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Si, and I like potatoes.
We've got houseguests and I've got things to do today, so a smaller post than in previous years.

But Amazon's offering an extra 30% off any book! That includes things already on sale. Note that you can only save up to $10 with this deal, but that's still kind of awesome. Books!

The Jurassic Park Collection (with all four movies) on Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/Digital is $24.99 (72% off)!

For folks with patience, there's a huge list of Black Friday Lightning Deals including Mad Max, James Bond, and other stuff.

There's a similar one on video games, including LEGO, WWE, Disgaea, and more.

Jane the Virgin Season 1 is $8 (84% off) on DVD>

Agatha Christie's Poirot: Complete Cases Collection on Blu-Ray is $122.99 (69% off).

Oh, and who doesn't want all four seasons of Star Trek Enterprise for $149.99 (63% off)?
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Off to pick up the kid from college soon for baking day, but a few deals hit on the Day Before the Day Before Black Friday:

One Deal of the Day is on three Batman bundles. You can get Batman: Arkham Knight for the PS4 or Xbox, along with all three Christopher Nolan Batman movies on Blu-Ray for $61.98 (59% off). Better yet (imho), the original Batman series is on sale on Blu-Ray for $99.99 (63% off).

And the DVD Deals of the Week get you either Parks and Rec ($55.95) or Parenthood ($47.99) for 60% off.

And in recent animated movies, you can nab the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo of Home for $9.99 (73% off), and the combo pack of Book of Life for $6 (85% off).

A Video Games Daily Deal is on Just Dance 2016 and Disney Dance Party for 40-50% off on every system.

In toys, the Hot Wheels Race Rally Water Park Playset is $11.99 (48% off).

A bunch of Kindles are on sale for $20-30 off.

And finally, in kitchen goods, the Pyrex Smart Essentials 6-Piece Glass Mixing Bowl Set is $12.38 (64% off, and about $9 below other sellers).
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Since I mentioned Maude in my post yesterday and ranked it above a few other more prominent TV shows, here's a scene showing why it's so damned good. Bea Arthur -- a truly great actress -- working with Norman Lear just made magic:

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As Thanksgiving looms, Amazon's starting to ramp up their deals again. I suspect I won't be as posty this year as I was last year (which was still about half as posty as I'd been previously), as time remains a constant factor, but there's a handful of stuff worth highlight today.

The Deal of the Day offer 55-66% off a bunch of classic TV series, including (in order of which ones I love the most): Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues, Maude, The Jeffersons, All in the Family, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Hill Street Blues, The Facts of Life, Sgt. Bilko, Mister Ed, and Welcome Back, Kotter. Honestly, all but the final four are genuinely worth rewatching as often as you can, and only the last two (yes, I'm dissing WBK) aren't worth owning at all.

Another daily deal is 40-55% off assorted Ravensburger games. This includes their usual jigsaw puzzles, but also titles like Scotland Yard, San Juan, and The Castles of Burgundy.

Not a part of a daily deal, SOAP - The Complete Series is $19.49 on DVD (57% off), and the best sitcom of its era (and possibly of all time). It also featured easily the greatest cast ever assembled for a sitcom.

On Blu-Ray, season 3 of Orphan Black is $14.99 (57% off), while season 8 of Doctor Who is $31.99 (64% off). And the Blu-Ray edition of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy (consisting of two movies, no matter what anyone says) is $11.57 (75% off).

And it wouldn't be the holiday season without the annual sale on the Blu-Ray version of Elf for $7.99 (68% off).

In Kindle ebooks, Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman is a Daily Deal for $1.99, while, her The Drowning Season is also on sale for $1.99 (but presumably for more than just today). And finally, you can also grab Denis Lehane's The Given Day for that same $1.99 price.
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Can we talk about this week's Doctor Who?

Can we talk about how utterly meh it was?

In fact, can we talk about the fact that other than one thirty-second moment in the middle, and one (admittedly awesome) image at the end, it was the most useless and unnecessary hour of TV in ages?

There have been plenty of worse episodes, of course (the first two Capaldi ones are dreadful pieces of shit, and "The Angels Take Manhattan" is the worst thing Moffat has ever written, and that includes things he did when he was three years old), but those have usually been tempered by being relevant to the larger story. And there have certainly been awful standalones (remember the two-parter in the Matt Smith run with the clones made of gloop?).

But what was fascinating about this week's episode was that it simply had no reason to exist. None. It was Who Standalone Trope #35, in which a group of folks are stranded and being picked off by a mysterious force. That's cool, and has been the trope behind some episodes I've really enjoyed, including "42" and "The God Complex."*

But those episodes gave us a bunch of really good characters to worry about. This episode gave us no one. There were a handful of interchangeable humans, one of whom was mission leader, one of whom hated the Grunt, another of whom was the grunt, and a fourth one. Three of them died, two after seemingly getting to safety, and there was no impact. The entire subplot in which the one who hates the Grunt gets saved by the Grunt was overlong and pointless in a way that failed to even be nihilistic. The leader had no personality at all. The Doctor and Clara connected with none of them (compare that to "42," where Martha and Riley bonded, and which featured the similar plot device of a door that required some ridiculous 20th-century piece of knowledge to open).

As for the overall plot, it actually made less sense than "The Angels Take Manhattan" or even "The Time of the Angels" (which also follows Trope 35 -- I actually think it's probably Trope #2 or 3). But it didn't even do so in a way that made me want to throw a remote at the screen (or at Moffat). It just made me want to get to the end so I could watch something better.

I won't spoil the two bits I referred to above, but neither is enough to make the episode worth watching.

To be fair, I've been on board with the current season in general. The only other weak episode this year ("The Girl Who Died") basically exists as a prologue to the incredibly strong "The Woman Who Lived," and otherwise, while I don't have a clue where Moffat's going overall**, he's been doing some good stuff, aided by two leads who work well together and some solid guest stars. But this episode was so clearly phoned-in half-assed filler, and that's even more disappointing than at least swinging for the fences and trying to do something interesting.

*It's also the trope behind the terrible "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS," which at least was memorably awful.

**Which, I suspect, makes me very similar to Moffat himself.
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So Gilmore Girls is coming back as a series of four Netflix films, with Amy Sherman-Palladino(hopefully not at Season 6 Burnout levels) at the helm. Yay!

But as anyone who's seen the Veronica Mars movie knows, revisiting an old property can lead to a nostalgia-fueled attempt to cram too much "oh, that person" moments at the expense of a decent story. And Gilmore Girls has a supporting cast roughly the size of the Bronx.

So here's the fix:

Make the first movie a slasher.

Bear with me. It makes sense.

See, have each minor character appear, get some to do Their Quirky Thing, and then get killed off gruesomely. This allows all the needed fan service, without them dragging down the plot. Miss Patty can make a handful of lewd remarks, then take an axe to the head. Kirk can run some unfeasible business into the ground, then take a knife in the throat. Taylor will be condescending, then sliced open with a machete. TJ and Liz can bug Luke one last time before a double-spear impalement. Etc. Of course, the revelation will be that Jess is the killer (because anyone who would steal books and write in them is absolutely capable of murder, so Fuck Jess), and when Rory decapitates him, it'll be a shining moment in the show's history.

And then the remaining movies can focus on Lorelai, Rory, Paris, Lane (widowed, because jesus fuck, who wants Zach?), Luke, Sookie (not widowed, because Jackson's one quirky minor character worth keeping -- you do need a few), Emily, and a handful of others (I actually like Logan, fwiw). One slasher, then we've cleared the way for three episodes that actually matter.
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If the notion that no cat would be stupid/malicious enough to pee on a surge protector ever achieves urban legend levels of popularity, let me assure anyone from Snopes that this is FALSE.

Thankfully, all cats are fine.

Our cable box/DVR, not so much. Ditto the surge protector itself.

Main suspect is Bash, due to the fact that A) he likes to pee on things, and B) he's nicknamed Murder Cat for a reason, and shorting electronics on a carpet is a great way to burn down the house. Charlotte is also a suspect, as she's not above peeing on things either. Whisper's probably not guilty.

Of all the electronics that could have fried, this was the best choice. It was also good that the house did not burn down.

Anyway, that was yesterday's excitement. Bonus for my discovering things in the dark, and dealing with figuring out what had happened while being unable to reset the circuit until after the surge protector had been unplugged.
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[REC] 3 is generally, and rightly, considered a mess of a movie. It's not a bad zombie movie, per se, but it missed the point entirely of the first two movies, and feels like an entirely different zombie movie renamed to be a part of the franchise.

So imagine my surprise when Aimee and I decided to watch [REC] 4: Apocalypse the other night, and discovered that it was actually A) a legit sequel to the first two movies, and B) pretty decent.

The first two films, of course, are two of the better "found footage" films, as well as solid zombie movies*. They're set in a sealed apartment building, and deal with a zombie outbreak that seems to have potentially both religious and scientific origins.

The third films's just a mess of a parallel movie, detailing a supposedly related outbreak at a wedding that just doesn't fit in with the other movies.

This one follows the first two, picking up after [REC 2], with a group of government agents getting into the building and rescuing the one survivor -- Ángela -- who might or might not be the host for the strange parasite that spreads the zombie plague and which the Vatican thinks is the cause of demonic possession. After being rescued, she wakes up to find herself on a boat, along with various scientific and military personal studying her. The movie wisely abandons the first-person shakycam, but both security cameras and the footage from the first two movies play a role in the plot. There's one character who supposedly survived the massacre in the third film, but nothing about her story requires seeing that movie, thankfully.

Things go horribly awry whens someone on the boat manages to break into the scientific labs and release a monkey infected with the virus. You can probably guess the larger outline of what happens next, but it's the specifics of how the main characters (who, aside from Ángela, include a pair of soldiers, some scientists, and the ship's tech guru) deal with the outbreak that really makes the movie work. It takes the elements of the first two movies to a logical conclusion, has (as always) a number of interesting characters, and is thoroughly intense throughout. It's not as good as the first movie, but it does form a nice ending to the story, and is absolutely worth seeing if you're already invested in the series**.

*The entire series, for those who don't know, is from Spain, and stands with the original version of The Orphanage as its most notable horror success on this side of the pond in recent years, even as France and the Scandinavian countries have dominated the genre.

**Probably not the ideal starting point if you haven't seen the first two movies, mind you. See those first!
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So we (shadesong, felisdemens, Aimee, Corey, and I) caught Cooties last night. The movie, that is. It was playing at the Brattle, and was totally worth it.

I cannot recommend this film enough if you're a horror fan. It's a horror comedy, and genuinely one of the better ones I've seen in ages. It's co-written by Leigh Whannell (who wrote Saw, a movie that I'm underwhelmed by, as well as a number of other movies that even fans of Saw dislike) and Ian Brennan (co-creator of Scream Queens, which I also need to write a post about, but which I enjoyed way more than I expected to), and has a great cast, including Whannell and Brennan (who both steal a bunch of scenes), Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Jorge Garcia, Nasim Pedrad, Jack McBrayer, and Allison Pill (who does not play drums at any point, alas).

The plot: Infected chickens are made into chicken nuggets (in what's easily the grossest part of the film), and when a little girl eats one, she gets infected and zombified. Soon enough, the entire elementary school is rabid, and a few teachers (and students) are the only survivors. Hilarity and bloodshed ensue.

And it really does work well. The movie is smart about its kids, not showing them as lovable, but also not really spending time on more than one or two particularly awful ones before things go awry. The characters are ridiculous and over the top in just the right way, and the cast sells the movie with everything they've got. The movie also takes two surprising gambles late in the movie (I won't spoil either one), both of which really paid off for me. Great dialogue, good action sequences, and generally smart decisions (there's only one minor stupid move committed by the survivors, and it's more in retrospect; compare that to Shawn of the Dead, which is filled with people being idiots). And just the pre-zombie classroom sequence with a kid named Patriot (who was born on 9/11 and believes he's destined to save the country) is fucking hysterical.

Definitely see this film if you like your horror comedies smart without getting too self-referential*. If you're lucky enough to be in an area that shows films like this on the big screen, even better, as I never find video-on-demand as entertaining.

*Okay, they do make one good Hobbit joke.
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