A House Is Not A Home Box Office

Nearly everything Joel says in this comic is true, in so much as I got HBO for free (so I could watch Game Of Thrones) a few days ago and I’ve since gone on a “watching things that are bad for me” spree.

Here are some incredibly short reviews of the movies I have subjected myself to via HBO this week:

Battleship: 45 minutes into Battleship, the movie has just barely started. Everything before that is unnecessary exposition. Everything after that is unnecessary explosion. Liam “John Taken” Neeson is in it for maybe 90 seconds. This comic was 100% accurate.

The Matrix Sequels: There are levels on which I can enjoy some parts of The Matrix: Reloaded. The end.

Alien Resurrection: The first 30 minutes of this movie are like the lost original pilot to Firefly. The reasons for this are numerous and obvious. Despite that, the very first time Dan Hedaya (General Perez) opens his mouth you know that something is terribly wrong. He plays like the evil real estate tycoon in a made-for-TV Goonies sequel that never happened who’s trying to shut down the kids’ rec center because it was built on top of a vault full of pirate treasure. In this fictional film the asian kid has been replaced by a robot. The robot was built by the asian kid and only speaks in catch phrases. Oh yeah. Alien Resurrection. After whatever I just said happens, then everything else that happens is terrible.

I really shouldn’t be left alone with HBO.

Regarding Girls, it’s actually one of my favorite new(ish) shows. I stand by my generalization in panel 3 above, but it’s fantastically written and acted by an extremely talented group of New York hipsters. Essentially every single character is a deplorable piece of garbage, but… in a good way. Or at least in an interesting way. I feel like in real life people have maybe one person in their lives who’s as self centered and myopic as every single character on Girls. Any more an life would be entirely unbearable. In a Girlsiverse scenario, where everyone you know is as horrible as you are, everyone would immediately enter into a murder/suicide pact and the show would only last about 4 minutes. Does that sound like a resoundingly positive recommendation? Well, it is. Watch it. Good stuff.

COMMENTERS: Has a new service (TV, Internet, magazine, mail order or otherwise) ever taken you down a long, deep, dark rabbit hole of time wasting? 

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  1. In high school my parents got Starz for the first time. I watched Stay Alive, the Brothers Grimm, Maid in Manhattan, Ultraviolet, and some shitty foreign video game movie called Avalon so many times I could probably quote the entirety of them all to you given enough time. I think my GPA dropped like .09 and my mom blamed my lacrosse coaches instead of the TV…

    • UltramotherfuckingViolet…

      Holy shit. Josh, Eli and I saw that with a bunch of their coworkers in the theater because the trailers made it look awesome. The theater was made up of the 15 or 20 of us and about 10 other people. The 10 other people didn't appreciate our constant riffing, and we didn't appreciate that they didn't realize Ultraviolet was a comedy.

  2. OK I got HBO free for a few months about a month ago and I love the movie Love Actually but the heavy rotation it is in on HBO I have watched it about 8 times this month just because it was on.

    • I think they're showing Love And Other Drugs right now which is actually a great film. Didnt expect to like it so much, but it's not the standard romance flick.

      • I was quite surprised at how awesome that movie is. Also surprisingly, I'm not referring to the gratuitous brandishing of Anne Hathaway's naughty bits…. Which are also awesome… but that's not why the movie is awesome… I'll stop typing now.

  3. My friend gave me access to his Netflix account for Christmas. I've lost so much time watching Ultimate Spider-Man and Transformers Prime.

    • I watched all of Prime on Netflix a few months ago when I was really sick and awake all hours of the night. I can't say I particularly enjoy any particular episode, but taken as a whole I think it's pretty good. The pacing is sort of awful and every episode usually ends with them squarely where they began. That's fine except they seem to be trying to tell a serial story.

      • Prime and Ultimate Spider-Man are good, but you really gotta find Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. Those are awesome! Me and my friends are currently lamenting their departure and petitioning for their return.

  4. I'm hooked on my kid's Lego video games (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates etc.) Ever since he wanted me to join in the games, they've been so intriguing (and funny too). Now I've been buying them on my own and sometimes spending hours trying to get all the levels done perfectly.

    • The LEGO branding of EVERYTHING in recent years is pretty brilliant. The fact that there are original kids show that star LEGO's is mind blowing.

    • I bought my little sister Lego Star Wars for Christmas a year or two ago.
      Then she had me play it with her when I was over, and it was so absurdly difficult, I can't imagine any human enjoying playing it.
      Why can't your character do that thing? Who knows! There are no instructions of any kind, and no one speaks!

  5. I just got a Netflix account(it's new here in Sweden) and the wealth of shite movies available to me at the moment is a concern. Last night I watched The Rocketeer(much better when I last watched it 15 years ago) and when it was over it suggested I watch Timecop. I didn't watch it at first, just tweeted shtick about it for about an hour before giving in and watching Timecop. I've found so many titles(many starring Luke Goss) that will devour my time with snarky tweet watching. Damn you Netflix!

  6. Three words: The Elder Scrolls.

    About 800 hours on Skyrim alone (so far). Even more on Morrowind. Countless hundreds on Oblivion. So much time…it even beats the hours I've spent on The Sims and Star Trek Online!

  7. You pretty much explained why I can't stand Girls. I just don't understand the appeal of watching a bunch of indulgent kids from upper middle class homes just act like shit and continually be shit. What's the point?

    • There isn't one really. If you watch 2 or 3 eps and don't enjoy it, you arent missing anything by bailing. If the writing and drama and weird humor appeal to you, then it can be fun.

  8. I've seen Like Mike at least 30 times because of HBO and discovering weed back in high school. It was a terrible/hilarious combination.

  9. In the early 90's I found out there was a phone number you could call that allowed you to listen to excerpts of songs from hundreds of albums. You could use the number pad to search by artist, album name, or song title. I got out my BMG monthly catalog and went to town. After several days of several hours of a mix bag of actual song listening-to and pressing just two letters which send me on an endless loop through bands I am NOT trying to spell the name of, I finally put the phone down. After nursing my hot sweaty phone ear and readjusting to the volume of reality, I re-entered the world and braced myself for dad's discovery of the impending $340 phone bill.
    That rabbit hole created a high school freshman with two new jobs.

    • Didnt you see the episode of Full House where THIS EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED!? That was SUPPOSED to be a cautionary tale!

      • I did but I was never good at learning lessons as they were expressed to me on my shows. I was better at ignoring them and doing the exact thing they said not to do, and then realizing the parallels much much later in life. Also, some things got lost whilst I was staring at Uncle Jesse or actively despising and tuning out Kimmy.

  10. Oh dear God, I LOVED Battleship!
    From that opening scene (she wants a burrito) to Rihanna "acting" – everything about Battleship is hilarious. Saw it at the movies and shelled out for it on DVD/BluRay/Digital so I can watch it everywhere!

    • Oh thank goodness I'm not the only one. For all the dumb in that film it actually holds together better than most alien invasion movies. Certainly survives close examination better than Prometheus.

      Now, I must admit at this point that I have watched every extant episode of MST3K so I judge films on a scale that has a far, far lower bottom than most people's.

    • Now, I must first admit I've watched every extant episode of MST3K so my movie rating scale has a far lower bottom than most peoples.

      That being said, Battleship was a perfectly serviceable alien invasion film. It certainly holds up to close examination better than Prometheus.

  11. Way back when I was in school, we got Pay TV, and the thing about Australian Pay TV – at the time, at least – was that half the shows on it seemed like they were from the dawn of colour television. I watched so many shows that I would never have given the time of day had they been currently airing on Free TV. (Now called Freeview.)

    We didn't even have a sci-fi channel, or even a syfy analogue. The most we got was one episode of each Star Trek series – Original through Voyager, Enterprise didn't exist yet – on Saturday night. Dark days. I also clearly remember a celebratory marathon because it was the first airing of TNG's final season on Pay TV. At the time, no Star Trek was being produced.

    I watched so much Hogan's Heroes, Bewitched, Greenacres(?), and many similar shows. At the time, I thought they were all awful, and yet I was glued. My parents were paying for this, it must be good! I would watch until I thought they were good!

    Disclaimer: At the time, I also thought the classic Doctor Who was not worth watching, so my tastes then definitely differ from my tastes now. Even so, I honestly don't know if I'd watch half that stuff now. Probably? If it was put in front of me, at no cost to me, as it was then.

  12. My first foray into cable TV was a gentle lover. The cable man plugged in the line and hit the button on the giant brown box on top of the TV and "BOOM!" FLash Gordon was on.

    I sat down and never got back up.

  13. I've binged on "My name is Earl" and new BSG and old Babylon5 when Netflix stream first came out… u know, before you hadda pay for it separately
    Also streamed a fuckton of dumb SciFi movies that never even heard of until Netflix started being all "u been watching too much old-Who, how about some newer movies?"

  14. "You're like a dumb kid in a shitty candy store."

    Which brings me to my answer to the question in question: College roommates + the torrenting of whole TV shows + "Y'know, if I leave this upper corner of my monitor open, I can set up all the windows I need without overlapping anything. I wonder what I can put in that corner now…"

  15. It took a few episodes for us to get into Girls….the fact that it was so different from other shows is why we gave it a chance.

    Yes the characters on Girls are self-indulgent and have very few redeeming qualities…but they are more like real people than most characters on tv. The stupid things they do…the way their relationships work, I've known people in their 20's and 30's, who were like them, or made the same destructive choices at one time or another.

    It's refreshing to see flawed characters that aren't sugar coated to be likeable, and the complexity of girl's friendships, it isn't all "You go girl!". On tv when people make bad choices, it's usually played for comedy, easily forgiven, and soon forgotten. Nothing is ever real or important because nothing matters for more than 20 minutes, everything resets to the status quo. On Girls, the characters are affected by their poor choices, it may not be realism, but it's a step closer. There is also a weird quirky humor underlying the show which I appreciate

    • If you think the characters in Girls are real then you are bad, your friends are bad and you should not like yourself.

    • "It's refreshing to see flawed characters that aren't sugar coated to be likeable"

      The odd thing is almost ALL currently successful TV dramas star unlikable characters. Girls actually dials it back a bit by grounding them slightly more in reality than say Breaking Bad or Mad Men. I've know people like the girls on Girls, but Ive never known a gaggle of them where nearly every person in said gaggle is unbearable.

      • Based on that logic, it's a wonder how none of the characters on Girls killed each other by now. Right? I haven't been watching.

      • I see your point, but the Girls characters are not unbearable to each other, though you'd think there'd be a caretaker type in there….Shoshanna is the closest to that.

        I think of Girls more as a satire, than a drama. How often do you see an unlikable female character who is not a villianess/bitch, and a major character at that? Tv shows want there to be at least one character that you can relate to, liking a character is supposed to make you invested in them.

        My bf didn't like the recent storyline of Hanna's health problems, because he felt that it could be used to excuse her bad behavior…so he could no longer feel right about snickering at the misfortune that comes her way from her bad choices.

        Hanna has grown on me, probably because she reminds me of some oddballs I've known.

        • "so he could no longer feel right about snickering at the misfortune that comes her way from her bad choices. "

          I think this cuts to the core of the appeal of Girls–it's not really satire as a platform for schadenfreude. I don't get much pleasure in seeing miserable people experience misery–if I wanted that I'd go hang out in the South Bronx at 2am.

          • How many episodes have you watched, of this show you "can't stand watching"?

            Do you hate Bret Easton Ellis for his self indulgent characters? Or David Mamet for his characters who trick and use others…often for their own cruel enjoyment?

  16. If you like "Girls", you may enjoy the first season of British Comedy "Pulling" , or all seasons of "Peepshow".
    Lena Dunham's movie "Tiny Furniture" is not as funny or engrossing as Girls, but you can look at it as a precursor of Hanna's character.

  17. When I first got DSL I spent like a week and a half staying up until four in the morning just online marveling at the speed and how much I could do. The sucky part was I had to go to work at like seven, so I was super glad* to get that out of my system.

    (*Also, that my job at the time wasn't one of the ones where if I weren't paying attention it'd cost me a finger or a limb. At worst I'd get yelled at for falling asleep with my head on my keyboard and drooling all over it.)

  18. Well, I guess I can't get into Girls now, since my parents have canceled ALL the Premium channels on our Comcast Cable service. Why? Apparently, we haven't watched ENOUGH of them, since the movies they play are rarely good or something we've heard of, but didn't see in theaters. That also means no more Game of thrones, and that's a week away! NNOOOOOOOO!!!
    But back to your question: for me, it's TVTropes (where Hijinks Ensue has a page. Way to go!) and STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC, since it went F2P.

  19. as soon as I paid for a subscription to the vault I wasted a whole heck of a lot of time listening to your postshow. Please bring it back, joel

    • I suppose I'd have to record some actual podcasts first. Turns out that's much harder in actual execution than during the planning stage.

    • Well Whedon wrote it, but who can say how much of what he wrote actually ended up on screen. The guy that made Amelie (one of my all time favorite movies) actually MADE the movie, and he's 1 for 4 in my estimation. Amelie was a beautiful fluke.

  20. We cut the cable/satellite cord about a year ago. We use bunny ears and the Roku. It really is just as good. We don't see things the night they play, but that's okay. We waste tons of time watching older great shows on Netflix and Hulu. The biggest time suck is an antenna station, called MeTV. It plays classic TV shows, and my kids (9yo girl and 5yo boy) absolutely love it. They watch Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction every morning. They watch Hogan's Heroes and Bewitched every night. It is AWESOME!

  21. Battleboat was rather terrible. The enemy ammo? SHAPED LIKE THE FECKIN' PEGS. At least there was the part where the "alien" clocked Rhianna. She can take one to the jaw like a champ.

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