DVD Review: THE CAPTAINS written & directed by William Shatner

I just watched William Shatner’s THE CAPTAINS. Oh My God!

It is jaw dropping unbelievable. It’s like a god damn train wreck. Avery Brooks either has dementia or is on a different dimension (and I say that with no joy, being a huge Avery Brooks fan, but yeah his portions are cringe inducing), Shatner is attacking and trying to make Kate Mulgrew and Patrick Stewart cry. He’s openly jealous and arm wrestling Chris Pine. The only one he kinda gets along with is Scott Bakula, and mostly because Bakula feeds into his ego, and the rest of the episode is William Shatner going down memory lane and shamelessly looking for compliments at every turn.

It really is painful to watch at times, and I say that, also being a huge fan of William Shatner. That said, when Shatner’s ego and showmanship gets out of the way, it’s good viewing. The convention riff at the end is a lot of fun. And there is some good moments between Stewart and Shatner. And good revelations between Mulgrew and Shatner.

All in all, train-wreck moments aside, it’s incredibly important what Shatner has written and directed here. The cringe worthy moments accepted, endured, fast forwarded… at the end of the day, we’re all better for Shatner having immortalized these reminisces. In many ways it’s William Shatner’s last word on the iconic character he created.

Shatner a man perhaps feeling distinctly his mortality, making a concrete capper to his career and his life. Much of this is a vanity project, an auto-biography of self, window dressed as an interview with others. William Shatner utilizes the other actors to tell his story.

William Shatner trying to immortalize his place in this enduring mythology called Star trek, to not be lost in this new Christopher Pine age. So on that level, THE CAPTAINS is at heart a very selfish vanity project.

However, that said, Shatner does his homework, and does allow actors to come to terms and discuss arguably the most iconic role of their respective careers. And it does, by weight of just the actors involved, become a bit of cinematic history, as none of the actors are getting any younger and this film is arguably the last time all six of the actors who played the role of Captain will ever share a film together.

And to have William Shatner helm such a meeting, well… all things said… who has more right to do so.

It deserves at least a rental, and for those who count themselves as fans, possibly a purchase. It’s worth a look and has by its very nature become something that will, its relative quality issues aside, stand the test of time. Forty years from now when only Chris Pine, and the captains that follow him remain, people will dig out this film, to find out who Shatner and Stewart and Brooks and Mulgrew and Bakula were.

And if that is Shatner’s gift to himself and his family, at the end of the day, it’s also a gift to us, a gift to posterity. There are worse gifts to get.

FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME!!! Spenser for Hire, Justice League, Firefly

The RECOMMENDED READS page (look over at the column on the right of your screen) has been updated

with reviews of Cornell Woolrich’s FRIGHT, recently published by Hard Case Books after being out of print for fifty years. And also a status review of CROOKED LITTLE VEIN by Warren Ellis and published by William Morrow.

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Now onto TV stuff:

My recent exposure to what passes for good television these days, garbage like LOST, and the new BIONIC WOMAN and insert Reality TV show here, has left me for an appreciation for the great TV shows of yesteryear.

So here’s my list of great Television shows (in no particular order):

NYPD BLUE Just the first season with David Caruso. The forerunner to the rash of police procedurals currently polluting the airwaves.

HOMICIDE Love this series. Caught everything but the last season. A tremendous show.

BABYLON 5 – People may gripe these days about MJ Straczynski’s comic book work, and the complaints aren’t unwarranted. But what ever issues of the present or the future his work may contain, his past is beyond reproach. His BABYLON 5 being the most ambitious television show ever. A man’s singular vision turned into a novel, with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. It’s the kind of vision that is lacking in “make it up as you go along” shows, such as LOST.

SPENSER FOR HIRE– Love, love, love this series. It’s a crime that it’s not available on DVD.

All SPENSER FOR HIRE images are by Dave McCraken

And real quick I’m going to rant: There is some art floating around, whenever you pull up info on this series (I’m not going to reproduce it here, because it annoys me, but click here to see it or here), showing some doctored up picture of Spenser and Hawk, with Hawk being positioned so he’s like six inches shorter than Spenser.

What the f*** is that? The following pic is how Spenser and Hawk look on the show:

It may seem like a simple thing, but it really isn’t. Like anyone whose done advertising, or product placement can tell you, ads are meticulously thought out. And the fact that such an obviously out of scale picture (to anyone who has seen the show) is occurring on multiple sites, has become a defacto standard… seems and is… odd.

Odd in the same wacky way that every network station at the same time decided to call people refugees who are not, or insurgents… who are not.

America is funny that way. 🙂 . It’s this wonderful nation where people call coincidence, what can only be design.

Avery Brooks is 6’1, Robert Urich was 6’2. A negligible height difference, but the picture makes it look like Hawk is a much shorter man. However both the character Hawk and Spenser were always portrayed as the same height. About 6’3ish.

So where does this box-art come from misrepresenting Avery Brooks and the show? Where does the idea of that come from?

That’s like doing a picture of me beside Avery Brooks and having me tower over Avery, it’s just as much bs. There’s great photos of the two of them from the 60 plus episodes they did, and they are always the same height. Yet someone is going to photoshop in this obviously… flawed picture. Just coincidence? Accident? Could have just as easily been Bob Urich misrepresented as shorter?

Come’on!

Someone made a conscious choice to misrepresent the heights of the two stars. Not coincidence, not a mistake, but a choice.

But why that particular choice? Maybe someone is cockeyed? 🙂 .

I don’t like pointing out this nonsense. I don’t like the fact that there is still nonsense like this to point out, but there it is. The media has grown and continues to grow more skewed, not less, it really is very much spiraling into minstrel like days. But subtly. Unfortunately, I catch subtle.

So I’m going to call a fowl when I see a fowl.

It’s very much like when Ford Motor Company had an advertisement showing all their engineers, and they photo-shopped out all the Black engineers for European distribution. It made the national news, so feel free to look it up if you don’t believe me. Was that coincidence? That big choice, and this little one… the same choice.

And some of you make say I’m making mountains out of molehills. But when one sees as many molehills, time after time, as I have… they tend to add up… all by themselves; to a looming mountain.

Molehills, the little lies we integrate into our world and self-view, create and recreate our reality. What men like Maslow and Berger called the Social Construction of Reality.

It’s how our enemies are made, and our friends.

Social construction of reality. We learn quietly, invisibly to absorb these minor molehills without question, so by the time we should question the really serious issues, we have accepted too much… to question the steps that have brought us here.

Bigotry and using the media as a weapon, is alive and well, and it’s not going to go away because we stick our heads in the sand, it just grows when we do that.

So when I see BS, especially involving my favorite show. I call it BS. And this is a case of BS.

Here endeth the rant.

For anyone who wants a free SPENSER FOR HIRE review guide just contact me. I’ll provide them to the first 10 emailers free. It’s a great series and deserves to be remembered correctly. If for nothing else, as the series that launched a young Samuel L Jackson. (in a bit part where he gets roughed up by Hawk. Great stuff!)

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WEREWOLF– I recommend just the premiere. Beautifully done, but the later episode are cheaply done and don’t go anyplace.

SIMPSONS– I lost interest a few seasons ago, but the first few were great!

SANFORD AND SON– My favorite comedy show of all time!

DEEP SPACE NINE– Brutally sabotaged by stations like Sinclair Broadcasting on initial airing, on DVD you can reexamine this series, and it builds to a brilliant conclusion. Like Babylon 5, and unlike the other Trek shows, this series actually has a wonderful storyarc. It may even on the broad scale, be superior to Babylon 5 (which had stronger individual episodes), making it one of the greatest series ever.

FARSCAPE– This was a FANTASTIC series, unfortunately killed before it could come to it’s conclusion, but the episodes we did get are stunning. All driven by the phenomenal, and at times heart wrenching performance of Ben Browder. If DEEP SPACE NINE and BABYLON 5 are in a tie for first place, this show is solidly in 2nd place as my favorite sci-fi series.

FIREFLY– I’m not a Whedon Fan. I could take or leave his BUFFY and his ANGEL. And while not a flag waving fan of FIREFLY, I thought it was easily his best show, possibly for it’s brevity. It didn’t get a chance to out stay its welcome ala the X-FILES. And had an interesting take on tomorrow.

QUANTUM LEAP– Women love this show. And in another life, a woman turned me on to it. And I have to say she was right. It’s a great, great show, much like FARSCAPE powered by Heart Wrenching performances by star, Scott Bakula.

CHAPPELLE SHOW-This is not even just brilliant comedy, it is the most courageous examination of the American id ever aired. A fantastic two seasons.

ROBIN OF SHERWOOD– John Carpenter’s mythic redefining of the Robin Hood myth, brilliantly brought to life by two phenomenal directors, and a young, hungry, and brilliant cast. And at the same time a wonderful mirror on the 80s age that spawned it. Easily in my top 5 shows of all time.

MIAMI VICE– It’s slick MTV style is old hat now, but this was the show that did it first and best. This and CRIME STORY make a great one, two punch.

JUSTICE LEAGUE helmed by Dwayne McDuffie is one of the best cartoons ever made. And for a guy who grew up on cartoons, that’s saying a lot.