Hulu Review: Letterkenny – One of the Funniest Shows on TV

Canada has brought us a comedy show so good I have almost forgiven them for Bryan Adams.

SUMMARY

There are 5000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.

Letterkenny, Ontario is a rural town populated by a variety of subcultures. The show focuses on the Hicks: Wayne (Jared “The Next Wolverine” Keeso), his sister Katy (Michelle Mylett), his best friend Daryl (Nathan Dales), and his other best friend Squirrelly Dan (K. Trevor Wilson). Wayne and the hicks run the local produce stand and regularly scrap and drink with many of the locals, ranging from the Hockey Players Reilly and Jonesy (Dylan Playfair and Andrew Herr) to the local drug dealers Stewart and Roald (Tyler Johnston and Evan Stern) to the bartender Gail (Lisa Codrington) to fellow hicks the McMurrays (Dan Petronijevic, Melanie Scrofano, and Kamilla Kowal). Stuff happens, funny things are said and done.

Image result for letterkenny
Yes, they always stand just like this.

END SUMMARY

I could honestly have described every single episode plot of this show in depth and I would still not consider it spoiled, because the dialogue and the characters are the entire point of the show. This is one of the wittiest shows I’ve watched in a while, mostly because almost everyone in the series is enamored with the English (and occasionally French) language, playing with it as much as they can. Almost every single conversation is an exploration of puns, references, witticisms, and creative colloquialisms. They are so fond of coming up with slang terms for various things that the fan page has a literal guide to Letterkenny slang. Admittedly, some of them are just Canadian terms that an American like myself just doesn’t hear much (like the Caesar being the Great White Northern counterpart to the Bloody Mary), but the amount that the show comes up with is still prodigious.

Image result for letterkenny
An average episode has 100 puns in 22 minutes.

Part of what makes this show work is that it captures some elements of small town life that most shows just never get. Or, at least, what small towns were like before the prescription drug epidemic took over in the mid-90s. It’s notable in the show that, despite the number of drugs that some of the characters are shown doing, there basically never is a reference to oxycontin or barbiturates. Pretty much everyone is shown to be heavy-drinking, smoking, and often have used other drugs in the past, however. Basically, Letterkenny is a lot like a small US town in 1994. Local sports are a big thing, people shoot the sh*t on porches a lot, everyone has weird traditions that they work to keep up, and there are random “scraps” where two people will fight just to determine which of them is tougher. Part of the show deals with Wayne attempting to preserve his reputation as the “toughest guy in Letterkenny,” something he upholds adeptly.

Image result for letterkenny
If you grew up in a small town, you knew someone with a birthday tradition that went too far.

Another thing the show has going for it is that it isn’t afraid to try new, and sometimes random, changes to the format and characters. For example, one season features the hicks starting their own cable access show, then abandoning it when they get bored. One season features the local hockey team folding and the women’s hockey team becoming the focus. The show rarely gives much of an explanation or set-up for these things, instead just saying that’s how it’s going to be. Since the characters usually move on quickly, the audience does too.

Image result for letterkenny
And then they decided this wasn’t worth it and left. True story.

The show rewards diligent viewing by having a number of running gags, which perfectly fits it as a streaming show. One of my favorites is that the Hicks cannot just say “to be fair,” without everyone harmonizing. It’s also one of the most quotable shows out there right now and I find myself doing it frequently. 

Overall, I really just recommend this show. Like many shows, I don’t think it really started to find its stride until the second season, but the first season is still pretty good.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Netflix Mini-Review: Cannon Busters – A Fun Take on Classic Anime

An American indie comic gets animated and it’s worth a shot.

SUMMARY (SPOILER-FREE)

It’s a world of sci-fi robots and magic that is somehow also the Old West. Sam the gynoid (Hinaki Yano/Kamali Minter) and her robot mechanic partner Casey Turnbuckle (Shiori Izawa/Stephanie Sheh) seek out legendary outlaw Philly The Kid (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Kenny Blank). Together, the three journey in order to find Sam’s lost owner Prince Kelby (Junji Majima/Zeno Robinson) and get caught up with bounty hunters, international politics, some weird drunks, and the occasional nihilistic robot.

Image result for cannon busters
Two are relentlessly optimistic while the other is a scumbag.

END SUMMARY

I admit I wasn’t that interested in the series until I found out it was created by LeSean Thomas, a guy who has been associated with a number of projects I enjoy, ranging from The Boondocks to Avatar: The Legend of Korra. So, I gave it a try and it was pretty solid. I’m not going to say that it revolutionized the anime genre or anything like that, but it definitely keeps you entertained. The show is a serial, with many of the episodes leading directly into the next with nearly no filler, something that stands at odds with most anime. 

Image result for lesean thomas
He co-directed The Boondocks. ‘Nuff said.

A lot of what makes the series work is that it really does create a strange and yet compelling world through its characters and story-lines. For example, the main character is a gunslinger who drives a transforming pink Cadillac and is mystically immortal. Actually, that’s probably a good test for whether or not you’ll like this show: Does a pink Cadillac that transforms into a giant Minotaur robot when you put enough quarters into it sound like a funny idea? If so, then this show is for you. 

Image result for cannon busters
Is a hypersonic alcoholic Ronin fun? Then watch.

The fight scenes in the show have a lot of variety, incorporating guns, swords, robots, and martial arts. The humor in the show isn’t overwhelming, but it manages to lighten some of the more genocidal or nihilistic moments. The plot is pretty simple, although it does run several plot-lines simultaneously, but the correct amount of hijinks tend to ensue at any time. 

Image result for cannon busters unfettered
Extradimensional monster eating a village? Yeah, that’s a thing.

Overall, if you have an inclination towards anime, I recommend giving this a try. At 12 episodes, it’s not much of an investment.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Mini-Review – Steven Universe Future (eps. 1-10): After Happily Ever After, There’s Just More Work (Spoiler-Free)

After five seasons and a movie, Steven Universe gives us… reality?

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Steven Universe (Zach Callison), along with the Crystal Gems Garnet (Estelle), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), Pearl (Deedee Magno Hall), Lapis Lazuli (Jennifer Paz), Peridot (Shelby Rabara), and Bismuth (Uzo “Yes, Uzo Aduba” Aduba) finally dealt with the Great Diamond Authority (Patti LuPone, Lisa Hannigan, Christine Ebersole) and brought (relative) peace to the galaxy. In the movie two years later, the team managed to deal with Spinel (Sarah Stiles), a victim of Steven’s mother’s (Susan Egan) selfishness. They also founded an interstellar haven for gems that are now without purpose. And that’s where this series begins.

Image result for steven universe future
And now almost everyone is friends.

Steven and the Gems are now trying to run “Little Homeschool,” a facility for gems to learn how to deal with not being essentially slaves or soldiers under the Diamond Authority. The running of the school is tedious and often much less satisfying than fighting evil dictators was, and problems start to arise because of it.

END SUMMARY

In a lot of ways, this might be the best thing this series ever gave us, because it reminds us that there is no end to progress, it’s just a hill you keep rolling the ball up and hoping it doesn’t roll down. The Movie tried to address this idea, and did to an extent, but the show gets a lot more of the point across. There are messages about the fact that adulthood (which is what Steven has essentially hit) consists largely of responsibilities that are not the kind of fun challenges we see on television. Sure, when you fight a giant centipede there’s a chance you die, but after the fight’s over, it’s over. When you finish teaching a class of gems how to operate a bank account, then… you need to teach the next class. Unlike a genocidal war (like the Diamonds usually waged), there is no end to helping the world develop. The show is reminding us how hard doing “good” really is, something that it always tried to do in the past with empathy. 

Image result for steven universe future
Graduation is only a sign that there is another step in life. 

In addition to that very somber theme, the show deals with the reality of how trauma is usually associated with the kind of things Steven has dealt with, as well as the trauma of finding out that your parent was, in fact, not a great person. In this series, at least so far, Steven discovers that he may be inheriting some of his mother’s rage-based powers, which leads him to be afraid of expressing himself openly. We also see many of the characters fearing change, whether it be relationships ending or just evolving. 

Image result for steven universe future
We also see a very unique take on dealing with past abuse. 

The only problem so far is that they haven’t really indicated what direction the mini-series is going to go, nor how many episodes it’s going to be, but I can say that I think there’s some interesting things set-up and I really hope they pay off.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S4E17 “Spanish Fry”

Lrrr, Ruler of the Planet Omicron Persei 8, is in the market for some human horn, if you know what I mean. And you don’t.

SUMMARY

The crew goes camping at a Bigfoot reserve to Fry’s (Billy West) delight, which is mocked by Bender (John DiMaggio) and the Professor (West). That night, Fry is abducted by aliens and the next morning he is returned without a nose. They return to New New York to get a new nose, but Fry isn’t happy with anything but his old nose. The crew discover that alien poachers have been removing noses to sell them as “human horn,” an extremely expensive aphrodisiac that in all likelihood does nothing. Fry, Leela (Katey Sagal), and Bender head to the Galactic Bazaar where they find out that Fry’s nose was sold to Lrrr (Maurice LaMarche), Ruler of the Planet Omicron Persei 8. They travel there and learn that Lrrr is trying to use it to spice up his marriage to Ndnd (Tress MacNeille), but she quickly rebuffs his attempt and returns Fry’s nose. On the way out, Bender asks why they chose the human nose instead of the “wang dang doodle,” only for Lrrr to reveal that they thought noses were the human genitals. Bender corrects him, so Lrrr captures Fry and demands his “lower horn.” 

File:Humanhorn.jpg
This is so weird. 

Leela, wanting to help Fry keep his “lower horn,” points out that Lrrr and Ndnd have a lot of relationship problems that won’t be solved by an aphrodisiac. Ndnd remarks that she misses how sweet and loving Lrrr used to be, so Fry proposes a romantic dinner. If they end up happy, he gets to keep his “lower horn.” The crew tries to arrange an extremely sexy evening for the two, but everything backfires horribly. Fry is about to be harvested when Bigfoot appears. The creature delights the Omicronians, finding it adorable. The Park Ranger, Ranger Park (David Herman), arrives and attempts to tranquilize Bigfoot so that he can cut off his big feet and use it to prove Bigfoot is real. Lrrr and Ndnd defend the Bigfoot, leading Lrrr to realize that by pursuing Fry’s “lower horn,” he’s not much better than the Park Ranger. He releases Fry, Ndnd realizes that Lrrr still has a sensitive side, and they start making out, causing everyone else to flee.

END SUMMARY

I admit that I didn’t remember this episode being particularly clever when I went to re-watch it, and it’s not, but it does have a number of solid jokes, including some that most episodes of Futurama would avoid. The scene of the “Bigfoot Preserve” is hilarious, because they basically are trying to justify taking action to conserve a potentially fictional species. The style of the video is done in such a way that either opinion about the existence of Bigfoot could be potentially satisfied, which is perfect for a Government PSA. Fry proposes putting up a network of cameras to catch Bigfoot, to which Ranger Park enthusiastically says “Ah, that would be very expensive, and most people who believe in Bigfoot are broke,” which is the most realistic answer I’ve ever gotten out of a Park Ranger. I also love that Fry’s justification for loving Bigfoot is that he “was a loner who hated the popular monsters yet longed to be one.” It’s such a ridiculous speculation on many levels, but it’s also exactly the kind of projection people make onto celebrities.

File:Duraflame.JPG
This is the future that [insert some group] wants.

The plot of humans essentially being treated the same way that Rhinos are treated, in that they are killed or maimed because of a falsely perceived aphrodisiac effect, is a good idea, but I do wish they’d carried it a little further. However, it does present an inherently weird thing about eating things like Rhino Horn or Stag Heart as an aphrodisiac: Why would the non-sex parts of the animal give you a sexual advantage?

File:Humanhorn shop.png
And why trust stuff you bought at this establishment?

Overall, pretty fun episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

The running gag of Bender taking shots at Fry’s “lower horn” is both random and hilarious, much like Fry’s “lower horn.” They’re made even better by the fact that they only seem to happen at times in which Fry or his genitals are in imminent danger and that each of them is accompanied by Bender hooting wildly.

The exchanges are:

Fry: Wait! Listen. I’m usually the first guy to toot my own lower horn–

Bender: [shouting] I’ll say! [He hoots.]

Fry: But in this case I-I just don’t think it’ll do any good.

Bender: [shouting] That’s what she said! [He hoots again.]

Lrrr: [eating] Mmm! This jerked chicken is good. I think I’ll have Fry’s lower horn jerked.

Bender: [shouting] It’s used to it! [Hoots]

File:Spanish Fry.JPG
The horn harvester is not humane.

Fry: Yes! I never thought I’d escape with my doodle, but I pulled it out!

Bender: [shouting] Just like at the movie theater! [Hoots]

Lrrr: This human’s lower horn is one of God’s creatures, a living thing, and all living things, large and small–

Bender: [shouting] In this case “small”! [Hoots]

Leela: Well, Fry, it looks like you get to hold onto your lower horn.

Bender: As usual! [He hoots.] [shouting] Run away!

It’s somewhat out of character for Bender and an unusual style of humor for the show, which makes it all the better that it’s usually discussing something horrifying or dangerous. Also, I think the movie theater reference is to when Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens got caught exposing himself at an adult theater.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 70: Three Hundred Big Boys

NEXT – Episode 72: The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Mini-Review : Countdown (2019 Film) – For Everyone Who Thought Final Destination Was Too Exciting

This movie is an uninspired knock-off and I hate it.

SUMMARY (Spoilers, but who gives a crap)

There’s an app that tells you when you’re going to die, down to the second. However, even if you try to avoid your fate, it ensures that you die, because the “user agreement” specifically says that you can’t use the information to avoid your fate.

Image result for countdown film
What a normal looking loading screen for an app that does 1 single thing. 

Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) a nurse with a harassing boss, a dead mom, a somewhat estranged sister, and no personality, downloads the app after a patient tells her that it’s real and then he dies. She finds out that she’s set to die in 3 days. She tries to remove the app from her phone and meets Matt (Jordan Calloway), who conveniently has a slightly shorter countdown and is also freaked out. They go to see a priest who tells them that the app is actually a demonic curse by the demon Ozhin, who gets to torment them until their deaths because they tried to avoid their fate… by an app that Ozhin apparently created. The curse can only be broken by proving the app wrong, which Quinn does by killing herself in a way that allows her to be revived, but then there’s a sequel hook anyway because f*ck this movie.

END SUMMARY

Remember Final Destination, a film series containing a number of entertainingly elaborate deaths designed to ensure that people can’t really cheat their fate? Didn’t you wish that most of those deaths had been sudden or simple and off-screen? Then this is the movie for you. Rather than elaborate death traps, we occasionally get flashes of a demon in cameras or mirrors, but nothing he does is ever really that scary or creepy, unless the victims participate in it. Even then, that’s like 10 minutes of the movie, max. Most of the film is just people trying to figure out how to get into the phone and seeing if altering the code changes your fate. There are like 3 different pointless subplots which seem cobbled together so that the runtime could reach 90 minutes, including Quinn trying to kill her boss so that his app is wrong, because he’s a sexual harasser. I mean, I wouldn’t mourn him, but the fact that she finds out that hell is real and then plans to commit murder kind of suggests she isn’t smart. Maybe go get a blessing and baptism from the priest and enjoy eternal paradise, cuz apparently Catholicism is incidentally the correct religion?  

Image result for countdown film
The moral is to read User Agreements.

The biggest problem is the premise: The App tells you you’re going to die, but if you try to avoid it, you just get killed at the same time as you would have died if the app never existed in the first place. In other words, you’re not cheating anything or getting any benefit. Apparently, Ozhin created this just because it gives him the ability to mess with people. Not to drag them to hell or to steal their souls, just to mess with them. So a demon creates a very popular application which exposes the fact that apparently Heaven and Hell are undeniably real and that’s just to mess with a handful of people who were going to die anyway.  It’s just so damned dumb.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

VelociPastor: Cancel the Oscars, the Winner is Here

WATCH THIS MOVIE.

The Joker On The Sofa

There’s a movie about a Priest with dinosaur powers fighting ninjas and it’s everything that description would promise… and more.

SUMMARY

I’m sorry, did you need more than a PRIEST with DINOSAUR POWERS fighting NINJAS?

Look, here’s the trailer.

You’re welcome. You’re. Welcome.

For those of you who can’t watch it now, here’s the gist:

Doug Jones (Greg Cohan) is a Priest whose parents are killed by a car bomb. To deal with the hit to his faith, he heads to China, where he finds a relic that causes him to turn into a dinosaur when he’s really angry or hungry. After returning to America, he saves a hooker named Carol (Alyssa Kempinski), who convinces him to use his powers to kill evil people. It turns out that some of those people are ninjas. Also, Aurelio Voltaire is in it and I’m told that means something.

END SUMMARY

This…

View original post 911 more words

Oscar Review – Missing Link

The studio behind Kubo and the Two Strings, ParaNorman, and Coraline brings us a story of a lonely sasquatch. 

SUMMARY

 It’s 1886 and Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) is a cryptozoologist (minus the scientist part) who dreams of being in the “Society of Great Men.” He makes a bet with the head of the society, Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry), to prove the existence of the Sasquatch. Frost journeys to the Pacific Northwest and quickly finds the Bigfoot (Zach Galifianakis), who reveals he sent a letter to Frost asking for help. The Bigfoot is lonely and asks for Frost’s aid in finding more of its kind in the form of Yeti (Emma Thompson). They are aided by Frost’s ex-girlfriend Adelina (Zoe Saldana) and chased by Piggot-Dunceby’s minion Stenk (Timothy Olyphant). 

Image result for missing link film
The bigfoot is the one in the middle.

END SUMMARY

So, most of the other films by Laika, the studio that made this film, have been fairly dark in tone, whereas this movie is notably lighter. I think that might have biased me a little bit against this movie, because I was constantly waiting for the boom to be lowered. While there are quite a number of fairly dark moments, including a number of near-death scenes involving firearms, it still was overall a lighthearted film. However, despite my expectations being subverted, I did find this movie extremely charming. 

MissingLink - 1Masks
Far fewer soulless mask people.

First, the animation is exactly as great as you would expect from Laika, with so much attention to detail that I honestly don’t understand how this could have been done without driving most of the animators insane. According to the production notes, there were 110 sets alone for this movie, as well as scenes featuring rain, snow, and sand, all of which interact with the characters. Seriously, who has the dedication to make a film like this shot by shot? Laika, apparently, and it is amazingly well done.

MissingLink - 2Reflection
This is in a stop-motion film. Amazing.

Second, the movie has some good humor in it. Most of it is childish humor, but since it’s a movie for children, that tracks. Zach Galifianakis’s performance as Mr. Link the Bigfoot contains a level of innocence and yearning that somehow comes through when combined with the very elaborate visuals. Perhaps the funniest one-liners, however, come from the very disaffected and sarcastic Yeti Queen played by Emma Thompson. Several of them did have me laughing out loud. 

MissingLink - 3Yeti
She’s so sassy.

Last, while the plot is simple, the movie mostly focuses on the feelings of its main characters as they go through the adventure. We get a lot of good character moments which make them feel real to us, despite the fact that they are animated. The art style helps with this, giving everyone exaggerated features which allow us to more easily capture their feelings. Everyone has an arc, even if the arc is small or contrary to what we expect, and it allows us to feel like they were all really together on this adventure. It’s a basic tool of storytelling that Laika seems to understand completely and it helps. 

MissingLink - 4Friendship
There’s a lot of stuff about friendship and such.

Overall, solid film. I mean, it’s a kids movie and I don’t want it to win best animated film (I Lost My Body, which I’ll review soon, is better), but it’s still worth seeing if you have little ones.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.