Tagged: the strain

Martha Thomases: Gifts For People With Brains


I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday, and that your conversations with your friends and family were both peaceful and joyous. In my experience, the tryptophan in the turkey makes everyone so sleepy that noisy arguments require too much energy.

Today, Black Friday, is the official start of the holiday shopping season. With luck you are still enjoying the warm glow of gratitude from yesterday’s holiday, and we can use these emotions to consider your holiday shopping list.

I, for one, am grateful to live in a country that defends freedom of speech. Even hate speech. I don’t like neo-Nazis or what they say (and for even more video, check out this link). However, we know who a bunch of these people are now, and we can defend ourselves https://www.splcenter.org.

stuck-rubber-babyYou know another great thing about Nazis? They make excellent bad guys. A book or movie can have the most conflicted protagonist imaginable, but when he or she is fighting Nazis, you know who is the hero. It’s one of my favorite things about Inglourious Basterds, which remains an excellent gift.

If you like your Nazis even more vile, consider the Nazi vampires in The Strain. There are also some excellent choices if you want your Nazis impotent and hilarious. In fact, while The Producers has the most Hitler of any of Mel Brooks’ movies, you can find at least one cutting reference in everything he does.

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. If you have friends or family who are ignorant about what could happen here, let me help you. There are some lovely graphic novels — award winners all — that you can share. Luckily, they are so entertaining that the recipients won’t feel like they’re getting lectured.

The third and final volume of March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin ad Nate Powell, just won the National Book Award. Previous prizewinners include A Catcher in the Rye and Profiles in Courage. The March trilogy tells the story of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s from the perspective of Congressman Lewis. We will need to emulate his courage and grace in these next years.

will-eisner-the-plotpxmI will also and continually recommend Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse. Aside from being a beautiful and engrossing story, it illuminates what I consider to be a most important truth — that we fight best against hate when we fight together as allies.

If you are afraid of other (but related) forms of hate infecting your loved one, you might consider the last book by the legendary Will Eisner, The Plot. His co-author is Umberto Eco, so your recipient will feel flattered that you chose a gift with such a fine literary pedigree.

And for that Baby Boomer relative who thinks he’s still hip (but is, instead, growing more narrow-minded by the day), there is The Fifth Beatle by Vivek Tiwary, Andrew Robinson and Kyle Baker. It is so colorful and fun that it can be easy to overlook how masterfully it protests homophobia and anti-Semitism.

Once you start looking for gifts like these, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of other things that will open hearts and minds. Please feel free to share them in the comments. We all need more and more and more.

Martha Thomases: Tony Shalhoub and the Virus

brain dead shalhoub

“Gimme danger, little stranger / And I’ll feel your disease”

Iggy and the Stooges, “Gimme Danger

Mortality is a bitch, and being aware of it even more so. On the other hand, knowing we’re all going to die someday is the inspiration for some great art and some rousing entertainment.

Especially this summer. Gee, I wonder what’s happening this year to freak us all out?

If you listen to the network news (or even read a newspaper, like an old person), you have probably heard plenty about the Zika virus. Spread by mosquitoes, it causes microcephaly in the fetuses of infected pregnant women. I first heard of it striking in Brazil, well before the Olympics, and the virus has spread (as viruses will) throughout the world, including outbreaks in Florida. Besides mosquito bites, Zika is also spread through sexual contact.

Some doctors think that, if one isn’t pregnant, Zika is no worse than a cold or the flu. Others think that it might cause neural damage in people who are infected.

That’s scary enough for me, thanks.

Luckily, my fears (and maybe yours, I don’t know your life) are being exorcised this summer by Brain Dead, a really funny series on CBS about aliens from outer space who look remarkable like ants and who eat the brains of humans. In this case, the humans are senators and other denizens of Washington, DC. A side effect of having aliens eat your brain is that you become more extreme in your opinions and less amenable to compromise.

It’s amazing anyone notices anything wrong, doesn’t it?

I started to watch this because it has Tony Shalhoub in it. He is a treasure, chewing up the scenery with the same enthusiasm as the bugs eating his brains. I kept watching because many of the episodes are directed by Allan Arkush, who directed

one of the greatest, if not the greatest (depends on my mood) movie of all time.

The series is best when it plays the jokes as broadly as possible. The conservatives with their rabid hatred of progressives and the liberals who loathe right-wingers, work themselves up into froths of rage. Sometimes their heads literally explode. Everyone is extremely paranoid of every little thing, and with good (and hilarious) reason.

It’s less successful when it gets earnest and tries to tell us (not show us) that compromise is an honorable way to get things done.

There are only two episodes left, and apparently, there is a slim chance the series will be renewed for another season. Personally, as much as I enjoy it, I would prefer to see it end. Under the Dome, also a CBS summer series, suffered when it lasted longer than the book, as the producers tried to come up with more and more ridiculous ways to extend the menace. Step on the alien ants and be done with it.

Another television show with a viral subtext is The Strain, which just started its third season on FX. Based on a trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, this is the scariest thing I watch on television. It’s about vampires attacking New York City. Unlike your average vampires, these creatures are humans who have been infected by worms, who attack new victims while their hosts are feeding. The hero is a scientist with the Center for Disease Control.

I really liked the books, and I really like this series, although it started to veer away from the source material last season and will probably continue to do so. Since both authors are actively involved as producers, I assume the reasons for the changes have to do with the differences between print and video. However, three seasons, like three books, seems to me to be a natural and organic life-span for this concept.

Enjoy this last unofficial weekend of summer! Try to stay out of the sun (or use lots of sunscreen), and stay away from things that bite. If you can, avoid the news, at least for a day, because the political coverage will make you crazy.

And, please remember — language is a virus.

The Point Radio: The Town That Loves Zombies

For six years, the town of Jasper, Alabama has been struggling to complete an independent zombie film. Now SyFy is shining a light on their plight with the docu-series, TOWN OF LIVING DEAD and we talk with resident Tina Teeter on how her life has been eaten up by they project. Plus BAR RESCUE star, Jon Taffer, is back with checkbook in hand but is there anyone who deserves his help?

We are covering New York Comic Con in a big way.  To see what we are up to, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And if you can’t make the show, we are carrying LIVE video feeds from NYCC at our website, GetThePointRadio.Com starting on Thursday. Don’t miss a minute.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: THE STRAIN Proves Grit Beats Glitter

FX’s THE STRAIN winds up it’s first season this weekend and we sat down with Guillermo del Toro and his cast to talk about where the show ended, where it goes next and how their vampires stack up against those who “glitter”. Plus famed actress, Isabella Rossellini takes her GREEN PORNO from TV to the stage and tells us how it all got started.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Adam Baldwin Casts Off On THE LAST SHIP

From ANGEL to CHUCK to FIREFLY, Adam Baldwin has given us some great roles but none are more exciting than his latest on the new TNT Drama, THE LAST SHIP. Adam talks about that and, of course, FIREFLY plus uber busy TV host Brooke Burns has a new passion, designing cool cars. She takes us on a backstage tour of her new TruTV show MOTOR CITY MASTERS.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.