Spoiler warning: I like movies.

58. (1497.) Trafic (1971)
While not as charming as Tati's earlier works — a result of fewer characters and the more anonymous "modern" setting — his commentary on the transportation industry of the early 70s has plenty of well-earned chuckles.

60. (1499.) Happy Death Day (2017)
The only genre of horror film that I enjoy is the old-fashioned, gore-filled slasher flick, especially ones where the hero gets in the last licks. Happy Death Day delivers all that plus some great character development and romance (with an overt nod and wink to the classic Groundhog Day). It figures that it was written by an established comic book author. It's a lot of fun.

61. (1500.) The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
I remember reviewers panning this film for being a shallow example of style over substance. That's true. But there's plenty of room in the market for stylish spy movies in the mold of the Sean Connery James Bond films of the 60s. (Not coincidentally, Ian Fleming played a role in the creation of the original U.N.C.L.E. television series.) I liked it.

62. (1501.) It Started with a Kiss (1959)
The highlight of this silly romantic comedy is the prominence of the Lincoln Futura, the concept car that Chuck Barris would repaint into the 1966 Batmobile. Awesome to see it rolling through Europe.

63. (1502.) Sing (2016)
I thought this movie would be a crass exercise in corporate synergy, Universal using its movie arm to promote its music catalog... and I was right. It's okay, but ultimately hollow and unsatisfying bit of pop music fluff (especially because most songs are limited to short snippets).

66. (1505.) Lady Street Fighter (1981)
I watched this whole thing, and I can't tell you what it was all about. I can say that the title is very literal: some woman with a bad accent got into a lot of fights on streets. So bad it's good. Man, I love TCM Underground.

More to come.

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Poodles are dog topiaries

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I have featured Grumpy Cat not once but twice on this here blog. This will mark the third, and very likely last, time. Grumpy, aka Tardar Sauce died Friday at the tender age of 7.

Cats don't belong in Heaven

Wired.com has an article on how Grumpy's passing marks the end of the "Joyful Internet." I'd say it's the period on the sentence.

As a web developer, I'm keenly aware that gone are the days of HomestarRunner and Flash games. Everything has to fit on a smartphone screen now, and most of what is left that can be called "content" is driven by a small number of corporate behemoths (mostly Facebook and Google). The contemporary Internet is the 21st century equivalent of a shopping mall in too many ways. In 25 years, we'll probably be paving it over to make a parking lot for whatever comes next.

You can't fight progress.

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Perhaps I might have enjoyed the Aquaman movie if it had been more grounded in reality like the comic books.

You should see what he can do with a watermelon
from "Aquaman Duels the Animal-Master!" Adventure Comics #261 (1959)

Oh. Nevermind.

(In the following issue, he also has control of seagulls. First fish, then mammals, then birds. I'm sure that hydrocephalic babies are next. Logically, that's called a slippery slope argument. Aquaman probably controls that, too.)

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I helped a friend do some work around his house last week, and I spotted this, the tumbler he uses to hold his 6-year-old daughter's juice.

Put your lips on this

Normally, when I see this sort of thing, I'm left wondering what the owner could be thinking. However, I've known Randy long enough to know that this isn't a thoughtless accident. He probably gets a kick out of watching his little girl suck shit.

I suppose if you have a child, you get to decide what to do with it. Kids are just pets that can talk!

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Neither Mom nor I watch a lot of serialized television. I prefer stand-alone movies. She prefers going to bed with a mystery novel. We've found an overlapping sweet spot of entertainment that we both enjoy in the Hallmark Mysteries and Movies channel.

Most of the following are what used to be called "made for television movies," if that distinction has any meaning anymore in the modern landscape of streaming media. Most of them are based on series of books.

64. (1503.) Murder, She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery (2015)
We started by watching the misadventures of professional baker and amateur sleuth Hannah (Alison Sweeney). Mom had read and loved the books. The movies are cute, if heavier on the romance than the mysteries. Alas, Sweeney has moved on to other series and will bake no more murders.

65. (1504.) Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery (2017)
41. (1480.) Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery (2018)
42. (1481.) Emma Fielding: More Bitter Than Death (2019)
Emma Fielding is the Indiana Jane of mystery fiction, an archaeologist who somehow spends more time chasing murderers than relics. On television, she's played by the botoxed face of Courtney Thorne-Smith of Melrose Place fame. I'm okay with these, but it's not my favorite series.

68. (1507.) Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (2018)
69. (1508.) Morning Show Mystery: Murder on the Menu (2018)
70. (1509.) Morning Show Mysteries: A Murder in Mind (2019)
81. (1520.) Morning Show Mysteries: Countdown to Murder (2019)
82. (1521.) Morning Show Mysteries: Death by Design (2019)
These are based on books co-written by Al Roker about a morning-show celebrity whose entire social network appears to be filled with murderers. Holly Robinson Peete of 21 Jump Street has the lead opposite Rick Fox, who could probably be replaced by a block of wood without anyone noticing. I enjoy this series, partially because I like a bit of ethnic diversity in the otherwise lily-white Hallmark landscape and partially because I'm always able to solve them before the halfway point. (They make me feel smart, even though by design a toddler could likely put the clues together.)

85. (1524.) Darrow & Darrow (2017)
86. (1525.) Darrow & Darrow 2 (2018)
87. (1526.) Darrow & Darrow: Body of Evidence (2018)
Unquestionably my favorite of the Hallmark mystery bunch. The younger titular Darrow is Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who I had something of a crush on in the mid 90s in her pre-According to Jim appearances in Steve Martin's Father of the Bride remakes and the Relativity television series I watched with my girlfriend at the time. I could still watch her for hours, and I have.

So that's what my Mom and I do together — even when it isn't Mother's Day.

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The older you get, the less patient you are about the important things

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Mom framed her cover appearance on the AJC and hung it in the kitchen.

She likes the fame. I like the Droste Effect. We're both very satisfied.

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I saw exactly two movies in theaters in April. To no one's great surprise, they were

59. (1498.) Captain Marvel (April 2, 2019)
75. (1514.) Shazam! (April 28, 2019)

Marvel Comics got to call their movie Captain Marvel despite their character not taking that name until the mid-2000s, whereas DC's Captain Marvel movie was called Shazam! despite their character having been called Captain Marvel *until* the mid-2000s. Comics are strange.

Old comics are the best comics

Both films prove the old adage that a hero is only as good as their villain. Marvel's Captain Marvel twists itself in a very unfortunate knot to give her two whole races of badass yet sympathetic aliens to punch. Sadly, the twist doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's far better than the personality-free baddie that DC's Captain Marvel is pitted against. He just wants to fight things, which is fine if all you want from your movie is watching computer generated scenery crumble. Yawn.

Despite that, I can't say that one movie is really better than the other. Captain Marvel is aimed at a more mature crowd and I did enjoy it more, but I suspect kids will enjoy what they've been given in Shazam!. Everyone has to watch their first superhero movie eventually, and Shazam! would be a fine enough place to start. It's not amazing, but it is comparable to the super hero films I had access to as a kid. Condorman is no Casablanca, but I remain a fan.

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I made this poster as a first draft for a client's event. The final product focused less on the Star Wars and more on the car show, but I still like this one. So I'm sharing.

Or do what I do and stay at home

Enjoy your Star Wars Day.

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To be continued...

 

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