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I Rewatched Mission: Impossible

It was 1996. Tom Cruise was a big movie star, no one knew about all the Scientology stuff going on, and Mission: Impossible was released in theaters. Yup, Tom Cruise has been making Mission: Impossible movies for 22 years. And it shows on screen.

I remember seeing Mission: Impossible in theaters - pretty sure it was with my brother - and at the time I rememeber loving it. Of course, I was just about to go into 6th grade and it was the nineties and the movie briefly had Coach Bombay. It's been years since I've seen it, so I was expecting great stuff with maybe a few dated things.

Well, it's slightly more campy than I remember. I forgot how for most of the movie every character that Tom Cruise face masks, is just Tom Cruise in make up. 1996 was a big year for actor's playing multiple roles. The fixed in the next one by coming up with that computer chip Band Aid that somehow magically changes your voice. I will say though, the face mask reveals, pretty well done for 1996.

The computer work in the movie is definitely the most dated thing in the movie. Ethan Hunt looking for a super criminal on usergroups for the bible, scrolling through weird stuff on a laptop the size of a toaster oven. And then there are the 128 MB Zip Drives or whatever they were called. 

It's amazing the jump that happens in the next movie that was released in 2000. How quickly computers and hairstyles changed.

And then there's the big wire suspension seen which makes absolutely no sense. First of all, what is that guy's job? He just looks like an office worker, but he happens to be doing work that he can only do at the most secure terminal in the world? And if it's doing all this computer work, why does he have a trash can?

The most absurd thing to me though is the fact that there is a sign inside the room that says "Intrusion Countermeasures." Then underneath there are lights for on and off. When my high school math teacher leaves the room, the light switches to "on." Who is this sign for? There's no reason for it except the assumption that movie audiences in 1996 were idiots.

I have to say though, all in all, it's still a decent movie because of the action set pieces. The explosion in the restaurant with all the fish tanks is still pretty cool as Tom Cruise runs through the window. The final train sequence on top of the train is pretty good too. Especially when you realize that Tom Cruise wanted to find the craziest wind machine in Europe so his face would actually be distorted and look real.

I kind of look forward to rewatch this whole series. You can definitely see the start of Tom Cruise deciding he's going to do these ridiculous stunts. And it may be one of the few franchises that get better the more they make of them. (Fast and Furious would be another one, which some people might disagree with, but that's an argument for another day.) This may also be the start of when Tom Cruise decided he could be a producer and have power on the movie set and thus ruined The Mummy.


Seeking Help

I've been wanting to write something about Anthony Bourdain since I heard the news Friday, but couldn't quite find the words. I'm not sure I have them yet.

When I first saw the news alert on Friday, it hit me hard and quick. I can't say that Bourdain was a hero of my mine or that I spent much time looking up to him. But I admired him. Every time he popped up somewhere, I thought: "Damn. What a life. If I ever become one tenth as influential as he is, I'll be a success." He crafted his own path through this world, doing his own thing. He got to a place of success on his own and not just following what others had down before him. I admire that.

He started as a cook, became a chef, overcame drug addiction, became a writer, became a television host of a travel show, which slowly turned into a journalist. I loved No Reservations early on, because it was fun and Bourdain had some great voice overs. I loved it after it turned into much more of a journalism show following their Beirut episode and he continued that in CNN's Parts Unknown.

Bourdain made an effort to show the truth of the countries he went to. The real people, the real culture, the real impacts of war and violence that had impacted the country. It wasn't your basic travel show and it wasn't your basic journalism special on a foreign country. It was it's own thing. It was his thing.

After my initial reaction, another thought hit me: "That kind of makes sense." For a man, whose writing and to some degree his lifestyle, were inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, to take his own life makes a certain amount of sense.

Hunter S. Thompson was 67 at the time, but could feel himself going. He was in pain, he couldn't live his life the way he had. He was done, so he left on his own terms rather than see himself fall further into a life he didn't want to live.

I don't know and we may never know what Bourdain's reason for leaving were, what he was dealing with, or if it had any impact on his decision, but maybe it did. It didn't have to though.

Every story and social media posting following the news have included this number: 1-800-273-8255. That's the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It's an important number.

But that hotline feels like it's a last minute, Hail Mary pass for those suffering. You don't need to get to that point to seek help. Here's a website that I found very helpful: . It can help you find a therapist or counselor in your area. If you're dealing with depression, anxiety, or even think you might be, or you have a tendency to go to darker thoughts, try therapy.

The website has pictures of counselors, information about them, what their specialities are, what their treatment methods are, and what kind of insurance they accept. If you have ever thought "maybe I should find someone to talk to" then you should find someone to talk to. I have found that a lot more people go or have gone to therapy than I thought before.

It's not a shameful thing. Look at all those listings on the website, if only a few people went to therapy, not all of those people would stay in business. There's two important things to keep in mind about therapy.

First, as a very wise friend told me, you have to find the right one. Maybe you need to go to 2 or 3 different ones before you find one that you feel comfortable with and you have to feel comfortable. I went to one and did not feel comfortable at all and very quickly stopped going. The second one I went to, I lucked out, and she dropped a Seinfeld reference in the second session. That's someone I can feel comfortable around.

Second, going to therapy is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but it's true. You are admitting that you need help, but you are actively pursuing that help to improve yourself. If you were a high school football player and you wanted to get a scholarship to college, but you weren't good enough, you would improve yourself by working out more, getting help from trainers and coaches, listening to advice. None of these things would be considered a weakness, they would be considered a strength. Looking for someone to talk to about what you're feeling is no different.

It's not easy. It can be scary. But realize that whatever you're wrestling with, you don't have. Just take things one step at a time.


Fantastic Four and X-Men Can Still Join Marvel

I woke up this morning to the internet worrying that Comcast will mess up the Disney-Fox Merger. Actually, I woke up to my cat knocking shit off the dresser, but then I saw people worrying online.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's possible that Comcast now wants to get into original content, but I doubt they are doing it for the purpose of getting Marvel characters like The X-Men and The Fantastic Four. I'm sure though that's what Disney is looking for in their deal.

At this point, I see three things happening, and all of them end up with the Fantastic Four and X-Men being able to join the MCU.

Scenario 1: In light of the Comcast offer, Disney sweetens their offer and ends up buying Fox.

Scenario 2: Comcast buys Fox, the merger goes through, and they then sell the rights to Disney for several billion dollars.

Scenario 3: Comcast buys Fox, keeps the rights to the Marvel Comics characters, but works out a deal with Marvel/Disney to co-produce films starring those characters. Similar to the deal Sony worked out with Marvel for using Spider-Man.

I don't know which of these seems most likely to happen, but I don't think there is zero hope of seeing Wolverine pop up in the MCU. Even if the Disney/Fox merger does happen, it's still a few years from going through. Marvel has movies planned that don't involve these characters, so they aren't necessarily biting their nails with concern.

At some point though, on a long enough timeline, some kind of deal will get worked out to bring these characters together. Why? Because they make a lot of money. And everyone's going to want a piece of it. Up until the point superhero movies fall out of public love, but until that happens, everyone's going to want a piece of the billion dollar franchise that is the MCU.


Gyllenhaal Joins Spider-Man

It's being reported that Jake Gyllenhaal is in final talks to play Mysterio in the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. The sequel reportedly takes place in London and Europe, so I will be referring to it as Spider-Man: European Vacation.

I'm not sure how I feel about this news. I'm possibly hoping it's a play to get someone else to sign on as Mysterio.

It's not that I dislike Jake Gyllenhaal - actually it's partially that - but it's more that I can't picture him in a comic book movie. All his movies that I've seen, he's done excellent work in, but all those roles were darker, much more serious. He was great in Nightcrawler and Prisoners, but those are complete tonal opposites to Spider-Man.


Aside from the difficulty I have spelling his name, I'm also distracted that he looks like a rich man's Tobey Maguire - who played Spider-Man. See where I'm going with this? No? Fine, I'm not really sure myself. It just feels weird.

I think the largest problem I have is that I just don't see him as Mysterio. Michael Keaton as Vulture, I saw immediately. It was perfect. But I can't imagine Jake as a Bubble-headed villain. I'm sure the team working on the movie will nail the costume. I just can't picture it. Which is probably why I don't work in costume design.

I'm sure it'll work out fine, even if it is Jake Gyllenhaal.

What has me really excited though, is that Mysterio is an underused villain. He was always one of my favorites in the 90s animated series and the 90s comics. I'm really liking the fact that they seem to be keeping away from Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin, going for the lesser utilized villains.

It's something I hope DC learns from and in future Batman movies, they stay away from yet another Joker. Or in Superman, take some focus off Lex Luther.

The other thing that I'm really excited about is, it seems like we're leading up to some version of The Sinister Six. Even if they don't go through with it, we're going to be more than halfway there and as a fan, that excites me. We already have Vutlure, Shocker, and the man who becomes the Scorpion. Add Mysterio, we're two away.

The only reason I think they may actually head in that direction is that the Vulture is set to return for European Vacation and that The Tinkerer who helped Vulture in Homecoming is connected to Mysterio in the comics. And with a third movie in development, maybe we'll see a supervillain team up, better than whatever Legion of Doom DC is planning. Or what happened in Spider-Man 3.


The Problems of Call of Duty

The reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launched the other day. And after watching it, reading a little about it, especially the lack of a single player campaign, I have to say Call of Duty has some problems and it's probably going to sound like an old man yelling at a cloud again.

The first issue is the lack of a campaign, or the lack of a story when there is one. The high point of the Call of Duty franchise was undoubtably Modern Warfare. It was such a fan favorite, it got remastered for Playstation 4 and XBox One. Part of this had to have been the great campaign mode. It also had a solid multiplayer mode and was set in a mostly realistic world. After this, we dove into the future of warfare with privatized militaries led by Kevin Spacey (a move I'm sure everyone regrets.) And then into space, fight Jon Snow, who turns out knew a lot. But the campaigns were short and not worth it. They focused on celebrity casting rather than telling a good story.

The second issue, is the need to constantly be moving into the future tech of warfare. I get it to a certain point, in order to sell more games, you have to make something worth buying. Which means you need a new product that's not just the same thing, you need new advancements to attract more people to buy them. But there's a percentage of people out there - like myself that prefer a straight up shooter. We don't need fancy tech, barricades out of nothing, exo skeletons that let you do a double jump like a 90s platformer. Look at the success of Call of Duty: WWII. It was great and there were no extras, just straight shooting.

The third issue, is nothing about the nature of the game itself, but the community. I'm kind of sick of multiplayer games because of the other players. The trash talking filled with swearing and racial slurs, mostly uttered by children. And yes, a lot of these kids beat me, and that's fine. I'm not old, but I'm old enough that I don't have the time to spend hours playing online, honing my skills, the way that anyone still in school has time to do. I'm just sick of playing and hearing kids ask there mom for 5 more minutes and then they'll start their homework.

Maybe I am aging out of multiplayer games in favor of more solo experiences like Far Cry 5 and Assassin's Creed Origins and the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. I doubt I'll ever age out of games completely, but at some point, I'll stop multiplayer completely. How do I know? I watched the Black Ops 4 trailer and felt zero excitement.