Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, September 27, 2020

This Week, Episode 10.22: Autumnal Arrival

U62: The Targ -- The Chaos in a Box Podcast


Well, the first day of fall has come and gone. With autumn here, it’s time to get out and do stuff! So that way, I have adventures to podcast about.

I decided to take my first trip to West Edmonton Mall all year, which results in a rant about collectors. We’ve got another Mark Tastes Random Things, where I sample KFC’s new Famous Chicken chicken sandwich. On The Streaming Report, I watch a ton of Flintstones reruns, and I wrap things up by watching that sweet, sweet WandaVision trailer.

All in Episode 10.22: Autumnal Arrival!

Listen in:

And in case you missed that WandaVision trailer, check it out!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Bears vs. Dragons

 2020 has been a hell of a year.  It seems like the only thing I type in this blog anymore has been the plugging of my latest podcast.  What can I say?  I don't have that much to blog about.  The formula for years has been venturing out of my small town life, having a day of adventure in the city, and then writing about it.  But there has been no days of adventure in the city in 2020.  COVID-19 has closed down most places, leaving me with no where to go.  And therefore, nothing to blog about.  

But, now I do.

The New Mutants has finally hit theatres.  This much-maligned X-Men film has officially become the most troubled of the Fox/X-Men films.  I had a friend who is a lifelong X-Men fan who was thrilled about 2018.  2018 was to be the first year with three X-Men films.  We were going to get New Mutants in the the spring, Deadpool 2 in the summer, and Dark Phoenix for the holiday season.  

And then the troubles began.

The New Mutants was being sold as a horror film set in the X-Men universe.  X-Men lends itself quite well to horror.  Young people not knowing how to handle their burgeoning powers could quite easily spin into David Cronenberg-esque body horror.  Throw in sadistic scientists experimenting on these kids to learn more about them, and you've got all the ingredients.  The first trailer for New Mutants really leaned into the horror aspects of the film.  People loved it, so New Mutants was pushed back from spring 2018 to the fall of 2018 so they could do re-shoots to ramp up the horror.  Then it got pushed back again to the spring of 2019.  Then the Disney buyout of Fox happened, and the film got lost in the shuffle.  The filmmakers tell us that they never got around to doing the planned reshoots, and with the way the world is, it looks like the film was just dumped into the recently-reopened theatres just to get it off the schedule.  

I was looking at The New Mutants in the theatres, and thought to myself, "I must see this film."  This is the last of the Fox/X-Men films.  With Disney having bought Fox, the movie rights to the X-Men have been returned to Marvel.  So the next time we see the X-Men, or Wolverine, or Deadpool, or any of our favourite mutants, they will be back home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  When it comes to the Fox/X-Men films, I've been there since day one.  X-Men way back in the year 2000 still stands as the only midnight screening I've ever been to.  I have seen every X-Men film in the theatre for the past 20 years.  I had to see New Mutants in the theatre.  I had to see this to the end.

I was thinking about that all on the drive in.  I wonder how long a fandom lasts?  I've been watching X-Men movies for the past 20 years.  When I'm in my 80s and in a retirement home, will I still make an effort to get out and catch the new Star Wars film?  I wonder if there are 80 year olds out there right now, who were first in line for Dr. No back in 1962 and have seen every James Bond movie in the theatre since.  I can hear them now.  "I've got no time to die until I've seen No Time to Die!"  

Now if you follow me on social media, you're probably saying, "Now, Mark.  This isn't your adventure this summer.  You've already been back to the movies a few times."  And you are correct.  Here in Alberta, when movie theatres started reopening back in July, they needed movies to show.  And they did so by showing classic films for the low low price of $5.  When was the last time you were able to see a film for $5?  And they were showing beloved classics...films I've always loved, but have only ever seen on TV.  This was my only chance to see them on the big screen, the way they were meant to be seen.  So I went to the movies a few times in July.  I finally saw Back to the Future on the big screen.  I finally saw Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I saw Ghostbusters.  I saw The Empire Strikes Back again...having caught it on the big screen during the Special Edition release back in 1997.  

But this time, though, was different.  If you haven't been back to the movies yet, they are highly encouraging you to buy your tickets in advance on an app.  This really helps with minimizing physical contact and preventing transmission of disease.  So I had no problem shelling out $5 on the app to finally see Ghostbusters on the big screen.  But with The New Mutants being a newer film, and back up to full price of $15, I wanted to try something.

Back in February, I got my hands on something I've wanted forever.  I got a media pass to Landmark Cinemas.  Unlimited free movies for the entirety of 2020.  I could see myself spending every weekend at the Landmark Cinema in St. Albert, seeing absolutely every movie that I could. 

My Media Pass


And then, a week later, they started closing the movie theatres because of COVID-19.  I tell you, it was the worst case of "be careful what you wish for" that I've ever personally experienced.  

So with my media pass in hand, I wanted to see if it would work for me, and if I could finally partake in a free movie.  And you can't use it on the app.

I'm pleased to report that, yes, my media pass still works.  There was some confusion at the box office.  "I've never seen one of these before, so I don't know how to ring it up," said the kindly clerk.  But a quick rundown from the manager smoothed everything over, and I was able to sprint into the theatre just in time for The New Mutants.

I will say this:  for those who have been worried about venturing back to the movies, the crowds have been pretty small.  The biggest crowd I saw was for Ghostbusters, which has about 12 people in the theatre.  And that was movie-going prime time:  Saturday night.  I saw The New Mutants on Friday afternoon.  It was just me a couple of kids skipping school.  

And I saw it at the Landmark Cinema in St. Albert.  I love it.  All the chairs are overstuffed leather recliners.  You can literally put your feet up.  My only complaint is the chairs are almost too comfortable.  Empire Strikes Back was a constant struggle to stay awake. With my recliner reclined, my Twizzlers in hand, I was ready to enjoy The New Mutants.  

The New Mutants Movie poster
 Danielle Moonstar awakens in a strange hospital. She’s told that her reservation was destroyed by an unknown force, and she was the only survivor. The doctor in charge of the facility — Dr. Reyes — tells Dani that they suspect she’s a mutant, and it was her mutant power that saved her. She is at the hospital to learn what her power is and to control it. She soon meets the other patients at the hospital: Rahne, who can turn into a wolf; Illyana, who can teleport and summon a magic sword; Sam, who can summon energy blasts to propel himself; and Bobby, who can shoot fire. Together, they start learning about themselves, their powers…and the sinister forces that Dr. Reyes works for. 

First thing you need to understand is The New Mutants is not a horror film.  I did not find it scary at all.  Let me make it clear.  I'm not big on horror films.  I have a low constitution for horror...I scare easily.  So when I say that a movie's not scary, it's really not scary.  If anything, it's a YA film with some jump scares.  And as YA films go, it's pretty by-the-numbers.

But there is some good in it.  I mean, it's small cast and enclosed setting give it a rather intimate feel for a superhero film.  And any movie that features bears fighting dragons at the end is OK in my books.  But with the state of the world these days, you can definitely wait until it's on Netflix.  

I give The New Mutants two out of four Nibs.  You can find the full review over on my official website.

I went back out to the parking lot, looked at my watch, and saw it was getting on to be suppertime.  I could either turn around and head back to Westlock.  Or...I could make it a proper adventure.  I could head a little further.  The nearest Popeyes Chicken is on the north side of Edmonton.  In just a short 15 minute drive, I could be sampling the fabled Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.

When Popeyes rolled out their chicken sandwich across the USA last year, it made headlines.  People found it so good that restaurants were frequently selling out.  And when they did sell out...well, there was many a viral video of fights breaking out at Popeyes.  Popeyes has begun rolling it out across Canada.  Edmonton was their test market a few months ago, as Edmonton did such a good job of keeping COVID-19 from spreading too far too fast.  Popeyes finally rolled it out to every Canadian location about a week ago.  So I figured I would give it a shot.  But as I was driving down to Popeyes, I had a thought.  "What if they're still closed?"

My parents have shared stories of their RV excursions this past summer.  Their biggest complaint is that dining can be a crap shoot.   You never know which restaurants are open, which are closed, which are open for delivery only.  You just never know.  

The Fabeled Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

When I arrived at Popeyes, I discovered that their dining room was closed.  They were only open for take-out.  So, I ordered my chicken sandwich to go.  But the problem now was where to eat it.  This particular location didn't have any picnic tables out front, so I couldn't eat outside.  I didn't want to take it all the way home to Westlock and eat at home.  I tried with Taco Bell a few months ago.  By the time I got home to Westlock, it was cold and soggy.  So eating in my car it is.  But it was such a nice, sunny day.  Why eat in my car, when I can spread out my picnic on the hood of car and eat outside?  And that's what I did.

And boy, what a mistake.  In a parking lot at the start of the supper hour, I was beeped at a few times and had to move aside to let people in to park.  Then an old timer walked up to me and tried to strike up a conversation.

"So, you got yourself one of those chicken sandwiches, eh?"

"Hmhmarglebah."  (That's me with my mouth full, trying to respond to him.)

"Yeah, they're real good, aren't they?"


"Yup, I tried one a few weeks ago.  They're so big!  They really fill you up!"


He finally left me alone and went inside to order his dinner.  And then a couple of friendly wasps decided to buzz over to me and try to take a bite.  So, here I am, in a Popeyes parking lot, doing a funny little dance to keep the wasps away while people beeped at me to get out of their parking space.

Maybe that's why I didn't find the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich that impressive.  Too many distractions kept me from enjoying it.  

I mean, it's nothing that special.  It's just a big piece of Popeyes chicken on a bun, with some mayo and pickles.  I went with the deluxe version, which also has lettuce and tomato.  The one thing that got me, though, was it is huge.  You know those third-pounder burgers that a lot of fast food places have?  I rarely order them because they're so thick.  The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich is the third-pounder of chicken sandwiches.  It's just massive.

I don't know.  I'll probably give it another chance when I can sit down in peace and enjoy one.  Maybe I'll try the spicy next time.   

When my sandwich was done, and all my garbage in my back seat because there were no trash cans handy, I jumped in my car and began the long trek home.  

It was good to get out and have some fun.  The world is still a changing place.  I was wearing a mask pretty much everywhere I went.  Only took it off for my movie snacks and my chicken sandwich.  Lots more plexiglass windows separating me from the clerks.   It's still taking some getting used to.  And the way the news goes, looks like the second wave is about to start up.  So this may be my last trip out for a while. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

This Week, Episode 10.21: Superhero Catch-Up

And we’re back! Sorry I didn’t have an episode for you last week…my parents invited me along on their last RV trip of the season, so I ran off with them. In this week’s episode, I tell you about where I went and the shenanigans I got into. I also braved the movie theatres to see The New Mutants, so I tell you if it’s worth it. Over in The Streaming Report, I finally start on Cobra Kai, and I am loving it. And I wrap things up by telling you who’s going to be playing She-Hulk.

All on Episode 10.21: Superhero Catch-Up!

Where to listen:

Sunday, September 06, 2020

This week, Episode 10.20: The Procrastination Game


U62: The Targ - The Chaos in a Box Podcast

It’s a grey, rainy, windy day, making it tough to get motivated to make a podcast. Because I cannot let down my 20 listeners! I still find a few things to talk about. Disney’s live-action Mulan has dropped on Disney+, so I explored to find out how exactly it works. We got a new trailer for the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, so I offer up my thoughts. Over on The Streaming Report, I give my thoughts on Star Trek: Lower Decks and Muppets Now. And I wrap things up by giving my opinion on the Alberta hyperloop. 

All on Episode 10.20: The Procrastination Game!

Where to listen:

And if you  haven't seen that No Time to Die trailer, check it out here!