So what was popular in May? The most views this month has been Sandra Ulrich Almazan's guest post about Shakespeare. Second was Box Office Blitz 18, wherein I added more fabulous prizes to the mix. And third was my rant about annoying corporations. Incidentally Comcast could not have screwed up my move anymore than they did. They cut off my phone on the wrong date, transferred service to the wrong address, and lost the appointment for when they were supposed to install an outlet in the bedroom. That's like a perfect storm of incompetence.
Here's a rundown of stuff I've watched since the last recap. I've noticed people only seem to talk about the first one, so I'll put my favorite one first.
Shuffle: This is one of those really low-budget indie movies you sometimes find on Netflix. It's kind of like "Slaughterhouse-V" meets "The Time Traveler's Wife" with some "Memento" and "Groundhog Day" mixed in. Basically this guy named Lovell wakes up every day at a different point in his life. He might be 92 or 29 or 9 or whatever. He can't remember who he is or anything, so he has to piece things together with clues he learns everyday. Eventually he realizes his childhood friend and later wife is dead and tries to figure out why. I really enjoyed it all up until the end. It's one of those that ends too happily, to the point I started to wonder if it was a Mormon commercial on the importance of family or something. Anyway it's only like 80 minutes long, so it's a good quick movie if you like your romance with a little sci-fi or your sci-fi with a little romance.
Alter Egos: This is another really low-budget indie movie on Netflix. It involves a couple of superheroes who are in the Hamptons at some little motel out of season, supposedly to transfer a prisoner. Fridge, so named because he has ice powers, is having an identity crisis to the point he thinks his girlfriend is cheating on him with his secret identity Brendan. Things get more confusing for him when he meets the hot chick running the motel. At the same time there's a plot concerning the mysterious prisoner and that the superheroes have lost their government funding since they've captured all the supervillains. It's a fun movie, even if the superhero costumes look worse than pretty much any cosplay you'd see at ComiCon. And speaking of superheroes...
Alphas: I think I had ample notice this existed since they probably advertised it 15,000 times during a Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy. Anyway, it's a fun show about essentially a bargain basement X-Men-type team. Their headquarters is an ordinary office building, they wear their regular clothes, and they ride around in a minivan. But they essentially do the same thing as the X-Men in using their powers like enhanced senses/strength, mind control, etc. to stop evildoers, in particular another group of "alphas" known as Red Flag. The Professor X-type guy is played by David Straitharn, who you might remember from the third Bourne movie, "Goodnight & Good Luck," and "A League of Their Own" among others; I'm a little bummed he's down to doing a show on Syfy now. It's a good show and I'm sure the next time I watch a Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy they'll be advertising Season 2...which I'll still probably forget to watch until it's on Netflix.
Fringe: I watched a few episodes of this and it's OK. The problem is I usually watch Netflix during meals and there seems to be a lot of gross stuff going on in every episode, so it's not great for my digestion.
Portlandia: I hadn't realized this was a sketch show. It's kind of funny, but after a few episodes it all gets to be the same. Suffice it to say there are a lot of hippies in Portland (Oregon). Supposedly. I have never been there to confirm that.
Children's Hospital: Recently Adult Swim began to add its shows on Netflix, which was great because I could finally watch "Robot Chicken" on Netflix. Except so far it's only the first season of each show. (Though in this case it's more like two seasons as the first "season" was compiled from web shorts.) Anyway, I'd watched a few episodes of Children's Hospital late at night when I couldn't sleep and didn't remember Robot Chicken doesn't air on Thursdays. Like Portlandia it's kind of funny, but it can be sort of spotty. Ironically Rob Corddry created the show and yet he's the one I like the least of the characters. Maybe because clowns are creepy. Or maybe it's that his character is supposed to be the one who isn't funny because he's always trying to be funny to use the "healing power of laughter." Anyway, since each episode is only 10-11 minutes I watched them over breakfast in the morning instead of hearing the top stories and weather for three more times on the local news.
Lay the Favorite: This was like a slightly less dumb "Showgirls" only with gambling instead of stripping. Bruce Willis cashes another paycheck as a veteran gambler whom a naive girl gets a crush on when she starts to work for his bookie operation. Vince Vaughn is more annoying than usual as a rival bookie. Catherine Zeta-Jones was completely unrecognizable as Bruce Willis' jealous wife. That guy from "Fringe" and "Dawson's Creek" shows up as a rival for the naive girl's affections. I guess it was based on a true story, though like "Pain and Gain" it probably didn't stick too close to the material. I was never sure if the girl was supposed to be some kind of "Rain Man" type idiot savant or just an idiot.
Pawn: Another of those B+ movies I got free from Amazon to review featuring Michael Chiklis, Ray Liotta, and Forest Whitaker, who dies in the first 20 minutes. You can read my review here. I'm still not sure why Michael Chiklis is playing a British guy robbing a Russian diner in Hartford, CT. At first when he started to talk in the accent I was wondering if maybe that was part of a clever scheme to conceal his identity, like maybe so the people in the diner would tell the cops it was a fat bald British guy and if anyone pulled him over he could talk American and be cleared. Such was not the case. So, I'm confuzzed. Since Chiklis produced the movie, maybe he just thought it sounded cool and decided to do it.