TV Shows

The Old Man

“Beware of an old man in a profession where men die young.”

I’d seen glimpses of this show in reviews, and online, and wow was I blown away when I actually watched the first three episodes. Jeff Bridges is simply phenomenal as an ex-operative now on the run when his past has caught up to him. That opening quote I wrote defines this show. Everyone keeps underestimating him due to his age. From the operatives they send after him, to their handlers as well. Only our dear John Lithgow as the Assistant Director of the FBI knows the extent of his skills.

That first episode had me clapping near the end at how our hero overcomes the odds. Nothing like having a good pair of loyal dogs to protect you.


“Do you recognize me now?”


A good adaption utilizes the source material well, and faithfully adapts it, only making changes that benefit or improve upon the material. If your changes impact the story negatively, or bog it down, then you have failed at adapting; you have shown that you are an idiot. Lauren S. Hissrich knows this well with her Witcher bastardization, and now the writers of this show can join her in being an idiot. Talk about jumping the shark. Yea, let’s move away from the book entirely and try and tell our worse story instead of the good one you have right before you.


“The world is full of monsters. Sooner or later, we all take our turn.” Episode 4. What a load of malarkey.

“Rich folk don’t explain shit.” Well, ain’t that the truth! Episode 5.

And in episode 6, we learn who the titular Old Man really is.

The finale gives one last twist that makes me go “blurgh”. Cheese factor ten thousand. Once again, if you are going to change a source material, make sure that your material improves upon the base story and doesn’t tell a worse off story than is given. The plot benefitted greatly from changing the thing that Dan Chase stole from the Afghan warlord to be the dude’s wife instead of 20 million dollars. That gives more of an emotional impact, and a way of connecting to a character than caring about money. There’s a person at stake here. That works. Taking the dogs away, extending the character of Zoe, changing Julian into an assassin instead of a character foil to Dan, and that last twist during the ending, congrats writers! You are idiots.


The first three episodes were a mastercraft in direction, cinematography, musical score, action choreography, and first class acting all around from everyone, especially Jeff Bridges. It is painfully clear that critics only reviewed the first three episodes before singing their praises of it. And that’s fair. Those three are worthy of praise. The following four episodes should be called out as they are. An embarrassment, and these writers should be ashamed of themselves, but they won’t, they got their fat paychecks.

When I started watching, I was so ready to recommend this show to everyone. But now, I can’t in good conscience do so. I can say the first three episodes are all you need to watch because after that, pardon my language, it gets fucking derivative. Turns into a bunch of psycho babble bullshit, and going back and forth through tired old trends. The ending pulls a move similar to the Outer Range, in that nothing is solved or even approaches an ending. Sure, you learned something new about the character, about something he did, but there is no resolution. You are left there holding yourself in your hand, waiting for the next season to be jerked off.

If it wasn’t for the grace and skill of Jeff Bridges, and the equal powerhouse of John Lithgow, this would be another nameless spy thriller in the long line of them. But because I love Jeff Bridges’ acting, I stuck with it. I loved watching him chew up the scenery. And of the actor that portrayed his younger self, Bill Heck. He was excellent, and his lines spoken in the Dari language made him seem like he was born in the region. Or so I read online. Pej Vahdat can also claim this honor. He was simply superb. The dedication to his craft is shown. I felt like he knew what he was saying, and not just speaking it phonetically.

Overall, this season should be taught as a lesson to not mess with a good story thinking you can tell it better. First three episodes are pure perfection, and then the writers became too full of themselves and thought they knew better than the author of the book they were adapting. Most authors won’t say anything negative about their adaptations, and I assume the same with this one. If only we had more Rick Riordan like authors to stand up for their works. Perhaps then this show could have been perfect until the end. Alas, after an exquisite entrance, it stumbled out the door and fell flat on its face.

TV Shows

The Terminal List

It’s been awhile, folks. Of course, a military show with propaganda smelled a mile off would certainly get me back. Chris Pratt as Navy Seal Operator James Reece, with “why are you spending good money on him” Taylor Kitsch as his buddy Ben Edwards, and Constance Wu as the tough but determined reporter seeking the truth. Add a mix of “oh hey, I recognize him/her/them” and a bit of well-executed action sequences with a focus on reloading – oh my!

Naturally, I attempted to view it all in one sitting. It was a fun ride and I’m left with some plot related questions towards the end, but I enjoyed it all. It definitely is a love it or hate it type deal. No overseas baddies here. Nothing but homegrown, domestic greed. A show about a trained weapon shaking up the tree, searching for the snakes that fall out. At first, it feels like a very cookie-cutter generic American military thriller that’s been coming out recently on Amazon Video. Then the hook arrives near the end of the first episode, and I’m all for the murder in the name of revenge. Reminded me of Punisher with Thomas Jane, similar storyline; that is, a man with nothing left to lose and nothing left to live for but revenge.

In a rare twist for me, I enjoyed Jai Courtney’s performance as the pompous rich guy that gets his due comeuppance. Precisely because of that delivered justice. It was worth having to see him act in a movie for once. There’s a dude that I recognized from Banshee (great show, still working on that one), some dude playing an FBI agent I recognized from somewhere. And an actress from older movies I haven’t seen in some time, and older viewers would definitely recognize.

Overall, I liked it. The somewhat strong religious overtones outlined in the opening episode made it go off to a great start. I could also see why the devout Chris Pratt would be drawn to the role, and why nepotism would get one of the actors in the movie a role (brother in law). Thankfully, just a minor role. And the world wouldn’t run without it. Nice callouts plot wise to the plight of veterans, and how easily they could theoretically turn to taking action against elements of the government. And with the recent events of the pandemic in the world, having a plot element of testing medication to an unknown mass of individuals… Well, ain’t that just dandy!

Movies

Otherlife

This movie is truly about the helplessness, and hopelessness that comes with fighting against a corporation that’s stolen your life’s work. How you’re driven mad, and gaslit in every corner. It’s about the pitfalls of technology, specifically about virtual reality. Black Mirror had an episode that was similar to this. This is the story of a young woman trying to save her brother’s mind – he’s trapped in a coma caused by drowning during an excursion with the two of them together. Expanding upon her father’s technology, she tries to devise a way that’ll work but she needs funding. So she partners up, but fails to consider that power corrupts absolutely. She ends up imprisoned by the very system she created to help save lives.

For an indie budget film, this movie has a better sense of scale and production value than most high budget Hollywood films. It has crafted a terrifying world where you can’t even trust your own reality. Not much different than today’s world, I suppose. The twists and turns keep you on your feet, and even my own above description of events betrays the reality of the movie. The only constant that is true is the danger of virtual reality that modifies time. The ending was satisfying, and provided emotional release from the suffocating feeling that the movie encapsulated.

Jessica De Gouw was excellent in the lead role, and very easily carried the movie. T.J. Power was equally as good as the partner seduced by the wealth and power that comes from owning a company on the forefront of new technology. His smarmy portrayal provided just the right touch between someone that seems trusting and simultaneously an asshole. The music added to the overall feeling of constant uneasiness and worry.

Overall, it was quite a good science fiction thriller. I’m loving these Australian films, and I look forward to more. I recommend this movie.

Movies

The Card Counter

An excellent movie. Goes to show when the material is good, the actor can be good. When the writing is great, everything falls into place. Oscar Isaac was simply gripping in every scene. His performance mesmerizing. He plays a highly controlled man, one of structure and regiment while underneath you can feel a boiling rage. It is a character study into man’s moral responsibilities. Of going down the right paths, and finding redemption wherever it lies. Of the reprehensible acts committed by the American military in the pursuit of “safety”. And it’s all told while playing cards and gambling.

The direction and camerawork was very meaningful, purposeful. Each scene carried a weight to it. The soundtrack was fantastic, and drastically enhanced or added to the mood of the movie. Tiffany Haddish did a good job from her usual comedy routines, and a good job playing it straight. Willem Dafoe is always excellent playing smarmy bad-guys/assholes. And Tye Sheridan is also always on point with his acting. I really felt for his character, trapped in the cycle that abuse brought down on him.

Overall, it was highly enjoyable. A taut tale expertly handled by writer and director Paul Schrader. I’d recommend it.

Movies

The Contractor (2022)

The entire time I was watching this I was waiting for the shoe to drop. The reason why it would have a lower rating than usual action thrillers, and near the end, the plot reveals why. In this day and age, with all the fears around biological warfare, it is perfectly suited. Our hero, played by Chris Pine, is hired to do off the books wet work in the name of national security aka assassins for hire. His flaw comes in the form of a bum knee sustained in active service to his country. After being chewed out by the system, and thrown out with no benefits, he joins the aforementioned wet work mission where things go awry.

In typical fashion, there are twists to be had, and seeing Ben Foster’s name ruined any twists. If the man ain’t in the leading role as the good guy, then he will be playing the character designed to mess with your mind as to his moral code. The drama was good, and raised points and messages about the abysmal treatment of veterans. The action was solid, and carried weight. Soundtrack equally enjoyable.

Overall, I recommend it. It’s a fun watch, has an easy to follow plot, and always a joy to see Chris Pine in the lead role.

Spoilers/Thoughts on the Plot

I really liked the fact that the evil bad guys were stealing a vaccine that would counteract their evil plan of releasing a virus onto the population to make billions off of the untold suffering. Totally not far-fetched. Ben Foster’s character needlessly sacrificed himself which I felt was undeserving of such a fate.