Myersvision: The Walking Dead

What happens when you consume the same piece of pop culture so many times, you peel back the layers of rotted flesh to discover hidden depths that, on first glance, you missed?

This piece by our dear Audre Myers is a beautiful illustration of that phenomenon.  That said, the series she’s reviewing—yes, as entire, decade-plus-long series—is arguably something more than mere pop culture.  It may represent a work of television art.

The late aughts and early teens of this century saw a golden age of television as an art form.  Outside the confines of a film’s ninety-or-so-minute runtime, television series have the luxury of developing characters across hundreds of hours of screen time and multiple seasons.  Narratives can explore deeper complexity.  Themes can be examined in all their glorious nuance.

I don’t want to give away Audre’s key insight about this show, but I’ll note that I think she is correct.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

With that, here is Audre’s series retrospective of The Walking Dead:

Read More »

Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #5: Back to the Future (1985)

A recent installment of Open Mic Adventures inspired this pick, which I knew would show up on my list somewhere.  I’m not sure where I intended to put it, but I knew it would be in the top five; indeed, it should probably be higher, but it’s fresh on my mind, so I’m putting it at #5.

The film is one of the enduring classics of the 1980s.  It hit theaters on my half-birthday—3 July 1985—and was ever-present during my childhood on VHS (recorded from television broadcasts, of course).  The film franchise even inspired the name of my old brass quintet, Brass to the Future.

The flick, of course, is Robert Zemeckis’s science-fiction classic Back to the Future (1985).

Read More »

Myersvision: Last Tango in Halifax

Audre Myers is perhaps my most Anglophilic contributor, probably even more Anglophilic than Ponty, and he’s actually from England!

As such, it was only a matter of time before she graced us with a delightful, tea-and-crumpety BBC dramady about rediscovering lost love in old age.

There’s something befuddlingly adorable and quintessentially English about two stodgy geezers falling in love.  Perhaps it’s the notion that we can always recapture some sliver of our misspent youths when in the throes of being in love.  Nothing quite so takes us back to the possibilities (and follies) of youth quite like tumbling head-over-heels for someone else, especially when they tumble into you, willingly and excitedly.

Two fogies canoodling also gives us some hope that it’s not too late for us after all—gulp!

With that, here is Audre’s review of Last Tango in Halifax:

Read More »

Lazy Sunday CLXXII: Myersvision, Part I

Good ol’ Audre Myers—if it weren’t for her and Ponty, I’d have to actually write something now and then!

Audre e-mailed me about a month ago asking if she could could contribute reviews of television (i.e., Netflix) series, not just films.  Naturally, I agreed—enthusiastically!

Since then, she’s been churning out these little gems on the regular, and there are more on the way.  I dubbed the series Myersvision, and this Sunday we’re looking back at the first three installments:

  • Myersvision: The Final Table” – A high-end, international cooking competition with chefs and judges at the peak of their craft?  Sounds like something I’d watch while eating a bowl of Spaghetti-Os.
  • Myersvision: Baking Impossible” – Continuing along the food themed, Audre’s second submission was a baking show that combines baking and engineering.  Might we be driving on gumdrop roads soon enough?
  • Myersvision: Blown Away” – This show sounds like it’s something The History Channel would air, but way classier—and glassier—hey-oh!

Happy Sunday—and Happy Viewing!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Ponty Pans: Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween might be over—noooooooo!—but the Halloween film franchise will never die—or End, as the latest installment claims.  If you’re like Ponty and myself, you try to watch at least the 1978 John Carpenter classic at least once a year, preferably on Halloween.

Unlike Ponty, I haven’t seen the plethora of sequels, besides—of course—Halloween II (1981) and the unusual Halloween III: Season of the Witch.  I’ve also seen the “soft reboots” since 2018, thought I haven’t seen Halloween Ends (2022) yet.

As Ponty points, I, like many others, will.  I’ll also see Halloween Ends Again or whatever comes out next.  Heck, I’ll probably see Halloween Ends Again III: Season of the Witch: The Musical, with an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, including that annoying Silver Shamrock jingle.  These franchises know how to hook in suckers like yours portly, who will never hesitate to drop a $1.25 RedBox coupon to sample some tasty trash.

But I digress.  Ponty asked to take a stab—no pun intended—at reviewing 2021’s Halloween Kills, a film I reviewed last November.  Ponty assiduously avoided my review, so it’s interesting (though not entirely surprising) that we walked away with some similar reflections on the film.  “Evil dies tonight!”—ugh.  How could anyone miss that braying mantra?

Regardless, Ponty’s review goes far deeper than my own, delivered with his own brand of acerbic and longsuffering wit.

On a lighter note, he also includes some pictures from his and Tina’s Halloween festivities.  Well done on the decorations, Tina!

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2021’s Halloween Kills:

Read More »

Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #6: Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Ponty’s list of flicks has been full of pleasant surprises, and his #6 pick is no exception.  I wasn’t expecting a dark comedy from 1944—a “farce,” as Ponty calls it.

Like his review—surprisingly succinct coming from our loquacious Ponty—I don’t have much to add.  Let’s just say I’ve always wanted to see this film, and thanks to Ponty, I can finally do that—he includes a link to the full flick on YouTube.  You can, too, and I encourage you to do so.

It also gets bonus points in my book because Boris Karloff was in the stage version, and would have been in the film if the producers hadn’t been worried about stripping the stage production of its entire leading cast.  Sorry, Boris—you deserved better!

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 1944’s Arsenic and Old Lace:

Read More »

Myersvision: Baking Impossible

This time of year seems dedicated to the sweetest of pastimes:  baking.  We all love toothsome sweets, and the triple threat of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas provides an ample casus belli for our bellies to consume large quantities of goodies.

But some take their passion for baking to another level entirely.  For those of us who view baking as popping break-and-bake cookies into the oven and setting a timer, we can’t comprehend how bakers are able to do that with sugar, flour, and water.

Baking combined with engineering is the premise for the show Audre Myers is reviewing this week.  If you want a cake with the structural integrity of an earthquake resistant building, then this series is where you’ll find it.

With that, here is Audre’s review of Baking Impossible:

Read More »

Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #6: Goodfellas (1990)

After taking last week off from movie reviews to celebrate Halloween, I’m back with my #6 pick for the best movies of all time.

Unfortunately, I’m struggling with some manner of fever-cum-sinus infection (probably not The Virus, but who even knows anymore), and after an unusual week, I fell behind on my rigorous pre-scheduling of posts.  As such, this review of a truly fantastic film may be a tad shorter than usual.  I doubt it will reach Pontian lengths, to say the least.

That said, I’m excited to write about this flick, even as I’m over here hacking up a lung.  It’s a movie that combines two of my favorite topics—mid-twentieth-century social history and gangsters—into one thrilling package.

I’m referring, of course, to Martin Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece Goodfellas.

Read More »

Myersvision: Blown Away

Reality television certainly has its low points:  randy twenty-somethings hooking up in the hot tub; grown people humiliating themselves for cash; Sanjaya on American Idol.

Despite the format’s reputation for racing to the bottom, it does work well to highlight higher pursuits.  There are so many unusual and intriguing jobs and skills out there, and there is a deep satisfaction—and profound fascination—that comes from witnessing a master practice his craft.

Such is the case with this week’s edition of Myersvision, in which regular reader and contributor Audre Myers shares with us a show about the intense, difficult, beautiful craft of glass-blowing.

With that, here is Audre Myers’s review of the Netflix series Blown Away:

Read More »