Movies I loved when I was younger, but can’t watch anymore.

Maybe I’m just too old and cranky to enjoy them anymore, but there are a few movies I watched often when I was younger and when I try to watch them now… I just can’t.

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Reboot this! Space: Above and Beyond

So many shows are getting a reboot theses days. The thing is, a lot of them are reboots of shows that already have a huge number of episodes people could re-watch. Did we really need to reboot shows like Charmed, Roswell and MacGuyver? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved all those shows, but couldn’t they have just put the originals on a streaming platform for us to watch? How about rebooting shows that didn’t last very long but had great potential? How about giving Space: Above and Beyond another shot?

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Peaky Blinders

“They call them the Mafia.  Yeah, there’s fiftenn ‘ov ’em.  They wan’t kill us all, but we got guns and grenades and Polly’s back, so we’re gonna be okay, yeah.

Curly – Season 4 Episode 2 “Heathens”

I will say first off, this show is not for everyone, it is raw, rude and violent, but I love it.

The Peaky Blinders were a Birmingham street gang active from the 1890s to about 1910. Writer and Creator Steven Knight borrowed their name for this series about an Irish Traveler family who run a bookmaking and protection racket in Birmingham, England. The first season begins in 1919, not long after the three oldest brothers return from fighting in France during the First World War. Thomas Shelby, the second oldest brother, has plans and ambitions to grow.

I’m a big fan of gangster stories. The Godfather, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, I never really got into the Sopranos though. I watched more than a few episodes, and I liked it, but it didn’t grab me the way it did other people. I devoured every episode available of Peaky Blinders.

The acting is superb. These are terrible people but Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson make them sympathetic and human. The costumes, sets and visual design transport you to the past. And then there’s the music!

On a gathering storm comes
a tall handsome man
in a dusty black coat with
a red right hand

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “The Red Right Hand”

Sometimes (too often in my opinion) when directors and producers try and use modern songs in a period setting, the results are jarring. It snaps you right out of the immersion they are trying to build. It’s the exact opposite here. Despite the setting being 1920s England, the music by Jack White, Dan Auerbach, PJ Jarvey, Radiohead and others pulls you in deeper. Everything is chosen perfectly and all the pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle that’s both horrifying and beautiful to look at.

One of the things that makes the show so good is how short the seasons are. That sounds odd to say, but having only six episodes per season (or series as the BBC prefers to call them) means the writer and producers have the time to make sure each one counts. That every script has been honed and fine tuned. Every episode has been written by the same person, creator Steven Knight and each season but the first directed by a single director. So there is a uniformity and consistency that you don’t get with shows that have twice, three or even four times the number of episodes to watch.

Tom Hardy is another wonderful thing about this show. He only has small guest appearances peppered throughout seasons 2, 3 and 4 but holy crap is he amazing. I didn’t even realize it was him I was watching, until I saw his name in the credits and to look up who he played, just to see if it was the same Tom Hardy I was thinking of. It was, and it goes to show how badly his acting ability was misused by Chris Nolan in that last Batman movie.

Each season begins a little further in time than the previous one. Each telling the tale of the growth of the familys power and influence and the prices they pay for it.

I’ve read that Mr. Knight plans for the story to encompass the time between the two world wars, over a total of seven seasons. Four have been released and the fifth is due this year. I can’t wait.

The problem with Hawkeye

Anyone wishing that Marvel would announce plans for a Hawkeye movie? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Yeah, I didn’t think so. It’s not that people dismiss him as “just a regular guy with a bow”, Black Widow has no super powers, but people like her, and Phil Coulson’s a normal guy who didn’t exist before the movies, but people LOVE him and he got his own TV show.

So, why do people dislike Hawkeye, or at best just don’t care about him? My theory is he’s just not “Hawkeye” enough.

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Watching Jeopardy on Netflix makes me feel smart

Before a few weeks ago, I had not watched an episode of Jeopardy in a loooong time. I was probably living at my parents house the last time I saw one because they liked to watch it and I watched with them.

Not long ago I saw Jeopardy was on Netflix and I though “What? There must be like a thousand episodes by now. Did they put them all on Netflix?”

The answer is no. They put some of their Tournament of Champions episodes on Netflix, and I like it.

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A Mental Health story

When I was studying computer science in CEGEP, one of the required classes we had to take was a psychology course. Unlike a lot of our other classes this one was not just Comp. Sci. students, but pupils from other programs as well. A lot of the work we did in this class was group activities, and it was through this class that I met a young man named Mark.

Mark was not like me. Mark was tall, outgoing, good looking and made friends easily, but we did have a few things in common. Even though he was not in the Computer Science program, he was a giant nerd like me and even ran a private BBS (Bulletin Board Systems were like online forums, before the Internet was a thing)

Shortly after meeting him Mark informed me he was going to make it his mission to find me a date. He made a few quick phone calls and just like that, we had a group of about ten people going to the movies.

Mark failed in his mission, but I never really took his statement seriously. It was fun just chatting with him when I was logged into his bulletin board, and he was always planning get togethers (GTs as we called them back then). I attended one in his tiny one room basement apartment. A vampire movie marathon, with people dropping in and out all day and into the night. We tried making Jello shots, but they didn’t set and an attempt use the freezer to speed up the process just made a weird vodka infused slush. Mark was a lot of fun and everyone like being around him. He was the first person I knew who had his own place, and he had this VCR with a remote that had this awesome wheel on it for fast forward, reverse or frame by frame advance. I wanted one exactly like it. Truth be told, I wanted to be more like Mark. He had an awesome place, he had loads of friends and an easy self confidence that I envied.

I chatted with him as the Christmas break started and asked him what his plans were. He was going to New York to visit friends for New Years eve (which sounded amazing) but had no plans for Christmas. I told him to have fun and said we’d talk again in the new year. After our conversation I thought about inviting him over for Christmas diner. My parents would not have minded, my mother would have been thrilled. The more people the better they would have thought.

When school started back up in January, a friend who had been in the Psychology class with us asked if I had heard about Mark. He had been killed when he stepped in front of a train.

At the funeral I found out that there was no dispute it had been a suicide. Mark had been struggling with sever depression for years. He lived on his own because he did not get along with his family. All the friends I thought he had, the majority were like me, not actually very close to him.

No matter how together someone appears to be, we don’t really know what is going on inside their head unless we talk to them. I wish I had invited him to Christmas dinner. Realistically, I know now that when someone is in so much pain that they see suicide as their only way to end it, one diner with a strange family most likely would not have changed anything… but it might have.

It’s important to talk to the people we care about. It’s not all on them to reach out, because sometimes they can’t. Their illness just won’t let them. That’s something I’ve learned as I got older. You need to make sure people know they can talk to you. Not just about the things we have in common, or to complain about politics, but to let each other know they have someone they can turn to for help. Someone who won’t judge, and although they may not have the answers, will give them the support they need to help find them.

Every year Bell sponsors “Let’s Talk” day to raise awareness of mental health issues, promote resources that are available and to raise money for mental health initiatives.

If you are in crisis, please reach out to someone who can help.

You can even contact me. Even if we’ve drifted apart, talk every day or are complete strangers. Sometimes it helps just to have a friendly person to unload on.