Saturday, June 17, 2017

Super Villain Rhapsody

It was gloomy, humid and cool, when I awoke this morning. Ran Superman cartoons to cheer me up while I ate breakfast. The first one, "The Mad Scientist," sets the tone for most of the others on this set. A determined Lois Lane gets into trouble after telling Clark Kent she can take care of herself on a big assignment, or wants to scoop him. Clark changes into Superman, then rescues Lois and takes down whatever the menace of the day is (in this case a mad scientist's death ray). "The Mechanical Monsters" are actually robots who steal jewels on a thief's bidding. Lois and Clark witness one robot hit up a museum's jewelry exhibit. Lois hides in one of the robots. Superman follows her...until he has a close encounter with some electrical wires...

Headed out to the farm market around 10:30. Despite the cloudy and killer humid weather, the place was packed with people looking for fruit and vegetables for their Father's Day barbecues. The summer produce continues to roll out. I saw zucchini, cucumbers, New Jersey blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries for the first time this year today. I bought snap peas, a small yellow zucchini and green zucchini from the organic booth, strawberries, and bananas from the tropical fruit wholesaler.

Put everything away when I got home, then did a little bit of writing. Wedge Antilles and his boys have been in jail since they were arrested after the chaos at the Royal Regatta. Wedge is beginning to wonder if everyone has forgotten them, but the priest and the guard who brought their food looks familiar...

Watched more cartoons while eating a quick lunch. The "Billion Dollar Limited" is a train carrying gold to the US Mint. Thieves try to take the train, but Superman stops them in their tracks. "The Arctic Giant" is more creative, and the first time Superman took on a villain that wasn't technically a criminal. He has to stop a defrosted dinosaur who got loose from the museum and is on a rampage in downtown Metropolis.

It was rained briefly while I was eating lunch, but had stopped by the time I headed to work. It would continue raining off and on for the rest of the afternoon. It would be sunny for a while, then suddenly the dark clouds would come in, and it would pour. I cleaned the bathrooms, got stuck in the registers twice, and helped a really sweet lady take four potted rose bushes to her truck, but I was mostly outside doing carts.

I just wish I'd had more help. The head bagger was outside with me once, but I mostly had one of the teenagers. She'll push three carts per round and go inside the moment the corrals look slightly done. Even when you finish the corrals, you still have to check the sides of the building and around the periphery of the parking lot for stray carts.

Got my schedule when I arrived. More-or-less the same deal this week, only with later hours on Thursday and earlier hours on Saturday. I'll have to rush the run to the farm market next week and I could still use more hours. Otherwise, this is fairly par-for-the-course for the time of the year.

When I finally got home, the first thing I did was turn on the air conditioning. I couldn't stand the humidity anymore, unfinished door be damned. The second was jump in the shower. Between gathering the carts today and all the running around yesterday, I was sweating to death.

After getting out, I had leftovers for dinner while finishing the first disc of Superman shorts. "The Bulleteers" are a gang who uses bullet-shaped rocket cars to attack police buildings and demand the city treasury. While Lois tries to get closer to the action, Superman takes on the rocket car. "The Magnetic Telescope" has attracted a comet that's raining destruction on Metropolis. Even Superman has trouble getting rid of it. A Native American man threatens an "Electric Earthquake" unless Manhattan is returned to his people. Good thing Lois is on the case...and Superman is onto her.

The remaining two shorts deal more with natural or animal disasters, rather than typical crimes. A "Volcano" is about to blow up and possibly destroy a whole city. Lois hides Clark's press pass so she can get the scoop, but that doesn't stop Superman from saving the day. It's "Terror on the Midway" when several circus animals, including a giant gorilla, get loose and cause havoc. Superman and Lois do what they can to round up the critters and bring that big ape down.

Switched to Suicide Squad as I went online. Tough Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has assembled a team of some of the worst villains in the DC Universe to take on only the worst assignments. One was to have been possessed former archaeologist The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), but Waller loses control of her. She sends the others out to take her down, including hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), the Joker's crazy girlfriend Harley Quinn (Michelle Williams), Australian thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), fire god El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and the reptillian Killer Kroc (Adewele Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and martial artist Kantana (Karen Fukuhara) try to keep them in line. But these baddest of the bad aren't used to working together, or even on anyone's side but their own. There's also the fact that the Joker (Jered Leto) wants his woman back, even if it's not the most perfect relationship, and will do anything to get her.

This ended up being a surprise. People have have been complaining since it came out, but I ended up liking it. No, it's not a masterpiece. It's probably not even good. It is fun, though, with the quips coming fast and furious. There's decent performances from Davis, Smith, and especially Williams, who throws herself into one of DC's most beloved villainesses and has a marvelous time doing so. And yes, the wild makeup and hair here deserved that Oscar win, especially the work on Killer Croc and El Diablo. Also, this is another movie that brings little-known comics characters to the big screen. The only characters here I'd heard of before were the Joker, Harley, Killer Croc, Kantana, and Amanda Waller (and the latter two I'd just encountered in DC Super Hero Girls).

Apparently, this was rushed into theaters to capitalize on the popularity of another misfit squad, Guardians of the Galaxy, and it does kind of look it. Editing dropped a lot of elements that would have made this more cohesive, there's little character development, and some of the special effects look cheap or not quite done (like the Enchantress in the end). The script feels like it's trying far too hard to be "hip" and "with it" and not quite getting there, with its conflicted heroes and "bad guys can be good guys too" morals.

Like The Secret Life of Pets, I enjoyed this one enough that I didn't mind the rental, but I probably won't buy it. If you're a fan of any of these actors or characters or the DC Universe, you may get more out of this movie than I (or most critics) did.

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