TheAvod is opposed to bullying!

Bullying - it's a difficult subject to broach, which is why we gloss over it while talking about a movie that involves a bully getting revenge on his tormentors from beyond the grave! The name of that movie? Tormented. Clever, right?

Anyhoo, check out that review and a couple other by right-clicking here to download the new episode!

Then meet me here next week for more movie madness!

Haiku! Starring Blitz!

Today I'll be utterly misusing a Japanese art to review the film:

There's far too much plot.
This was based on a novel?
I understand now.


The Eightieth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

These stories are only ever 4-5 pages long, consisting of a maximum of sixty panels. Not a lot of space to tell a story. Yet the creators were so fond of then-contemporary rapid fire banter that they waste two panels on a text approximating the effect, even though the dialogue contributes nothing to the story!



Tales From the Darkside 310: Deliver Us From Goodness

Okay, finally - a title where I have no idea what the episode is going to be about! Even the opening image, of a plate being set for a fancy dinner party offers no clues. Come on, Tales, surprise me!

It turns out that the show is taking place in the home of a man running for mayor - they've invited a prospective supporter over for dinner! As they get settled in the manager complains about his allergies - will that be important? Then it's time for dinner - the manager explains that in order to get elected, the whole family has to be presentable and positive. This might be problematic in the case of the odd-looking and gawky daughter-

When the mother starts talking about the value of supporting men who would strive for greatness she's suddenly underlit-

Which turns out not to be just a director's flourish, as the other characters comment on it. She plays off the comment, and doesn't even answer questions about heavenly music that plays whenever she speaks. Things get even stranger when the manager complains about the meal, and states that he'd have preferred fried chicken. The wife's wish makes it so, and a buck of KFC drops onto his plate.

Faced with the supernatural, the manager takes his leave in the fastest way possible. Who can blame him? The next day the family still hasn't received a satisfactory answer about the whole 'magical powers' thing. The daughter talks about the salacious adventures of her friends' parents, but her super-classy mother won't be phased. She will, however, use her magical powers to transform her daughter's clothes into that of Cleopatra after a miscommunication.

This, understandably, freaks everyone out, and the father is finally willing to talk openly about the situation - he points out that the mother promised that this sort of thing 'wouldn't happen any more'. What's that kind of thing? Apparently she doesn't even know!


Huh? Ringer Edition!

From time to time, a line of dialogue appears in a show's script that winds up onscreen, even though enough elements of the scene that contained it have changed that a rewrite should have been necessary.

In the pilot episode of "Ringer", at the end of an NA meeting, Sarah Michelle Gellar's boyfriend/sponsor questions whether it's too late for her to be drinking coffee. Nothing wrong with that if the scene had been filmed as it was doubtlessly written to be, at night.

That, obviously, wasn't the case:

An awful lot of light streaming through the window, isn't there? That's because the window isn't just facing an extremely bright parking lot, but rather it's the middle of the afternoon. Check out this next scene set some time later.

The script isn't carved into stone, you know. You can always change a few words if conditions on the ground change. Unless you're not paying attention. Which is a possibility, this being Ringer and all.


That Happy Cat!

Oh, Snowball - you get disrespected quite a bit by this show, don't you? Lisa's cat has been dead for around four years when the show begins - the official number is given in a Halloween episode, so there's room for a little shakiness. Speaking of that Halloween Episode (Treehouse of Horror III, specifically), something puzzling occurs - while the characters discuss Snowball, the cat featured here:

The picture Lisa holds up is of Snowball II-

Even more puzzling, when we get to the pet cemetery, we find that the cat was buried under the name:

Snowball I? Wouldn't naming a cat that suggest it wasn't going to be long for this world? The same way that calling it the 'First Battle of Bull Run' ensured that there would be a second some years later?


Criminal Minds Season 5 Recap!

It`s a one-month-early Christmas present as we take a look back at Criminal Minds Season 5!

This was a weaker than usual season for the team, with two zero-scoring episodes! Is this a record? That sounds like something I should check!

Anyhoo, the season-ender was a cliffhanger, and therefore not scored, but the rest of the episodes involved a crime being solved, and therefore count. The total score for the season was 45/220, for a 20% profiling rate. Truly, from a psychological standpoint, this was the worst season of Criminal Minds.

The best episode, surprisingly, was the Suspect Behaviour spinoff showcase, in which the team actually used a description of the kind of person they're looking for in an environment small enough that it could help identify the killer - when there were no other clues available! Everything else about that episode was egregiously bad, but at least there were a couple of positives.

The worst episode, naturally, was '100', in which instead of catching the villain, he phoned Greg and invited him over for a fistfight. Yikes.

See you back here next time for the resolution of the Tim Curry cliffhanger! Will he kill that little girl? Almost certainly not! Will he be captured or killed? Um... duh?


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Jason Segel Edition!

Jason Segel hosted this past week, plugging his upcoming Muppet movie. I have certain misgivings about that particular project, not the least of which being that it appears to feature Rowlf, who had been retired after the death of Jim Henson as a way of honoring him. Rowlf being the first, or 'alpha', Muppet. I've got to say, appearing as a backup singer in an opening monologue song is a rather ignominious reintroduction for an historic character who's been gone for two decades.

But hey, let's move on to the objectionable! No rape jokes this week (thank Odin), and just two sketches including homophobic punchlines! This first was the kissing family, which got its biggest laugh when surprise guest Paul Rudd appeared just in time to make out with the host. The other was in a digital short, which featured a transvestite prostitute for no reason other than the cheap laugh it pried from the dark souls of the audience.

So, the numbers!

Rape - 0
Homophobia - 2

You know, I'm really happy that SNL is cleaning up its act, and hope to see this trend continue off into the future. That doesn't mean I won't continue keeping an eye on it, however. I'm watching you, SNL.

Next week - Nothing! Because it's Thanksgiving! The week after that, Steve Buscemi - which should be interesting, to say the least.


TheAvod PlaceHolder!

After watching three utterly random movies, the DM and myself discovered that while Gacy and Sherlock Holmes underperform, there's way more to say about a movie called Butchered than anyone could possibly guess in a thousand years. Also, it's possible that the only joy that can be gleaned from American Horror Story is in trying to figure out the rules of its world.

For these stories - and many others - simply right-click here to download the latest episode of TheAvod!


The Seventy-Ninth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

Now, I'm no spy hunter, but do you think there's a chance it could be the guy who didn't know the right word to say?


Tales From the Darkside 309: Baker's Dozen

Finally, an episode where the title doesn't give away the game! Unless this is actually about a baker who gives someone a cursed 13th muffin. That can't be it, can it?

Well, it does open in a Bakery, where an elderly man serves up a tray of cookies while lamenting his lot in life - still working while old: tragedy! Fun note - this episode was written by George A. Romero!

As the old man takes a break from complaining a man arrives at the door. It's Rick from Magnum PI, making his second appearance on the show! He's there to see the woman who owns the shop, who's extremely confident about the medicinal qualities of her baked goods. Rick agrees about the magical qualities of her goods, and proposes franchising the business, bringing her incredible cookies to the whole world! The old lady isn't very interested, so naturally Rick does the only logical thing and threatens her with stealing the recipe - he imagines that whatever's in the cookies that makes them so special can be measured and quantified by lab technicians, then replicated somewhere else.

It's like he's never seen an episode of one of these things, isn't it? Not that I think they're going to chop him up and turn him into cookies of course, but he's obviously misunderestimated the literally magical properties of the cookies he loves so well.

The old lady saw Rick coming, of course. She's unimpressed with the idea of partnership, but reconsiders a little when Rick explains that he doesn't want a piece of her business - just her advertising account. He even shows her a mockup of an ad-

Which impresses her for some reason that escapes me. Isn't it supposed to be 'Country Sunshine'? People rarely contrasts the City and the County.


A Lingering Question About Tucker and Dale vs. Evil!

Who was the other killer? Over the course of the film, we hear quite a bit about the Memorial Day Massacre, and even learn that one of the perpetrators of it was the villain's father:

One problem, though - what happened to the other killer? We know that there were two killers because, in the villain's flashback, they are clearly visible:

Now, one might say that this is the consequence of his status as an unreliable narrator, but since the story came from his granparents, who presumably heard it from his institutionalized mother, it's pretty trustworthy. Beyond that, consider Tucker's cabin-

It was clearly the property of the Memorial Day Massacrer, and since the cops caught one of them, but never found the cabin and all the evidence inside, it must have been the property of the second killer.

So Tucker bought the cabin from the other killer. Will this, combined with the survival of this film's villain, provide the foundation for a potential sequel's plot? We can only hope!


What's that? More Simpsons Things I Noticed?

In the Simpsons episode 'Sunday Cruddy Sunday', better known as 'The Other Super Bowl Episode', Marge and Lisa have a subplot while the boys are off dealing with all that football mishegoss. They have some trouble with a Vincent Price-approved egg-decorating kit, and call a hotline, where a recording of Price leaves a very confusing message.

What's so odd about this? At the end of the sequence, Lisa asks Marge to clarify whether Price is alive or dead. Which is a good question to ask, based on the convolutions in the message. Except for one thing - Lisa didn't hear the message. The entire time Marge was on the phone she held the handset up to her ear, while Lisa stood nearby. So how did Lisa know what was being said?


Criminal Minds 523: Our Darkest Hour

Scratchy travelogue footage plays as an RV drives across America while Leonard Cohen plays on the soundtrack! It seems that this killer has excellent taste in music. Or at least the music supervisor on the show does. The killer is simply listening to news radio, where he hears that a blackout is planned for that night in LA because of a heat advisory. So the killer (TIM CURRY!) waits outside a large house until the lights go out and heads inside to do some murdering.

It seems no one noticed a crappy, run-down RV parked in the middle of an upper-class neighbourhood and called the police. Which is entirely plausible. Also plausible? That someone would hear a crash downstairs during a blackout and not immediately call the police. Do they not recognize that blackouts are the most popular occasions for thieves to strike? Of course they don't, they're teaser victims on an episode of Criminal Minds, they have no internal lives.

The team is going to head out to LA to deal with this situation, because in addition to the murdered husband and raped wife, two other women were raped and murdered earlier in the week. So it's off to LA to stop Tim Curry before he kills again!

I'm kidding, of course, this is a season-ender, which means it's going to be a cliffhanger. The only one that wasn't was season 2, which was the second part of a two-parter. Since this isn't that, and this season hasn't set up a Reaper who can swoop in right before the credits, it looks like we've got at least one more episode of Tim to look forward to! And the Asian cop who's their LA liason, I assume. Let's check in with him after the opening credits!


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Emma Stone Edition

So, let's consider tonight's episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by one 'Emma Stone'. The host, unusually willing to go all-in for massively unflattering comedic characters, and thereby embiggening otherwise lacklustre scripts. The millionth appearance of Wiig's moronic game show contestant character would have been a complete disaster had Stone not rescued the sketch by shamelessly making out with her ventriloquist's dummy.

It was an odd week.

But a tasteful one! Perhaps cowed by the news out of Pen State, there were absolutely no rape jokes this week - and Seth Meyers even managed to cover the story tastefully! We are truly living in an age of miracles and wonderment.

The numbers:

Rape Jokes: 0
Homophobia-based jokes: 1

Congratulations, SNL! Another decent week! Hopefully when Jason Segel hosts next week you can keep this streak going!


TheAvod PlaceHolder!

Okay folks, this week we made a valiant attempt to produce an all-star Avod, only covering DTV movies in which slumming celebrities appeared. Things didn't go according to plan when the Jason Statham movie proves far better than anticipated, and our third celebrity: Steven Segal, proves so terrible that nothing he does can be classified as 'slumming'.

Still, we gamely covered it all, and had a good time doing it! You can share in that good time by right-clicking here to download it to your very own computer/science-infused portable device!


The Seventy-Eighth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

(click to bigify!)

When it comes to heartwarming sights, it's hard to find many more cheery than a mobster announcing that he may be a crook, but he's an American first, damn it!


Tales From the Darkside 308: Serpent's Tooth


Okay, so based on the title and nothing else, this is going to be an ungrateful child-themed episode? Of course, if it is, it's not like the show would be breaking any new ground. Hell, we had a 'bitterest pill' just a few weeks ago. Alright, so - what's this one about?

We open in an apartment, where a mother prepares a meal while an idle child reads a book and listens to his walkman. Gosh, I miss walkmans. The meal preparation involves an oddly graphic depiction of a plucked chicken being chopped in half. Is that something which could get on television these days? I mean, it's already dead, but PETA's pretty powerful...

My musings are interrupted by the punk-costumed daughter who comes walking down the stairs, looking for her lipstick. The mother has hidden it, hoping that she can convince her daughter to stop tramping about in slutty clothes. They have a generic fight about these issues, and the daughter, being 21, storms out while threatening to leave for good.

The son calls her on her nagging, and she offers the standard 'you're going to miss my nagging when it's gone'. Foreshadowing?


Adventures in Fake Journalism: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

T&DvE is a fascinating example of Fake Journalism, in that it actually features all three types of text. First off, there's the plot-related text written specifically for the prop:

Left Article:

Memorial Day Massacre: One Survivor

Police found one woman
clinging to life after the Memor-
rial Day Massacre. The yet un-
identified victim was taken to
hospital early this morning.


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Charlie Day Edition

Another week, another episode from the newly clean and perpetually mediocre Saturday Night Live. This week's host was Charlie Day, of film and television fame! Yes, I just didn't want to type out the super-long title of his show. Sue me. He was an excellent host, however, both getting laughs from his standard gag of gradually increasing the volume of his yells, and displaying a heretofore unknown ability to ape Dane Cook's voice and mannerisms. Kudos to you, Chalie Day!

It was a homophobia-light week, with no instances thereof, and just one rape joke, which I'm going to give them a pass on. Why? Because it was used as a background line in a sketch about how the Greek gods are reacting to the financial crisis. It's true, a lot of their mythology revolves around gods turning into animals and raping women that turn out to be their relatives. What I can't give them a pass on is the terrible history - many jokes are made about the fact that the Greek Pantheon seems to have a god for everything except the economy. But they did have a god of that - Hermes. As god of trade (and commerce?) I'm fairly sure the economy is within his wheelhouse. It's an easy enough fix as well - just mention that since Hermes was overworked (he's the god of A LOT of things), he handed responsibility over to Dionysus (or is it Bacchus? Those are the two I can never keep straight), and they get to the ending the sketch required.

Now, the numbers!

Rape: 0
Homophobia: 0

Bravo, SNL! Unless I missed something. Full disclosure, I may have fallen asleep during part of the episode.

Next Week: I have no idea! Remember when I said I may have fallen asleep? Yeah, well apparently I missed the 'next time on' during that lapse which may or may not have happened.


Criminal Minds 522: The Internet is Forever

Apparently this week, the internet is forever! Ooooooh! Spoooooky! I know that's a childish way to mock it, but come on, that's such a silly thing to say. It's like saying books are forever or an idea is forever. The internet, like all things, is there until it's not. It's bigger than most, but no less ephemeral. So, now, with all that depressingness out of the way, let's talk about serial killers!

A murderer has broken into someone's house and set up cameras so that there can be classy black and white footage of them creeping inside and murdering them, Michael Myers-style.

Hopefully this will be distinct from the time James Van Der Beek was using cameras in people's houses to case the joint before murdering them.

Okay, there's a twist - we don't know if there are killings yet, because according to JJ none of the three bodies haven't turned up, nor has footage of the crimes showed up on youtube. Let's pause though, for a moment, to consider Reid's new haircut.

Is it just me, or has his personal appearance reached a point where his supervisor needs to talk to him? I know this is a poorly-disciplined team, with Derek too-often wearing Ts, while JJ and Emily keep shirts untucked, making it impossible to wear a holster on their hip, but this is just beyond the pale. Reid now officially looks like an armed homeless man who's just following the team around.


Adventures in terrible web Advertising

Look, I know that these ads are progressively generated as they pop up on my screen, and that the same one shows for every city - just because I'm near Ottawa, 'Ottawa' becomes part of the headline. What's less explicable is the use of the word 'best' to describe a restaurant that would serve this:

Seriously... what the hell is that thing? I see fried chicken, gravy, bacon, processed cheese... I've got flat-out no idea what the white slab is. Veal? And what manner of bun is that? Dear lord, people - if you ever see something like this on a menu, run far and fast.

Who on earth was putting together an ad campaign and thought to themselves "Yes - that's the perfect foodstuff to excite people about our promotions!"? Whoever they were, they deserve to be fired. And then to be forced to eat one of those abominations.


TheAvod PlaceHolder!

It seems that theme shows are incredibly difficult things to organize! We go to all the trouble of arranging a fake documentary/found footage show, but then technical issues keep DM from being able to see one of the movies! Luckily the other two were about haunted asylums, and it's really, really not hard to come up with a third movie about a haunted asylum.

What was that third movie? For that matter, what were the other two? Find out by right-clicking here to download this week's episode!


The Seventy-Seventh-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

An important thing to remember about the '40s: Perspective had yet to be invented.


Tales From the Darkside 307: Heretic

The episode opens in a rich man's loft - his employee has brought him the latest container of purloined antiquity. It seems the rich man is a dealer in such things, especially the rare and macabre. At first the contents seem like a disappointment, but then, beneath a false bottom, he discovers a rendering of a satanic ritual!

The rich man is pleased with the quality of the piece, and anticipates turning it over for a large sum of money. Hearing about that prospect, the worker asks for a little raise in his percentage. The rich man, naturally, isn't interested in that idea, and instead tells the worker that the only way he'll ever be successful is if he figures out some way to screw someone over and take their action. Which is completely advice you want to give someone in this situation.


How to Ruin Your Own Movie: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Tucker and Dale opens with a faux-verite sequence in which a pair of newspeople have gone to the scene of a massacre to do some investigating on their own. For some reason, they've gone in the middle of the night. Anyhoo, they both get murdered by this guy:

And then it cuts to:

Well, first off, it's "Three Days Earlier", since the movie isn't taking place on the day I'm watching it - that wouldn't make sense - more importantly, though, moments later we're introduced to the college kids who are headed out into the wild for the week, and among their number is this guy:

Who's obviously the killer from the opening sequence. Which means that we've had the film's entire narrative arc (college guy goes progressively more nuts, bedeviling the main character, until he's almost killed, but survives at the encounter) spoiled for us.

Thanks for ruining all the surprises the film had to offer, filmmakers.

Still, though, quality movie, you'd just be better off skipping the first minute.


The Dumbest Chyron ever!

Just moments into the terrible film Resurrection County we get a look at this sign, establishing both the film's title and its location:

Then second later, the following appears onscreen:

Seriously? We know where in Arkansas this is set. It's set in Resurrection County. Did you not see the sign? It's right there on the edge of frame.


Criminal Minds 521: Exit Wounds

Some fishermen are working away on a boat, beheading fish, as you do. The female one of the pair makes the mistake of letting the male one go home early, so when she's left alone on the dock a murderer is able to rush up and kill her! And when I say 'rush up', I mean teleport in front of, like he's Jason or something. She actually gets to say 'oh, it's you' and be relieved before the stabbing. So we're well into slasher-movie territory this week.

Then it's over to Washington, where JJ and Emily are on a coffee run, debating whether the latter should go out with Mick, who apparently was flirting with her a couple of weeks back. Since that show went nowhere, I'm guessing their relationship didn't either. Garcia then shows up with shopping bags, leading to some comedy about her spoiling JJ's son! Hilarious.

Everyone is gathers in the office to hear about the case - and when we discover the details, it turns out that the opening scare could never have happened. Why? Because the woman who was murdered turned down the opportunity to have her shipmate wait around and escort her to her car. She scoffed at the idea, in fact. Why is this unbelievable? Because she was the third victim in five days. In a town of 1500 people. You're only allowed to laugh off the idea of being stabbed to death by a stranger on your way home from work if that exact thing hasn't happened to two people you know in the last four days.

If ever there was a situation where you'd start using the buddy system and being careful after dark, it's this one.

It's weird how the writers don't seem to understand how the murders that get committed would effect the larger world. It's most notable in small-town cases, where people are never as alarmed and hyper-vigilant as they would be afterwards, but also the subway shooter was completely mishandled.

Okay, the point is that they're flying to Alaska and Garcia's coming with them. There's some nonsense about wanting to make sure she keeps them hooked up to a satellite that Greg has tasked to handle their computer traffic while they're in the field. Really? That's the kind of thing they can do to hunt a serial killer? Seems like a stretch. Especially when you only need to handle a lot of computer traffic because you're bringing Garcia with you. Wouldn't it make more sense to just call her on your satellite phones when you need something, and have her tap into the mainframe right there in the FBI building?

As they fly in there's a little conversation about the varied races and genders of the victims, which leads to Joe saying something that's both horrible and completely inaccurate. Since the killer went from shooting with a rifle to stabbing with an arrow he announces that the killer probably didn't 'get what he wanted' from the long-distance kills. Nothing wrong there, but then he goes on to explain that because the last victim was an attractive woman, that means the stabbing was a substitute rape. Which creates an unpleasant and dangerous associate between someone's attractiveness and their likelihood of being a victim of sexual violence. Wow, should Joe know better than that.

Some nonsense ensues when they they reach the docks. Here is the plane they were traveling in from Anchorage to Franklin:

Now check out how many people supposedly get out:

All seven team members, a pilot, co-pilot, and their luggage. That's not a tiny plane, but it doesn't have room for nine people and a bunch of computer equipment either. how difficult would it be to announce that the rest of the team was going to be on the next plane in? That would go a long way toward explaining why it's Derek who introduces himself and the  team to the local deputy. Actually, that's really odd... was this script originally written to take place during the brief window when Derek was in charge?


On the subject of the Simpsons-

Okay, apparently Marge is really, really good at counting. In the episode "Homer Badman", while the family is decorating the set of the public access studio before Homer's speech, Grandpa Simpson elects to hang an American flag behind him.

Marge turns and announces that the flag has just 49 stars - this is followed by Grandpa's joke, but let's consider Marge's accomplishment for a moment. She noticed a missing star on a flag she'd never seen before in something like 1.5 seconds. Is that even possible?

Also, the flag has 38 stars.


TheAvod Gets Canadian!

Well, at least 1/3rd of it anyhow. Although I'm not sure about Hell Night - maybe? Anyhoo, it's completely something that must be listened to immediately, and it's possible to do so by right-clicking here!

What's that, you need more reason to listen? Would it sweeten the deal if you discovered that the show American Horror story was discussed? I thought so!


The Seventy-Sixth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

When piloting the suit, one of his legs obviously sits in each of the suit's legs. So how did he turn around without getting out of it?