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Pop Culture Round-Up

I watched some stuff, and here is what I think!

Halt and Catch Fire

I really wanted to love this show, as it covers the development of the early PC compatibles, which are the very first machines I used. I often think what a privilege it was to grow up during a time where I could watch the evolution of the personal computer from an awkward tadpole to high jumping adult. Being exposed to those proto-stages of MS-DOS, swapping floppy disks and managing what was in core memory allowed a transparent window into, not exactly what was going on, but at least the physiology behind it, and while watching a frog grow-up doesn't make you a biologist, it certainly does make you less surprised when it poop out dark globes of jelly.

Sadly, the show seems like something that would be created if an AMC executive walked into a writer's room with a shotgun and demanded "Madmen set in the 80s".

The pilot offers up some interesting characters, but it quickly becomes obvious that the history points of the show were developed before the characters. I found myself, a half-dozen times wondering why a character was reacting in a certain way. The answer usually came in the next episode "because they needed to hit their mark for this other thing". Puppets being abruptly dragged horizontally.

I give it 400k out of 640k. Probably not worth your time, especially if you need to still load a sound driver.

Speaking of executives demanding the cloning of popular franchises...

Guardians of the Galaxy

I saw "Avengers 1.5/Farscape Reboot" last weekend, and of course enjoyed it very much. I love that movie marketing has tricked "normals" into thinking this sort of entertainment is for their consumption. I keep waiting for people to jump out from behind a curtain, point at me, and declare that it has all been an elaborate ruse for all of the movie going public to make fun of my exact tastes. "You didn't really think they'd make a movie about a space dog living inside the hollowed out skull of a giant celestical creature floating through space, did you?"

Unlike Halt, the fact that it is the obvious result of the edict "make me an Avengers with cheaper actors", it still works because it still seems like fun, fresh, art.

That said, I feel like Avengers was in some ways funnier. Its blend of serious with humor stings generated more memorable laughs.

Which seems like an ungrateful thing to say to a movie that had me grinning for two hours that wasn't directed by Joss Whedon.

I'd argue that Guardian is not strictly science fiction, as it really isn't attempting any sort of metaphor commentary on any political, moral or societal issue. It is an action-adventure comedy in space. Which is good enough for me.

I give it 0.95 "Avengers".

Snowpiercer

Speaking of science fiction movies who use elaborate metaphors to comment on issues to close or large to comment on directly, we have the movie about a post-apocolyptic snow train!

I love this movie. It reminds me of Brazil if it had a number of well choreographed fight scenes.

I know the whole concept of the movie seems tough to swallow. It seems overly complicated. It is absolutely ridiculous, and I had misgivings going in.

But the whole point of many of the outlandish machinations are to attempt to mirror some of the similar absurdities in modern globalization. Not only does it ask some interesting questions about world-wide income and speech disparities, but its end scene asks a fundamental existential question of the entire human race.

I give points for creativity and boldness. This movie is available now on most video on demand services, and is doing very well, far outperforming its box office.

I give it four and a half protein cubes.

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