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The Boys: Amazon's Aptly-Named Meditation on White Men

"White men are nice... until they're not."

I have no idea where the quote above comes from. Perhaps it doesn't come from any particular place at all. It's just a sentence that feels like a quote because it's so damn true.

The Boys is a new series on Amazon Prime based on a graphic novel of the same name. And whether it was intended to be, the show is a full-blown meditation on the modern western male, specifically the white variety. It does this with a powerful contrast between the two leads, Hughie Campbell and Billy Butcher.

Hughie is the typical white millennial male who we can assume is of Irish derivation. He's passive, indecisive, almost willfully unsuccessful, though funny and kind. He knows he is capable of more, but mustering up the courage to ask his perfectly reasonable boss for a well-deserved raise is just too hard. Certainly moving out of his dad's apartment is way out of his league, even though his lovely girlfriend/fiance is encouragi…
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Why Are Modern Films Rooting for The Destruction of Humanity?

There are many things to dislike about Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The writing is worse than a made-for-tv monster movie (despite the best efforts of the award-winning cast), the effects are lazy in places, and the science... they didn't even try. And it's not even Neil Degrasse Tyson-level stuff. It's having a B2 going at Mach speeds (it can't) and having humans just chilling near multiple atomic explosions and not melting into radiation-induced pustules. But these are minor details. No one expects Godzilla movies to be Shakespeare.

My issue came with the plot, such as it was. I hate to spoil any surprises here, but the main conflict in the plot is that scientist Dr. Emma Russell, played by the lovely Vera Farminga, is working with a band of violent eco-terrorists to intentionally awaken all of "the titans," so they might destroy the earth, or at least a good portion of it. Why, you ask? Because in the last movie, when Godzilla wrecked great portions of…

July Book Reviews

This month I reviewed Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and The Storied Life of AJ Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin. [VIDEO]

The Haunting of Hill House: The Family That Haunts Me

In October 2018, Netflix released The Haunting of Hill House. When I finally watched it seven months later, I was genuinely angry I'd waited so long.

The series begins on "the last night," the night in 1992 when Hugh Crain gathered up his five children in the middle of the night, bundled them in the car, and drove them to a hotel, ignoring their questions about where Mommy was. Instead of remaining with his children at the hotel, he leaves, telling Steven, the oldest, to take care of his siblings while he goes back for Mommy. When Hugh comes back the following morning, only Nell, the youngest, is awake. She asks her father what is all over his shirt. "Just paint, honey."

The limited series is a master in horror, because it perfectly captures not only the ghost story, but the underlying horror we all feel at a number of things: dying, mental illness, losing someone we love.

The show leads the viewer deep into the mystery of Hill House and the wreckage it made o…

Maximum Harm: The Toxic Maternal Instinct of Therapists in Daredevil and The Punisher

I have a particular interest in feminine aggression and how women's ways of destruction differ from the masculine baseline of beatings, gunfights, and demolition of infrastructure. The Netflix Marvel shows have been universally strong in depicting women as realistic, complicated, and aggressive in uniquely feminine ways.

Of course, the heroines like super-powered Jessica Jones and driven Karen Page exemplify these qualities, but so too do the female villains--the ones who know they are villains... and those who think they're on the side of the angels.

Daredevil Season 3 and The Punisher Season 2 have an important connection that struck me (other than being Marvel shows on Netflix): They both feature a female psychologist whose overabundance of care for her psychopathic patient results in great harm being wrought on the populace. I don't think it's a coincidence that there is a fair bit of overlap in the writers for these two shows (all 12 writers for Punisher also were …

June Book Reviews

This month I review A Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry, Based on a True Story by Norm MacDonald, and 5,000 Words per hour by Chris Fox [VIDEO]

May Book Reviews (What I'm Reading, What I'm Writing)

This month, I'm reviewing Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

I also discuss my minor crisis of what to write next and my decision. [VIDEO]