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Ep107: Wild Wild Westworld

bestworld

You can also download this podcast episode on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

This week on Now Conspiring, we briefly talk about Birth of a Nation and Westworld, when really, we just spent most of our time laughing at the plight of Adonis (you’ll see).

There were a lot of topics brought up, actually from the crisis of clowns to a detailed look at Close Encounters. What this episode lacks in focus, it makes up for in…a lack of focus.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What are you going to be for Halloween, and what do you want us to be?

Go on…Ep107: Wild Wild Westworld

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How ‘Stranger Things’ Ended up Becoming the Best Movie of the Summer

stranger things best

To be clear, the Netflix original series Stranger Things is not a “movie” in the traditional sense. There was no theatrical release, it runs as eight hour-long episodes, and it’s obviously crafted to fit the specific medium of television. That is, it’s not trying to be anything but a TV show.

But if you can broaden your definition of “movie,” or in this case, a summer movie, to that of a contained experience that is meant to be watched in one sequence, then you’ll find that Stranger Things fits the framework.

That’s why I’m convinced that Stranger Things is the surprise hit that Summer 2016 needed, and I’d even push that it’s definitely the best movie of the summer, without question. An eight-hour movie, but a movie nonetheless.

And that’s not solely because this summer has been a series of painful disappointments with few bright spots, though that is a major reason why Stranger Things has stood out as prominently as it has. If anything, this Netflix series that few people saw coming had more reasons to fail than most tentpole blockbusters this summer had to succeed.

stranger things best

X-Men: Apocalypse, a film I did enjoy for the most part, was widely panned, despite following a succession of good X-Men sequels starring Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, directed by Bryan Singer, the man behind some of the best X-Men films and Usual Suspects.

The marketing for Independence Day: Resurgence had most of us convinced that this would be 2016’s Jurassic World, but we ended up with something closer in quality to Alice Through the Looking Glass, the unremarkable sequel to a hugely successful Disney live-action film from 2010 that was followed up by critical darlings like CinderellaMaleficent, and this year’s The Jungle Book.

Warner Bros. followed up the most polarizing superhero movie in recent memory, Batman v Superman, with one of the most yawn-inducing films of the entire year, The Legend of Tarzan, despite featuring a fantastic cast and being directed by David Yates.

The movie positioned to redeem Warner Bros. in 2016 was Suicide Squad, which ended up being a decent, yet flawed movie that maintained the divisiveness of the DC cinematic universe, spawning far more arguments and “flame wars” than real discussion about how the movie has truly affected people.

Do we even need to mention Ghostbusters?

stranger things best

When you consider what makes a movie the “best” out of all the others, there’s a lot you might miss when settling on your conclusion. Everyone likes bad movies, and the vast majority of people even love bad movies (see Secret Life of Pets), and that’s because it’s quite impossible to enforce a list of rules that determine what makes a film objectively good, bad, or the somewhat ubiquitous okay, which does little to paint a true picture of a film’s quality.

Deciding which movie is the “best” has to speak to a larger list of criteria than your personal judgement, or even a critical consensus. You can turn it into a numbers game, gathering all of the reviews and fan reaction scores to calculate some kind of average that gives you an answer…

…But that’s a lot of effort for very little reward, and for many reasons, it’s still an ineffective way to call out a movie for rising above the rest and deserving to be remembered in 2026. This conclusion should be about more than getting better marks based on a small sample of opinions. True, you can factor in box office and impressions to make your guess, but as we’ve covered earlier, bad movies are quite easy to like, which makes the best movies hard to quantify.

All that said, my conclusion, obviously, is that Stranger Things is the best movie of the summer, despite not even being in the official running. I guess you can say that like the show itself, Stranger Things has a knack for defying expectations.

stranger things best

I reached this conclusion by considering a more nuanced trait of the show that no summer movie of 2016 seemed to achieve. But first and foremost, Stranger Things is fundamentally a well-crafted piece of entertainment. It’s well-written and edited, the characters transcend the tropes they’re based on, and there’s a polished feel to every aspect of this show that immerses you into Hawkins (and it’s “Upside Down”) like no other location we’ve been transported to all summer. Or all year, even.

In other words, Stranger Things gets the details almost perfectly right. The makers of the show, Matt and Ross Duffer, certainly gave it their all with this project. But the more nuanced trait that I mentioned earlier goes beyond the details. It’s all about the complete picture of Stranger Things that makes it the most satisfying experience of the summer, in just about every way you can think of.

You know what’s refreshing? The ability to have a long and meaningful conversation about the show, even if you disliked it, with people who share a different opinion. Yes, even online. Because almost no one is letting this show be about something else

With Ghostbusters, we were forced to start every review or analysis with our take on whatever irrelevant controversy we had the most thoughts on. Suicide Squad has been a purple and green train wreck in terms of how critics and fans think and react to each other, despite that not being a fault of the actual movie. Even movies that most audiences have loved, like Captain America: Civil WarFinding Dory, and Star Trek: Beyond, have been monopolized in conversation as sequels and franchises, not a unique or personal experience that actually changed anything.

stranger things best

Stranger Things, to be fair, did not achieve anything all by itself. At first glance, you might even get a bit cynical of its strengths because of how obviously reminiscent they are of classic 80s movies and novels, especially E.T.Poltergeist, and Firestarter to name a few out of probably dozens of relevant inspirations.

But Stranger Things does something unexpected with these established tropes. It turns them into new ideas. It does for 80s clichés what George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels did for Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and fantasy platitudes repeated ad nauseam since Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

More specifically, Stranger Things persistently subverts its own genre, setting up your expectations to think the story is going one way, only to pay off its plot with surprises that still fit within the context of what you’ve already seen.

For example, you don’t have any reason to believe the character Nancy Wheeler isn’t someone capable or competent enough to stand up to supernatural threats. But the show wisely lets you think this when we’re first introduced to her as a love-struck teenager who doesn’t have time for her little brother and his friends, which isn’t hard to believe either. Her “jerk” boyfriend, Steve, is also set up a certain way, only to defy your expectations with his own distinct twists and turns as a character, and none of that feels reminiscent of what we’ve already seen in Spielberg and King stories. Far from it.

stranger things best

This allowed the show to grab and hold on to both key demographics of its potential audience: people old enough to remember these 80s tropes and everyone else. You’re hooked either way, because the movies and novels of the 80s influenced prominent filmmakers today, through movies like Super 8and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, both helmed by the quintessential 80s geek, J.J. Abrams.

But while those projects felt more like a celebration of 80s culture, Stranger Things finds impossible ways to both defy and evolve them for new audiences. It’s not a sequel, like Captain America: Civil War or Finding Dory, but it is a successor to something else, and in the most original way possible for what it is.

I haven’t mentioned the most memorable and important character of the entire show: Eleven. Her presence in Stranger Things deserves to permeate the culture, and it’s already starting to with devoted fans who are evangelizing 2016’s breakout role in Millie Bobby Brown. It’s easy to celebrate Eleven because of the child actor’s performance, of course, but there’s no reason to forget that she benefits from a script that effortlessly makes you feel every big moment of its running time. El works because just about everything else in this show works.

For me, the choice is clear. Stranger Things is objectively as good as the best movies to come out all summer. In my opinion, it stands above most films of the year. But what makes it the “best” piece of entertainment to sit down and enjoy this summer is its lasting effect through how it’s talked about, the point in time it was released, and the loving care that was put into just about every aspect of the final product.

stranger things best

And even though it’s over, complete with one of the most satisfying endings I can think of in 2016, it still manages to leave you wanting more, questioning everything you just watched, and speculating what’s possible when we’ll eventually (hopefully) revisit these characters, and Hawkins.

Season Grade: A


What did you all think of Stranger Things? I left out great highlights from the show (sorry Hopper!), so be sure to share your take in the comments. 

Also, thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hello on Twitter! @JonNegroni


Which Is Better? Arrow vs. The Flash

the flash arrow better

“Which is Better?” is a new editorial series that dares to compare the best of pretty much everything. In this rundown, I’ll break down everything from story to characters in an attempt to declare which of these superhero shows is truly better. 

Back when it was still The WB Television Network, The CW aired a superhero origin series for Superman, which you probably remember as Smallville. It was a great show in its early seasons (its prime), but it faltered over the years due to its own popularity and unwillingness to end. Essentially, things got too complicated, important characters became throwaways…it was a forgettable mess by the time it finished.

But Smallville did set the standard for modern live-action DC Comics shows. It introduced an entire generation of non-comic readers to Green Arrow, prompting the CW to move forward with a new show/remake dedicated to just that character.

You can thank a lot of the creative vision and ambition behind Arrow and other DC shows to Greg Berlanti, who got his start working on Dawson’s Creek (the similarities between these two shows are unmistakable). Though Berlanti has helped produced some major duds, including the Green Lantern movie in 2011, the director/writer/producer has found great success crafting a DC Comics television universe that has branched off into The Flash and the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. He’s even the executive producer of CBS’s own DC Comics show, Supergirl.

which is better arrow flash

But the main shows we’re talking about today are truer rivals. They’ve crossed over many times, and The Flash was even introduced within an episode of Arrow. And although Arrow has been around since 2012, The Flash is already in its second season, giving us enough time to properly compare what stands out for each series.

So…which is better? (shoutout to user Tonio0064 for suggesting this entry).

It’s a hard question, and from what I’ve observed, The Flash has been considered by critics and audiences to be superior, despite how young it is. Another thing to consider is that a lot of what’s great about The Flash was pioneered by the teams who worked on Arrow, which suffered a bit from some clunky seasons trying to figure out what kind of show it had to be.

I’ve had a great time watching both shows, so I’ll be breaking down their merits in order to figure out which one really is better. But let’s be clear. Neither have failed this city.

BEST LEAD

which is better arrow flash

Both shows have titular main characters, so having a good lead has been critical to their success. Fortunately for Arrow and The Flash, Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin have done a fantastic job as Oliver Queen and Barry Allen, respectively.

They both walk a fine line between doing the comics justice, but also bringing something new to the character that non-comic fans can relate to. Oliver Queen is traditionally a hero known for being more of a left-wing robin hood type looking out for the little guy, but Amell’s take is more of a tortured warrior who fights for the greater good (at least for now).

Grant Gustin pulls off a Barry Allen with fewer wisecracks but more charm as a confident speedster with a heart of gold. And both of these characters work with larger teams instead of on their own, which is a more suitable format for television.

This is a close call, and I really like both characters. But if I had to choose one who goes just a little further with the character, then I have to pick Flash. Amell is a great actor, but he’s a bit more one-note and sullen compared to Gustin, who just seems to be having a lot more fun with his show.

Point goes to The Flash.

BEST SUPPORTING CAST

which is better arrow flash

In other words, Cisco or Felicity?

One of the most fun aspects of Arrow is how well the show has evolved its side characters. Diggle, Felicity, Thea, and even Laurel have grown into interesting characters who add more to the show than they distract from.

At the same time, though, the show often struggles with what their roles are. Specifically, Thea, Laurel, Roy, Quentin, and Sarah of all people have been hit-or-miss over the years, with Roy even leaving the show Teen Wolf-style.

The Flash, on the other hand, does more with less. Even if you compare second seasons to second seasons, Team Flash just seems to have a better sense of identity. Caitlin looks out for Barry’s health, Cisco makes the cool gadgets and decides on bad guy names, Wells comes up with the plans, Joe keeps everyone in check, and Iris is the unattainable love interest (though her character is slowly getting better than that).

This is a result of The Flash learning and avoiding the mistakes of Arrow, which gives them almost an unfair advantage. But the show still manages to learn and apply what’s worked in the past, and that’s no easy feat in the world of network television.

Point goes to The Flash.

BEST VILLAINS

which is better arrow flash

Arrow was lacking a compelling list of villains early in its first season. The enemies ranged from Nolan-verse archetypes to greedy businessmen, not the intriguing assassins and warlords that would populate future episodes. Even Merlyn was a bit underwhelming, despite his arch-villain clout.

The Flash found easy ways to introduce villains with one major event causing their arrival. The particle accelerator gave Barry and many of the villains their powers, making it Barry’s job to round them up (with the exception of foes like Captain Cold).

You’d think that would give The Flash an advantage, but this is something I don’t love about the series. For one thing, it’s a little too reminiscent of Static Shock, the animated series from the early 2000s that used very similar story elements to explain the sudden arrival of foes Static could contend with.

The major villains of The Flash have certainly been interesting in their own right, but not very unique or diverse. Sure, it’s still early, but Reverse Flash and Zoom are really just rival speedsters. Arrow did the same with Merlyn, a rival archer, but at least in its second season, it introduced two new villains who felt drastically more imposing. What made Deathstroke so great, for example, was how his story had been teased from the first season, and the “why” behind his villainy was more satisfying than Eobard Thawne’s mostly uncomplicated treachery.

I like the villains from The Flash, but I’m much more invested in the villains of Arrow, especially Floyd Lawton. Point goes to Arrow.

BEST STORY

which is better arrow flash

Included in this analysis is storytelling. Which show delivers the best experience in terms of drama and character development?

Arrow had a very promising premise in its first season that gave it the steam it needed to survive. Oliver Queen returned from presumed death after five years. While trying to readjust to his life and friends (including the ex-girlfriend he cheated on with her sister who died under his watch), Oliver took up a crusade as a vigilante, trying to redeem his city with the skills he learned while on a mysterious island.

This initial story worked well because we also saw flashbacks to the island that explained how Oliver survived and became “the vigilante.” By the time we reached the third season, however, the flashbacks quickly became pointless, feeling more like fodder for lackluster B plots. There’s a good one every now and again, but for me, these have been pretty skippable.

In contrast, The Flash utilizes “secret endings” at the end of each episode that shed light on a bigger mystery. Who is Harrison Wells, really? Who is the Reverse Flash? Who is Zoom? Strange I’m mentioning it again, but this is something Teen Wolf has excelled at in a grander sense, using mysteries you actually care about to keep you tuning in.

But does that really make the story better? No, and that’s a good thing. These mysteries are accessories to what make The Flash a fun watch, not the entire hook. I’m fine with waiting to find out which character is who because I enjoy Barry Allen’s journey as a superhero. It’s simpler than Arrow, for sure, and I like that because Flash is a less serious character, so when there’s drama, it feels more genuine when mixed with the comic relief.

This is another close call, but I have to give it to The Flash. While it may lack a narrative that hooks you in immediately, it provides a fleshed out universe that feels more fun to sink your teeth into.

VERDICT

which is better arrow flash

Well, I guess the critics are right. The Flash is better than Arrow, but it’s a closer match than I think some people realize. In everything we discussed, Arrow had many bright spots that elevate it above The Flash in some respects, especially when it comes to villains.

But overall, The Flash has benefitted from being more refined from the get-go, which is a testament to the work put in to make this show the best it could possibly be. We owe plenty of gratitude to Arrow for paving the way, but it’s honest to point out that it’s not the best, at least for now.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments.


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

So, M. Night Shyamalan Still Wants to Make ‘The Last Airbender 2’

the last airbender 2

Before we go any further, let’s get my opinion straight. I’m speaking to M. Night Shyamalan directly when I say, STAY AWAY FROM AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. FOREVER.

There, that’s all I wanted to say, aside from the rest of this.

Strangely, some people don’t blame the once promising director for the insulting mess that was 2010’s The Last Airbender, including Shyamalan himself. We’ll get to the lunacy of that, but first I should mention that this is still a minority opinion. A terrible opinion, but a minority opinion all the same.

Venture Capitol Post posted an article yesterday with an unforgivably misleading title that shocked and scared the eyes of hopefully only tens of readers:

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender 2’ Confirmed: Director M. Night Shyamalan Defends 1st Film from Longstanding Criticism.

Um…No, this movie is most certainly NOT confirmed. Obvious clickbait headline isn’t just clickbait. It’s actually beyond clickbait, transcending into a full on clicksnare.

the last airbender 2
This will teach readers to skim my lede.

Nowhere in the article does it say that The Last Airbender 2 has been “confirmed.” They don’t even get the name of the movie right in the title, which should be the first red flag.

No, this article only covers a few link shares to other articles published over the last few months that point out Shyamalan’s interest in continuing the franchise. In fact, I can’t find anything new or relevant in this article to explain why it even exists. So let’s keep going!

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender 2’ director M. Night Shyamalan continued to defend his first film from long-standing criticism. He is also reported ready to push through with a sequel.

Source? Nope. There’s no source for this at all. Venture Capital Post just asserts this and moves on like it’s not the biggest bombshell fans of the animated series have seen since the first reviews for The Last Airbender came out. Who edited this?

According to Movie Pilot, the filmmaker was not to blame for the Nickelodeon cartoon adaptation’s failure with critics and audiences alike.

First, it’s Moviepilot, not “Movie Pilot.” Also, they’re shamelessly sourcing an opinionated article not written by Moviepilot staff, but written by someone who’s never seen an episode of the show they’re talking about. I’m not making that up.

Let’s jump over to that “Movie Pilot” article and see what writer Rohan Mohmand has to say (and yes, it’s ironic he shares the name of Tenzin’s son).

M.Night Shyamalan is an original thinker.

Nope, nope, keep going. You can do it, Jon.

I still haven’t seen the respective show,

Wow. Yeah, so Rohan sings Shyamalan’s praises for a few paragraphs, citing that the early success for the filmmaker based on his only two widely accepted movies, The 6th Sense and Unbreakable (a case can be made for Signs, but not a good one) lends to the fact that the failure of The Last Airbender has nothing to do with him.

Because directors don’t make both good and bad movies, according to Rohan. Especially when they’ve made like five abysmal movies in a row. You know what came out before The Last Airbender? Oh, just a little train wreck called The Happening.

In that movie, the “original” Shyamalan presented a world where plants make us kill ourselves. And that’s when we learned that originality doesn’t necessarily make something good.

Today, it has been almost six years since its release, and whenever someone brings the subject of The Last Airbender it is Shyamalan to blame.

Is this a surprise? He’s writing this like it’s not valid to blame the person who spent the most time making the movie happen and overseeing its execution for how bad it is. Granted, not every movie is bad because of the direction, but how can you argue that The Last Airbender doesn’t suffer from its many Shyamalanisms?

the last airbender 2
“Let’s do ANOTHER closeup so we can see how bad the scar is!”

But Rohan’s not finished. He cites an interview Shyamalan had with IGN about this (sorry about the inception-level article sourcing. It’s not my fault, I’m only the director of this article).

This is from Shyamalan, explaining what went wrong with the movie:

“My child was nine-years-old. So you could make it one of two ways: you could make it for that same audience, which is what I did, for nine and 10-year-olds, or you could do the ‘Transformers’ version and have Megan Fox. I didn’t do that.”

First, that last line, “I didn’t do that” wasn’t cited by Rohan for some unexplainable reason, so I added it. Second, what world does Shyamalan live in?

You know what else was made for nine and 10-year-olds? Avatar the Last Airbender, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest animated series of all time. But it’s not geared toward people who like Transformers, so Shyamalan had to “adjust.”

What kind of backwards opinion is this? Your movie sucks because you made it for kids? Have you ever seen a Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks Animation movie? You think those movies are hits because they appeal to adults ONLY? No, they appeal to a wide demographic. Kids AND adults can watch a movie like Beauty and the Beast.

the last airbender 2
Which was ONLY the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture. That’s all! 

In what universe do you have to believe that if you shoot for a wider demographic, you end up creating something akin to Transformers?! You know what, I actually can believe that someone as deluded as M. Night Shyamalan believes he’s making bad movies because he thinks anything else is Transformers. That’s the same delusion that must be related to his obvious and utter failure to understand how to make a kids’ movie, or why a good kids’ movie is good. 

Rohan (hopefully) digresses:

Defending his film, there’s nothing that we can do, for as the director, and also as a fan of the show, Shyamalan has all the rights. But, the question is, is he really the person to blame for the failure of The Last Airbender?

YES. Is this a trick question?

The answer to the question above is a “no.”

I hate everything.

Shyamalan is not to blame for the failure of the film. In fact, he is owed an apology.

Should I punch my computer now?

Last summer, Joblo penned a piece spreading the word, the story behind the making of The Last Airbender, divulged passionately on the AvatarSpirit.net forums.

So now we’re officially sourcing forums.

The story, however, is no longer available on the forum.

I wonder why.

It was published by someone who worked on the production of the film and the increased attention got her concerned as her career was going to be in jeopardy.

How do you know this? And can’t you also argue that she took it down because it was full of false information skewed by her opinion? Nope, let’s just take this at face value and source it as evidence.

I’ll give you the gist. This person claims that 80% of the decisions for The Last Airbender came from the producers, including the casting of the girl who played Katara.

last airbender 2
Yeah, I don’t remember her name either.

She argues that this casting was nepotism on part of the producers, and it resulted in them having to alter the ethnicities of many other characters, leading to the major backlash this movie suffered from before it even came out. None of the characters looked the part.

Only later would we realize that none of the actors acted the part either. Katara herself lost all of her best moments from the show (holding her own against Zuko, giving the inspiring speech to the earthbenders), and Sokka’s cleverness and wit was replaced with…brooding and being serious all the time.

the last airbender 2
Your meat and sarcasm guy.

Of course, Rohan would know this if he had watched an episode of the show.

The disgruntled forum hacker blames everything on the producers. The lack of budget, the story changes, the effects not looking right. Basically, she props up the basic challenges of any film as something that the director couldn’t control.

Except, we’re not talking about a novice director. We’re talking about M. Night Shyamalan, who at this point in his career DID have clout as a film director. I can understand a newcomer like Colin Trevorrow getting steamrolled while making Jurassic World, but you can’t give someone like Shyamalan the same pass.

And this unknown person claims that Shyamalan just gave up because none of his ideas went through. In other words, he didn’t do his job of upholding good ideas, so he’s the victim.

You know who else “gave up” on their movie? Josh Trank with Fantastic Four. You know why everyone still blames him, even after writing that cringe Tweet? Because he’s the director. It’s his JOB to salvage what the producers pick apart.

the last airbender 2
“I wanted to give you good direction, but the producers said I can’t.”

And blame the producers all you want for getting in the way. You CAN’T, however, blame them for the execution. You can’t blame the producers for the gross mispronunciation of the characters’ names. That was from Shyamalan. You can’t blame the horrendous closeups and terrible camera work. That was from Shyamalan. You certainly can’t blame the bland dialogue and writing that comes from every other Shyamalan movie and is present here (because he wrote it).

What, were these the same producers who made The Happening happen?

So Rohan concludes, claiming that Shyamalan is classy for taking the responsibility and not blaming anyone else. That’s fine. But you’re in a dream within a dream if you really think he’s not to blame for why this movie still causes physical and emotional pain for any fan of the show who’s reminded of it.

Back to Venture Capital Post, who is spinning the wheels of what you can get away with in an article that does no real work:

It is undeniable that Shyamalan is a master writer-director in his own right with successful supernatural films under his belt including ‘Lady in the Water’, ‘The Village’, ‘Signs’, ‘Unbreakable’ and 1999’s cult favorite ‘The Sixth Sense’.

No.

Just…no. It is not “undeniable.” It is, in fact, incredibly deniable that Shyamalan is a “MASTER” because only two and half of those movies were well-received by critics. Lady in the Water? Seriously? The movie that received a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes before it was “cool” to make fun of Shyamalan?

Look, I love The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable as much as anyone. And I didn’t “hate” Signs and The Village. But to call the man a master is hyperbole, and saying it’s “undeniable” is transcending hyperbole. 

the last airbender 2
How do I sleep at night? 

But Venture digresses. The writer points out what Rohan did — that Shyamalan said to IGN once that The Last Airbender is made for nine and 10-year-olds instead of everyone who else who watches Transformers, which is why “you don’t get it.” Virtually ignoring every other kids’ film that has proven the exact opposite.

Then Venture rightfully acknowledges that the creators of Avatar (Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino) don’t even acknowledge that The Last Airbender even exists. Yeah, it’s the Lake Laogai running gag that us fans have been using to cope for five years now, and it’s pretty effective.

According to Den of Geek, Shyamalan planned to push through with a sequel as evidenced by the introduction of Prince Zuko’s sister, Azula, at the end of the first film.

Wait, that’s not according to Den of Geek, that’s painfully obvious from watching the movie. Did you really have to source a website to know that they planned to make this a trilogy? Is this real life?

However, despite previous news that he had already penned a first draft for the follow-up, no updates have come up since then.

This sentence flies in the face of the earlier one in this article, which claimed that the sequel WAS reportedly happening. Oh, and it also clashes with the headline of the entire article. This is real life.

You’re probably wondering why I’m going to so much trouble to rip these articles apart, and it’s for a few reasons. The biggest is that I don’t want someone to stumble across them and take them in as actual reporting. This is a PSA.

the last airbender 2

Second, I love this franchise more than any other on television. I love the characters. I love the animation. I love the world they created. I love the comics. I love the spin off. I love the fan art. I even love the pilot episode. OK, the video games are hit and miss, but I still enjoyed playing them.

So I’m going to dissent with writers like Rohan who let their love of Shyamalan get in the way of honest criticism. And for the most part, he does a good job of explaining why he loves this director and wants him to succeed. I have no problem with that, even though I disagree.

My main issue is with a website like Venture Capital Post for all of the reasons I’ve already gotten into. And if you come across garbage articles like this during your time on the Internet, then I hope you do the same and call them out for it. We deserve better.

On that note, I’d like to welcome you to Lake Laogai.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Game of Thrones S5E9 Recap: Rumble in the Meerena

game of thrones dance with dragons

Hey Throners, it’s time for another Now Conspiring podcast featuring this week’s new episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The episode is called “The Dance with Dragons,” so as you can expect…well, Spoilers if you haven’t watched the episode yet.

I’m joined by my podcasting small council, Adonis Gonzalez, Maria Garcia, and Kayla Savage, as we explore the world of Planetos in true Conspiring fashion.

Go on…Game of Thrones S5E9 Recap: Rumble in the Meerena

Podcast: Insidious 3, Spy, Movie News This Week

insidious 3 spy

Spy has been getting all of the praise lately, so what does Team Conspiring think about its success? Get ready for some heat, Paul Feig style.

We cover tons of movie news this week (including some comic news), along with some coverage of some recent trailers that just dropped. We also read your comments from the last episode and bring up this week’s topic of discussion.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is a movie that you hate, even though everyone else loves it?

Enjoy the show! Let us know your answers to this week’s question in the comments. Or just hit us up on Twitter! We’re @NowConspiring. And don’t forget to rate/subscribe us on iTunes or the Stitcher app if you feel like it.

Our Song of the Week is “Beat of My Drum” by up-and-coming band, Powers.

You also heard these songs in this week’s episode:

“Wish You Were Here” – Lee Fields and The Expressions

“Don’t Carry It All” – The Decembrists

House of Cards to Return For Third Season in February

house of cards season 3

Ross Miller | The Verge

House of Cards, Netflix’s first breakout success, is coming back for a third season. Netflix today announced the premiere date: February 27th, 2015.

The 13-episode second season of House of Cards debuted this past Valentine’s Day, February 14th, and was reportedly finished by over half a million people in the first weekend — and by at least one person (me) in the first 12 hours.

The Season 3 release date announcement was made by the House of Cards official Twitter account, which teased a perfectly chilling video of the “First Couple” entering Air Force One.

Now we just have to come up with something to fill the time until February 27th. I’ll mostly be wondering how they’ll manage to match the near-perfect first episode of Season 2, which featured my personal favorite twist of the entire series thus far.

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