, then season two may have stood a better chance.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

So season two was just a whirlwind of seemingly nonsensical facts, characters, and information.  After reading an article that summed up season 2 (prior to the finale), you realized you would have needed to watch every episode 3 times in order to understand the overload of chaos going on.  There were WAY too many characters involved.  Halfway through the season I was still running to IMDB to obtain major characters first names.  Vince Vaughn’s mother in-law’s, second cousin’s sister was somehow involved and I still don’t know how.

Rather than cutting or transitioning to new scenes, we were forced to watch the overview of California highways for an accumulated absurdity of time.  I would love to see a stat on the overall time spent showing the California highway system.  It’s not a part of California people want to see.  As a matter of fact, it’s the last part.

In season one we had an actual bad guy.  A few actually.  This season, we were all lead to believe Vince Vaughn would be capturing that roll.  In my mind, I said, “Oh boy Vince.  Gear up.  You’re about to be tagged as a murderous, malicious, child abusing, inbred.”  Instead, he was that mobster you were meant to like.  In the end, I kind of enjoyed that, but I didn’t realize that until around episode 6.  I sat there for a while waiting to see when he was going to transform into a monster, and he never did.  And as I said, I liked it.  This whole article isn’t meant to be a roast.

Last season, we had the lead roles prevail in victory, while this season we saw our lead characters in constant sorrow with stories such as, being under minded and set up by their superiors, having horrible childhood stories, having blackmail on them, with wives victims of rape, and plenty more.  It just always seemed like things were never really going to be on the up and up for them.

When the plot started to unveil, we were reintroduced to such minor characters who were revealed as such major outcomes to the ending.  The set photographer (I think his name was Len), who we saw for about 15 seconds in one scene, of one episode, ended up being the reason Ray’s entire plan went to shit, eventually leading to his drawn out death.

A big part of this season’s flaw was the lack of character development.  In season one we LOVED Matthew and Woody’s characters.  Their chemistry was perfect, their backstories were discussed, and even though dark, we found ways to constantly enjoy their presence.  We never got a good understanding for our lead roles (except for Colin Farrell’s character which was enjoyed).  I think the casting was good.  I don’t think Vince Vaughn was perfect for his role.  Though I was excited for this new identity for him, I just never was really there.  By the end of the season (last couple episodes), as his apparent demise was underway, then I finally found myself rooting for him.  It’s the reason women love Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert Pattinson so much; their character development (from their recognizable roles) is spot on.  They are so in love with their women, they are so genuine, their backstories are so understood, women are forced to love them.  In a dark, dramatic series, you won’t see as lovey dovey stories, but you should have felt more connected with the stars.  That way when the failed or succeeded we felt for them more passionately.  Then again… It’s just TV.

Unlike season 1, I was never captured at an early stage.  There were no episodes that “Wow’d” me until the sex party episode.  While watching certain scenes of Season 1, I found myself so invested, so in tune with TV that I was convinced it was the best season of TV ever aired.

True Detective airs their seasons like movies.  It is essentially a mini series.  That is, with changing casts and stories from season to season, we, as viewers, get a fresh start with every passing summer.  In season two, they could’ve cheered a few people up by going to lengths that film tends to, and fast forwarding in time showing the actual arrests of the corrupt cops and government figures.  We knew they were fucked by the layout of Rachel McAdams’ character’s evidence, but still, may have brought a smidge more joy to the viewers if we actually saw the fall of these fraudulent figures.  The show tried to end on somewhat of a high note, but by then it was too late.

Season Two gets a 6.5 out of 10 rating.  I was still entertained and interested, but just had higher expectations.  If this were season 1 of a show I’d probably give it a 7 or 8, but because it had such a difficult follow up act, I stick with my rating.

Ray Donovan Review

Season 3 is now underway (3 episodes deep) and I am pretty sure I’m done with it.  Ray Donovan is a series on Showtime about a mob-type character who is essentially a “fixer” for scandalous situations from murder, affairs, kidnappings, and more.  Here’s the season by season recap.

Season 1 was entertaining.  There was action, sex appeal, a decent cast, and the show wasn’t super dark or depressing.  As I watched, I felt the show was a little too “L.A.” for me, and I live here. However, I tuned in regularly and was entertained.

Season 2 was not as entertaining, the sex appeal was still kind of there, the cast wasn’t as appealing, and the show took a darker turn, like most dramas do when the run out of ideas.  “Hmm, no ideas… Let’s have people drink, cheat and die!!”

Season 3 has made me lose interest.  We get it Showtime, Ray is this dark, bruting, alcoholic, depressive, ominous character with manic behaviors.  Would it fucking kill you to have him smile just once?  Or to throw in a laughable clip every once in a while?  It’s just a merry go round of Ray’s unhappiness, and I can’t imagine I’m the only one to think such.

I would give Ray Donovan a 6.0 out of 10 rating and the only reason it is that high, is because season 1 had me wanting more.  After watching further into the show, my rating has gone down and seasons 2 and 3 (so far) have a 4.5 rating out of 10.  It’s not as sexy anymore, it’s a bit too Hollywood and douchey, and Ray’s lack of any sort of positivity has just run its course.  The production of the show and the filming style is still appealing, however I can’t foresee the show making it past season 4, if it makes it there.  It was a fun run, and I hope the best for the show’s staff, but I think I have given up on ole’ Ray.

7 Days In Hell Review

So I kept seeing the promos for it and I figured I’d give it a shot.  HBO produced a fictional documentary focusing on the two best tennis players of the generation, played by Kit Harington and Andy Samberg, battling their personal differences as well as their tennis ones, in the longest tennis match in the history of the game.  The film had cameo appearances from big wigs like Serena Williams, John McEnroe, Lena Dunham, David Copperfield and more.  It was especially appealing because I enjoy when an actor who is generally type-casted as a drama-style actor (Kit Harington) takes up comedy.  His performance was fine, but the character that was written for him just didn’t do it for me.  I got what they were trying to do, but it just wasn’t enough.

Andy Samberg’s character was entertaining in bits, but overall I wasn’t his biggest fan.  I think they tried a bit too hard with his character and felt they needed to push the envelope to a whole new level.  SPOILER, there is a scene where he has sex on the court, with a woman at first, then a man, and then both of them.  I get the humor in it, it is definitely a modern day humor, so those with that old school mentality will most certainly hate it.

I’d have to give this short film a 4.0 rating out of 10.  The story line had potential, yet the characters were not written well.  It could have been something hysterical, but instead it was less than mediocre.  I love HBO and will continue to watch what they produce, but this one just wasn’t for me.  I wouldn’t recommend it but if you have the desire, or have seen it, please give me your thoughts.

Wayward Pines Review

I’m usually not a fan of network television, especially network dramatic television, however, Wayward Pines has me taking a second glance. This Fox drama series, starring Matthew Dillion is unlike most other dramas in a sense that it has been consistently entertaining, it pushes the envelope, and it lacks that almost necessary corniness that most other network (drama) shows contain.

Think Lost, meets Twin Peaks, meets Twilight Zone.

I had only seen television commercials of the show and not the actual trailer.  Based on the information the TV promos displayed, my general assumption of what the show were to be was this: Matthew Dillon’s character was in a horrific car crash which seemingly kills him.  He is then brought to a town called Wayward Pines, which he is told is located in Idaho, where things are not what they seem.  The people there act in strange behaviors and are enforced by law, yet we are unaware of who professes this law.  However, we know that the consequences of disobeying the law lead to extreme consequences including public execution.

My original premise of the show was that Matthew’s character, a special agent of the law, had been killed in his accident, and then sent to a symbolic form of purgatory, in Wayward Pines.  People are not able to escape this town, and are seemingly kept prisoner.  Some try and escape, while others accept their new and unique lifestyle.

Though I am only 6 episodes into the first season of this ten episode show, I am confident that it will continue to impress and entertain.  However, I see this as a show that may run out of steam after 2 or 3 seasons and will have nowhere to go but down.  That remains to be seen.  I will continue to watch and update, but as for now, I give the show a review of 8.5 out of 10 stars and feel as though I may be rounding down.  

Character development has been enjoyable and plot twists have been plenty.  I see a persistent trend in these and believe they will continue to lead up to a twist we do not see coming.  With Executive Producer, M. Night Shaymalan, you can only expect some sort of wild turn of events that may make or break the show.  So far, well done!

Trying Something New

I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my passion for film, amongst many other things.  As of lately I have found myself critiquing TV shows and movies amongst my friends and others and feel as though I could provide credible reviews for new movies, shows, etc.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting a daily review on shows and movies I have watched, and hope to give credible feedback to all interested parties.

Probably the Best Way to Conserve Water

Since moving to California, my inner hippie has emerged a bit. From my wardrobe, to my attitude, to my overall lifestyle, I am becoming a California hippie/surfer. One thing that comes along with that stereotype, is awareness for the environment.

Since I am now living in Los Angeles, California, where we are having a state-wide drought, I find myself constantly trying to preserve water as much as I can.  I participated in the usual ways that everyone is aware of such as not flushing the toilet after you pee, only run the dishwasher when it is completely full, or not letting water run unnecessarily ever (brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.). All of these are helpful, yet I feel like my most recent solution can be of major impact, and I hope that this post and/or this idea can be shared all over.

The water conserving will take place while showering.  Before the idea, let me state that showering less is the number 1 solution before this, but when you do decide to wash your stench away, here is my solution:

Most people have a very specific routine when they shower.  On days I shampoo, I will first wash my hair, then condition.  While leaving the conditioner in, I then wash my body with some sort of liquid body wash.  Here is where my solution comes into play:

While washing your body, you do not need the water to be running.  Let’s say on average it takes everyone 30 seconds to wash their body. Whether liquid soap or a bar of soap, that’s 30 seconds of unnecessary running water.  You do not need the water to be hitting your body when you are washing it.  You wouldn’t run water on your hands while applying the soap.  You put the soap on, rub it and properly spread it, and then wash.  The same should be done with the shower.  Before you begin to apply your soap, turn the water off.  Then wash and scrub your body the way you normally would.  Once you are done, then turn the water back on ad rinse appropriately.  Even though there are several moments while showering that this act could be effectively used, if you do it just once, during the time where you wash your body, and save that average 30 seconds of water, you could make a huge difference. 

My shower has very strong water pressure, so saving 30 seconds worth of water saved every time I shower adds up.

We take advantage of the luxuries we have. We need to leave this place better for our kids, grandchildren, and further future of generations.  Here’s one small step.  Coming from a newly transformed California hippie.

Something Needs to Be Done…

I know I seem like a hippie for posting something like this, but I am with John Oliver and these people.  Receiving parking tickets and seeing that your car has been towed can be some of the most frustrating things that happen in your day to day lives.  To me, parking ticket meter attendants/distributors are the lowest of the low in our country’s community.  If my Dad worked as a parking ticket administrator I would whoop his ass.  I mean it.  I’d rather people collect unemployment than watch these idiots get paid to drink beer and take out their anger by dishing out tickets for unworthy offenses.