Futurama Fridays: The Final Rankings

Well, it’s finally done. After more than 3 years of doing this, I have reviewed every episode of Futurama. All that’s left is to do the ridiculous and rank them. Rather than doing a literal ranking, I’m just going to divide them into tiers, the same way I did for Firefly.

From the bottom to the top:

F (6 episodes):

That’s Lobstertainment; The Duh-Vinci Code; That Darn Katz; The Futurama Holiday Spectacular; T.: The Terrestrial

Not even Kwanzaabot could save this episode.

These episodes are not good. These are probably the only ones that I would legitimately have skipped if I had a choice on this re-watch. They’re not funny, they’re not insightful, and they are barely memorable. 

D (15):

The Cryonic Woman; The Route of All Evil; Spanish Fry; Bend Her; Lrreconcilable Ndndifferences; Yo Leela Leela; Cold Warriors; A Farewell to Arms; Decision 3012; The Thief of Baghead; 31st Century Fox; Calculon 2.0; Assie Come Home; The Honking; The Silence of the Clamps

The porno-dealing monster’s business practices are worth a bump.

These are not bad episodes of television and mostly have some entertainment, but they are not what you want when you watch Futurama. Some of these would be F, but they have one joke that works really well. Others just aren’t up to the usual standard I hold for Futurama.

C (33): 

A Big Piece of Garbage; When Aliens Attack; Put Your Head on My Shoulders; The Problem with Popplers; Mother’s Day; Bendless Love; Insane in the Mainframe; The Beast with A Billion Backs; I Dated a Robot; Love and Rocket; Crimes of the Hot; Teenage Mutant Leela’s Hurdles; Bender’s Game; Rebirth; In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela; The Mutants are Revolting; Proposition Infinity; Law and Oracle; All the Presidents’ Heads; Mobius Dick; Fry am the Egg Man; Zapp Dingbat; The Bots and the Bees; The Six Million Dollar Mon; Near-Death Wish; Viva Mars Vegas; Simpsorama; Murder on the Planet Express; Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television; The Butterjunk Effect; A Clone of My Own; The Deep South; The Inhuman Torch

The one with the funny name for a whale.

These are the baseline for Futurama. They have good jokes and solid writing, or at the very least mediocre writing and one hilarious joke, and they will keep you entertained. They’re not exceptional, but they will give you a good time. I’ll admit, many of them just don’t age well, and that’s what caused them to be down here. 

B (34):

Space Pilot 3000; The Series Has Landed; I, Roommate; My Three Suns; A Flight to Remember; Mars University; A Head in the Polls; Xmas Story; Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love; Raging Bender; Bender Gets Made; Anthology of Interest I; War is the H-Word; Amazon Women in the Mood; The Day the Earth Stood Stupid; The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz; The Cyber House Rules; A Tale of Two Santas; Where the Buggalo Roam; A Leela of Her Own; A Taste of Freedom; Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch; The Sting; Bender’s Big Score; Into the Wild Green Yonder; Neutopia; Attack of the Killer App; Benderama; The Tip of the Zoidberg; Fun on a Bun; Naturama; Forty Percent Leadbelly; Saturday Morning Fun Pit; Leela and the Genestalk

Yep, this one is above average.

If you do the math, this is actually the largest category. Somehow the majority of Futurama episodes are above average. I know I might be a bit biased, but that’s just the nature of this series: It was, for the most part, better than the average show. Even adjusted for the internal scale, I just had to say it often exceeded even what I would have expected.

A (26):

Love’s Labours Lost in Space; Fear of a Bot Planet; A Fishful of Dollars; Hell is Other Robots; I Second that Emotion; Brannigan, Begin Again; A Bicyclops Built for Two; Parasites Lost; Bendin’ in the Wind; Roswell that Ends Well; Anthology of Interest II; A Pharaoh to Remember; The 30% Iron Chef; Where No Fan has Gone Before; Less than Hero; The Why of Fry; Obsoletely Fabulous; The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings; A Clockwork Origin; Ghost in the Machines; Overclockwise; Reincarnation; Free Will Hunting; 2-D Blacktop; Fry and Leela’s Big Fling; Stench and Stenchibility

Remember, Scooty Puff Jr. sucks.

These are the really good episodes. These are the ones with fun concepts and great writing that represent exactly how well setting a show in the future can relate to our real lives. They’re fantastic to watch and rewatch and they seem like they’ll age well in the future. 

S (16): 

Fry and the Slurm Factory; The Lesser of Two Evils; How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back; The Luck of the Fryrish; Time Keeps on Slippin’; Leela’s Homeworld; Godfellas; Future Stock; Jurassic Bark; The Farnsworth Parabox; Three Hundred Big Boys; Lethal Inspection; The Late Philip J. Fry; The Prisoner of Benda; Game of Tones; Meanwhile;

This episode was a masterpiece, my good chum.

These aren’t just great episodes of Futurama, these are great episodes of television. Some of these should be considered art; others should inspire deep philosophical discourse. A few are just so damned funny that they will make me laugh no matter how much I’ve seen them. The fact that there are more than one of these for every ten episodes of the show should tell you exactly how great this series was. 

LAST THOUGHTS

This has been a big part of my life for several years and I can’t help but tear up a little now that it’s over. I want to thank all of you who read these, whoever you are. You have helped me keep going at this and sometimes that’s helped me keep going in general. It’s a gift to have motivation in the darker times.

Well, for the last time,

See you around, Meatbags.

Batman: Soul of the Dragon: Or, Batman with a Kick – Amazon Review

The answer to: “What if you combined Batman and Enter the Dragon?”

SUMMARY

Richard Dragon (Mark Dacascos) is a super spy who trained previously with Bruce Wayne (David Giuntoli) in his youth under the powerful O-Sensei (James “Lo Pan” Hong). Richard discovers that the leader of the terrorist group Kobra, Jeffrey Burr (Josh Keaton), has acquired a mystical gate which previously belonged to O-Sensei. He recruits Bruce Wayne and their fellow students Lady Shiva (Kelly Hu) and Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) to help take down Burr and his chief assassin Schlagenfaust (Robin Atkin Downes) by breaking into his island fortress.

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is Batman.

END SUMMARY

Considering that Bruce Lee actually appeared on the 1960s Batman show, I am blown away that no one has thought to combine a Bruce Lee-style Martial Arts movie with a Batman movie. I mean, a lot of Batman films have martial arts and fight scenes, but the style is completely different. It’s even crazier that it hasn’t happened when you realize that all of the characters featured in this film are recurring characters in the comics and even some other media. The biggest change is that Richard Dragon, who is usually white, is very blatantly redesigned to be Bruce Lee, but other than that most of the characters match their traditional designs. It does help that Bronze Tiger is played by Michael Jai White, whose “Black Dynamite” character is at least partially based on Jim Kelly. 

O-Sensei almost always looks like this, but that’s what old Martial Arts masters look like.

The film actually contains a number of references to the film Enter the Dragon, including having a number of flashbacks to explain everyone’s motivations, making O-Sensei more closely resemble Bruce Lee’s mentor from the film, having Richard Dragon avoid a fight by tricking his opponent similar to how he does in the movie, and even having a pretty strong reference to the Bob Wall fight (down to the bottle). Granted, in order to make some of these moments work, Batman is shown to be a lot more tolerant of his compatriots committing murder than in most incarnations. Ultimately, though, the film’s plot has no real resemblance to anything I’ve seen before, which is for the best. It’s nice to have an original story. 

I do love the 1970s style on everything, too.

Overall, if you are a fan of Batman, old-school martial arts films, or both, this is actually a pretty solid film for you. Check it out. 

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.

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Mank: Hollywood Loves Its Own Stories – Oscar Netflix Review

The story of the screenplay for the greatest American movie ever made.

SUMMARY

It’s 1940 and Herman J. “Mank” Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) is recuperating from a broken leg when he is asked to write a screenplay for a film by Orson Welles (Tom Burke). Mank dictates the story of a newspaper magnate named Charles Foster Kane to his secretary Rita Alexander (Lily Collins). Periodically, the story cuts back to the 1930s when Mank and his brother Joe (Tom Pelphrey) were working for Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard) of MGM fame and Mank became an acquaintance of William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance) and his mistress Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried). While they start off as friends, Hearst’s actions, particularly towards Upton Sinclair (Bill Nye) and other liberal platforms, and Mank’s alcoholism lead to a slow and painful separation between the two and eventually to Mank writing a screenplay based on Hearst.

There’s a lot of suits and pointing.

END SUMMARY

Hollywood loves stories about Hollywood, particularly during one of their “golden ages.” This story is probably the peak of that, since it’s almost entirely about the inner workings of MGM during the 1930s and about the events that led to the writing of Citizen Kane, a film that consistently ranks as being among the best ever made. I’m going to be frank, I think that it’s only because of this self-obsession Hollywood has that this movie was nominated for Best Picture. Even in a year with relatively few releases like 2020, this still should not have been considered in competition for the best movie of the year. Particularly when things like Hamilton and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and even Soul were not given such an honor. 

I think people liked the Sorkin-esque walk-and-talks.

That’s not to say this isn’t a bad movie, but most of it feels like it’s based on gimmicks. The film is shot in black-and-white and the sound is edited so that it seems like it was made in 1940, just like Citizen Kane. A lot of people have the fake “Mid-Atlantic” accent that was so popular at the time for actors, even when they’re not acting. The flashbacks in the film are structured similarly to the film Citizen Kane, a thing which even the movie acknowledges can be hard to follow. They try to make up for it by having a number of titles on-screen which describe the time period and location, but I actually think that addition is an admission that they couldn’t figure out how to convey the passage of time without them. 

No, being the period where “everyone wore hats” does not clarify it.

The performances, though, are amazing. Naturally, Gary Oldman does a great job portraying Herman Mankiewicz, a man frequently stated to be one of the funniest men in the motion picture industry in the 1930s. He’s witty at all times, but deeply flawed, mostly by his alcoholism and his mistreatment of his wife. Amanda Seyfried gives a lot of depth to Marion Davies by making her more observant and smarter than she lets on, something that is probably more accurate than most of her portrayals as a drunk and a golddigger. Charles Dance, who can play a bad guy better than almost any living actor, really just lets the historical Hearst’s dickishness and pettiness seep through and do a lot of the heavy lifting until the third act, in which he takes it up a level. 

Remember when she was the ditz in Mean Girls? God, Amanda Seyfried is talented.

Overall, it’s a well-performed movie, but I think it would be considered mediocre if it weren’t for Hollywood’s lust for its own history.

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.

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Thunder Force: Good Idea, Terrible Execution – Netflix Review

This movie has some amazing parts, but mostly mediocrity.

SUMMARY

In 1983, a mysterious beam from outer space gave superpowers to random people, but only those who were genetically predisposed to sociopathy. These people are dubbed Miscreants. In the present, Lydia Berman (Melissa McCarthy) is the former best friend of billionaire geneticist Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer). When meeting with Emily for their high-school reunion, Lydia accidentally gets injected with Emily’s newest creation, a serum that can give normal people super strength. Emily, meanwhile, has given herself invisibility. Together with their advisor Allie (Melissa Leo) and Emily’s daughter Tracy (Taylor Mosby), the two become the superhero duo Thunder Force. They’re out to fight against the forces of the Miscreants Crab (Jason Bateman) and Laser (Pom Klementieff), led by their boss The King (Bobby Cannavale). 

Surprisingly little is made of the fact that Octavia Spencer is a supergenius.

END SUMMARY

So, this marks the fifth movie in which Melissa McCarthy has been directed by her husband Ben Falcone. Almost all of those movies have been mediocre and relied too much on awkward humor, strange metaphor breaks, and hoping that McCarthy’s unbelievable charisma can power through the low periods (to her credit, she almost can). Unfortunately, the movies, while they often contain a number of very funny scenes, usually don’t seem to hold up when viewed as a whole. This is no exception to that. About 20 minutes of this movie is fall-down-laughing funny. The rest of it ranges from mildly amusing to a complete whiff. 

There’s a running gag about unwashed suits and it sucks.

The best parts of this movie, hands down, are the scenes with Jason Bateman. It’s not even because of Bateman himself as much as how well he and Melissa McCarthy play off of each other. They’re both doing the same kind of subdued awkward humor, really almost anti-humor, and they both do it so well that it becomes absolutely hilarious. The fact that one is a superhero and one is a supervillain only makes it that much better. Some other good scenes are when McCarthy and Spencer are really just being themselves and palling around as opposed to trying to be superheroes. The scenes of Melissa McCarthy fighting are actually pretty great, because they make her a physical powerhouse despite her not looking like a traditional superheroine (a thing that is already ridiculous because superpowers don’t require you to actually be ripped to be strong).

He’s half-crab, which makes him lethal to people with shellfish allergies.

The pacing in the film is not great, but the forced stupidity of the characters is probably its greatest weakness. The film exaggerates and drags out the “training” and origin story phases, but doesn’t do anything particularly original or entertaining with them, beyond a few small laughs. The villain is brought in and proceeds to be the absolute dumbest human being imaginable and somehow the heroes take almost no reasonable steps to stop him. Despite apparently being a secret mastermind at first (which would make his villainy a twist if the trailer didn’t feature it), The King actually walks in and tells the heroes his plan. AFTER THEY FOIL A SINGLE ROBBERY OF A MINI-MART. They don’t even have a reason to suspect that there IS a boss of supervillains. He then states that no one would believe them if they tried to go to the police. Except, they’re superheroes that don’t wear masks, make public appearances, and Emily is a billionaire and a public figure already. They have a LOT of credibility. Even if the police didn’t believe them, they should still have reported him and they could easily have just testified to the public that The King is a criminal. Instead, both sides just keep tossing the idiot ball back and forth so that the plot doesn’t get resolved until the end.

Also, Thunder Force is terrible at arresting people.

Overall, it’s almost worth watching for the 20 minutes of amazing comedy, but the rest of the film is hard to get through at points. 

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.

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Them (Covenant): Racism is Still Bad, But Also Spooky – Amazon Prime Review

Amazon brings us a tale of a black family being tormented in the 1950s.

SUMMARY

Black couple Henry and Livia “Lucky” Emory (Ashley Thomas and Deborah Ayorinde) move with their daughters Ruby and Gracie (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Melody Hurd) to the white neighborhood of East Compton in Los Angeles. Immediately, they are set upon by their white neighbors, particularly the local queen bee Betty Wendell (Alison Pill). While at first the Emorys are just tormented by the racism, harassment, and degradation from their fellow East Compton residents, it soon becomes apparent that there is something more unnatural at play. Over ten days, the Emorys are slowly driven to the edge of madness and maybe even beyond.

The calm before the storm.

END SUMMARY

Does everyone remember Lovecraft Country? How about the movie US? I think before people condemn this show for being a rip-off version of those, it’s important to note that this show was actually put into production before those came out. It’s supposed to be an anthology by season, similar to American Horror Story. Unfortunately, due to the length of production (also Covid), this show came out after US (which it would probably not have been compared to directly aside from the title) and after Lovecraft Country (to which it cannot help but be directly compared due to the subject matter and the time period). Naturally, this show wouldn’t need to worry about that if it was better than either of those properties, but it decidedly is not. While Lovecraft Country ties racism directly into the origins of science-fiction and cosmic horror through the works of noted racist H.P. Lovecraft, this show instead just kind of throws out “people are racist here, so now magic?” ***SPOILER*** It doesn’t help that one of the final reveals kind of suggests that the racism in the neighborhood might be related to an unholy covenant from the 1800s, which means that some of the neighbors’ actions might not have been their fault? That kind of undercuts some of the events. ***SPOILER-END***

And, of course, the disturbing imagery abounds.

The main thing that seems to be mentioned repeatedly in reviews of this show is how over-the-top the violence gets and that’s a fair complaint. While I’m not against violence in television, particularly if it’s done to give the viewer an accurate image of historical violence, this show ends up taking it to a deeply uncomfortable level without it adding anything to the message. I did see some people commenting that the acts done to drive out the Emorys at the beginning of the show seemed too extreme to be believable, to which I would say that no, those are all things that were actually done to drive out black people from white neighborhoods and I think making sure people understand that is important. It’s the supernatural violence and the exploitative way the later episodes handled it that neither entertain nor keep the story going.

They have not had a nice week.

The performances in the show are well done, particularly Deborah Ayorinde as Lucky, a woman who has just lost one child and is now thrust into a situation that threatens her other children. She has to play a person who is constantly being pushed more than someone can handle and yet knows that if she shows it she’ll be condemned even more. Alison Pill, on the other hand, plays a character who doesn’t do most of the violent acts in the show but is still almost certainly the most despicable. 

She does a great job of soulless cheer.

Overall, the show was good at the beginning but really starts to get too much towards the end. 

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.

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What Lies Below: Creepy and Not in a Good Way – Netflix Review

A teenage girl meets her mom’s new boyfriend and he’s not right.

SUMMARY

Liberty “Libby” Wells (Ema Horvath) returns home from Summer camp and learns that her mom, Michelle (Mena Suvari), has gotten a new boyfriend. The new guy, a biologist focused on marine life named John (Trey Tucker), seems to be nice at first, as well as extremely ripped. However, as Libby and John spend more time together, she slowly starts to notice that he is extremely unusual. Aside from his supposed “sleepwalking,” he also spends a lot of time in his secret lab and appears to be creepily stalking Libby. Also, the sex that he and Michelle have appear to be having negative effects on her… as well as featuring sounds that are extremely loud and strange, even for sex noises. What is John’s secret?

It’s not P90x, for the record.

END SUMMARY 

Here’s the non-spoiler review of this film: It’s creepy. Not in a “oh, this guy has something wrong with him and it might be a sign of evil” way, but in a “he sniffs clothes that get a teenage girl’s period blood on them” kind of way. Yes, that’s an actual thing that happens fairly early in the movie and it’s actually MORE unpleasant in context. The fact that Libby and John, who, again, is loudly having sex with her mother every night, keep seeming to be almost flirting has an (I assume intentional) pedophilic vibe that does not necessarily help the actual horror parts of the film. It doesn’t help that Libby is clearly so young she doesn’t have a learner’s permit and just took her PSATs so I think she’s either 15 or just turned 16. If that kind of thing doesn’t bother you, then I imagine the movie will be more effective as a horror movie on you, but it was something I could not get over while watching.

Horrifying, but not the horror I wanted.

Here’s the spoiler version: The final twist of this movie is pretty damned disturbing. It turns out that John is, in fact, an inhuman (possibly alien) amphibious creature (not really a merman). Also, there are a bunch of him and I think they’re each designed to be a different kind of “attractive.” His goal appears to be to impregnate human women in order to propagate his species which is likely to survive the new world created by global warming destroying natural habitats. He inseminates Michelle, who gives birth to a bunch of mutants, then, just as Michelle and Libby seem to be getting away, he catches up to them and captures them. Libby awakens in an underwater tank and appears to now be able to breathe underwater. The final shot shows that she is one of many women in tanks and she appears to smile before the camera cuts to black. I think it’s supposed to indicate she’s happy she’s not drowning, but maybe she’s looking forward to a life of birthing fish mutants for John. 

He’s completely dry like 2 minutes later. Fishman powers don’t explain that.

Seriously, this movie is not great. I get that Trey Tucker is hot and shirtless, but all of the sexuality in this film is deeply uncomfortable. The horror aspects aren’t particularly scary and the “twist” ending is foreshadowed so hard that they could have done a Romeo and Juliet-style Prologue and it wouldn’t have changed the level of surprise. The only thing that catches you off guard is that the bad guy wins, and that’s not super pleasant.

Spaceship? Underwater prison? I dunno.

Overall, I would say skip it, or stop it like 20 minutes in so that you get all of the ripped guy and Mina Suvari talking dirty but without the creepy kid obsession.

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.

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Minari: The American Dream… in Korean – Oscar Amazon Review

A story of a family coming to rural Arkansas in the 80s trying to chase a dream.

SUMMARY

The Korean immigrant Yi family moves from California to a plot of land in Arkansas in order to let the patriarch, Jacob (Steven Yeun), fulfill his plans to get wealthy growing Korean vegetables. He’s assisted by an eccentric local man named Paul (Will Patton). Jacob’s wife, Monica (Han Ye-ri), is not particularly enthusiastic, but the pair take jobs as chicken sexers (people who sort chickens by gender) to make ends meet. In order to have someone to look over their young children David and Anne (Alan Kim and Noel Kate Cho), they bring Monica’s mother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) from South Korea. She takes the children to plant some Minari (Japanese Parsley), but despite the extra help, Jacob and Monica’s marriage starts to pay the price for his actions. 

It’s set in Arkansas… but they filmed in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

END SUMMARY

This movie’s plot is not particularly original, to say the least. It’s a story you’ve seen a thousand times, a family moving for a new opportunity and having to adjust to the surroundings and the stress that it puts on them, but the plot is not the point of the film. The movie is an intimate picture of a family that is going through this time and with the added alienation that comes from being immigrants (particularly Korean immigrants with a number of Korean War veterans still being active in the area). The reason why this one stands out is because it’s so well-performed and well-written that you almost completely lose yourself in their lives. None of these people seem like caricatures or stock characters and almost all of the dialogue feels natural (albeit most of it is in Korean). What’s amazing is that so many of the characters are so outlandish, particularly Soon-ja and Paul, but if you’ve lived in a rural community you will absolutely have met these people at some point. 

You’ve met this old lady if you lived in a farm town. She’s hilarious and doesn’t give a f*ck what you think.

I suppose there’s always going to be a discussion about what constitutes “the American Dream,” but I think most people agree that it’s generally considered to be moving yourself upwards socioeconomically through your own hard work. This film is a fairly accurate picture of the reality of trying to do something like that. While Jacob has definitely found a niche market that he can take advantage of, it’s not as easy as he envisioned it and it requires sacrifice not only on his part but also on the part of his loved ones, a sacrifice that they did not want to make to begin with. It is also pretty interesting that, in order to pursue his dream of no longer being a chicken sexer, he has to… be a chicken sexer for less money while also farming. That’s why this part often gets skipped over in the success stories.

The part where digging a hole is hellish work, for example.

The actual minari in the story is probably the least subtle metaphor imaginable. Minari is strong, resilient, and prosperous, as long as you plant it in the right place. Fortunately, despite being the title, the film actually mercifully devotes very little time to it. This is an example of how well-crafted the movie is. Every element gets the attention it needs, but isn’t over saturated. It’s like farming: You need to water the crops and at the right time, but too much and everything dies. 

Behold a metaphor.

Overall, this movie is beautiful, touching, and deserves all of the acclaim it gets. It’s not a movie with a huge agenda other than to tell a story that feels true (because it’s based on the writer’s childhood), but it definitely gets some points across.

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 – Simpsons Crossover “Simpsorama”

Matt Groening brought back the crew for one last adventure.

SUMMARY

The episode begins like most Simpsons intros, but with the couch gag involving Hedonismbot (Maurice LaMarche), which is awesome. At Springfield Elementary School, Bart Simpson (Nancy Cartwright) has forgotten to bring an item for a time capsule. Instead, he blows his nose on a sandwich and puts it inside. Later that night, the Simpsons hear something falling from the sky and a sound of someone drinking in the basement. Homer (Dan Castellaneta) goes down to investigate with Bart, only to find the person drinking their beer is none other than Bender B. Rodriguez (John DiMaggio). Homer takes Bender to meet the locals at Moe’s Tavern (Hank Azaria). Bender and Homer quickly bond over alcohol and bowling. Bart and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) try to figure out Bender’s purpose, only for him to reveal that he has forgotten. They take him to Professor Frink, who figures out that Bender was sent back in time to kill Homer Simpson. 

Bender’s compartment of murder mystery.

Bender refuses to kill Homer due to their friendship and receives a call from Leela (Katey Sagal) in the future. Bender lies and says Homer has been killed, but Leela, surrounded by mutant rabbit creatures, reveals that she knows he’s lying as the monsters would not exist otherwise. Fry and the Professor (Billy West) encourage Bender to kill Homer before journeying back with Leela to kill Homer, who survives thanks to Bender. The crew meet Marge (Julie Kavner) while Professor Farnsworth and Professor Frink figure out that the DNA that caused the rabbits was actually Bart’s. Bart reveals that his snot mixed with toxic waste and also touched a rabbit’s foot in the capsule. They try to dig up the capsule but are opposed by Groundskeeper Willie and sucked through the time portal to 3014, leaving Bender and Maggie in the past. 

Bart bunnies are destroying the future. God, what a weird phrase.

In the future, the creatures now resemble Bart, leading Homer to strangle some of them. Lisa and the Professor come up with a plan to shoot the creatures into space. They lure the Bart monsters into Madison Cube Garden by claiming it has Butterfinger bars, then flinging the cube into space. Fry and Homer somehow reactivate the portal and the Simpsons return home where Bender shuts himself down for 1000 years. In the future, the creatures land on Omicron Persei 8, where Lrrr and NdNd are joined by Kang and Kodos.

END SUMMARY

The phrase “this is so non-canon it hurts” comes to mind. In both The Simpsons and Futurama, each show has referred to the other as being fictional. Both shows’ creator Matt Groening even showed up in The Simpsons as the creator of Futurama and in Futurama as the creator of the Simpsons. In the first actual crossover in Futurama comics, the Simpsons were brought to life from a comic book, because they were firmly established as two universes. But, screw all that, we’re just here to have fun and that’s fine.

Bless you, kind sir.

This episode works best when it’s Homer and Bender goofing around and kind of realizing that they’re very very similar characters both in terms of personality and actually in character design. Matt Groening has admitted at a few points that he isn’t the greatest artist so when he finds a character design that he likes, he often just modifies that one rather than create a new one. When the two are together, they’re like two peas in a very odd pod. However, I’ll admit the effect starts to wear off a bit quickly, so it’s a good thing that they split them up during the third act to give us a number of scenes with other pairings. I also appreciate how many cameos the episode manages to cram in. 

Zoidberg only gets like one line, though. Bullsh*t.

Overall, this is a pretty solid crossover episode for the two properties. My one complaint is that this was in 2014, which was only a year after Futurama stopped airing. It wasn’t quite enough time for us to really be craving that return.

FAVORITE JOKE

Bender is at a racetrack and he picks a horse named “Bender’s Bounty.” However, he mentions that his memory banks say that the horse died during the race, something that Bender refuses to believe. He then shoots the horse when it starts running behind, thus fulfilling the record that the horse died during the race. I love when you have an internally consistent time-travel event and this is one of the funnier ones. 

Close second.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 128: Meanwhile

NEXT – Episode 130: Futurama Episode Rankings

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Dota: Dragon’s Blood: Just Enjoy the Stabbing – Netflix Review

We get an adaptation of the official sequel to the fan mod of Warcraft III.

SUMMARY

Davion (Yuri Lowenthal) is a Dragon Knight (a guy who kills dragons) who discovers that a demon named Terrorblade (JB Blanc) is apparently also killing dragons for a nefarious purpose. Unfortunately, while he might have been able to ignore that normally, Davion finds himself bound to an elderwyrm named Slyrack (Tony Todd). He also encounters the elf princess Mirana (Lara Pulver) and her companion Marci who are on a quest to recover the lotuses stolen from the moon goddess Selemene (Alex Wilton Regan) by roguish elf Fymryn (Freya Tingley). Now Davion must work to get the dragon out of his body while Mirana and Marci work to return the lotuses to their home.

Davion’s the one with the big sword.

END SUMMARY

Okay, so I played Warcraft III, but I didn’t play DotA (I’m not a big fan of things like “other humans” when I’m playing video games) or its sequel, which is what this show is actually adapting. Having watched people play it a few times, I’m aware that there really isn’t much in the way of story, instead just having a modest backstory for each of the characters. I think the problem with trying to adapt something like that is that when you write backstory, you don’t necessarily have to worry about how the characters interacted before or how their stories intertwined. You can just go with “this is Meepo, he likes rocks and can clone himself” or “this is Rattletrap, he has a robot suit.” When you actually have to set up the world these characters come from, it starts to lack cohesion, and I think that’s sort of what happened with this show. A lot of the plot seems to kind of drift around more than you want and has more seemingly disconnected points than it should.

This is a fake moon goddess, which is a more interesting story than what we get.

Not that there aren’t some great points to this series. The action sequences generally look pretty cool, as do most of the character designs. The writing isn’t bad, at least as far as dialogue goes. It’s not something I’m going to submit for an Emmy, but some of the lines do at least make me laugh when they’re supposed to. A few of the characters, like Luna (Kari Wahlgren), a genocidal leader of Selemene’s army, actually have some solid development despite relatively little screen time. Davion and Mirana, who are the focus of many of the scenes, have some great chemistry as well. On the whole, though, it just ended up being kind of messy. 

I’m sure the lotuses will be more important to people who played the games.

The biggest problem, though, is that nothing in this show really feels new. I imagine it’s because DotA characters really were mostly just archetypes, but almost all of them seem generic, as do the subplots. The concept of elves being discriminated against has been in a ton of series, the crapsack world take on the fantasy genre is a description of half of Netflix’s original shows, and, honestly, even the designs of the world seem like they were taken from a handful of sources (then again, so was Warcraft). 

Oh, there’s an old version of the main character who’s better than him? Never heard of that before…

Overall, it’s not a bad show and it definitely has room to grow, but I’m guessing if you didn’t play the games, this won’t give you the nostalgia rush that it needs to feel worthwhile. 

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.

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Scare Me: An Awesome Anthology Without the Segments – Shudder Review

A great horror comedy about two writers in a cabin.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Fred (Josh Ruben) is an aspiring writer and struggling actor. He rents a cabin to focus on writing, being driven to the cabin by fellow aspiring writer Bettina (Rebecca Drysdale). Getting stuck with writer’s block, he goes for a run and meets injured jogger Fanny (Aya Cash). It turns out that Fanny is the author of a very popular horror novel. Initially dismissive of Fred, when the power goes out on the mountain, Fanny comes over and the two start to drink. Fanny challenges Fred to a contest of telling scary stories that the two come up with on the spot. They’re briefly joined by friendly pizza guy Carlo (Chris Redd), but the night may end up being scarier than anticipated.

Yes, her shirt has the “got ’em” game hand on it.

END SUMMARY

As I have said before (including last Sunday), I tend to really like horror anthologies. Horror stories are often best when they’re broken down into short segments and it often gives directors their first chance to be in a feature, since many anthologies are made up of multiple films stitched loosely together. One of the most common framing devices is that of people telling each other scary stories, because it allows for a lot of variety in the horror and is a thing that many people enjoy in real life. This film is not that, but is also almost exactly that. In a twist that would not work if writer-director (and Collegehumor alum) Josh Ruben and Aya Cash were not so damned talented, this film does not cut away from the main characters to help us visualize the tales. Instead, we actually watch two very gifted performers act out the stories as they, often collaboratively, come up with them. 

Josh Ruben is great at the exaggerated movements.

In order to make the scenario really work, the two are given some fairly decent character development. Much more than you’d expect from a horror film. Fred is instantly unhappy about Fanny deriding him about not being a real writer, but she constantly proves that she is much more talented than he is. She treats horror as a way to address real social issues through metaphor, while Fred is more focused on spectacle than substance. Throughout the movie, he’s caught up trying to impress her and get her approval, but also can’t take real criticism of his inherent biases and simple ideas. At the same time, when they’re adding to each others’ stories, they seem to really get into it and almost display a bond that goes beyond the fact that they’ve known each other for a day. They come off as genuine people. 

Aya Cash is the Worst, in the best way.

I will add that putting Chris Redd in the film for the end of the second act was brilliant. He’s a breath of fresh air just as the story is starting to get a little stagnant and it pays off. It helps that the characters also decide this is the perfect time to get high and that all of them are really, really good at playing coked out of their mind. It gives the comedy a big kick up which sets the stage for the darker third act. 

Chris Redd on cocaine is… very similar to Chris Redd on SNL

Overall, I really enjoyed the hell out of this movie. It’s such an interesting take on an old premise that showcases the versatility of some talented performers. I’m very impressed with Josh Ruben as a director and I look forward to his adaptation of Werewolves Within.

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.