Love and Friendship & X-Men: Apocalypse

The problem with a movie having  a guaranteed audience is that the people making it are more likely than usual to get lazy, to think they don’t have to create a masterpiece, because they’ll make money anyway.  This weekend, I saw two very different movies with two very different guaranteed audiences, both of which I think feel victim to this phenomenon, but to different extents.

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When it comes to the French Open…

Is the time to win it, in our day and age, inevitably when Rafael Nadal is injured?  It was the knees, after all, that were no doubt crucial in that famous fall to Robin Soderling in 2009, which of course gave Roger Federer his.  Yeah, Novak Djokovic has shown the ability to beat him at Roland Garros, but beating him and then winning the final is another matter.  Much easier to win the French Open when he doesn’t have to do both.  It’s definitely looking like this is the year, especially with Roger out already and Andy Murray having two five-setters already-even if he fixes whatever caused those quick, there’ll still be the physical toll they took.  Not the way he wanted to win it, but it may be the only one, plain and simple.  Just remember there’s no such thing as asterisks.  Also that Rafael Nadal will still fight to come back from injuries as long as he’s able.   This is sad, but I still don’t think he’s won his last slam.

I wish I could say the same about Roger.  Hell, I’m not sure about Murray.  Yeah, he’s winning clay masters now, but that’s always been what he’s done, won masters and then faltered at slams.  His ability to beat Djokovic at them, even when it’s fled, has never been far away.  Of course, it’s not like either man needs to win any more slams, but until either Rafa’s playing better, or a few more of these young up and comers have reached the level of our old Big Four, you’d like them to stay in play.

I also wish I could say I’m certain Maria Sharapova is innocent of any intentional wrongdoing.  But with all these claims going around about the Russians, and now the blatant disrespect they displayed of saying she’s going to be on the team from the start, even before they really started talking about forgiving everyone who tested positive for meldonium in January…just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Dancing With the Stars, Season 22,Week 10, Finals, Night 2

Always got to up things for the Finale, so this season the opening includes not only a bit at the neighboring Grove Hotel, but also on the adjoining roofs!  Other normal elements of the finale are also present, such as the return of all the eliminated celebrities, and Erin getting herself onto the floor and surrounded by hot guys.  But another new thing: longtime show choreographer Mandy Moore(not to be confused with the late 90s teen pop star of the same name), makes an on camera appearance!

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Dancing With the Stars, Season 22, Week 10, Finals, Night 1

It’s effectively week two of the first two-week finale in DWTS history, what with last week’s scores carrying over to the final totals.  They actually might or might not make the difference: according to Tom, the combined score/vote totals of the three finalists differed by less than 3%, which wouldn’t seem like much most seasons, but this one’s another matter(and hey, it’s more than the margin at least one couple won their trophy by).  First round tonight are Redemption Dances, where each couple gets another crack at a style they didn’t do well enough the first time around.

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The Marvel Movieverse Tears Itself Apart

It seems 2016 is the year everyone in the MCU breaks up and wrecks their lives.  We expected such things from Civil War, of course, what with it being the Civil War.  But much more heartbreaking was actually the second season of Daredevil, especially since while we know the Avengers will be reunited in two years’ time, and the final sequence of Civil War even laid the ground for it, two months after it dropped we’re still waiting anxiously to see if that third season even happens(and if it does, and they do Born Again, it’ll get worse before it gets better).  And meanwhile in real life, we’re starting to see even more sharply the divide between the movies and the TV universes, with a huge global phenomenon from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. getting what seems like a begrudged line of vague lipservice in Civil War.  Which is not good; the whole appeal of this franchise is that they’ve got this shared universe with shared history, and the movies would be well to suck it up and accept that they’re not the only thing writing said history.

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