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Monday, May 30, 2016

Like/Don't Like: May 22 - May 28, 2016

Like/Don't Like is a little late this week.  I'm sorry.  This Memorial Day weekend has been chocked full of pool parties, fine Italian dining, Disney musicals and a hot air balloon festival (which my wife cleverly and accurately nicknamed the 'Fuquay-Varina Festival of Failure') that ranks amount the worst events I've ever had the misfortune of attending.  So, yeah, I've been busy.  But that doesn't mean I've stopped 'liking' and 'not liking' stuff.  I 'like' and 'not like' stuff all the time!  So, this Memorial Day (which I've cleverly and accurately nicknamed 'Who Loves the Troops the Most On Facebook Day'), fix yourself a freshly grilled wienie, pop open a Pineapple Fanta, sit back, relax and enjoy this late edition of GEP's wildly popular new feature Like/Don't Like!

Like:  I dropped off the M. Night Shyamlan bandwagon in 2004.  I haven't seen any of his films post-The Village.  In fact, a handful of months ago, I revisited The Village, just to make sure my full-scale shunning of the director and his work was justified, and I can say without a shred of doubt that I made the right decision.  I've trusted the criticisms of accomplished film critics and bad movie podcast hosts since then, avoiding things like Lady in the Water, The Last Airbender and everyone's favorite celluloid punching bag, whether they've seen it or not, The Happening.

When the trailer for 2010's Devil came out, I remember reading stories about people laughing and groaning when the credit "from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan" flashed across the screen.  I remember my own reaction to the Devil trailer quite explicitly: "Oh, good.  Don't hafta to see that one."  This was most likely followed by fistful of popcorn straight to the mouth hole.  But that was where we were at in America.  We were all fed up with Shyamalan's shenanigans, and, unbeknownst to us all at the time, it was only going to get worse.  Way worse.  After Earth worse.

That's maybe why I didn't watch Wayward Pines when it first came around.  That and the fact that it looked like a blatant Twin Peaks rip off.  I can report now, having watched (i.e. binged, fistful of popcorn-style) season one, that Wayward Pines is in no way a Twin Peaks rip off (however, the author of the books on which the series is based points to the David Lynch program as inspiration), and Shyamalan's presence hasn't spoiled the proceedings.

I understand why Shyamalan would want to be involved with Wayward Pines.  It's got a helluva twist!  But it's a twist we learn about early--first or second episode as far as I remember--and then from there, we get an amazingly solid sci-fi mystery show.  I described it to my father as such: "It's like they saw the mistakes they made with Lost, and fixed it."  I don't know who "they" are in the above sentence.  I had just eaten a torta the size of a toddler's head filled with barbacoa, so I was flying on a pretty significant Mexican sandwich high, but you get what I'm saying.  Wayward Pines succeeds where most, if not all, other weirdo sci-fi mystery shows fail.  And best of all, it's 10 episodes long, which I think is the most essential part of it's greatness.  You drag something like this out too long (see again: Lost), and you end up with a soggy newspaper falling apart in your hands, Foxtrot virtually unreadable.

And since Wayward Pines is only 10 episodes long, I refuse to describe its plot to you.  You have no excuse not to watch.  You can watch 10 episodes of something, you bum.  What else are you doing?  Working a job?  Raising kids?  Sharing your feelings with your significant other?  That can wait.  Fire up the ol' Hulu and get watchin'.

Don't like: One of my favorite things about animals is their lack of religion.  Which is why these videos of dogs being made to pray before they eat make me, um, less than enthused. That's the nice way to put it, I guess.  The videos actually make me angry, but a lot of people, possibly even yourself, think they are cute, so I'll crank my fiery rage down to an easy-to-handle don't like.

Praying dogs is just another example of how religion ruins everything.  We already expect our pets' undying love and devotion, now we're going to require them to adhere to our religious superstitions and copy our weird rituals before they are allowed to dine on the crummy slop we plunk in their food bowls every day?  I say, if you've decided to require your dog to pray before he eats his kibble, you, as the dog's owner/guardian, are now required to set your dog a place at the table, complete with napkin and utensils.  If you are going to treat your animal like a human being who can fully grasp concepts like God, then said animal gets a seat at the dining room table.  The nerve of someone who makes his puppy pray before eating and then serves puppy's dinner to him ON THE FLOOR!!!  

Or maybe videos of dogs "praying" before dinner is cute.  You're allowed to think that.  You can like whatever you like.  Or maybe you think the videos are harmless.  That's fine too.  I think they are a symptom of a greater sickness that has infected American culture.  Maybe I'm overreacting.  Maybe it's because I'm a cat person, and cats, as we all know, are godless followers of Satan.  Maybe my cat wrote this because he hates dogs and his sole desire is to mock all canine-kind, all the time.  It could happen.  McWorld!!!


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