Archive for the ‘twisted reality’ category

“Cats,” the Movie, Now On HBO…

October 12, 2020


Director Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Cats is now available for a broader audience on HBO, and it was there that I viewed it in its entirety for the first time.  If you don’t have HBO, wait a bit longer, and you’ll probably be able to catch Cats on Fx or a similar network.  Released in December of 2019 to almost universally scathing reviews, Cats is an odd duck if you pardon  the mixed metaphor.  It is, as one reviewer aptly described it, a plotless spectacle probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen, or would wish to see again.  By one estimation I’ve read, only 27% of those viewing it actually liked the film.

My short take on the movie is that it’s not as bad as you’ve been led to believe, although you may just want to sample it to see what all of the negative reviews are about.  It definitely helps to be a furry as I am to appreciate Cats, although once the spectacle of seeing A-list stars morphed into felines wears off, the novelty is gone really fast, and the movie light on plot becomes repetitious and even tiresome.  While not a horror movie, Cats can be horrible, and it’s said represents a career low for many of the big name stars in it.  

Parts of the movie are memorable, and the anthropomorphic cats move and dance with a fluid grace and athleticism that is memorable.  Taylor Swift projects a lithe feline sensuality that…well, I won’t go there.  The creepiness factor that set so many off the film is readily identifiable mixed with the incomprehensible such as why these cats are rendered with humanoid hands and feet.  As one reviewer huffed, “This is not a cat…this is an abomination!” – – Jeez, lighten up dude, this is entertainment, although it may have failed in that purpose for many people.  I think that the long-running Broadway show version of Cats worked better for many as patrons were always aware that they were viewing actors and actresses in dazzling cat costumes rather than a CGI-generated hybrid.  A live theater performance also permits a kind of interactive intimacy between performers and audience that is largely lost in a movie.

Love it or hate it, Cats is a unique experience likely to persist in the memories of its viewers as either a vision or a nightmare…Meow!

 

Andrew Marlton, “First Dog on the Moon”

October 3, 2020

  

Andrew Marlton (above) is a satirical cartoonist and more who draws for the Australian-based news publication, The Guardian.  Under his pseudonym First Dog on the Moon he has generated a universe of anthropomorphic cartoon characters that include Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin, the Interpretive Dance Bandicoot, and my personal faves, the Raccoons of the Resistance.  As he deals in many things political, there are themes and presentations in his cartoons that are certain to offend someone, which is perhaps as it should be.  As some of his work deals with Australian politics, it will likely pass over the heads of many if not most Americans, but  Marlton also deals with aspects of American politics through his characters, as well as global issues involving science, the Coronavirus, and the environment.  

 

It’s furry art, and can often be topically relevant and wickedly funny.  Marlton gets his ideas from the news, at other times relating that he goes out to talk to chickens and sheep.  Do give First Dog on the Moon a look…laughing and thinking are always worthwhile activities!

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Masked Singer,” Back for Season 4!

September 14, 2020


People tend to either love or hate The Masked Singer on Fox, and we were provided a preview of the upcoming season’s costumes recently.  Shown above are Baby Alien, Serpent, and Seahorse.  Additionally the animal kingdom will be represented by Giraffe, Jellyfish, Crocodile, and fictitiously Dragon.  The show itself for those unfamiliar with it is kind of a singing competition run through a furry convention, a unique type of cheerful and inspired insanity.

There are a number of “firsts” represented among this season’s contestants.  At eight feet tall, Giraffe is the tallest costume ever, and is attired in a style reminiscent of French aristocracy.  Baby Alien is the first costume to be fronted by a puppet, Serpent’s costume has animatronic features, and the Snowy Owls (below) represent the first double-headed costume.

 

So you may want to drop in on The Masked Singer, Season 4 which will debut on September 23rd…

Fishy Business…

September 11, 2020


Chace Crawford portrays an Aquaman-type character called The Deep on the Amazon Prime series The Boys, and the character has body image issues because he has, well, gills.  I’m not talking about discrete gill slits either of the type that we’ve seen on Kevin Costner in Waterworld on the neck, but rather large, gaping chest apertures that open and close.  More disturbingly, the character seems to enjoy having those gill slits shall we say, erotically stimulated?  Still more bizarre was a drug-induced episode where the character engaged in dialogue with his talking gill slits, and even sang a duet with them to the tune of, “You Are So Beautiful.” This was pretty trippy stuff, capable of wowing even my jaded sensitivities!

Crawford wears the sea suit well, and is one sexy if emotionally conflicted superhero.  It isn’t easy, after all, to be looked down upon as the token aquatic hero who talks to sea life.  In exploring the character of such a hero, we can only think of how far such characters have come from the web-fingered portrayal of one such being by Patrick Duffy in The Man from Atlantis.- –Who could blame such guys for occasionally being crabby?  I mean, they aren’t doing it on porpoise…

 

 

Frank’s RedHot TV commercial, “Every Food…”

September 8, 2020


Even in the bizarre and unforgettable year of 2020, this Frank’s RedHot commercial stands out.  The announcer’s voiceover kicks the ad off, proclaiming how he “puts that s#!t on everything.” What follows are some of the qualifying items, like pizza, a co-worker’s lunch, and “whatever this is.”  We are then shown a woman (above) about to put the sauce on some kind of tentacled thing, which commendably is still alive, and fighting back in a spirited fashion with cutlery!  This would appear to be one die-hard dinner, which unfortunately the woman appears ultimately able to jab her fork into.  Poor, valiant octopus-like thing!–Hath not a cephalopod eyes?!

The brief commercial continues to say that Frank’s RedHot may be put on “astronaut food,” and we are shown an astronaut floating in an encapsulated zero-g environment, his leg and body enveloped by the flexible tentacle of his multi-limbed alien captor floating right next to him, who questions whether the sauce may be put on astronauts.  “Everything!,” reassures the announcer, to which the alien succinctly replies, “Yum!”

So there you have it…serving and being served, eating and being eaten, just part of the food chain.  And don’t forget Frank’s RedHot sauce, which is the “perfect blend of flavor and heat.”  You can “put that s#!t on everything.”  Bon appetit, y’all…

 

   

 

Absorbx Cat Litter Commercial…

August 22, 2020

 

 

Cat litter commercials sell a necessary if somewhat distasteful product for feline fanciers, and leave it to Arm & Hammer to do so memorably!  Those who do not co-habit with cats at least deserve in such a commercial to be entertained, and I haven’t seen anthropomorphic animals portrayed so well in a classic western-gendre setting since the movie Rango, but here the characters are all feline…

Picture a classic western saloon circa 1870, complete with swinging entry doors, period piano music playing, and a cast of stock costumed western character types inside.  Enter the young, slender, white-hatted stranger; instantly the piano music ceases, and all eyes are fixed on the newcomer…will there be trouble?  

Thankfully, no…“This town smells FANTASTIC!,” declares the stranger.  At a nearby poker-type table, we see a trio of felines, on the left a female “Miss Kitty” type, to the right possibly a dandified card-sharp, and between them a large, hoary, black-hatted, black-overcoated alpha cat who looks like he might be trouble.  But no, he arranges a demonstration through the cat-bartender of the litter’s absorbency qualities using “desert-dry” mineral ingredients.  Follow the science, I always say…

Following the demonstration, our appealing white-hatted cat notes that word is going to spread fast.  “Spread it then,” admonishes the dark-hatted cat.  “Go on, git!”  And so the slender stranger does…and the rest will probably be the stuff of western legend…

Perhaps future commercial installments will feature “the Cat With No Name” gunning down purveyors of inferior cat litter, kind of a Clint Eastcat typeand I’d love to see Val Kilmer’s standout Tombstone character translated to Cat Holliday, frontier dentist, card sharp, and quirky gunfighter extraordinary!  

 

Twizzlers “Only the Road Knows” Commercial…

August 8, 2020


In this age of COVID, we are all spending more time alone, and what could be more terrifying than being left alone with our own thoughts?!  Fortunately, the thoughts that run through our minds are more often mundane than weighty…

As a case in point, we have the Twizzlers commercial, “Only the Road Knows.”  In it, a man is riding as passenger in a car driven by a woman along a lonely, isolated road through a deep forest.  He is chewing on a Twizzlers, and appears to be deep in thought.  For those of you living in a cave, Twizzlers are a rope-like candy traditionally red in color and strawberry in flavor, although color and flavor varieties are available.  One wonders what thoughts are occupying the man’s mind…perhaps from the setting the dreaded “relationship issues” questions?  Kill me now, please…

But no…we as observers are made privy to the man’s thoughts, which are revealed to be,”Am I too old to begin skateboarding?”  If one has to ask that question, the answer is likely a resounding YES, unless you are equipped with forgiving and rubbery joints, or like to spend time in orthopedic convalescence.  The question is one which the man needs to ponder, however, and Twizzlers is the candy that will assist him to “chew on it.” I do hope that the poor devil finds his way…

Research has shown, you see, that people are drawn to Twizzlers by the texture, and the gratification afforded by chewing.  Perhaps Freud was right about oral needs.  I’ve known people who claim that chewing gum relaxes them, and even helps them think.  At any rate, in the age of COVID, I would offer Twizzlers this supplemental slogan;

When life gets screwy, go chewy.”  Just take your mask off first, of course…    image                                                                              

 

Progressive’s “Motaur: Gym” Commercial…

July 21, 2020

 

There are advantages to being a cybernetic organism.  In addition to being extremely cool, it’s awfully easy to exercise when your lower body machine components are those of a motorcycle; just roll onto a treadmill, and you’re off to the races!  You can even multi-task while you’re on a roll by reading a book.  That’s right, our Progressive motaur isn’t just a pretty face getting his laps in, he’s improving his mind!  We can all learn from this…

In our latest Progressive commercial, as our motaur hums along, he’s approached by a gym rat who tries to remind our man-machine that there’s a thirty-minute limit on the treadmill.  “Tell that to the rain,” counters our motorcycle/man in a fashion which reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Tell it to the hand” line from Terminator 2.  Would you care to argue with a cyborg?  No, I didn’t think so.  Our motaur sets the treadmill faster several times during the commercial, and calmly continues both his reading and his ride… 

Geico’s “Moving House Thing” Commercial

July 13, 2020


Turtles have made inroads into televised advertising, as seen before in a number of episodes of Comcast’s “Slowskys” depicting a turtle family with their technologically-hip son.  Now Progressive insurance has also brought us an anthropomorphic father-and-son turtle duo, who we are shown sunning themselves on a rock overlooking a camper park.  In the near background sits a large motorized camper which piques the younger turtle’s curiosity, prompting him to ask his father about the “moving house thing.”

Turtle-Dad responds that it’s a motor home, a modern invention, to which Junior replies that they’ve carried their houses around with them for “like forever!”   Turtle-Dad chuckles, and then responds that the humans have Geico to cover them if anything goes wrong.  “What could go wrong?,” wonders Junior out loud when a feather drifts down from above.  “Ooh, a feather!” exclaims Junior with child-like wonder.  Looking upwards, Turtle-Dad discerns a vulture sitting in the tree above them.  “Duck, Junior!,” he alerts his son.  Now sharing in the alarm, Junior qualifies his Dad’s response, correcting “That’s no duck, Daddy…that’s a vulture!”

The humans are clueless non-participants in the drama unfolding before them, but I doubt they’d be thrilled to see vultures roosting near their camper; perhaps a Stephen King-esque horror movie is about to begin here.  The turtles as they retreat into their shells will hopefully live to see another day.  They have warm and wonderful human-like eyes and expressions, and make a nice addition to the Geico advertising animal stable that memorably includes an office camel thrilled to see “hump day” arrive…

 

(…tip o’ the pen to Carycomic!)

Progressive’s Motaur “Herd” Commercial…

July 3, 2020

 
Apparently, there are others of his kind…Terrence Terrell’s Motaur, that is!  We had previously seen Progressive’s unlikely motorcycle insurance icon in 2019 as a solitary bio-mechanical being appearing to wondering young humans at an isolated gas station.  In the latest commercial, our Motaur appears with a fully-human companion on a mesa, observing with binoculars at some distance a herd of other Motaurs milling about before them.

As his companion babbles about how amazing it is to see them in the wild, he is shushed by our familiar Motaur who just wishes to become lost in the moment…then we hear motor sounds of the dirt-biking Motaur herd, buzzing about like angry hornets.  They individually do wheelies, accelerate, and bound over the terrain.  Terrence Terrell then raises his front wheel in a salute to his “people.

Viewers may find the commercial cool, creepy, or incomprehensible but it celebrates the close bond between many bikers and their “rides.”  I worry that perhaps these cyborgs have something to do with Skynet, soon to be followed by an imposing black leather-jacketed guy with sunglasses and an Austrian accent. Perhaps we really don’t have to be afraid of the Motaurs as those seen in the field appear strangely generic and not especially menacing…and hey, wouldn’t Don’t Fear the Motaurs be a great comeback song for Blue Oyster Cult?  Bio-mechanical beings just wanna have fun, after all, although if their herd passes through my neighborhood noise ordinances may need to be deployed.

The recurrence of Motaurs continues to pose unanswered and troubling questions for me.  Do they both eat and gas up, or is one act sufficient?  Do they see both doctors and mechanics?   How do they sleep, or do they? Are Motaurs born, assembled, or somehow pieced together in some kind of unspeakable Borg-type lab?  Is there a cross-over into the Transformer world, or would Motaurs be their rivals if not enemies? Do Motaurs reproduce, breed only with their own, and if so, how (now there’s a disquieting thought!)?  Anyhow, untold stories reside here, and inquiring minds want to know…