Movies – Ace In The Hole Review (or “Statements About Society Don’t Always Make For Pure Entertainment”)

April 27, 2014

I finally got my Sky box hooked up to the internet, so I now have access to Sky’s On-Demand service.

It’s certainly impressive; I can’t imagine I’ll ever be in a situation where I have nothing to watch at night again.

Oh sure, I could have said that about NetFlix and my subscription to that, but if there’s one thing NetFlix lacks, it’s depth and variety of good movies.AceInTheHole

Sky on the other hand have one hell of a choice.

Now as you might have gleaned from reading my reviews, I like old movies. In my opinion, a good story is a good story no matter when it was made, and it just so happens that many of the best stories were immortalised on celluloid a long time ago.

And Sky On Demand has a vast array of “new” old movies for me to watch.

Tonight, I decided to try out the 1951 Billy Wilder movie, Ace In The Hole.

Movies – Ace In The Hole Review: What’s It About?

A disgraced ex-New York journalist, now working for a small-town Albuquerque newspaper, stumbles across a man trapped under falling rocks in a New Mexico cave/Ancient Indian Burial Ground. In a bid to milk the story for all its worth and get himself back to the big time, he engineers a scenario to keep the man trapped for as long as possible, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus with the eyes of the nation looking on.

Or in other words, it’s the film that The Simpsons spoofed in the episode where Bart gets “stuck” down a well.

Movies – Ace In The Hole Review: Who’s In It?

Kirk Douglas stars. The rest of the cast – like Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur & Porter Hall – are unknown to me.

Movies – Ace In The Hole Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

IMDB rates it at 8.2/10 from around 15,000 votes. Presumably the lack of votes precludes it from being ranked in the IMDB Top 250, as its rating would place it as one of the top 156 films of all time.

Rotten Tomatoes meanwhile gives it 86%.

It was nominated for a number of awards at the time.

Movies – Ace In The Hole Review: Thoughts

I’m a bit torn on this one.

On the one hand, it’s a decent story and one that is played out on an impressive setting and scale. You can tell a fair bit of money was spent on the replica cave dwelling.

But on the other, I felt Billy Wilder was less interested in making as strong a plot as possible and instead was focussing on making a statement about both the unscrupulous nature of journalism, and the ridiculous way Americans lap up human interest stories.

And though that statement was valid then and still is today – especially in the age of the 24 hour news cycle – it wasn’t exactly gripping. Don’t get me wrong; it’s extremely impressive for a 53-year-old movie to still carry an important message about how our society treats news, but as impressive as that is, it doesn’t necessarily make it entertaining. No, this was not a movie on a par with some of Wilder’s other classics, such as Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment.

What didn’t help it was that outside of the story of the man stuck in the cave, we were left with a rather bland nearly-romance subplot between Kirk Douglas’s character and the trapped man’s emotional vacuum of a wife. He was good, but she was awful.

And the result of him getting stabbed and showing no real ill effects until it suited the story was a bit crap.

So I wasn’t too impressed on the whole, and probably wouldn’t go out of my way to see it again.

Movies – Should You Watch Ace In The Hole?

By no means a bad film, this – in my opinion – this is one classic movie that doesn’t live up to the hype.

Definitely not as good as some of Wilder’s other efforts.

 

 

 

 


Movies: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review (or “I Must Be Getting Old”)

April 25, 2014

Having arrived early enough to watch all the trailers before seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it seems as though this spring & summer will host a series of what is basically the same film done over and over again.

Whether it’s Pompeii (which comes with the tagline that it was the jewel of an empire, which is nonsense), the new X-Men film, Transcendence or Godzilla, they appear to be identical; big budget movies where cities are destroyed, probably at Amazing-Spider-Man-Posterthe expense of plot.

Is that what Hollywood is nowadays?

And is it bad that I’m actually looking forward to seeing most of them?

Anyway, on to the Spider-Man Review.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review: What’s This One About?

Peter Parker struggles in his relationship with Gwen Stacy while having to fend off Electro and one or two other famous Marvel Supervillains.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review: Who’s In It?

Andrew Garfield (he of Daleks in Manhattan “fame”) stars as everyone’s favourite webslinger, while Emma Stone resumes the role of his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. The likes of Sally Field, Jamie Foxx and Dane Dehaan co-star.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

7.7/10 on imdb from around 21,000 votes, 76% on Rotten Tomatoes and a mere 58% on Metacritic.

Most press reviews hover in and around the 3 star mark.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review: Was It Any Good?

There’s something about Spider-Man that I find more interesting than all of the other comic book superheroes.

He just feels more down to Earth.

While the Marvel Universe in which the Avengers operate seems to be full of danger, ruined cities and near cataclysmic events, Spider-Man still  happily lives his life in an undisturbed New York.

So it’s more grounded, but it also has – I think – better characters. Peter Parker/Spider-Man has more depth than the likes of Thor, Captain America or Iron Man, and the villains he faces off against tend to be more fun as well.

But then that’s true of all Spider-Man movies. The question is whether or not this one is good?

And I would say that it is.

Oh sure, there are problems with it, but there’s also plenty to enjoy as well.

In terms of the problems, I’d say that the whole character of Electro seemed poorly executed. It might be a bit over the top to have him dress like he does in the comics, but something close to the original subject matter would have been good. Also, aside from appearance issues, the reason for how his character came about was a bit odd and – spoiler alert – when he suddenly became non-corporeal it just got a bit stupid. Oh, and when he became this non-corporeal character, how come he was wearing boxer shorts? I mean, I didn’t want to see Jamie Foxx’s knob or anything, but it seemed stupid.

That side of things was a bit of a let-down, and the stuff with Harry Osbourne wasn’t great either. The Osbourne characters were done far better in the Toby Maguire films and maybe should have been left there.

On that note, there were perhaps too many characters written into the script to do them all justice. I’m not sure why Oscorp hired so many lunatics, and there was no attempt to explain it.

Where the movie excelled though was in the performances of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. By a long way, the most interesting aspect of it was the relationship between Parker & Stacy, and though anyone with a background knowledge of the Spider-Man comics knew how it would end, it didn’t spoil it at all. As a real life couple, the two of them managed to bring a real chemistry and charisma to their roles.

Christ, to come away from a Superhero Action Movie and remark that the best thing about it is the chemistry between the romantic leads makes me feel old.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review: Should You Go To See It?

Anyway, on the whole it was an enjoyable film, and though it might also have been a little bit too reliant upon special effects at times, I found myself interested throughout. I’d say it was worth your time. And it’s good that they’ve also now set up the next instalment in the series too.

But to discuss that in too much detail might be getting ahead of myself.

 

 


Movies: The Raid 2 Review (or “Hey Gorilla, How Much Does That Fella Weigh?”)

April 11, 2014

Back in 2012, I went along to The Raid, an Indonesian action movie set during a police raid of a tower block. I described it as “A Good Action Film, But Shallower Than The Flinstones’ Gene Pool”.

Last year on holiday with friends, my brother suggested we watch it, but I shot that suggestion down. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t considering we ended up watching the horrendously bad World War Z instead, but we all learn from our mistakes.

Anyway, when I heard a new one was coming out, and was set to last two and a half hours, I decided I definitely wasn’t going to go.raid2

But I don’t want to be the guy who always shoots down my friends’ suggestions of what to watch and then expect them to blindly accept my film choices, and after all, with an Unlimited Card, it was free.

Plus, reviews seem to be extremely favourable.

So I thought I’d give The Raid 2 a go.

Was it better than the first? Time to find out.

The Raid 2 Review: What’s It About?

A rookie cop goes undercover to infiltrate one of the two organised crime gangs running Jakarta. He spends two years in jail and then gets a job high up working for the mob.

And naturally, all sorts of crazy shit goes down.

The Raid 2 Review: Was It Any Good?

My thoughts on the first Raid film apply to this one to an extent.

The fight scenes are extremely violent, and you’ve got to respect the direction and athleticism that goes into them, but I just spent the whole film chuckling at it rather than being enthralled. I mean…they are ridiculous. It’s like watching a fighting game come to life, and I don’t think that’s really a good thing.

The way the fights panned out, with dozens upon dozens of blokes waiting in line to be beaten up by one person, was just stupid. Why wouldn’t lots of people jump the one person together?

Also, how come a deaf woman with hammers can waste a bunch of ninja dudes, and a bloke with a baseball bat can single-handedly take out another bunch of ninja dudes, but together they can’t take out one man?

Like I say; it’s video game stuff. It’s like Double Dragon where the bosses at the end of the first and second levels come back to fight you again before the final boss.

And it must be that the vast majority of these expendable ninja dudes are just poorly trained if none of them can do any damage to one person.

Oh, and there’s no way the main character wouldn’t be dead before the end either. At the very least he’ll drop dead soon after the end credits roll.

Ultimately, all the fights looked that little but too staged and the impact of the violence is numbed after about 10 minutes. Beyond that you just spend the film imagining wrestling crowds chanting “E-C-DUB”, “Holy Shit” and “This Is Awesome“. Similarly, as a fan of wrestling, I was imagining the fighters saying stuff like “Let’s go home” and “I’m sorry, I love you” etc. It was unintentionally hilarious. The only thing that could have made it funnier was if Art Donovan was doing commentary on it.

“Hey Gorilla, that little ninja guy is spry” 

“Hey Gorilla, how much does that fella weigh”

…and so on and so-forth.

Where The Raid 2 vastly improves upon the original though is in the plot. Although it gets a little bit confusing as to who hates who and which guys are the rat cops (if that was actually even revealed), it did at least have some level of narrative flow to it, and in actual fact, at a meaty 150 minutes long, it flew by surprisingly fast.

I wasn’t bored, and that’s something that deserves praise.

Should You Go To See The Raid 2?

Fighting enthusiasts will no doubt love The Raid 2. On the way out of the cinema, we were walking behind some excited chaps wearing UFC hoodies (how stereotypical can you can) and they seemed to love it.

Anyone else will get a chuckle out of it, but don’t go in expecting Citizen Kane.


Wrestlemania XXX Review (or “Nope, That’s Not The Name Of A Porn Film”)

April 7, 2014

This time last year I sat here and wrote a scathing review of Wrestlemania XXIX.

I don’t often do wrestling reviews, but I was so disillusioned by the poor quality on show that I felt I had to.

Here’s how I summed it up…

As a viewer since 1991, I must admit my interest in the WWE product is at an all time low, and I saw absolutely nothing atWrestleMania 29 to make me feel positive about the weeks and months ahead.

A Great Way To Start The Show

A Great Way To Start The Show

That’s how bad it was.

A lot has happened in the last year though, and since the massive fan backlash at the Royal Rumble, there have been signs of an improving product.

And that leads us to the present and WWE’s latest offering, Wrestlemania XXX (which isn’t a porn film).

WWE Wrestlemania XXX Review

I’ll go through it on a match by match (or segment by segment) basis.

The Hall of Fame Ceremony: Ok, a quick detour first of all to the previous night’s Hall of Fame Ceremony. I can only echo what others have said. In order, in terms of speeches, Lita was incredibly dull, Jake Roberts was just breathtakingly

amazing, Mr T was unintentionally hysterical, Kane’s speech for Paul Bearer was enjoyable, Scott Hall was short, effective and to the point, Carlito was the only amusing bit in an otherwise super-dull Carlos Colon speech, and The Ultimate Warrior was fantastic. I especially loved the way Warrior thanked the people who really helped him in his career rather than the usual suspects. Overall, a great watch.

The Tag Title Fatal Fourway: A decent way to kick things off in the pre-show. The right team won, but it’s a bit odd that Cesaro was the one to take the fall. The split was a sign of things to come,

The Opening Segment: Hogan, Austin and The Rock all in the ring together exchanging barbs to start off with? That’s about as good as it gets. Well, I’d have preferred it if Bret Hart was in there instead of The Rock, giving it the whole “Uh…well…uh…you know…uh….Hogan is a piece of shit” stuff, but hey, you can’t have everything. The Rock doesn’t do much for me, but Austin and his “What” stuff is still gold, and the way they got round Hogan accidentally calling it the Silverdome twice was genius. A great start.

Triple H vs Daniel Bryan: As you would expect, it was a solid match, although Triple H’s entrance was a bit stupid. Stephanie McMahon is a very effective character these days too.

The Shield vs Kane & The New Age Outlaws: Well, it was over with quickly, but then why wouldn’t The Shield make short work of a trio of semi retired older men?

Aaaaaaaaaah!!!!

Aaaaaaaaaah!!!!

The Battle Royal: I’m disappointed that were weren’t one or two legends in there, and I don’t really get why they didn’t just announce that the likes of Tyson Kidd and Yoshi Tatsu (can you believe he won the battle royal at Wrestlemania XXVI?!) would be in it in the pre-match graphic, but it was a nice little battle royal. The Kofi Kingston spot was impressive, although he seems to be employed purely for high spots in matches like this. The right man won though in Cesaro, and the sight – and reaction from the crowd – of seeing him slam the Big Show over the top rope was superb.

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt: While I enjoyed it, I feel the match went on just a little bit too long, and I also think the wrong man won. While Wyatt shouldn’t have won cleanly, he still should have emerged the victor. Losing doesn’t do much to help him on the face of it, while Cena losing would have done nothing to his status.

Brock Lesnar vs the Undertaker: Wow. Who the hell saw that one coming? In the pre-determined world of pro-wrestling, very little can shock a viewer as long-term as me. Sure, things can pleasantly surprise me (like the Cesaro victory in the Battle Royal) but not *shock*. This shocked me. And it shocked everyone.

Now sure, all the logic of pro-wrestling said Lesnar should win considering the Undertaker dominated him in the run up to the show, but this is The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. He doesn’t lose. And even though it was quite obvious he was old, run down, not a patch on the guy he was even two years ago and – to be blunt – looked like an old drag queen, and even though he was up against a beast like Brock Lesnar, wrestling logic would not allow anyone to believe the Undertaker wasn’t taking the win.

So I thought that was fantastic – even though the rest of the match was shit – and I loved the crowd reaction. Grown men were crying and some left in disgust, but that’s what wrestling can just so very occasionally do to you. Superb. I would say The Undertaker should now retire, and from listening to what the commentators were saying, I think that might be what happens.

The Divas Match: An absolute mess. To be fair, I’m sure it would be difficult for any male wrestlers to create a good match in similar circumstances, but it still came across as amateur hour. As a fan of Total Divas, my mum wanted to watch this match, but even she could only say “That looked so fake” as all the Divas queued up on the outside for that Bellas plancha spot. The crapness ended when Naomi managed to botch tapping out. *groan*.

Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Batista: So Daniel Bryan got his happy ending after all. It was a decent match and included a gruesome lookingPowerbomb/RKO spot through a table, and a nice cameo from Triple H & Stephanie, but I

Undertaker lost? This guy can't believe it either

Undertaker lost? This guy can’t believe it either

think most people were still just shocked at Undertaker losing. To give the wrestlers credit, they *almost* had me believing that Batista would win on those two near falls.

Wrestlemania XXX: Final Thoughts

Apart from the Divas, this was a rock solid Wrestlemania for the first time in a long time. Indeed, it’s easily one of the best they’ve ever done.

Without doubt the polar opposite of the abysmal Wrestlemania XXIX.

Storylines were concluded, new superstars were made and there was nostalgia aplenty, but the big story was the Undertaker’s loss.

I just don’t think anyone saw it coming.

Tonight’s Raw should be very interesting.

 


Ten of the Best TV Show Finales of All Time

April 4, 2014

Ok, so since I did an article on 10 of the Worst TV Show Finales of All Time, it’s only fitting that I should do one on 10 of the Best TV Show Finales of All Time too.

Like I said in the last article, some shows could have had tremendous conclusions if they’d only left it at that point. I’m thinking about the likes of Chuck, Only Fools & Horses, Alias and Scrubs, but alas they did nothing of the kind, and they kept going long past the point of exhaustion.

But these 10 shows didn’t.

As always, Spoilers Ahoy!!

1. Blake’s Seven

How Did It End?: In the last episode, Avon and the crew of Scorpio meet up again with Blake. Only Blake is a bad guy! Or is he? A miscommunication leads to Avon shooting Blake dead, and then being ambushed by members of the

And there wasn't a dry eye in the house

And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house

Federation. All of Avon’s team are shot – presumably dead – and the last thing we see is Avon being surrounded by a group of gun-toting bad guys. He raises his gun, smiles to the camera, and as the end credits music is played, we can hear shots being fired.

Why Is That Good?: Because it’s such a fantastic and dramatic way to end the show. They brought back the original lead, killed him off, destroyed Avon’s ship, killed all the crew and it appears as though Avon too has breathed his last. Talk about shocking! And the way we don’t know for sure who was firing all those shots as the end credits rolled made it even better. Did Avon escape? We’ll never know.

2. The Shield

How Did It End?: After being kinda the bad guys all the way through, Vic Mackey and the Strike Team finally get their comeuppance in a dramatic, action packed conclusion to a long story arc (#ArmenianMoneyTrain). Rather than going to prison though, Vic’s punishment is being tied down to a meaningless desk job; his ultimate hell.

Why Is That Good?: Because the drama led somewhere and the right thing happened. The longer the Shield went on, the more the supposed heroes – Strike Team – showed themselves as being pretty horrible blokes. Vic’s punishment was an inventive way of wrapping things up; far more inventive than sending him to jail or killing him off.

3. Friday Night Lights

How Did It End?: Character Arcs were completed, The Coach made the right move by putting his wife’s career first for once, and it finished on a great montage that showed what happened to all the characters. And moreover, it didn’t show what happened at the very end of the final game of the season.

Why Is That Good?: Everything wrapped up nicely and the writers made the right choice when it came to Coach Taylor’s choice of whether to stay in Texas or accept a lesser job to allow his wife to pursue her dreams for once.

4. The Office (UK)

How Did It End?: Everyone got the happy ending they wanted.

Why Is That Good?: Because a happy ending once in a while is the right thing to do, and the finale to the UK version of the Office did it better than almost any other show. Just when you thought Tim and Dawn wouldn’t get together, they did, and at last David Brent stuck up for himself against Finch. A perfect way to end the show at Christmas.

5. The Office (US)

How Did It End?: A few months after the documentary is released, Dwight & Angela get married, Jim & Pam move away and Michael returns briefly but in a way that doesn’t overshadow the rest of the cast.

Why Is That Good?: Pretty much the same reasons as the UK version. It just seemed like the right time and place for the show to end, and it was well handled.

6. Breaking Bad

How Did It End?: Walt dies killing the bad guys and saves Jesse’s life.

With the odds against them, could Angel and his crew survive? We never found out, and that's a good thing

With the odds against them, could Angel and his crew survive? We never found out, and that’s a good thing

Why Is That Good?: The finale to Breaking Bad is a bit different to other shows in that the finale itself wasn’t meant to be sentimental or shocking on an individual level, but it was the end to a story-arc that had built up from the moment the show started. Everything that happened before it was key to getting the characters to where they were in the last episode. There were no cop-outs and no disappointments; this was the only way Breaking Bad could end, and it did not disappoint.

7. The West Wing

How Did It End?: With the handover of power from the Bartlett Administration to the Santos one.

Why Is That Good?: Because it was time for the show to end. Had it gone on for a few more years with a mostly new cast, it would eventually have just petered out and died. This was the right time for it to end. And when watching it, I knew that it was the right time for it to go. It didn’t outstay its welcome.

8. Angel

How Did It End?: A bit like Blake’s Seven. Angel and the remaining members of his team are trapped and under attack with practically no chance of survival. Can they do it? We never find out; all we know is that they try.

Why Is That Good?: Again, it’s a shocking way for the show to end; this was not the type of TV show that needed a flippant, cheery conclusion. And just like Blake’s Seven, it left you to speculate as to what happened.

9. Ashes to Ashes

How Did It End?: Both Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes are explained in this gripping and dramatic final episode.

A fitting end to a great series

A fitting end to a great series

Why Is That Good?: Because unlike Life on Mars, it explained what exactly was going on to the viewer, and it did so in a way that satisfied. The scene outside the “pub” at the end was moving and the way each character’s storyline is dealt with properly was executed perfectly.

10. Blackadder Goes Forth

How Did It End?: The troops in the front line are at last faced with the reality that they must go over the top and into battle.

Why Is That Good?: I think everyone loves the way Blackadder Goes Forth ends; it’s just so emotional and moving, and yet it still manages to retain the comedy element. The final shots of the troops going over the top and then the cut in of the poppy fields probably brought home the realities of the First World War to a whole new generation. Superb.


Ten Of The Worst TV Show Finales Of All Time

April 3, 2014

With the ending to How I Met Your Mother causing such an uproar among its viewers this week, I thought I’d share my views on what I consider to be Ten of the Worst TV Show Finales of All Time.

Now you might expect me to include Dexter on this list considering everyone else seems to dislike it, but I actually thought it was ok. There was only a very limited number of ways Dexter could have ended and I was ok with the one they chose. The last season was poor but the last episode was ok.

Anyway, there will obviously be spoilers here, so consider yourself warned…

1. How I Met Your Mother

How Did It End?: After nine seasons of explaining to his kids how he met their mother, and an entire last season devoted to Robin & Barney’s wedding weekend and Ted’s first encounter with Tracy, it’s revealed that Barney & Robin divorced,

major disappointment

Says it all

Tracy died six years ago and that Ted has really been telling the story so his kids can sign off on him pursuing Robin again.

Why Is That Bad?: Because character relationships had developed long beyond the point where Ted & Robin getting together was an acceptable idea, it rendered almost three seasons of the show redundant, it didn’t give the viewers what they wanted and that last scene followed a very good one where Ted & Tracy finally met.

2. One Foot In The Grave

How Did It End?: Victor Meldrew is killed by a hit & run driver and Margaret Meldrew avenges his death by murdering the woman responsible.

Why Is That Bad?: Because it wasn’t funny, it killed off the main character in a depressingly bleak episode, thus depriving us of any new specials in the future and it turned Margaret into a murderer. Also, it involved none of the other regular cast members.

3. Life On Mars

How Did It End?: Sam wakes up from a coma, realises he preferred the fantasy world he may or may not have been in and then he chucks himself off the roof of a building in the hope he ends up back there.

Why Is That Bad?: If you take into consideration that Life on Mars is its own series and not the first two seasons of Ashes to Ashes, it didn’t explain Sam’s situation. And the whole thing just left you feeling a bit confused and deflated. On the other hand, had they explained everything, then we wouldn’t have got the epic finale of Ashes to Ashes.

4. Lost

How Did It End?: I’m not even sure. They are all dead? And it’s a purgatory they are living in? Or something?! To be honest, by that point I just wasn’t paying attention anymore.

Why Is That Bad?: Never did a show lose its way more than Lost. It started brilliantly and was probably the top TV show in the entire world at one point. But then the writers kept adding more and more twists and turns. By the end, so much was left unresolved and viewers just sat there, jaws dropped thinking “Is that it?!? That’s the payoff?” Utter bullshit.

5. Chuck

How Did It End?: Sarah loses her memory, can’t remember who Chuck is, concludes that she doesn’t love him anymore and they split up.

"I've lost my memory and don't love you anymore. Sorry mate"

“I’ve lost my memory and don’t love you anymore. Sorry mate”

Why Is That Bad?: Much like shows like Only Fools & Horses, Scrubs and Alias, Chuck was the classic example of a TV that went on just a few episodes too long. The last season ended with all the major storylines wrapped up, but for some reason they decided to extend the run just a little bit longer with no plots to speak of. To have the show end on a note where Chuck & Sarah split up just felt unnecessarily negative. It’s like they didn’t want a happy ending for the sake of it.

6. Veronica Mars

How Did It End?: Half way through a storyline.

Why Is That Bad?: Cos that’s no way for a show to end! The finale of Veronica Mars made no effort to finish its third season with a potential end to the overall story arc – an acceptable “out” just in case it didn’t get renewed. And so as a result, it just felt as though the viewers were left hanging. And that stuff was so long ago that it couldn’t reasonably be referenced in the recent movie either.

7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

How Did It End?: After a final confrontation with whatever forces of evil they were fighting, Buffy and her surviving mates wander off into the sunset.

Why Is That Bad?: Apart from feeling slightly rushed, the last episode also killed off the character of Anya without a moment’s pause, and her boyfriend Xander didn’t seem to give a toss. While the show itself was finishing, its sister show – Angel – wasn’t, and so it was as if they didn’t want to give it a proper conclusion. I felt unsatisfied

8. The Brittas Empire

How Did It End?: Gordon Brittas wakes up on a train and it turns out the whole TV show was a dream.

Why Is That Bad?: Why do you think?

9. Alias

How Did It End?: They exhume the Rambaldi storyline, the Black Ops building is blown up along with at least one member of the regular cast, Vaughn comes back from the dead, Arvin Sloane turns evil again for the sake of it – becoming

Who cares if it ruins my character's entire story-arc; I want to be immortal...and EVIL

Who cares if it ruins my character’s entire story-arc; I want to be immortal…and EVIL

immortal in the process – and Jack Bristow dies blowing a tomb with Sloane in it, and thus imprisons him for eternity.

Why Is That Bad?: Well first of all, read that. Alias was a spy drama. But the major problem was that it rushed to an improbable finish. The first four seasons of the show were wrapped up nicely at the end of the fourth season and that could and should have been it, as Sydney and Vaughn finally ride off into the sunset together. But the show was given a new season which was supposed to kick off at least a few more years of episodes. When viewers rejected it and the show was announced as ending at the end of Season Five, the production team hit the reset switch on almost everything. That Vaughn came back was a nonsense, and Arvin Sloane’s entire character arc was ruined. Boo!!!

10. Goodnight Sweetheart

How Did It End?: Having been able to travel between the 1940s and 1990s for a number of years without any fuss, Gary finds himself forever stuck in the 40s after he saves Clement Atlee’s life. It turns out that he’d been chosen especially by God or some other mysterious force to travel back in time to save Atlee and once that was done, the Time Portal was closed off.

Why Is That Bad?: Well even if you can accept that he can travel back through a personalised Time Portal between the 90s and 40s, if his sole purpose was to save Atlee’s life, how come he was able to come and go as he pleased for six whole years before that chance meeting? What if he’d decided he didn’t want to travel back more than a couple of times? It was a stupid ending to a stupid show.

 

Have I missed any obvious ones? Give me a shout!

And remember to Like the blog on Facebook!


How I Met Your Mother Serves Up The Most Unsatisfying Ending To A TV Show Ever (Finale Spoilers)

April 1, 2014

Ok, so if the title of this article wasn’t enough to make you realise that this will contain spoilers for the finale of How I Met Your Mother, then consider yourself definitively warned now…

Last night in the US, after 9 seasons and 208 episodes, How I Met Your Mother came to an end.

Now you know that I’d long since grown tired of this show – a show which just hasn’t been even semi-consistently funny for two or three years at least and had only one good episode in its final season – but I still saw it through to the bitter end as I’m a completist and I wanted the fucking payoff.

And what is the payoff to a TV series called How I Met Your Mother? It’s him meeting the mother. That’s it; nothing else.

Is that what we got, and was I happy with it?

Two answer those questions in order, “Yes and No” and “Absolutely Not”

The Most Unsatisfying Ending To a TV Show Ever

The very last episode of How I Met Your Mother was actually going quite well I thought.

Ted and The Mother Finally Meet, But Fuck You Viewers,  She's Already Dead

Ted and The Mother Finally Meet, But Fuck You Viewers, She’s Already Dead

In terms of character development and progression, the show had arguably been stuck in a rut since the Wedding was first shown back in episode 113 of 208 in September 2010, but now things were moving, and moving at pace.

While seeing Robin & Barney divorce was a very firm kick in the teeth to anyone who had endured the rest of the ninth season – set as it was for 23 mind-numbing episodes over one single weekend – it at least seemed to give their characters a bit of closure. Barney finally found love in having a child and Robin had a good career.

Lily & Marshall meanwhile continued to grow their family and we also saw plenty of interesting bits like the gradual breakup of the group over the years; something that inevitably happens a lot in real life.

And as it bounded back and forth between Ted finally meeting the mother for the first time and flashforwards to how their lives developed, it just – as I said above – felt good to see the show moving again after being stagnant for so long.

The first meeting, when it finally happened, was nicely written.

And I’d have been happy with that. That’s where it should have ended. It would have been a fitting end.

But to have Ted – and I should say Josh Radnor and not “Future Ted”  aka the voice of Bob Saget, which made no sense considering Saget was still narrating up until that moment – then finish the story by saying to the viewer “Lolz, she’s dead” and for his kids to then say “Oh dad, you’ve only been telling us this because you really love Aunt Robin; feel free to go and shag her since mum’s been dead for six years” just felt insulting and actually rage inducing.

How is that a good ending? Seriously?

Oh don’t get me wrong, it could have been a clever ending if the show had only run for two or three seasons, and it was interesting that they’d filmed that ending years earlier, but things had moved on, characters had developed, fan expectations had changed and it was no longer a valid or acceptable way to end the series.

Ted & Robin didn’t work. So many times we’d seen them realise that they were not meant to be together and in the last season alone, there were two supposedly final ends to any hope some people may have had that they’d end up together. It was a long since exhausted story arc.

Nine seasons in, the viewers of How I Met Your Mother just wanted to see Ted meet the mother.

And since she had popped up in flash forwards and flashbacks and since it appeared as though she was a nice person and that her and Ted were genuinely well suited to each other, why not just end the show like that?

I just find myself really irritated by the whole thing, and I’m not the only one.

Sure, there are other issues like why Marshall & Lily didn’t age as fast as previous flash forwards had suggested and why Ted bothered to even tell a 100th of that story to his kids, but the big one is that it’s just a terrible ending. Even worse than LOST.

And from looking at the amount of negative feedback from fans and reviewers alike (I think IGN is about the only site to give it the thumbs up), it seems as though I’m not alone.

Now if I was asked by friends if How I Met Your Mother is worth watching, I’d tell them to avoid the rest of Season Nine entirely and probably just skip to the last episode after the fifth season to avoid disappointment.

Because that’s what they’ll have if they don’t.