Mike Flanagan’s MIDNIGHT MASS Netflix TV Mini-Series… finally all watched — is it one of the best of 2021??

So I am watching the last episode of MIDNIGHT MASS, and I have to tell you… it nailed the landing.

Mike Flanagan has followed up his previous best of the year 2018’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE with what for me is the best of the year of 2021, MIDNIGHT MASS.

At my heart there are things in me, romantic, macabre, agnostic, spiritual, sinner, believer in heroes, fool, ascetic, that this series pulls on all of.

For the most part, I think it is one of the most beautifully written and beautifully performed mini-series i have seen all year. I really enjoyed SQUID GAME, and think it deserves its accolades, but MIDNIGHT MASS is made, for me, of richer and far more rewarding stuff.

Thar said it is not perfect. There is a monologue at the end that comes off as a step too far. It feels too forced, contrived, not particularly well shot or directed, and simply too far over the line. Also the speech was a lot better (and shorter) when it was used at the end of a famous Richard Matheson penned movie. The speech feels self indulgent, and you can argue the whole series is that, but this speech is one step too far.

That misstep aside, for the most part… the writing, the direction, the performances; For those of a romantic soul, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better. For 99% of it, it is a master class.

Girl: We’re going to be ok.

Boy: You think we’re going to make it?

Girl: That’s not what I said. I’m saying… either way, we’re going to be ok.

You are either of the sensibility that that line will move you deeply, or it will not. If not, this series may not be for you.

For me… that line breaks me every time.

Some people see this series as an attack on religion, or see in some of the bible quoting characters perhaps too close a resemblance to themselves, their own… zealotry. And therefore see it as an attack on them.

You have to see with better eyes than that.

Any worthwhile story about good and evil, ultimately calls into question not faith, but blind faith. And sees ignorance not as a moment to chastise, but ignorance, acknowledging it, as the only true first step toward wisdom.

I do not buy many TV shows on physical media, because I have little interest in re-watching most TV shows. This will be one I can not wait to purchase and own, hopefully in a beautiful and feature rich box-set version.

Strongly Recommended.

31 Days of October and THE LAST HURRAH : Day #10! Paul Naschy Must Haves!

 

 

VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES

HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB

BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL

NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF

HUMAN BEASTS

HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (EL JOROBADO DE LA MORGUE)

THE DEVIL’S POSSESSED (EL MARISCAL DEL INFIERNO)

THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI (LA MALDICIÓN DE LA BESTIA)

EXORCISM (EXORCISMO)

A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE (UNA LIBÉLULA PARA CADA MUERTO)

 

 

Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 3 Boxing Match – Thoughts Predictions The Final Word

“What’s a tough guy?…A guy with an edge…A gun or a knife, a nightstick, or a razor, somethin’ the other guy ain’t got. Yeah, a little extra reach on a punch, a set of brass knuckles, a stripe on the sleeve, a badge that says cop on it, a rock in your hand, or a bankroll in your pocket. That’s an edge, brother. Without an edge, there ain’t no tough guy.”

THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1948) One of my favorite Orson Welles films. And one of the most quotable.

 

That quote from one of my favorite films  highlights my thoughts on the Fury/Wilder fight in the micro view, and my view on heavyweight Boxing in the macro view.

We have weight divisions for a reason. 5 and 10lb jumps that denote real and game changing differences in reach and power and durability.

We have weight divisions to make fights competitive. So ever since the rise of the super-heavy weights into the heavy weight division, it has skewed the heavy weight division, so that unless you are 6’8 and on the wrong side of 250lbs, it is no longer a competitive division. You only have a few individuals with the genetics and the talent, to throw with a super-heavy weight. So the heavy weight division stagnates by the influx of these few individuals with the edge, that the above quote talks about.

It is bad for boxing, and it it bad for competition. To my mind the heavy weight limit should be 235lbs. The weight class attainable by men such as Marciano, and Ali, and Frazier, and Joe Louis and Holyfield and Tyson. And also Deontay Wilder.

 

Over 235lbs you should not compete in the historic heavyweight division, should not be part of that hallowed lineage, but be in a distinct division, of Super-Heavy Weight.

Both of them coming into a boxing match at the same weight range/limit of 235lbs I would give the edge to Wilder over Fury– nine out of ten times.

And I think even Fury realizes this because, he seeks an edge on Wilder in every fight, he came in nearly 50lbs heavier than him in his last fight, played mental warfare with him, and even with all those advantages, would not fight him clean, instead did dirty boxing, and rabbit punches, and using his weight, to lean on and tire out Wilder’s arms. it was more wrestling than boxing in that second fight.

And we come to the third fight, and it is more of the same. Fury talking about wanting to come in at 300lbs, and have brass knuckles. And while he is saying this in his game voice, the truth is he seeks to not fight Wilder on anything close to a level playing field.

From insisting on venue, and a hostile audience, to stare down and press conference shenanigans, that craziness is Fury’s world, particularly when it is a bigoted Pro Fury crowd. And being on FOX network, and the spin they put on the 2nd fight, Wilder very much was under attack and on the defense long before he ever got in the ring.

And unfortunately it is more of the same going into this third fight. Still very much like the 2nd fight — Wilder is, before he ever gets in the ring, fighting his opponents fight. Fury insisted on a crowd, he wants the mental warfare and pro-fury, bigoted pressure it would put to bear on Wilder. Fury is dictating and winning the stare-downs, the press conferences’ etc. Fury to his credit is a natural showman, and a master of gab and mental warfare. He is one that like Mayweather and Mcgregor needs the gab, the talk, the insult, the mental warfare, to break you down before you ever get in the ring.

Wilder is not any of the above.

So Wilder’s representation did him no favors putting this third fight, largely on the same trajectory as their 2nd fight. With Wilder already on the defense and under attack before he ever gets in the ring. They should have not agreed to the crowd or the venue or the press conference or stare-down shenanigans, all of which has Wilder going into this fight looking already defeated before he enters the ring.

On top of all this mental warfare outside of the ring, in the ring Fury has shown a penchant for doing whatever is necessary in and out of the rules, to win. He did a lot of dirty boxing for their 2nd fight. He has been practicing MMA since their last fight, and plans to come in with even more of a weight advantage than he had last time. I do not put it past Fury to sneak in elbows and trips, as well as more clinches and hitting in this fight as well.

 

In a level playing field, with both of them having to come in at the same weight, doing straight boxing I see Wilder’s pure power getting the job done over Fury’s dirty boxing, 9 out of 10 times.

But you add in the weight disparity, the mental warfare, and boxing glove shenanigans, and some MMA tricks, and I see Wilder as simply being unprepared to answer the circus that Fury has in-store.

 

This is why controlling the battlefield is so important. Because battles are oft won and lost, by the person who has booby trapped the ground you are to fight on. And I see that being what Fury and Fox has done,

 

Wilder is playing Boxing, which is what the sport should be, However Fury and FOX are playing circus. And it is the one who has prepared for the landscape, who typically takes the day. If anything Fury is poised to get a quicker finish than last time.

I would love to be wrong and see Wilder win this third fight, because when not trying to balloon up to try to be close to Fury’s weight, I see him as a true heavy weight, and good for the sport of boxing, in a way that I do not think Fury is. The heavyweight division in boxing has stagnated under these few super heavyweights. Put in weight limits, reinstate a fair playing field, reinstate true competition.

 

 

Here endeth the overview and the lesson.

31 Days of October and THE LAST HURRAH : Day #5 & 6! CRITERION Must Haves! PART 1 of 2!

 

 

This is absolutely a cover buy. Cover alone, at its relatively affordable sale price, makes this a MUST OWN.

This is  a cover buy more than anything else. In terms of special features, CRITERION’s new releases continue to lag behind, offering no new commentaries, and mostly older feature content from the earlier releases of this film. Go with EUREKA Region B release over this one if you have to choose.

Onibaba The Criterion Collection Yet another release where Criterion basically phones it in in regards to special features. Only thing new here is the packaging. But it is a film worth having.

Now this, in addition to being one of my favorite sci-films and films in general, CRITERION actually pulls out all the stop with this one… releasing new special features. And that cover art…. STUNNING. Much superior to the rather awful packaged ARROW release. This is poised to be a welcome win for CRITERION just in terms of special features. One of the releases I am looking forward to the most!

 

The best show currently on Netflix isn’t the excellent SQUID GAME it is Mike Flanagan’s simply sublime MIDNIGHT MASS

Mike Flanagan made, in my estimation,  2018’s best tv show/mini-series in THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, and arguably he is on the fast track to do the same in his most recent series, 2021’s MIDNIGHT MASS. Two episodes in and I’m simply blown away. There is a slow, subtle, nuanced beauty, a patience, a grace to MIDNIGHT MASS, to how it is told, how it is performed, how it is peopled, and how it is lived, in the music and the words, that I find… masterful.

All the performances are stellar, but particulary Hamish Linklater as the mysterious new priest, gives a performance you will be hard pressed to not call award worthy. HE DELIVERS A SPEECH IN THE CHURCH, THAT EVEN I WHO am not easily moved, and do not consider myself particularly religious… was moved by.

Mike Flanagan with a few projects has elevated himself to earned comparisons to this generation’s Dan Curtis. And his MIDNIGHT MASS has welcome echoes of Tobe Hooper and Stephen King’s great SALEM’S LOT. If he can stick the landing with this series as he did with his THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE this will be, like those Dan Curtis projects and like SALEM’S LOT, a timeless, and remembered favorite.

Easily the series on NETFLIX  I am currently enjoying the most.