Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Amazing and Not So Much

honest liar

Growing up, the first person I remember ever saying they were an atheist publicly was James "The Amazing" Randi. I don't think I really understood what it meant, but at the time, like a lot of boys I was into magic and the fact that this guy could and was willing to tell us that these tricks people did were just that, tricks, and that they could be learned by anyone, was important. But it also struck a nerve that I only much later in life understood. He was debunking people who were blatantly lying and more than that, he was doing it because he believed in one thing: reason. So, when I saw the documentary about him, An Honest Liar, hit Netflix, I immediately watched it. I'm sure the millions of other movies and shows that have been on my queue for years are extra pissed at me now.

I really don't want to give anything away about this film because it unfolds in such a great way and apparently some things happened as it was being filmed that make it that much more complex. The basis of it is that after a lifetime of debunking and revealing deceptions, James Randi was hiding the fact that he was gay. At age 81, he finally came out. But the layers to this story are much more complex than that suggests and I think it ultimately reveals something about Randi as well as all the people that choose to ignore reason and believe the huxters he's battled his whole life. I won't review or reveal. Instead, I just encourage you to see it for yourself. I will point out that the movie opens at Lester's Diner in Ft. Lauderdale, which is one of my spots so now I'm wondering why I've never run into him there.

mad men in space
When it was announced I had high hopes for Ascension. Of course, it was a risk that it would just end up being Mad Men in Space, given the premise of a generation ship sent out into the stars in the 60s. Now that I've finally caught up with the first episode on Netflix, I wish it had turned out to be Mad Men in Space. What it turned out to be was boring in space. With a heavy dose of horrible everything. At one point, we cut back to Earth from this ship that's been traveling through space since the Kennedy years long enough for one character to spell out the premise of the show. I'll never know if that scene served another purpose or if they cut back to Earth again later in the series because I'm not watching this crap.

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