Are movie stars a thing anymore? One of the consequences of cinema’s shift to the global market and franchise filmmaking is a decline in movies built around their casts. I mean sure, we still have A-list actors, but I think it’s hard to say they compare to the classic Hollywood idea of a “star.” Just look at one of the highest-grossing box office stars of all time, Robert Downey Jr. He was the highest paid actor in the world between 2013 and 2015 and should be one of the most recognizable people on the planet, having starred in the highest-grossing film ever made as recently as last year. But were people showing up Avengers Endgame to see Robert Downey Jr. or Tony Stark? How many people are out there who have Iron Man tattoos but haven’t even heard of Zodiac, Chaplin, or Weird Science? And will those same people show up to watch him get farted on by CGI animals? The answer is: I don’t know. Because this narrative, like so much of 2020, has been thrown off completely thanks to the global pandemic. The state of the industry back in January has already become irrelevant. Case in point: while it would be nice to call Dolittle a commercial disappointment, it likely will remain the sixth highest-grossing film of 2020.
Season 1, Episode 4
Original Air Date: October 30th, 2012
So The Mindy Project is another show I didn’t know much about going in, but thankfully, as the fourth episode of a half hour comedy, I didn’t have a lot of catching up to do. It’s also a show that actually made its Halloween episode actually about Halloween, so that’s another big plus for me. I guess this is exactly what I was looking for when I picked so many shows I had never watched for this year’s Shocktober. Just a fun slice of a much bigger pie. Basically, I’m happy to be going out on a nice note. Let me tell you about it.
Season 1, Episode 6
Original Air Date: October 29, 2007
I have always considered Chuck with trepidation. On one hand, it’s a show passionate fans desperately fought to keep on the air and I’m definitely interested in a show built around the trio of Zachary Levi (because Thor 2, Shazam, and Mrs. Maisel), Yvonne Strahovski (because she’s in the Mass Effect games), and Adam Baldwin (because Firefly and definitely not his politics). On the other hand, it looked like it could be The Big Bang Theory with action. So is “Chuck Versus the Sandworm” a delightfully nerd-friendly Halloween adventure or cringey drivel? I lean toward the latter.
Season 6, Episode 7
Original Air Date: October 25, 2005
In case you were wondering what my methodology was when it came to choosing my Halloween specials this year, it was simply googling “Halloween specials” and scanning the listicles and Wikipedia article that came up. I had to go back and check, but this episode of Gilmore Girls really was featured as one of the “best Halloween episodes” by Time, Cosmopolitan, and Insider. Which is absolutely bullshit because not only is this episode impossible to watch for a newcomer, it also barely has anything to do with Halloween.
Season 2, Episode 4
Original Air Date: October 26, 1997
I now associate King of the Hill strongly with John, so it figures that I’d be posting this review after a very John-centric day. I woke up a little early this morning to catch a screening of Stakeout, the latest feature from the Otteni Brothers, as part of the HorrOrigins festival. It was a lot of fun and you should check it out when it hits streaming. Later, I got Arby’s for the first time in a real, real long time. I think it was the first time my dad didn’t pay for me. My favorite part were the curly fries, for which they gave me horsey sauce (which was good) and Arby’s sauce (which was weird and bad). And now I’m writing about an episode of one of John’s favorite shows. Let me tell you about it.
Season 3, Episode 5
Original Air Date: October 31, 1996
One of the worst habits I’ve developed over the past few months is wasting time watching clips of TV shows on YouTube. Time that could be spent, at the very least, clearing my backlog of video games, TV shows, movies, and blog posts instead gets taken up mindlessly scrolling through popular moments of, most of the time, show I’ve already watched like New Girl and Scrubs. I guess it doesn’t feel like a waste of time when the clips are usually less than five minutes? Anyway, it all started when I got recommended a scene from ER where one of the doctors finds two other doctors have been stabbed. I had to know more: were they OK? One of them was. Who did the stabbing? David Krumholtz, it turns out. What were the ramifications of this? Hard to say. Thus I was overtaken by a desire to learn just how over-the-top this seemingly respectable show really was.
Marc Summers’ Mystery Magical Tour, also known as the “Mystery Magical Special,” was a special aired by Nickelodeon in 1988 and then through the mid-nineties. Marc Summers’ popularity is difficult to explain by modern standards, but the important thing to know is that he hosted a game show called Double Dare that helped put Nickelodeon on the map. I guess he was sort of like the Eighties’ equivalent of Scott Rogowsky, if kids were actually interested in his post-HQ Trivia career. But if those kids tuned into Mystery Magical Tour hoping to get their usual dosage of green slime, they were in for a rude awakening.