Kingsman: The Olden Sexist


-- चार हजार एक सौ पचास-एक --

I rode my bike home from work yesterday, and as soon as I got off my bike, I saw a text from Shobhit informing me he was over at Diesel, having a drink. This is a new, quasi-favorite gay bar of his because they make their happy hour drinks rather strong. And it's a place super easy to get to; it's all of two and a half blocks from home.

Shobhit was amused when I arrived because he saw me checking my hair in my reflection in the window just outside. He'd already had one drink and was working on a Screw Driver he wanted me to help him finish because it was too strong. I didn't find it strong at all, which he's convinced is because I have so much higher a tolerance for alcohol than he has these days. But, he had been nursing that drink for some time by that point and it was very watered down. He was just too buzzed to realize it. And he never let me forget he was buzzed. He said "I'm buzzed" literally no fewer than four times.

I was thinking about skipping dinner altogether, after having basically one and a half lunches at work. I'd had my last container of leftover veggie chicken enchilada casserole, which is a heavy enough dish already (it's crammed with tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheese), but there was also a huge meeting of some kind involving a lot of store leadership and POS staff. A whole bunch of Pagliacci Pizzas had been delivered for them to eat for lunch, and when they were done, the leftovers were released to the rest of us. I really should have just saved the casserole for today and merely waited for some of the pizza, which I had a slice of. And a few of the bite size desserts. Maybe a little more than a few.

But then Shobhit mentioned Nue, the café on 14th that we passed on our way back home, yet again -- he's been wanting to try the place for ages. And it was still before 6:00 so their own Happy Hour sign was still out. And thus we went there and ordered two items off their Happy Hour menu: a pineapple cornbread that is such an inspired idea that it might very well have been the best corn bread I have ever had (it didn't hurt that it was fresh baked and warm on our plate); and the "War Chips" frites dish, French fries with garlic mayo and onions and "peanut sate," whatever that is. In any case they were also delicious.

Shobhit was happy to get a Social Review point for the day, although slightly bummed to feel like he wasted it a bit on going to Nue last night instead of another night since he gets a point for the drinks at Diesel -- and no one gets double points for one day. I only rank people on my quarterly Social Review posts by the number of days in which we engaged in in-person social activity, no matter how many different activities there might have been in one day.

-- चार हजार एक सौ पचास-एक --


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Soon after we returned home, we watched Kingsman: The Secret Service. This was at Shobhit's request: he's interested in the sequel to be released next month, and wanted to watch this beforehand.

I got the Blu-Ray disc from Netflix, and even though the disc showed no visible signs of damage, I could not for the life of me get the damned thing to play. I tried and tried, and tried several things, but I suspect the main issue is that when I bought this Blu-Ray player -- expressly so I could get a special edition release of Jaws that featured a documentary available exclusively on Blu-Ray -- I purchased the cheapest one, at something like $75. It has played most discs fine but occasionally gives me trouble. Usually I can get it to work after a while, but not this time. My copy of Ghostbusters from Netflix was also Blu-Ray and that played, so I still reported it damaged to Netflix.

I was set on watching Kingsman last night, though, and although it's irritatingly not available streaming anywhere at all, I did discover that, as an Amazon Prime member, I could rent it to stream for all of 99 cents -- $1.09 with tax. That's close enough to nothing that I went ahead with it. Shobhit didn't even seem to care. So, now I was able to play it on the Amazon Video app on my phone and mirror it to the TV using the Apple TV box (this is one of my favorite Apple features).

All this time I thought Shobhit wanted to see this because he was interested in the sequel and never saw the first one. But as I was looking for my original review (B-minus; a grade I still stand by), I happened upon the regular journal entry in which I mentioned going to see it. And finally I was reminded that Shobhit actually saw this with me, at The Grove in L.A., in February 2015. "You saw this with me!" I said. Shobhit just nodded and said he wanted to see it again. And I also wrote this, at the time:

... [It was] my idea [to go see it] due to surprisingly strong reviews; still Shobhit liked it more than I did and my response was more "Meh"....

Two things really struck me about this movie the second time around, both of which I also touched on in my review at the time.

1. Amongst the many references to other spy franchises this movie clearly attempted to emulate, the villain Valentine mentions that all the old Bond movies are only as good as their villain. There is some unfortunate irony here, as Samuel L. Jackson makes a relatively poor and unmemorable villain in this film. It's one of the things that makes me surprisingly interested in the sequel: I am far more excited by the prospect of Julianne Moore as a villain in a movie like this.

2. The movie ends by using anal sex with a Scandinavian princess as a punch line. What the fuck? Things are going pretty okay until this shit comes out of nowhere. As I noted to Shobhit last night, "It's weirdly misogynistic." Shobhit agreed, and after watching the movie actually seemed less interested in the sequel now, than he had been before. I'll wait to decide until the reviews come in. If they are better than decent, then I'll go see it -- and Shobhit will likely come with me. The critical consensus on the original is apparently worse now than it had been the week it opened; a 58 score on MetaCritic usually keeps me away. I guess the director defended the anal gag as a direct sendup of the innuendos that ended many old Bond movies, but I'm not buying it. Not enough people in the audience are that fluent in the language of Bond movie lore and history, and the so-called "joke" just comes across as flatly sexist at worst and tone deaf at best. I hated it even more this time than I did the first time around.

I'm still hoping the sequel will be better and worth seeing, but I'm not really holding my breath there either.

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