Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Another nonsensical Taco Bell ad


"When you need a taco..." you go to this shop that sells warm poison and eat what they call a "Burrito?" Sense this does not make.

Then again, why should the punchline make any sense when the lead-up features a woman putting her cap on, one of her teammates deciding that it would be Uber-cute to do the same and then exchange a shy "we're on the same team but we really don't know each other, that's kind of strange but never mind" glance with her?  Why should the punchline make sense when we see the batter respond to the "rally cap" bit by hitting an obvious pop fly?  Why should the punchline make sense when it's a freaking Taco Bell ad and we all know it's going to end with someone hearing a bell and responding like an Eloi by dropping everything and marching to the nearest Suicide Center and ingesting poison?

By the way, I'm only even commenting on this stupid nothing of an ad because I couldn't find a commercial for Insomnia, an awesome Dublin-based coffee chain I found on my first day in Ireland and visited four times over the course of the week.  Just before posting this I DID manage to find one, so that's coming next, assuming the ad is stupid and I really hope it is because there's little I hate more than having to be positive on this blog.  Very good coffee, good and reasonably priced food, too- with any luck, sold through at least one stupid marketing campaign.  We'll see. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Here's a commercial I saw in the UK. Imagine the hand-wringing it would attract here


Whenever the television was on anywhere in Ireland, England or Wales, I could count on seeing this commercial or some version of it 30 or 40 times an hour.  Most of them start with the simple line "wine defended by the devil" and every time I heard it I wondered how it would play in the Not Very United Fundamentalist Christian States of America which became considerably more Fundamentalist while I was away.

Good to see that Wonder Woman 1984 didn't destroy Mr. Pascal's career though.  He looked like he was having fun in that movie, and he looks like he's having fun here, too.  Maybe he just likes to act.  Meanwhile, I didn't have any of this wine while over there.  Maybe the devil was protecting it from me?

Friday, June 17, 2022

Where I'll Be until I get back!


I'll be traveling abroad for the first time since The Illness That Shall Not Be Named came upon us, and the stars have aligned to make my journey as stress-free as possible- this week, the negative COVID test requirement for re-entry into the US was rescinded.  I was already going to carry a letter certifying recent recovery, but it's still a plus that I will only have to carry my vaccination card to get back into the country.

So I'll be off to Ireland on the 18th and will return on the 28th via London, looking forward to finally getting out into the world and using a vacation I paid for way back in 2020.  Enjoy the archives while I'm away (and do it a lot, my visitor counter to this page has REALLY gone down in the past few months, this isn't monetized but I still need the engagement for inspiration.)  Take care and see a few of you when I get back!

Can we please stop praising Daniel Craig's Bond films? (Conclusion, thankfully)



I just finished watching No Time To Die on Amazon Prime.  In the past- like, before the dawn of the 21st century- it would have been unthinkable of me to wait for a Bond film to be released to video (as us old-timers used to say) before viewing it.  I saw every Bond adventure, no matter how crappy (and the Roger Moore films were mostly pretty crappy) on the big screen soon after they were released from 1974 to 1989.  I was never a fan of Brosnan so I waited to watch his films at home (they are bad) and saw only the first Craig Bond films at the theater.  

Anyway, what a slog the last Craig "adventure" was.  It took forever to get going, as it attempts to drown the viewer in pretention and foreboding and gloom etc. etc.  We figure out pretty quickly that this is the last Bond Girl's back story and man we don't care.  Whatever happened to having a Bond mission make up the pre-title sequence?  Instead we get one that is all about his relationship with this woman and it ends with a breakup, wow such high stakes I'm on the edge of my seat again.

This movie quite literally never gets started.  I think a plot is introduced about a half hour in and then we are on an island with an evil guy who is Evil Because He's Evil- no wait, he's evil because he's obsessed with the Bond girl from long ago and again this is all very personal and angsty and BORING.  I guess he's going to release a deadly toxin and do a planetary reset like Stromberg wanted to in The Spy Who Loved Me and Drax attempted in Moonraker but it's really not clear because we never get to see the villain explain it, but jeeesh the story isn't told in any kind of compelling way.  We get half an hour of Bond this other secret agent who is kind of in the film as the new 007 but not really killing everyone on the island except the bad guy who apparently just remains in hiding till he's the only one left....I really don't know.  I was just bored.

Then Bond dies and we are supposed to care.  Frankly, I was more than ready to see this Bond die.  He's been dying since Casino Royale anyway, going through life with a grim pout on his face carrying personal baggage like a cross on his back and trying to convince us that his personal life is compelling but sorry it just never was.  I don't want to see Bond as a loving husband and I sure don't want to see him as a daddy.  I don't want the villain to be his stepbrother or in love with his girlfriend.  This isn't Twilight for crissakes.  I want to see a lone killer saving the world from a lunatic, not a lovelorn sap.  

So goodbye, Mr. Craig, I guess you'll be missed by millions who inexplicably loved your Bond but I am not one of them.  And when this series resets again- in 2029 or so, based on the franchise owner's ineptness at putting out chapters- I may or may not sign on.   It really depends on if we get back to basics or not.  If we are handed another round of this Human, Personal Bond, I think I'll give it a hard pass and watch You Only Live Twice again.  That one has an evil villain, a cat, and a coherent Plan.  And a Bond who doesn't give a damn about anybody or anything except the Mission.  You know, as G-d -- and Ian Fleming- intended. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Can we please stop praising Daniel Craig's Bond films? (Part II)


Ok, so Quantum of Solace was a sequel to Casino Royale so maybe it was all right that Craig spent it in mourning of a Bond girl, though seriously I really miss the days when they were just disposable eye candy who existed for one film and one film only.  This is where Bond's journey to becoming a hard, remorseless killer in service of Her Majesty is completed.  We'll be back to Bond saving the world while surrounded with eye candy he doesn't give one flying damn about now that his Not Very Interesting Origin Story is over.  Right?


In Skyfall we get Bond left for dead in the pre-credits sequence, and it turns out that he's fallen off the grid and is basically retired for the second time in three films.  Jesus, we get it- this guy doesn't really want to be a spy.  Fine, go get Clive Owen.  But then the MI6 HQ is attacked and he comes back and now he's got a strong relationship with M for some reason even though he's still been a 00 for about fifteen minutes and has been on exactly three missions, two of which he ended by quitting.  Anyway, the "plot" leads Bond to the villain who gets him to fall for one of the most overused cliche's of the last thirty years- the Bad Guy Who Gets Captured On Purpose So He Can Carry Out His Real Plan cliche.  And what are the ridiculously high stakes- is Silva going to crash the world economy or start World War III?  Nope.  He just wants to kill M because M left him to die after a mission went bad.  Again with the Deep Personal Connection crap.  And it's only going to get worse in later films.

We get a ridiculously convoluted master plan which would be completely inoperable if any one of ten thousand things went slightly differently and then we get a freaking Home Alone Ripoff showdown at the Bond family estate in Scotland and there are, again, pretty much no stakes to speak of.  And M dies anyway.  Which means that Bond actually fails his mission and the bad guy triumphs.  Well that's original, anyway. 

Skyfall was highly praised for the same reason Casino Royale was highly praised- because it was much, much better than it's predecessor.  And both times, that was a very low bar to overcome.  But it was still dumb, pointless trash that left us wondering if Craig's Bond was ever going to get an interesting mission. 

Then we get Spectre.  This is interesting because the Brocolli family spent thirty years trying to get the rights to use the NAME of the super-cool Third Power agency introduced in the very first Bond film and which became synonymous with the series during the Connery era.  So what to the Brocollis do with this precious property?  They trash the hell out of it, even ruining the second-best villain of the series, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. 

Remember him?  The guy with the Cat?  The coldblooded mastermind who plotted World Domination?  He's butchered in this film.  I mean, Charles Gray's depiction ALMOST destroyed the character in Diamonds are Forever, but he's RUINED here because the producers simply can't stop trying to make everything Deep and Personal.

See, it turns out that Blofeld is....Bond's stepbrother.  Who hates Bond because....Blofeld's dad adopted him and maybe loved him more than his own flesh and blood.  That's why Blofeld built the largest, richest, most dangerous criminal enterprise on the planet.  Because of hurt feels.  

And Mr. White, the underused Should Have Been villain of Casino Royale?  Turns out he's got a hot daughter, and she's the Bond girl in this flick.  When she didn't die at the end, I thought "oh no....Vesper 2.0...." but then I thought "I'm just being cynical.  They aren't going to make us see Bond in love again, right?  RIGHT?"

Jeeeeesh.   The end of this sad enterprise is on its way. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Can we please stop praising Daniel Craig's Bond films? (Part I)


I mean, seriously now.  Daniel Craig was a huge jump in quality from Pierce Brosnan, who was a huge drop in quality from the criminally underappreciated Timothy Dalton, but that's a very low bar.  In his 15-year tenure as 007 Craig's films have been slavishly praised - and all very profitable- but looking back at those years and those films, I can't help but comment that they are essentially a decade and a half of spinning wheels, wasted time, and really a whole lot of Nothing that did little more than shred the Bond mythology and leave us really not caring so much if we ever see the iconic superspy on the big screen ever again. 

Before I break down why each film is an overrated mess, I'll toss a grenade at the Broccoli family, which made a horrible hash of the series with their inability to keep the franchise going with any regularity as if they are allergic to making money- in fifteen years, they manage to push out five films.  Back in the 60s and 70s Bond fans could look forward to seeing their hero on the screen every other summer, pretty much like clockwork.  But the Broccolis acted as if making Bond films wasn't their bread and butter, it was the horrible job they had to go do every once in a while when compelled to.  They didn't treat the franchise with respect, and they sure didn't treat the loyal fans with respect.  And yeah, I know the last film was delayed by COVID- but that doesn't explain the yawning gap of SIX YEARS between it and Spectre.  Keeping to schedule, No Time To Die should have hit the theaters in 2017, 2018 at the latest.  They just f--ked it up.

Ok, here we go- each Craig film and it's contribution to murdering one of the most profitable franchises of all time-

1.  Casino Royale.  The reaction to this one irritates me more than any other.  Yeah, it's fine.  Craig is a good Bond- he does the physical action well- as good as Lazenby- and is believable as a newly-minted 00 still learning the ropes.  But if you remove every scene where someone is looking or using a cellphone, this film is barely an hour long.  I swear, four minutes never go by in which someone doesn't consult their little phone for a text or to answer or make a call.  It's like I'm watching a High School cafeteria during lunch.  Also, Eva Green is boring as hell.  Also, Eva Green is a treasury department official who needs to be constantly updated by another guy how much money is in the pot, because I guess treasury department officials aren't good at math if they are also girls.  Also, that I don't care about Bond's relationship with Vesper is really, really bad news because even though she dies at the end of this film, she's present in the next four as well, because the Broccolis made the awful awful awful decision to make Craig's Bond live in a world where Continuity is Everything instead of doing the traditional reset we had no problem with for 40 years.  Don't care about Bond's personal angst?  Too damn bad, because you are going to be fed it for the next fifteen years.  

2.  Quantum of Solace- after suffering through the absolute worst theme song in the history of the franchise (yes, even worse than Madonna's for Die Another Day) we get a confusing mess of action sequences with jump scares, quick cuts, and blurred motion I can't believe we are supposed to be capable of deciphering without multiple viewings (and NOBODY is watching this twice.)  We also get the cliche'd - to - death girl who wants to kill the bad guy because he killed her family when she was a little girl bit.  We get a boring villain and a boring plot with very very low stakes (sigh; what happened to world domination?  I want my hollowed-out volcanoes and World War III, instead I get "control of the water supply in a South American country OMIGOD I AM ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT?")  And of course, we get references to Vesper.  To remind us that this is a sequel.  Don't know about you, but I stop caring about the Bond girl as soon as the credits roll.  I don't need to see her again or hear her referenced in the next film.  Too bad for me, because....

(To be Continued.)

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Domino's pizza- you get what you pay for. Even more so this weekend.


Isn't Domino's pretty much the cheapest pizza option out there already?

Seems to me that fifty percent off garbage is still paying good money for garbage.  The idea that anyone would "freak out" and rush to Domino's to get a box of fat-infused sugar and carbs because it's just as cheap as it tastes, least they could populate this commercial with fast food and big box store employees and not people who look like they've got plenty of money even if they have zero taste to go along with it.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

This Applebee's/Top Gun crossover commercial is almost 40 years too late


I haven't seen the new Top Gun: Maverick film, but from what I hear, it's pretty good.  Which means it's far and away better than the original, which was really slow-paced when not in the air and which featured some of the dullest dialogue of any film of the 1980s, which is really saying something.

If we wanted to make a logical connection between two overrated, by-the-numbers American icons- the original Top Gun film, and Applebee's- that needed to be done back in the mid-80s.  This is just really stupid, especially as it's suggested that Tom Cruise's character disrupts life in this small town- and especially in this oddly placed (is that a cliff?) Applebee's restaurant on a regular basis.  May I ask why?

Never mind.  Don't care.  

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Domino's multi-course suicide pact.


"At Dominos, you don't have to end your assault on your arteries with just pizza!  You can get MORE bread in the shape of little cannonballs which is also empty calories!  Plus there's pasta made of MORE empty carbs!  And because there's not enough sugar in that sauce, here's a bag of sweet chemicals that taste kind of like chocolate to top it all off with!"

Well, the price is right, anyway.  Amazing how much rat poison you can buy for $6.99.  What a great country.