That 90s Show (2023)

That 90s Show. (L to R) Sam Morelos as Nikki, Mace Coronel as Jay, Ashley Aufderheide as Gwen Runck, Callie Haverda as Leia Forman, Maxwell Acee Donovan as Nate, Reyn Doi as Ozzie in episode 101 of That 90s Show. Cr. Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

“Hangin’ out….”

Netflix hopped on the nostalgia train with one of their most recent new shows. That 90s Show was announced way back in 2021as a spin-off of That 70s Show with Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp returning as Eric Forman’s parents, Red and Kitty. By 2022 it was revealed that Red and Kitty would take in Leia, the daughter of Eric and Donna, over the summer of 1995 and that she would interact with the locals in Point Place much like her father and mother did in the original series. It was also announced that most of the original core teens from the series would return in one-off cameos or multi-episode appearances. In late 2022 it was announced that the series would be released on Netflix on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

The series opens like the original series pilot, establishing the day, time, and location of the opening scene. Then we are greeted by the very 1990’s sound of Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart” and Kitty Forman dancing to it only to be joined moments later by Red Forman. Then Eric and Donna Forman, along with their daughter, appear and the original characters fall right into their traditional roles from the original series. From there the series follows Leia as she is introduced to her next door neighbor, Gwen, and Gwen’s brother, Nate. After quickly bonding with Gwen and hoping to have a more fulfilling teenage life, Leia decides that she wants to stay with her grandparents for the summer. From there, Leia meets the rest of the teens in the show, old fans get a glimpse at more classic characters, and the show spends the rest of its ten episode run developing the new cast and eventually setting up a second potential season.

As expected the series revolves around Leia (Callie Haverda), the sugary sweet and innocent daughter of Erica and Donna as she attempts to experience new things with a host of newfound friends. Her best friend, Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide), represents the angry, Riot grrrrl teen that rose to prominence in the 1990’s thanks to music from artists like Alanis Morissette and Liz Phair. She’s a free spirit that helps Leia make bad decisions (with good intentions). Perhaps her second closest friend in the group is Ozzie (Reyn Doi), an openly gay young man with a steely wit. He’s one of my favorite characters in the series. Then there’s Mace Coronel as Jay Kelso, who also happens to be the son of Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart of the original series. He’s not as much of a dim bulb as his father but he’s just as much (if not more) of a lady’s man. He provides a lot of friction in the series for Red. Sam Morelos portrays Nikki and Maxwell Acee Donovan portrays Gwen’s older half brother, Nate. The pair play the resident couple with Nate being something of a doofus (like the original Kelso), and Nikki being an extremely intelligent and ambitious young lady. Also in the fray is Andrea Anders as the Forman’s neighbor and mom of Nate and Gwen, Sherri. She is sort of a surrogate version of Laurie Forman for Red and Kitty, as she shares many of Laurie’s traits. Sadly the original Laurie, Lisa Robin Kelly, passed away in 2013. Due to Kelly’s personal issues involving alcohol, Laurie was written out of the series for some time and eventually returned in season. Kelly was let go and Laurie would be portrayed in the sixth season of the series by Christina Moore.

The series is okay. I believe that the best way to describe it would be a Nickelodeon version of That 70s Show set in the 1990s. Sure, the kids smoke pot, do plenty of dumb things, and Red still threatens to put his foot in posteriors, but something is missing. The comedy is often forced and downright silly at times. The only new characters that really had any type of impact on me were Leia, Gwen, and Ozzie and, to a lesser degree, Sherri. The 90s references are definitely there, but it is obvious that the series is written by folks firmly planted in the 2020s. Hopefully a second season will be ordered and the show can find its footings. For now, I don’t see myself rewatching the series over and over as I do with the original.

Heads Up! That’s the full review of the series. Following the photo below I discuss the cameos. Don’t read it if you don’t want spoilers!!!!!!

There were plenty of expected cameos on the show. All of the original teens returned with the exception of Danny Masterson as Hyde (legal issues). Lisa Robin Kelly (Laurie) passed away as did Tanya Robers (Midge). Topher Grace (Eric), Mila Kunis (Jackie), and Ashton Kutcher (Kelso) all had one episode cameos. Laura Prepon (Donna) appeared in multiple episodes and directed the final two episodes of the series. Wilmer Valderrama (Fex) features in a multi-episode arc involving Sherri. Of all of the original teen characters, he looks to be the one who will continue to appear in the second season if there is one. Don Stark (Bob) makes his hilarious return in one episode. Hopefully we will see more of him in future episodes. Tommy Chong wanders in and out of a couple of episodes as Leo. Pastor Dave, portrayed in the original series by Kevin McDonald, is mentioned by name but not shown on screen. There’s also an hilarious cameo by Brian Austin Green as David Silver from Beverly Hills, 90210. Hopefully we’ll see more characters like his or 90s actors pop up on the show like 70s stars did on the original series. The most shocking and funniest cameo came from Jim Rash reprising the sinisterly funny Fenton, arch nemesis of Fez. I screamed his name out loud and laughed entirely too much. The return of Fenton gives me hope that even more minor and/or recurring characters will make cameos. It would be great to see Caroline (Allison Munn), Pam Burkhart (Brooke Shields), Big Rhonda (Cynthia Lamontagne), Casey Kelso (Luke Wilson), or other characters return. Hopefully that happens.

So, there you have it. That 90s Show is good but something is definitely off with the show. Hopefully a second season will remedy this and will get even more episodes. I want to like this show but it just doesn’t grab me like the original one.

Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!

Violent Night (2022)

Decking the halls…..and the crooks!

David Harbour pounds, punches, slashes, slices, and dices his way through director Tommy Wirkola’s Violent Night. In the film, Harbour portrays Santa Claus, THE Santa Claus, who finds himself caught in the middle of a hostage situation involving a greedy family, an even greedier gang of villains, and a young girl who still believes in Santa and the magic of Christmas. After initially planning to skip out on the affair, Santa Claus decides to help the young girl, Trudy (Leah Brady), and her family. What ensues is a ton of holly jolly violence.

All of the villains in the film use handles like Krampus, Tinsel, Gingerbread, and Frosty. The group is headed up by Mr. Scrooge (John Leguizamo), who plans to take the Lightstone family hostage, break into the family safe, and run off with three million dollars in cash. His plan initially works like a charm, but when Santa arrives, things begin falling apart. Santa’s first few interactions with the mercenaries are clumsy and feature a lot of lucky breaks for Santa. As the villains become more dangerous, Santa Claus draws on his bloody past as a Viking warrior and uses “the bad things that he did for good” with a little help from Trudy.

Aside from Trudy and, to a lesser degree, her separated parents, the Lightstone family is just as unlikable as the villains in the film. Beverly D’Angelo turns in a wicked performance as Gertrude Lightstone, the family matriarch. Alex Hassell and Alexis Louder portray Jason and Linda Lightstone, Trudy’s parents. Edi Patterson plays Jason’s sister, Alva, and Cam Gigandet plays her Hollywood actor boyfriend, Morgan Steel. Alexander Elliot play’s Alva’s son, Bertrude “Bert” Lightstone. He’s an annoying, entitled social media influencer who actually gets some solid laughs in this film.

The film mixes brutal violence involving everything from guns and woodchippers to snowballs and Christmas tree stars. Santa is also very fond of a sledgehammer that he finds in a shed on the property. The special effects appear to be primarily practical with a few CGI moments thrown in when it comes to some of Santa’s more magical moments. It’s a funny and brutal flick and I honestly believe that it will become an adult Christmas classic.

If you enjoy overly violent films that are loaded with action, comedy, and even a little bit of heart, Violent Night is definitely a must-see film. It’s a well written and executed film and I hope that a sequel comes along in the near future.

Thanks for checking out my review. Give Violent Night a look. I think that you’ll enjoy it!

Throwback Thursday: 1997 Toy Biz Spiderman Web Force Tank Attack Daredevil

The Man Without Fear!

During the 1990’s I spent most of my time in college classes, at the movies, or hanging out with friends. While I did rediscover comic books, I pretty much stopped buying and collecting toys save for the random action figure, die cast car, or sports cards. Toy Biz was one of the few companies that managed to catch my eye during this time. One of the figures that I purchased and still have to this day is Toy Biz’ Spiderman Web Force Tank Attack Daredevil.

I don’t know what happened to the tank accessory over the years. I’m assuming that it was left behind in a dorm room, one of the many apartments that I lived in, or possibly in an old trailer that I lived in until I could afford a home of my own. In any case it is long gone. Apparently it could be broken up into multiple pieces that snapped onto the body of Daredevil. It also had a firing missile

The figure itself was and still is amazing. Daredevil is super articulated (especially for the 1990’s) and can be posed in all sorts of positions. He has no trouble doing the splits or hanging from a cabinet door (like he did in one of my apartments). The only thing that Daredevil can’t do (apart from using his eyes), is hold anything. His hands are molded in to perpetual fists, so he can only shake them in anger at a car that blows its horn at him.

My 1997 Daredevil action figure posing with my 2003 Opening Weekend ticket for the Ben Affleck Daredevil film.

I love this figure. He’s been with me through thick and thin and spent the last two years in storage thanks to Hurricane Laura. I now prominently display him in my office at work. Despite edging close to thirty years of age this figure’s joints are still great. Boy, Toy Biz knew how to build’em.

Do you have this figure or any other figures from this line? Let me know in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading my post. I’ll see you again real soon!

Sick (2022)

“Do you have a mask?”

Spoilers In Review!!!!!

Kevin Williamson of Scream fame teams up with Katelynn Crabb (additonal crew and assistant to Williamson on 2022’s Scream) to write a Scream knock off that utilizes phones, multiple killers, and even a one word title. What it doesn’t include is likeable characters and humor. Director John Hyams keeps the pace up and actually whittled this little spooker to just under ninety minutes which at least gives you the notion that you didn’t entirely waste your time watching this film.

In the movie, social media addicted Parker (Gideon Adlon) and her intelligent and COVID-19 wary friend, Miri (Bethlehem Million) head out to Parker’s family cabin way out in the middle of nowhere to enjoy time off from college due to COVID restrictions. Unknown to the duo, DJ (Dylan Sprayberry), an old flame of Parker’s, decides to follow them up to the cabin in order to spark up a little romance. He fails. He also realizes that he and the girls aren’t the only ones in the cabin. A pair of killers (Why does that sound familiar????) collect the phones of the group and then attacks them. DJ attempts to fight off one of the killers as the two young ladies flee but he fails in a very dramatic fashion. Then Parker and Miri face off with their assailants and use everything that they can, from the internet to boat paddles, in order to stay alive. Parker finally manages to get to safety (or so she believes) and the third act kicks off yet another killer entering the melee. Why are the killers after Parker and Miri? Because Parker infected a loved one of the trio of slashers who ends up dead thanks to COVID. Yep, the slashers are COVID extremists. “Cough…..sprays Lysol.”

This film isn’t that great. It was quite surprising to see Jane Adams, veteran of stage and screen, pop up in this flick. It was absolutely no surprise that she turned in the best performance of the entire cast. None of the characters are worth cheering for and, in all honesty, I wish that the kill count was a bit higher. There just weren’t enough people in this film to make it interesting and none of those that were in it were likeable. It’s essentially Scream without the humor or a hero and fewer kills.

One thing that this film does manage to do is get one thinking about extremists on both sides of the COVID-19 pandemic. I saw the worst come out of people during the pandemic. From idiots tearing into a minimum wage employee who asked them nicely to wear a mask in the store to masked individuals chewing out random people in the streets for not wearing a mask, I saw a lot of ugly people during the lockdown. Those aren’t memories that I want to relive, but Sick makes you look those memories directly in the eye.

Thanks for checking out this post. I don’t recommend Sick unless you really, really have nothing to do for about ninety minutes. There are much better slasher flicks out there like Scream, Halloween, and Friday The 13th.

YouTube Wednesday: Funko DC Comics Bombshells Mystery Minis Valentine’s Day Walmart Exclusives

Hearts Of Heroes (And Villains)

Welcome to the first ever YouTube Wednesday review! This is a new feature that I’m trying out in which I’ll post one of my video reviews from YouTube (yeah, I have a YouTube channel). I am not a professional so I don’t have any bells or whistles in my videos. I keep it pretty straightforward. Click on the video below and then let me know what you think about it the comments!

Two notes on this review: I incorrectly called Mera “Merida” in the video (cuz I’m an idiot) and the figures are essentially re-releases of the latest Funko Mystery Minis DC Bombshells but with Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman, and Harley Quinn in Valentine’s Day paint.

Thanks for checking out my review. See you again real soon!

Mattel The Hammond Collection Dr. Ellie Sattler (2022)

“Look, we can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.”

Dr. Ellie Sattler (as portrayed by Laura Dern) is one of my favorite characters from the Jurassic Park franchise. The character is great on the screen and in the books. Plus, having a massive crush on Laura Dern and seeing her in her field research outfit in the original film didn’t hurt my opinion of the character! Until recently I never acquired any collectible items featuring Dr. Sattler from the franchise but that all changed whenever I found Mattel’s The Hammond Collection Dr. Ellie Sattler 3.75″ Action Figure on clearance.

I personally loved the Mattel Amber Collection that featured 6″ action figures with excellent articulation and amazing likenesses to the characters from the films. I have the Owen Grady figure from that line as well as the second version of Dr. Ian Malcolm and the original dilophosaurus. I was unable to acquire the Dr. Sattler figure but she’s on my wish list. The Amber Collection was apparently not cost effective nor was it profitable for Mattel, as they ended that particular line for the Hammond Collection. The Hammond Collection arrived in 2022 in order to offer collectors and children alike the opportunity to acquire their favorite characters and dinosaurs at a slightly lower price point and on a smaller scale but with similar detail and accessories.

The Hammond Collection 3.75″ Dr. Ellie Sattler figure is pretty decent. The likeness to Laura Dern is okay but not great. They nailed her suit from the film. I counted seventeen points of articulation on the character and she comes with peg holes in her feet for stands. As far as accessories go, Dr. Sattler comes with a massive leaf from a veriforman plant (the one she nabs while riding in the Jeep after initially arriving at Jurassic Park) and a second set of arms that allow you to recreate the “That is one big pile of sh!t,” scene featuring Dr. Sattler digging deep into the poop of a sick triceratops. The arms feature the poo-covered rubber gloves that Dr. Sattler puts on before doo-doo diving to find out that the dino’s illness is a result of consuming West Indian lilac and, yes, I initially believed that the leaf that comes with the figure was West Indian lilac. I totally forgot about the early leaf grabbing scene. In case you are wondering, Dr. Sattler can’t hold anything with the poo hands but her standard clean hands can hold the included leaf.

Overall she is a pretty decent smaller scale figure. I’ve just been collecting six and seven inch figures for so long that I’ve become a bit spoiled. While I probably won’t collect many more figures in the Hammond Collection, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for figures of Muldoon (which arrives on store shelves this month) and Dr. Alan Grant (already available). Not surprisingly, tons of Jurassic World Dominion figures are available on shelves at the moment. I may or may not grab some of them.

Thanks for checking out my post. I’m starting the year off a little slow but I promise to post more soon. I’ve already lined up two conventions and plan on attending at least two more this year. I’m also helping out with the Lake Charles Film Festival, Calcasieu Short Film Festival, and Calcasieu SerialFest this year. Keep an eye out for posts on those events as they draw closer. Oh, and here’s a shot of the lovely Uncanny Megan cosplaying as Dr. Sattler. It appears that Uncanny Megan has stepped away from cosplay and convention life for the time being. Hopefully she’ll return as she has been one of my favorite cosplayers over the years. See you all real soon!

Uncanny Megan as Dr. Ellie Sattler. Photo by Dallas Nagata White.

McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Infinite Frontier Grifter (2022)

“People who don’t like me call me Grifter.”

Whether you first heard of Grifter when he was part of the WildC.A.T.s of Image comics as I did or didn’t discover him until DC Comics eventually acquired WildStorm and put him at odds with Batman, one thing is for certain, he’s an irresistibly cool character. Armed to the teeth and ready to fight at the drop of a hat, Grifter has been one of my favorite characters to read over the years. McFarlane Toys gave us a figure of Cole Cash/Grifter in 2022. Despite one obviously terrible misfire, the figure is awesome.

The figure is surprisingly hefty. It’s one of the most solid figures from the DC Multiverse line in my opinion. He’s also a tad bit taller than most of the other McFarlane figures that I own. The articulation is great and Grifter pretty much has all of his range of motion. The only exception is his head, which is pretty much rendered immobile by Grifter’s mask and his high collar. The paint apps on the figure are excellent as well. I did notice that the figure photo on the packaging and collector card features black gloves. My figure came with red gloves.

Grifter comes with a base, collector card, a dagger with a serrated side and a katana blade. This of course brings up the biggest miscue with this figure. Grifter is known for his guns. This figure comes with ZERO guns. Sure, I know that McFarlane doesn’t have control over this due to Warner and DC clauses on toys, but it really stinks that Cole Cash arrives without firepower. I won’t take off any points for this, but be ready to purchase a separate accessory pack from McFarlane if you want to pose Grifter with a firearm.

This is an excellent figure overall. Even with the limited head articulation and the lack of guns, Grifter looks amazing on my shelf. I definitely recommend picking him up and I also recommend snagging an accessory pack to allow Cash to carry some heat. This is a must-buy figure for WildC.A.T.s fans and/or those who miss the good ol’ Wildstorm days.

Thanks for checking out my first post of 2023! I’ve already got a few more posts planned for January, so keep your eyes peeled!