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Lost and Found:  ‘Peaky Blinders’

Lost and Found: ‘Peaky Blinders’

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In this Funkhouser installment, I rummage through a hodgepodge of television shows and films, some of which are so obscure, you might be discovering them for the first time, others, simply forgotten about, several possibly mothballed and finally a few that just vanished into the ether altogether.  This is Lost and Found:  Episode 5.

There’s no telling how many months over the past year I’ve searched for a refreshing television show—to cleanse the palette so to speak—in betwixt the trendy or must-see, binge-worthy, programs, films, and documentaries, that hit my favorite on-demand network, Netflix.  Not surprising, I’ve become a reasonably good scavenger, able to search the infinite catalog, flipping past countless titles without hesitation and at mind-numbing proficiency.  That was until late last week, when a show I’d either consciously or sub-consciously overlooked so many times before, eventually stopped me in my tracks.  After finishing the sci-fi thriller The OA—which I really enjoyed—I was in the mood for a show that looked like it was more grounded in reality, one that was less ambiguous, with fewer rabbit-holes and interpretive dance scenes, and that’s when I finally decided I’d have a go at Peaky Blinders—and honestly, I’m completely gutted I hadn’t started watching it sooner.

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Originally airing on BBC Two in the U.K. in 2013, the show’s first season— consisting of six, hour-long episodes—eventually made its way over the pond and onto the streaming network almost a year later.  And for two and a half freaking years, it sat there on the virtual shelf, gathering in effect electric dust, begging to be watched.  Yet, for whatever reason, I ignored it, and as another year passed, a second season dropped, and then a third.  Which brings me to last week, when I finally went all-in on the British show.  I know what you’re thinking, great another boring, bloated, stuffy, period series like Downton Abbey or The Crown—you’d be dead wrong.  Combining a solid cast of venerable actors, incredible wardrobes, and historically accurate settings and locations, along with the show’s impeccably paced and piercing writing set to a folky and modern soundtrack—the show has a lot more in common with Deadwood, but without all the graphic sex scenes.  Right from the start, it’s hard to imagine how Peaky Blinders wouldn’t become your new favorite binge-worthy series.

Peaky Blinders is a nefariously mesmerizing English series set in 1919 shortly after the First World War in Birmingham, England.  It depicts the lives of the Shelby’s, who run a criminal enterprise under the guise of the Peaky Blinders, a gang which take their namesake from the razor blades in which they stitch into the bills of their woolen newsboy hats.  The show’s epic first two seasons, center around the gang’s leader Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, played masterfully by Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Batman Begins, Inception), a steely-eyed, disillusioned veteran, as he methodically builds and expands his burgeoning felonious organization, with the help of his brothers Arthur, played by Paul Anderson (The Revenant) and John, played by Joe Cole (Green Room) into a major criminal empire.  After a weapons and ammunitions heist, Tommy, already notorious, draws the attention of a young Winston Churchill, deftly played by Andy Nyman (Death at a Funeral), then Secretary of State, who assigns Inspector Campbell, portrayed by veteran actor Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Event Horizon) to investigate and recover the missing munitions.  From there the series immerses viewers deeper into the seedy underbelly of post-war English life as the Shelby’s plot, scheme, betray and murder their way to the top, growing in power, but making enemies at every turn, exposing them to more complex and powerful foes along the way.

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Netflix

Even if you’re not into crime dramas, the show is bestowed with a sort of repressed raw energy, just brewing under the surface that’s difficult to ignore.  This is possibly due to the limitless talent and depth of its cast—every actor’s performance seems effortless, including Award-winning actress Helen McCrory (Skyfall, Harry Potter), who plays Aunt Polly, but its clear Murphy is the biggest key to unlocking the show’s success—carrying the series on his shoulders and owning every scene with such gravitas.

In addition to the characters, the series offers a historically accurate look at working class English life fashioned around early twentieth century locales such as institutions like the brassy pubs, as well as steamy back alleyways, dirty and muddy streets, grassy countrysides, and the grungy and sparse living quarters of the struggling city dwellers.  Each setting is absolutely intoxicating to the senses—you can almost feel the wooden floor planks bend and squeak under the weight of its inhabitants, itch from the dingy bedsheets and woolen, layered clothing customary of the time, almost smell and taste whiskey and the smoke as it wafts from the cigarettes, pipes and bellowing furnaces and foundries, and hear the sounds of the city, as feet slosh through the puddled streets, and voices carry through the thinly wallpapered walls and around hardened brick exteriors.  The faint cries of children are drowned out by the bustlings sounds of the city, stuck between the horse and wagons of the past era along with the mass produced automobiles of the future.

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Netflix

Not only is the writing sharp, and dialogue delivered impeccably—what doesn’t sound better with a British accent—but also the music is out-and-out brilliant too.  Apart from the traditional Irish folk music and instrumentals, musician Nick Cave and his band The Bad Seeds are featured consistently throughout the show, even providing the haunting and gothy theme song (Red Right Hand) for the series.  Other well-known bands and artists also lend a hand in scenes including but not limited to:  The White Stripes, PJ Harvey, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and The Raconteurs.

Take my word for it, stop wasting time and have a butcher’s before Seasons 4 and 5 drop!

4.5/5 Stars

Peaky Blinders is rated TV-MA


The Golden Globes are This Weekend!

The Golden Globes are This Weekend!

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The following post is guest written by Brad Morris for Funkhouser.

Welcome to the 74th Golden Globes! The awards season kicks off with my personal favorite of all the awards shows. The reasons are the combination of an intimate setting with all the A list stars sitting around big tables boozing it up, and also Movies and TV are brought together in the same room. So we can cheer for our favorite TV shows to win *cough* Game of Thrones *cough*, while also watching and trying to understand how Ryan Reynolds made Deadpool so damn fun. So let’s take a look at the nominees. I’ve put an asterisk beside the nominee that I think and/or hope will win.

FILM

Best Picture, Drama
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water *
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Picture, Comedy or Musical

20th Century Women
Deadpool *
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Sing Street

Best Director

Damien Chazelle, La La Land *
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actor, Drama

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic *
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actress, Drama

Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving *
Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Actor, Comedy

Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool *

Best Actress, Comedy

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen *
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water *
Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel, Lion
Aaron Taylor Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures *
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Screenplay

Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water *

Best Original Score

Moonlight
La La Land *
Arrival
Lion
Hidden Figures

Best Original Song

“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“Faith,” Sing
“Gold,” Gold
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana *

Best Animated Feature Film

Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana * Freddie Maggard approved
My Life as a Zucchini
Sing
Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film

Divines
Elle
Neruda
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann
Can’t pick a favorite here since I have no idea these films even existed *

TELEVISION

Best TV Series, Drama

The Crown
Game of Thrones *
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical

Atlanta *
Blackish
Mozart in the Jungle
Transparent
Veep

Best TV Miniseries or Movie

American Crime
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story *

Best Actor, Drama

Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul *
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Best Actress, Drama

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Keri Russell, The Americans
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things *
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Best Actor, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Blackish
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover, Atlanta *
Nick Nolte, Graves
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best Actress, Comedy

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, Blackish *

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, The People vs. O.J. Simpson *
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
John Travolta, The People vs. O.J. Simpson

Best Supporting Actress

Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld *

Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Bryan Cranston, All the Way *
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
John Turturro, The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. O.J. Simpson

Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. Simpson
Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
Kerry Washington, Confirmation *

It was tough to pick Game of Thrones over Stranger Things. If ST continues beyond GOT then I’ll pick it in the future. Enjoy the show!

The Globes, hosted by Jimmy Fallon air Sunday, January 8 on NBC.

 


2017 Means One Thing: More KSR Clickbait!

2017 Means One Thing: More KSR Clickbait!

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Hello, Friends. I hope you’re well. Are you okay? I can’t understand what you’re saying. You’re going to have to speak more clearly. Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t realize your face was frozen to that metal trashcan. What were you even doing to have something like that happen? You so crazy.

Friends, as we start out into 2017, it’s time once again for all of us here at KSR to buckle down and figure out what kind of content you the cherished reader would like to see on your favorite website in the new year. As I’m wont to do, I’m going to once again toss out some headlines to see what sort of things might interest all of you. After all, “clickbait” is – as we all know – the best way to gain new readers. Let me know which of these you’d like me to blow out in 2017 and, as always, I want to deliver the finest content possible. Thanks in advance.

-Is John Calipari’s next podcast guest this hilarious pooping cat?

-17 meats Boone’s Butcher shop is trying to unload right now

-What hilarious thing is Cal afraid you’ll do when you first play a competitive team?

-Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Dance Cats’ “Counting Blue Cars/Breakfast at Tiffany’s” mashup

-Who wore it best? Bobby Petrino or this widowed grandmother trying desperately to get her grandchildren’s attention by faking a neck injury?

-You’ll never guess the secret to John Robic’s hair! (Hint: it rhymes with “Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Catfish Schmeasoning!”)

-This drawing of Benny Snell drinking a gin fizz at the Algonquin Round Table is the thing you didn’t know you needed today!

-Totes adores! Here’s a video of former Mark Stoops assistant Tommy Mainord giggling as a puppy licks his belly!

-Four Things Bam Adebayo likes on his Chipotle burrito bowl and one other thing they offer that he declines!

-Which embarrassing Rick Pitino incident are you?

-Who said it? Isaiah Briscoe or the short-lived 1993 Fox television program The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr.?

-They put Grayson Allen on the bench after tripping someone. Wait until you see what happens next!


Funkhouser’s Comics, Culture and Wildcats: Avengers

Avengers Assemble!!! This week on the CCW we discuss the Marvel Comic movies. The mid 90’s brought us the start of more super hero movies, however they really didn’t take off (pun intended), until Robert Downey Jr. put on his first Iron Man suit and launched a new era of entertainment. This weeks debaters are Brad Morris and Matt Tapia. The issues discussed are:

  • The best movies overall 
  • The best individual hero movies
  • What are the worst that have done?
  • Has D.C. failed in its attempt to catch up to Marvel 
  • Howard the Duck’s cameo in a recent Marvel movie

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbayor via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


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What’s To Love About La La Land

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Here’s a life hack, only see La La Land with the willing.  It isn’t for everyone.  Spiteful message boards have complaints about clunky dancing, pitchy singers, and generic plots.  Those are valid opinions for angry, soulless trolls. La La Land is only for fun-loving people who enjoy sunshine and saturated, jewel-toned clothing. I also highly recommend seeing it with some elderly ladies seated behind you.  Nothing can squash the angry trolls like adorable septuagenarians.

La La Land follows Mia and Sebastian, two people with fancy Hollywood names, who are destined to be together.  Mia is an aspiring actress.  Sebastian is a jazz snob.  Together they paint a more hopeful picture of what it is like to live in Hollywood.  The moment you fall in love with the movie will be different than mine, but at some point you will realize you are totally smitten with La La Land.  Hopefully when you do, there will be a few swooning grandmas behind you.

💟: The Opening Scene

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The opening scene was oversold to me.  I was expecting too much. I thought it would be brighter, shinier .   In reality, it was a little bit more dull.  Some of the colors looked like a bright shirt that had a few too many washes. I went into the the beginning of the movie with the eyes of a pessimist.  At one point, the music builds to a big, beautiful Broadway dance number.  I needed that moment. Finally, I stopped worrying about the structural integrity of the hoods of the cars and dancer’s doomed from too enthusiastic jazz hands.  I could just enjoy the song for what it was–good, clean fun. As they sing about having “Another Day of Sun” and I trudge through this winter, it is easy to identify the intended tone.  We are here to watch dancers dance and singers sing.  Nothing to overthink here.

💟:Ryan Gosling plays Noah from The Notebook

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone said that the character of Sebastian is fan fiction from The Notebook.  Sebastian is Noah Calhoun all over again. Both characters have similar wardrobes, mannerisms and the ability to be charming, selfish and agitated all at the same time.  Gosling is in need of a headband for about 75% of the movie.  As a visual, that wisp of hair is infuriating.  (Don’t even get me started on his large ring) But, throughout the the film, you’ll find yourself enamored with Gosling.  If you wished there was a The Notebook 2: The Final Chapters, then you will love La La Land.  

💟:Emma Stone plays Emma Stone from real life

I’m positive that Emma Stone is playing Emma Stone in the movie.  She seems to be the same confident and quirky person that she is in interviews.  I am self aware enough to know that I am often easily duped by Hollywood into thinking that all performers are as interesting as the characters they portray.  In this case, Emma Stone playing the part of Mia inspired by Emma is the exception that proves the rule.

💟:The Audition Song

By the time Mia finally gets the audition she deserves, you’re ready.  It is a perfectly timed moment.  Every part of the scene is satisfying.   Stone’s over sized sleeves make her seem insecure.  Her declaration that “that’s why they need us!” makes her seem confident, and rightfully so.  As an audience member, I was ready to go to war for Mia if those forgettable casting directors didn’t give her the part.  I wish that I could scrub the part of my brain that has the chorus of Frozen forever embedded in it.  I would substitute that garbage with these lines, “Here’s to the hearts that ache. Here’s to the mess we make.”  I think we would all be better off if we were always saluting the dreamers instead of “let it go.”  If we are honest with ourselves, the cold always bothers us anyway.

💟: The Ending 

The ending of La La Land should remain a surprise for anyone who hasn’t seen it.   I look forward to watching it again when I can sit back and relax.  There will be some comfort in knowing that they get the ending right.  No need for anxiety.  

💟:The La La Land Hangover

Sometimes after you see a movie, there is a hangover that lingers for days. For example, watching The Fast & the Furious has a definite affect on your safe driving habits.  Likewise, La La Land will influence your outlook on life. Miraculously, as you unload the dishwasher, you will find yourself dancing with pointed toes and holding angular poses with your arms. If you are the type of person suited for La La Land, you will spend the subsequent week posed like an origami crane.  There are worse movies to be under the influence. It is just the bit of madness that is needed.


Binging and the Perception of Mediocrity

Binging and the Perception of Mediocrity

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New Year’s weekend was supposed to be a fun and exciting weekend.  UK had a bowl game, it was week 17 of the NFL season, but the two things I looked forward to the most were the season premieres of Homeland and Sherlock.  Well the UK game wasn’t all that great, week 17 was boring, and both premieres were just okay.  That last part was really disappointing.  Homeland was returning off it’s best season since Season One and Sherlock was returning after a near three-year hiatus (I’m not counting the one-off movie from last year).  The expectations were high but at the end of both premieres I was simply left with an “eh, that was okay” feeling.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that the problem I had wasn’t necessarily with the episodes in question, it was the fact that I was disappointed that I had to wait for the next episode.  I realized that I have become addicted to binge watching.

I don’t remember much about May 23, 2010 but that was a day that I highly anticipated.  That was the day of the series finale of Lost.  The struggle of waiting week to week, season to season to get to the end of that show was real and there was a great deal of emotional investment in that final episode.  Now I won’t get into whether that ending was good or bad, but the journey to that point is what made Lost (for me at least) one of my favorite shows ever.  Fast forward six years later and I can’t hardly stand to wait a week between episodes.  I only watch two shows now on an episodic basis: Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.  Of those two GoT is the only one which seems worthy of the wait.  TWD feels like a crawl from one big event to the next and that makes it difficult to enjoy at times.  I watched the first two episodes of Westworld when they came on then decided to wait until the season ended and watched the rest.  I have no regrets, that was an awesome way to watch that show.

My obsession with binging started back in 2012.  When my wife and I got married we opted to not get a cable subscription and went with the Netflix/Hulu route.  During the first couple of years I binged everything.  Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Frasier, I couldn’t get enough of these shows.  Then Netflix got Breaking Bad and I knew that I’d never be able to watch tv the same again.  The thing about a tv series, especially dramas, is that we as viewers become invested in the journey of the characters and want to see how their stories end.  Binge watching allows viewers to achieve that end sooner and get that fulfillment.

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Binge watching is also incredibly convenient.  How many times have you DVR’d a show with the intent of getting to it later in the week and then you realize that you’re four weeks behind because you never got around to watching that first episode four weeks ago?  Thanks to things like DVR and Netflix it’s easy to get caught up on a show.  Binge watching is especially convenient during sports seasons.  Between UK games, the NFL, College Basketball/Football, and the NBA (with the occasional MLB game thrown in) it’s easy for shows to get cast aside for sports.  Even if it’s only a season of a show, it’s as easy or easier to find a couple of afternoons to binge a show as opposed to carving out an hour each week to watch each episode individually.

Now as much as I like binging there is a definite drawback.  Binging creates an insatiable thirst for more which can diminish the value of single episodes.  Going back to the premieres I watched last weekend, both were okay.  I’m confident that when placed in the context of the entire series their value will increase, but alone they were mediocre at best.  Look at the last season of GoT and this current season of TWD.  Both had strong starts but then lulls where you would think “this is setting up for something great later in the season”.  Those episodes ended up delivering in GoT and the jury is still out on TWD.  Every show does this though.  There are lulls in the action and some episodes just aren’t that good compared to others.  Binge watching helps eliminate this problem, but because of binge watching I can’t take Dr. Dre’s advice and just chill til the next episode.  I have to keep moving on.

There are arguments for binging and for traditional episodic viewing.  Watching a show like I watched Lost was a great experience and I loved the discussions I had with friends about the theories and trying to figure out what was going on.  I’d say that the discussion aspect of watching week to week is the only thing I miss, but as I have developed a binge habit so have my friends.  Instead of having one discussion a week about a show we’re having multiple discussions about more shows.

Ultimately whether you binge watch a show is a personal choice.  For me, binge watching is like having super speed like The Flash.  You get used to going so fast that when you try to do something at normal speed, like watch one episode each week, it feels super slow.  Even when there is a great episode, like GoT’s “Battle of the Bastards”, I just want to get straight to the next episode.  This is what binging will do to you and I felt it necessary for you to know the risks.  It’s funny, who would’ve thought the Dawson’s Creek theme song would’ve been so ahead of its time when it comes to watching tv shows.

 

 


Review:  The OA

Review: The OA

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Stuck on a congested bridge, a commuter captures raw video on a cell phone of a woman darting between the cars in traffic.  As the mysterious woman crosses the road and approaches the railing, passengers sensing the woman’s intentions, beckon for her to stop.  Upon hearing their pleas, the distressed woman turns briefly, before jumping to her death.  Miraculously, she survives, and that’s when we first meet our enigmatic protagonist, Prairie Johnson, a twenty-year old blind woman who inexplicably vanished from her parent’s home nearly seven years earlier.  Confused, yet oddly guarded, Johnson cannot explain neither the events leading up to her disappearance, nor the strange markings carved on her back, but most bemusing of all—her preternatural ability to now see.

The OA is the latest binge-worthy offering from the pantheon that is Netflix.  Released on December 16th, 2016, I finally got a chance to watch the entire first season over the weekend, and I can promise you that it’s the most deceptively engrossing and hauntingly ambiguous series that I’ve watched in a while—but it’s definitely not for everyone.  Regardless, there’s no doubt The OA will be the most talked about, postulated, over-analyzed show, for the foreseeable future—that is until season two of Stranger Things drops sometime this summer.  So whether you’re considering watching the show, stuck in the quagmire of the first episode, wondering why-in-the-hell you started it in the first place, or you’ve actually finished the final chapter, and are left scratching your head, I will do my best to keep this review as cogent and spoiler-free as possible.

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Billed as a drama/sci-fi thriller, The OA is cinematically stunning.  From its ethereally bizarre dreamlike sequences and celestial settings, and intimate confined interior spaces, along with breathy, lingering close-ups, the filmography is gorgeous, palpable, weighty and spring-loaded with tension.  Apart from Prairie (Brit Marling), who is absolutley enchanting and ephemeral, the rest of the cast are both arresting yet polarizing at times.  Pair this alongside themes and scenes that some might find disturbing, and narratives that at times are so far out there, so weird and puzzling, that many viewers simply won’t even make it to the halfway mark of the first episode since the show moves at an excruciatingly glacial speed which is fine for crafting a story, but painful for those eager to decipher the plot.  Not surprising, it isn’t until the fifty plus minute mark of the hour-long inaugural episode that viewers actually begin to discern clues about the long, strange trip that is Prairie’s existence both in life—and in death.

The OA is a labyrinthian show, each episode building upon the last, slowly and deliberately constructing more layers, carving new pathways, drilling deeper, providing just enough clues, while loading the show with enough rabbit holes, red-herrings, and dead ends that will leave you with more questions than answers in the same vein as:  Twin Peaks, Lost, True DetectiveStranger Things, and Westworld.  In the end—if you’ve made it that far—you’ll either be contemplative and moved by the transcendental nature of the show or regretful and angry—courtesy of the controversial final episode—feeling like you just wasted an entire day’s worth of your life watching a television show.

Minor Spoilers Ahead.  Proceed with caution.  I’m warning you.

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So what does it all mean?  Are you sitting down?  Why don’t you sit down.  There might be more to Prairie Johnson’s/Nina’s story than meets the eye.  After a traumatic childhood in which she survived a near-death experience (NDE)—a reoccurring theme throughout the show—and an abduction which left her psychologically and emotionally damaged, Prairie believes she is…wait for it…an inter-dimensional traveling angel.  A celestial intermediary of sorts.  The OA—Original Angel.  So could Prairie really be an angel, sent as a messenger with the power to heal others with interpretive dance movements?  That’s certainly plausible based on the clues revealed in the show.  There is also evidence to the contrary, that might debunk this theory.  Oddly enough for a show about angels, never once is any known deity, i.e. God or any faith, religion, or spiritual practice mentioned or referenced in the series.  There are allusions to such things, but nothing concrete, nothing overt.  Could she be in some version of purgatory, trapped between the living world and the spirit world?  Or is she just a damaged and delusional individual suffering the mental trauma of a lifetime of really terrible and unspeakable life-changing events including: a brush with death, loss of a loved one(s), abandonment and loneliness, adapting to the cultural shift resulting from her adoption, not to mention her kidnapping, captivity, and torture, and this is her coping mechanism?  Conceivably a runaway from a mental institution, possibly off her medication?  Maybe she’s on one of the seven astral planes, in a coma, recovering from that jump from the bridge—if that even happened.  But there’s proof on YouTube!  Furthermore, what about Prairie’s fellow captives—the others, the five?  Are they alternate versions of the modern day five, a band of diverse and marginalized individuals whom Prairie invites to share her story and impart the knowledge of inter-dimensional time travel and healing ways with?  Or simply a cult-like quintet so desperate to find connection and belonging amidst the bleakness that engulfs their lives.  Perhaps they’re all just fish, swimming in the waters of human consciousness, seemingly trapped within the glass walls of a pentagon shaped aquarium in the lobby of a hospital waiting room.

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You decide—The OA is open for interpretation—and really that’s the beauty or flaw of shows that are this tenebrous.  Watching each episode feels like a mixture of being in a sensory deprivation chamber with the Dalai Lama while watching Highway to Heaven, Touched By An Angel, spliced with art school interpretive dance videos—my only real complaint with the entire series, apart from the ending—and reimagined in Donnie Darko-esque fashion, without all the cheesy, preachy, and pretentious overtones.  As if Sturgill Simpson’s song Turtles All the Way Down was made into a eight-part television series.  Ultimately, The OA, is a methodical metaphysical zen-like miniseries—one that at times is soul-searching and other times downright WTF, but it’s certainly worth the binge.  However, you may find more pleasure vacuuming, watching paint dry or waiting for water to boil more than this show, “so to each their own til’ we go home, to other realms our souls must roam, to and through the myth that we all call space and time.”

3.5/5  stars

The OA is rated TV-MA


Photobombing: Georgia Tech

Photobombing: Georgia Tech

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Welcome to Georgia Tech! We are looking forward to your campus visit and welcoming you into the Yellow Jacket family in 2017! Here at Georgia Tech you will learn the tools you’ll need to flourish in the world and make friends you’ll remember forever!

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This freshman student received a scholarship to Georgia Tech for his stunning and thought-provoking essay on the practical applications of materials science and then not “packing.”

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Hooray for student life! Look at the long line for a special screening of the hilarious Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy The Internship. Everyone enjoyed it immensely! This was two weeks ago.

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For the love of God don’t let Richard use your laptop. He will look at some seriously messed up things on there. Dude is so weird. We tried to warn you, Pam! It’s your own fault, really.

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Social life! Our Greek system is alive and well at Georgia Tech, even if most of us didn’t really get invited to a lot of parties when we were in high school. We’re still working out how to play drinking games; we hope you’ll bear with us!

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Gary is upset that Carla and Becky used up all his aluminum foil. Sorry, Gary! You can’t stop science.

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Shortly after this photograph was taken, even the TGX-1101 turned Allen down for the spring formal. Can’t win ’em all, big guy! Time for version 5.0, am I right? You’ll get it right next time!

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Team up with colleagues to create great new things! Partnerships can turn creative ideas into progressive realities. Take the team of Lee Xang and Kevin Garff. Lee does the practical work while Kevin is really more of the “face man” of the operation. Somebody’s gotta do it!

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Wait, didn’t the University of Louisville have to apologize for this same photo? Whoops! Moving on!

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With your dining card you’ll have access to any of the high-caliber food service outlets on campus, like this one. Croissant genitals, anyone?

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Georgia Tech is a great place to fail and succeed. For instance, this may be the worst K-cup coffee machine anyone’s ever put together but you’ll do it better next time, Karen! And you’ll have that leeway to learn from your mistakes!

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Courtship is alive and well at Georgia Tech, and you very well may meet your future spouse or domestic partner here! Here we see the age-old Georgia Tech tradition of “waiting until a girl finally comes down to the ground so you can take her on a date.” These guys have been waiting for two days! Hope you brought snacks, ladies!

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Calvin is the coolest guy on campus. Wait until you hear his free-form verse poetry about the possible global warming ramifications of methane and anaerobic peat carbon!

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Georgia Tech healthcare for students is second to none. Every pregnancy diagnosed at Georgia Tech’s health services is confirmed by three weirdos. That’s our promise to you.

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Your life is ready to begin at Georgia Tech! Before you know it the four years will fly by and you’ll be receiving a valuable degree and a new lease on the future. Please avoid this hornet; these students died of injuries sustained by its giant, deadly stings shortly after this photograph was taken. We miss you, Candice and Peter!


Funkhouser’s Guide to New Year’s Eve Television 2016

Funkhouser’s Guide to New Year’s Eve Television 2016

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Happy penultimate day of 2016!  One of the greatest (?) television traditions on December 31st are the New Year’s Eve Countdown shows. Every year, each network and cable news channel parades out their “top stars” for you to spend the final moments of your year with, along with musicians who had nowhere else to be. Some shows are nice enough to start at 11:30, so you only have to watch the countdown for 30 minutes, while others start at 8:00 PM for four hours of quality (?) television.  If you’ve decided to stay inside on New Year’s Eve and are trying to decide which channel to watch, Funkhouser is here to help with:

Funkhouser’s Guide To New Year’s Eve Celebration Shows

NBC

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8:00-10:00 PM – A Toast to 2016 with Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb –”Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb will ring in the New Year with a two-hour, star-studded New Year’s Eve primetime special from NBC News highlighting the best and buzziest stories from the past year.  The duo will even attempt a mannequin challenge, which will later be discovered to have been a self-induced alcohol coma.”

10:00-11:00 PM – Late Night With Seth Meyers New Year’s Eve Special – “In what is sure to be the most digestible show in the entirety of tonight’s television lineup, Seth welcomes Jennifer Lawrence, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leslie Jones. No jokes here, save just a little of your sanity tonight and watch this.”

11:30-12:30 AM – New Year’s Eve w/ Carson Daly – “Host of Today’s Pop Start, (oh, that sounds like Pop Tart… on a morning show… We totally get it now) Carson Daly rings in the New Year with Mel B, with performances from Alicia Keys, Pentatonix, Blake Shelton, and Jennifer Lopez.  Will J-Lo kiss Drake at Midnight?  Will Drake be sporting a “The Voice” shirt around Carson Daly to continue his bandwaggoner ways? And will Blake Shelton finally get that restraining order on Hoda Kotb?  Find out as the ball drops, tonight on NBC.”


ABC

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8:00-10:00 PM – Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2017 – “Ryan Seacrest will host and lead the traditional countdown to midnight from Times Square in New York City as he has for the last 11 years with live reporting from actress and comedian Jenny McCarthy.”

10:00-11:00 PM – Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2017 – “Yes Ryan, it appears as we are still awaiting for the ball to drop here in Time Square.  I’ll be down here for the next two hours deciding which guy I’m going to make out with on the street at midnight. Back to you!” – Jenny McCarthy

11:30-1:09 AM – Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2017 – “The final 30 minutes of the countdown, as Mariah Carey is the final performance of 2016.  Elsewhere, Donny Wahlberg is pleading for Mark to allow him to leave the house so he can go rescue Jenny from those scoundrels in Times Square.  However, Mark puts on Netflix’s fake children’s New Year’s countdown at 11:35, and tucks Donnie into bed before the ball actually drops.”


FOX

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11:00 PM – 12:30 AM – Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution – “We learned our lesson from last year and have cut out two hours from Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution.  But, in the NYE special sure to be packed with 24: Legacy commercials, Mr. 305 welcomes today’s top acts: Biz Markie, Coolio, Rob Base, Naughty By Nature, Salt-n-Pepa, Tone Loc, and Young MC, Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg.  We asked, but Da Brat declined our invitation…”


CNN

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8:00 PM – 12:30 AM – New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin – “Yes, this is still a thing.  Yes, we know that Kathy Griffin will do something ridiculous.  Yes, we know this is four and a half hours of Anderson and Kathy just standing in front of the screen as Kathy tries to take off Anderson’s pants, while Anderson says “Oh, Kathy”.  We’re not really sure why we still do this, but what the hell, why would 2016 end any other way?”


 


100 Things That I Wish Died In 2016

100 Things That I Wish Died In 2016

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Last year, I boldly made 100 predictions about what would happen in 2016.  Some of my guesses were dead on.   I predicted that “The election will create new catch phrases.” It sure did.  The election spawned phrases like “A basket of deplorables” and “bad hombre.”  I was correct when I predicted Leo would win an Academy Award.  I am certain, however, that no one correctly predicted all of the craziness that 2016 has had to offer.  It has been a year that the internet has deemed “the worst.”  2016 has killed a space princess, a space oddity, a gorilla and the G.O.A.T.    While it has become internet cute to rage against this year, there are a few things that I would rather have died during the past 365 days.  Sure, I wish things like violence and racism would die in 2016, but first we should set our sights on more attainable goals.   Below is some of the low hanging fruit that I wish had died during 2016.  

1. Predictions.  We’ve established that nothing is predictable anymore.

2. Lists of predictions about things

3. Movies about things. (Like Jumanji)

4. Or Angry Birds

5. Or Trolls 

6. Or Emojis

7. The The Lego Movie can stay.  I like The Lego Movie.

8. Movies rooted in nostalgia. (like The Power Rangers Movie)

9. Or Beauty and the Beast     

10. Or Baywatch

11. Or Ducktales

12. Or Hey Arnold!

13. Or Sex in the City 3

14. Fuller House Season 3

15. Candace Cameron Bure’s need to spend time on things that are NOT terrible Christmas Movies.  I like those a lot.  

16. Siri. I’m not impressed.

17. Or Alexa

18. Bottle Flipping

19. Filming Bottle Flipping

20. Filming the Running Man Challenge

21. Filming the Mannequin Challenge

22. Filming Doctors popping pimples

23. Filming Carpool Karaoke can stay.  I really like that.

24. Tying anything around your neck and calling it a choker

25. Bathing suits with sayings on them like “Bae Watch”

26. Or “Mermaid”

27. Or “Rosé. All Day.”

28. Or “Birthday Suit.” (actually, that one’s kinda funny, it can stay.)

29. Pool floats that look like flamingos

30. Or Swans

31. Or Pretzels

32. Or Donuts

33. Whatever those pants are with the saggy crotch

34. Or Crop tops

35. I like jumpsuits.  Those can stay.

36. The food trend of pretending to like macaroons

37. New Starbucks drinks like “Pink Drink”

38. Or anything from the “Starbucks Tuxedo Collection.”

39. Trying to make radishes the new kale

40. Making Poke Bowls the new Sushi

41. Using the phrase “Make _______ Great Again.”

42. Hating on Timberlake’s masterpiece, “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” 

43. Pretending you don’t like any Shawn Mendez Jams

44. Pretending The Chainsmokers are a legitimate and reputable source of music

45. Numbered Twitter Rants 

46. Shared fake news on Facebook

47. Celebrity fake news (Taylor Swift’s pretend boyfriends and Ryan Lochte’s fake robbery)

48. The Kardashians slow descent into madness

49. But seriously, Bottle flipping

50. #OscarsSoWhite as a hashtag

51. And #OscarsSoWhite as an actual truth 

52. Listing movies like The Martian as a comedy

53. Listing shows like Transparent as a comedy

54. Movies about historic events that happened less than ten years ago

55. SnapChat filters that last longer than a month

56. Predictable TV show endings (a la Westworld)

57. Or Gilmore Girls

58. Professional athletes desire to wear large hats

59. NFL athletes being fined for wearing individualized cleats  

60. Giving up hope during 3-1 leads

61. Corrupting my childhood memories with internet memes (Arthur’s fist)

62. Or Evil kermit

63.While we are at it, we can cool it on the musicals….just a little bit.

64. Adding the word “Gate” to scandals, like “Deflategate”

65. Or “bridgegate”

66. Or “Weinergate”

67. Or “Lochtegate”

68. Adding the word “exit” to an exodus, like “Brexit”

69. Or Frexit (France leaving the EU)

70. Or Texit (Texas leaving the United States)

71. Or Bragelinexit. (Angelina leaving Brad)

72. Using the phrase “Breaks the internet”

73. Or “On Fleek” 

74. Or “Lit.”

75. Or “Savage.”  

76. Woke can stay. I like saying “stay woke.”

77. Celebrities low key selling things on Instagram.  Stay woke.

78. Still woke?

79. Phones without headphone jacks

80. People being obsessed with Rose Gold

81. People being obsessed with Ombre

82. People being obsessed with Virtual Reality Headsets

83. People being obsessed with TV shows about Pawn Shops

 84. Or Pickin’

85. Or teenage moms

86. Or finding buried treasure in Canada 

87. TV Shows that just won’t end.   (I’m talking to you The Walking Dead.)

88. And The Bachelor

89. And The Big Bang Theory

90. Home renovation shows can stay.  I will always like those.

 91. Arguing if a hot dog is a sandwich

92. Arguments about birth certificates

93. Arguments about the electoral college even though it is an important discussion that needs to take place

94. Arguments about emails

95. Shows that you can’t binge (You mean I have to wait until January for This is Us and The Good Place?)

96. Blaming everything on Millennials

97. Millennials blaming everything on their parents 

98. Parents blaming participation trophies

99.  Predictions about how Generation Snowflake will handle all this

100. In conclusion, Bottle Flipping


R.I.P Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

R.I.P Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

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When word got around last weekend that Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack, many began to prepare for even worse news.  That news came today when we found out that Fisher had passed away.  Like most people, I know of Fisher primarily through Star Wars and the character of Princess Leia is what many will remember her for.  Fisher brought to life one of the first true heroines in science fiction film and helped inspire generations of boys and girls to want to be leaders and fighters.  Fisher proved to be a fighter until the end.  She had well documented struggles with addiction which she overcame.  She fought to get herself into better health so she could continue her career.  She spent over a decade raising awareness for mental health issues.  Like her iconic character, Fisher was a bad-ass and inspiration for millions.  R.I.P Carrie Fisher.

 


Mike Krzyzewski, Teacher

Mike Krzyzewski, Teacher

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[Grayson Allen’s suspension] gives me time as a teacher to teach…As a teacher, these are kids, I’ll look at it…it’s a learning experience and I’m going to use that and as a teaching moment…He won’t play until I feel good about the entire situation and where he is at, that’s my responsibility as a coach and as a teacher of young men.”
-Mike Krzyzewski discussing Grayson Allen’s “indefinite suspension” on Dan Patrick’s radio show 

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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has long been known as a die-hard defender of his players, and his appearance on Dan Patrick’s show Thursday was no different in light of the suspension of Grayson Allen after yet another tripping incident. Some might even suggest that Coach K’s insistence upon being such a good teacher has left some of his players to falter. Take, for instance, the following examples:

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On Allen’s similar tripping of FSU’s Xavier Ranthan-Mayes in Feb. 2016:
“Look, you know, as a teacher you take these kinds of moments seriously, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to teach a young man like Grayson to become a stronger person and player for it, and as a teacher that’s what I’ll do.”

On telling Oregon forward Dillon Brooks he’s “too good of a player to be showing off” after a Sweet 16 loss to the Ducks:
“I, you know, just wanted to use that as a teaching moment for Brooks. As a teacher I recently attended a seminar with other teachers in February at the New Bern Ramada about empowering students to have healthy confidence and I was just trying to pass along some of the new techniques of ‘grounding encouragement’ I learned during that very informative weekend. It’s my duty as a teacher to do that.”

On Krzyzewski’s failing to shake hands of Syracuse players after a two-point loss in January:
“I had a lot on my mind, you know? As a teacher, I had been up until 4 a.m. the night before doing lesson plans. The upcoming week is what I always call “Inventors Week,” and I like the students to not only learn about famous inventors but I like it to be interactive, you know? That’s why I have them make their own inventions. I think they like it a lot. Anyway, I was thinking about that. As a teacher, you never stop caring.”

On Duke’s 2014 NCAA loss to Mercer:
“Listen. I’m a teacher, okay? And I realize that basketball is important to Duke University, but you know what? So is trying to get the VCR from another teacher in the Humanities Building so I can show my students A Separate Peace after we just finished the unit. I signed up for that VCR a month ago and he’s kept it for too long. He’s not even using it. There need to be better rules about how you check out audio-visual equipment for classroom use. It needs to be discussed at the faculty meeting, I’ll tell you that much.”

On an NCAA investigation into forward Lance Thomas’ exorbitant jewelry purchasing 2010:
“I’m pleased that the investigation is over because as a teacher I have more to worry about than jewelry. Tomorrow is crazy hat day, and the kids always crack up when I come in wearing this hilarious hat I own. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is; it’s a secret. But trust me, when they see their teacher wearing it they always just lose it. I love those moments. I love teaching.”

On a technical foul during Duke’s loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament in 2014:
“Sometimes I get mad. I do. I admit it. And I don’t like it when these players see their teacher get that mad. But I think a lot of that tension is relieved when these guys see their teacher put on sunglasses and a big fake necklace when all the teachers get together and make a funny rap filled with inside jokes and perform it for the students on the last day of school. Then we’re all laughing, and they see that their teacher is a human being. He gets mad, sure, but he also creates teaching moments. And he also can have fun too.”

On a 74-47 loss to Clemson in 2009:
“Sure, it’s a bad loss. But you know what else is bad? When your students come in on the first day of school and maybe they’re nervous; maybe they don’t think they’re going to make new friends. That’s why then, on the bulletin board, they see a funny squirrel and guess what? Each of their desks has an acorn with their name on it. Next thing you know they’re laughing, meeting new classmates. As a teacher, it’s my job to make them comfortable, make them unafraid and create these teaching moments. It’s the most important thing I do at Duke University.”

 

 


Funkhouser Presents Comics, Culture & Wildcats: Batman

Need a break from loss to the dirty cards? Want to get back to some childhood memories? Then look no further. Funkhouser brings you the first episode of the CCW (Comics, Culture, and Wildcats). This week we discuss and debate anything and everything that has to do with the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman. The full crew of Brad Morris, Josh Juckett, Matt Mahone, and C.M. Tomlin banter back and forth with a list of questions:

-Who is the best Batman in a movie
-Who had the coolest suit, cave, Batmobile
-Is sliding down a hidden firemens pole the coolest thing ever?

Producer’s Note: I know you probably don’t enjoy listening to a recorded phone call, especially with the pop from tonight’s episode; our apologies. That’s all changing for the Funkhouser podcast next week.  Please, stay tuned.  

To listen, just subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, stream on Podbayor listen on the Podcast Addict app for Android.