Yo..Stranger Things 3 kinda sucked [spoilers and not the fun kind in cars]

UNPOPULAR OPINION AHEAD. Well, it’s unpopular depending on whom you ask. Did you like my prim and proper usage of the word ‘whom?’ What on earth is up with the word prim? Remember in Hunger Games when Prim originally gets chosen to represent District 9? BTW District 9 is one of those movies that I loved but have never made the time to go back and watch. Idk man, there are just so many good movies out there it can be hard to make time to rewatch the ones you really liked. Plowing ahead here however, I was feeling a little drowsy earlier this afternoon because I didn’t get my lunchtime workout in (long story with a stupid explanation, essentially the system that allows access to the locker room was down and it was working for some people but not for others so I still could’ve worked out because my card was working for the actual gym just not for the locker room which was really stupid but I wouldn’t have been able to shower then I woulda showed back up to my office all sweaty and my office is the kind of place where it’s like better not to be sweaty. If I was in construction or an NHL all-star or something I think the sweat would be more understandable but working a 9-5 office job with air conditioning kind of makes it seem like either you have a big gastrointestinal problem or you’ve been watching District 9 at your desk and it’s the kind of movie that scares you although really it’s not that scary) so I am on my second cup of coffee for the day which is not normal for me. I guess what I’m trying to say here is if this comes off as a little jittery, you know why. Last thing–I have no regard for spoilers in this article so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want it to be spoiled, you should stop here. Let’s get to what I actually wanted to say though:

Stranger Things 3 was really awful.

Alright alright before you whip out your pitchforks lemme lay some ground rules down. The most important thing is that I’m not saying it was terrible in a vacuum. If this was the only season and we didn’t have 2 whole other seasons worth of knowledge to build upon, I’d actually say this was pretty good. That being said, I’m not calling Season 3 awful by comparative standards–I don’t think that’s a great way to judge a show. Without further ado, here are my gripes.

They totally botched David Harbour’s character – Oh, one thing you should know about me is that I definitely know the actor’s names better than the character’s names, so you’ll have to bear with me on that front. Yo so in the first two seasons, Hopper is this lovable dad bod police chief who is rough around the edges but still very much a likable protagonist. Like in Season 2 he was Millie Bobby Brown’s dad and dancing around and you could really get behind him. Season 3? Alcoholic, emotionally abusive, really irritating, and just a guy across the board you feel no reason to root for. Oh, remember when he and Joyce casually stroll into Cary Elwes’ office and Harbour is about to casually cut his finger off AFTER he beats the s**t out of him? I’m not really sure what the Duffer Brothers were going for here–The overall terrible-ness of this character is not subtle in any way so it was definitely on purpose. Were they trying to make Harbour a more complicated protagonist? If so, it missed the mark horrifically.

Sometimes Millie Bobby Brown (let’s go with MBB) has powers and sometimes they’re really powerful powers and sometimes they’re pretty weak powers and then other times she just doesn’t have any powers anymore – Honestly feels like I kinda nailed it right on the head with the headline there but allow me to expand. This criticism isn’t completely exclusive to Season 3, as I’ve had major gripes with it in the past as well. Any time you decide you’re going to give a character psychic powers, it’s REALLY tough to do it well because that can be anything from bending spoons to physically entering other people’s minds and using their body as a vessel. Lots of room in between those two, right? I have a similar criticism of Stephen King’s 2013 novel Doctor Sleep (which is still worth the read by the way especially in anticipation of the Ewan McGregor film coming out later this fall). So at certain points in Season 3, MBB is strong enough to beat the crap out of the demagorgons or mind fillets or whatever we’re going with this season, and then at other points she can’t hold a candle to the thing. Then right at the end we get the FUN twist where all of a sudden she just doesn’t have powers anymore. Because that thing bit her on the leg? Oh, and on that topic, I don’t remember who stomped on the little guy that crawled out of her leg, but isn’t the whole point of this season’s monster that it can make itself into different shapes (e.g., as thin as possible) and crawl through cracks under doors (like in the hospital scene)? So how does stomping it ‘kill’ it in any way? Sigh.

For god’s sake we HAVE to have more compelling villains moving forward – I get it: The mysterious Russians without much of a detailed vision or plan is a total homage to all the 80s Cold War stuff, but it kinda feels like we’re now 3 seasons into this sort of villainy and frankly, it’s gotten a little stale. Like, are the Russians trying to open up the Upside Down gate just for poops and giggles? Do they have a plan? Are they trying to weaponize the Upside Down? All these questions may have answers, but we really don’t have any answers, and it doesn’t come across as thrilling and mysterious, it just comes across as lazy. And then what’s with this Terminator ripoff? If he’s really that strong and muscular and invincible, there really isn’t any reason why he didn’t kill everyone he wanted to in the first couple episodes. You can’t make a guy bulletproof (literally) then have him end up losing a fist fight to the drunk dad bod at the end just for the story. That is unbelievable and not in the good way like “Oh my gosh your ability to shotgun that pizza is unbelievable” (actual words I heard from a then-girlfriend but then she dumped me the day after so who’s laughing now???)

I’m pretty sure the writers forgot about all of the familial relationships and dynamics they created in the first two seasons – If you just watched Stranger Things Season 3, I’m like 95% positive you would have absolutely no clue that the following people are related: [Wolfhard, Natalia, and hot pool mom] [Bowlcut, bowlcut jr, and Winona] [redhead and Dacre]. Honestly, do Wolfhard and Natalia even speak to each other in this season? Do we get anything between the two bowlcuts? I think there’s one hug at the very end between bullcut jr and Winona. Redhead doesn’t seem to be all that concerned that her gd brother is the bad guy until the end when she (SPOILER) watches him get eaten by the demigorgon. But on that note, what’s the deal with MBB like entering his mind and going to the past and all of a sudden that switches him from being a vessel for the mind fillet back to regular Dacre? Is it possible to weaponize this power? Whatever happened to that female lifeguard? One of the best parts about the creation of Stranger Things was the family dynamics and relationships. Those were about as close to irrelevant as you could get this season. It doesn’t make Season 3 worse in a vacuum, but we’ve invested a lot of time in these relationships and to see an entire season go by where we completely neglect them is just really disappointing.

Natalia and Bowlcut in Season 3 are the equivalent of Finn and Rose in Star Wars 8 – Seriously: They pretty much spend the entire season on a side quest that is neither interesting nor terribly important. It honestly feels like the writers had absolutely no idea what to do with these characters so they just forgot about em. Coming into this season, Jonathan was supposed to be someone we liked hesitantly but weren’t completely committed to as an individual but he really shined when with Winona and bowlcut jr. This season? Oh let’s completely remove him from those relationships and give him nothing to do. And as for Natalia? Borrrrinngggggg. Seriously, the ice cream scoop lesbian girl was way more compelling just out of the dialogue she’s given but we just met her and we’ve already sunk hours and hours into Natalia. I just kept waiting for Natalia and Bowlcut to get to do something actually interesting but instead we just watched them recreate the plot of Spotlight for 5 minutes every episode. Oh well.

Other random things I hated

The Coke scene.

I did the math and 84% of all words spoken in this season were curse words. I don’t care that much but it was ridiculous and distracting.

The Susie song – So many better ways to add some comic relief to that part. That was high level cringe stuff.

I didn’t actually love what they did with Dacre this season–I thought he was super compelling in Season 2 and this season it was just like “oh ok you’re the bad guy” but you’re not even Dacre, you’re the demagorgon impersonating a person. A little bit too much like Terry O’Quinn at the end of LOST for me.

I honestly felt like not that much actually happened this season–It was SO drawn out and the episodes started to feel CRAZY formulaic about halfway through. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say I felt bored not because there wasn’t any action, but because the action didn’t feel like there was that much at stake.

So there you have it. To me, Season 3 was still enjoyable. I don’t normally watch an entire season of a show in less than 6-12 months, so doing it in 5 days was a pretty big accomplishment for me. What did you dislike about Stranger Things 3? Did you absolutely love it? How did it stack up to other seasons for you? Let us know in the comments or email us at beantownpodcast@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading–Catch ya later!

Spoiler Statute of Limitations

Hey Beaners

You probably thought I was dead didn’t you! While we’ve been busy with the podcast and our BRAND new Father’s Day song for 2019 (posted below), it’s been about a month since we posted on the blog, which is the longest drought we’ve had since we launched in the winter. If you haven’t been following the show, it’s been a super busy time for us as I packed up shop and moved to Chicago. Between the new apartment, new job, connections with new and old friends, the couch getting, the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup watching, and the live tweeting (boy, that’s a lot of things to be in between all at once. Reminds me of the Oscars after party at Lady Gaga’s condo), I just haven’t had a lot of time to sit down at my desk and write. Frankly, there were 2 days there in between jobs where I wasn’t even employed and didn’t even have a desk. What happens if you’re in between jobs and you get in an accident or have a medical emergency and you don’t have health insurance? Like if I was driving from Baltimore to Chicago and I chipped my tooth on a slim jim at a rest stop in Toledo, what’s the deal? Am I just eating that cost? No pun intended??? These are the things I think about. Anyways, here’s the Father’s Day song. Hope you like it

HFD Dad

Ok so on my other show I co-host, the White Noise Podcast (now available on Stitcher), my buddy and co-host Matt and I were discussing Gladiator and I accidentally spoiled the 3rd act of the film, except Gladiator came out in 2000 so I don’t really feel like mentioning that Joaquin Phoenix stabs Russell Crowe is much of a spoiler, not to mention anyone could have seen that coming anyways. Did you know Gladiator came out on Cinco de Mayo? That’s appropriate because in the movie apparently Russell Crowe is like half spanish and half italian. Eh mama mia! At what point did we stop referring to Romans as Romans and refer to them as Italians? You never hear someone in 2019 be like “oh she’s a pretty good looking Roman broad” and that’s probably more because of Title IX and #metoo, but you know what I’m saying? When did we make that shift? And who was Roman Polanski? That’s the guy hanging out in Europe cuz the US wants to nail him, right? Shouldn’t the UN be able to do something about that? That was probably the worst part about the Obamadministration–Why couldn’t we nail that guy? And what about Ray Lewis?? He straight up killed a dude

So to get back to the actual purpose of this blog post, what’s the statute of limitations on movie spoilers? Does it depend on the type of movie? Remember in that one Seinfeld episode when Frank is talking about Harrison Ford jumping out of the helicopter in Firestorm but Mr. Ross is like ‘yo homeboy I haven’t seen that one yet!” I think I really would’ve liked Firestorm a lot–I kind of imagine it as Air Force One but with a more badass villain (no offense to Gary Oldman but it was kind of a meh from me) and a more action hero-esque Harrison Ford (think more like Temple of Doom). I think something like 3 months is enough time to hold onto the spoilers, unless it’s a movie where the whole thing is the twist. For instance, I wouldn’t ever want to spoil The Sixth Sense, Memento, or Shutter Island to you because while they’re great movies even if you understand how they work before getting into them, they’re frankly way less fun. On the other hand, if you tell me that Joaquin Phoenix stabs Russell Crowe in Gladiator, well I kind of feel like any dummy could have figured something like that was gonna occur at some point. Similarly, telling me that Stinky Pete is actually a bad guy in Toy Story 2 really doesn’t feel that bad to me. So I guess I’m saying it’s a judgment call. Sorry to anyone who hasn’t seen Gladiator or Toy Story 2 yet. It really feels like you missed the boat on those ones.

That’s about all I got. Thanks for reading my blog, and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. Hopefully I’ll be on here more frequently now that I’m settling in to more of a routine. Happy June!

Hey Restaurants–Get off your High Horse and Show me the money a la Cuba Gooding Jr

Hey fans and friends – Quinn David Furness coming at you with a midweek check-in and our second ever installment of the Beantown Blog. I gotta tell you, I really like what we’ve developed here. I can’t tell you how many times throughout a week I think of something I really want the world to know about, but it’s too long for a social media post, too short for any sort of podcast or Beantown Unplugged series, and not really best suited for standup. Not to mention the standup scene out here in Baltimore is somewhere on the spectrum of ‘Non-existent’ and ‘What do you mean stand-up?’ My dear Friend of the Podcast Matthew Fiedler has been asking for some sort of midweek 5-minute rant weekly for a long time now, so I hope you’re satisfied with this for now, Matthew.

Let’s get right to it–Restaurants who don’t put prices on their menu. I’m sitting here on lunch break the other day, and you know me, I’m swiping and such, up down left and right, interacting with the fans, publishing some instachats, going facebook live, you get it. I happen to stumble across an insta story from my old piano teacher, and she posts a photo of the menu of this place, and it looks nice and all, mixed chopped salads, greek parfaits, the works, etc etc etc, but you know what I notice? No prices. That’s right, nothing.

So let’s talk about it. Yeah, I’m calling you out, the fancy steak places, the seafood joints where they got a guy in the bathroom handing you towels, the Five Guys to your McDonald’s, if you will. Look, we’re not all Bill and Melinda Gates. We can’t all go to a restaurant, order an appetizer, an entree, a dessert, AND a drink without starting to sweat it a bit. I know ever since I switched careers from music to education, I’ve had a bit more of a financial cushion, but the cushion isn’t that thick baby. Nay, this is an injustice. I know you want to seem all high-end fancy whatever, but as an American citizen, I believe I have a right to know how much my appetizer is going to cost. Would I like a glass of sauvignon blanc? Yes, but only if I know if I’m gonna have enough money to pay for health insurance at the end of the month (TY OBAMA). Of course that tierameisut (I’m leaving it like that because it was my first attempt and it was close) on the dessert menu looks tasty, but you know what else I could do with $10? College Quinn could’ve eaten for a week. That’s a slight exaggeration but not far off (when I was 19 living in Uptown, Chicago, I used to take a $20 bill to Aldi up on Broadway/Wilson and walk out like a king)

Here’s my secret: A lot of people I talk to don’t place enough emphasis on the cost efficiency of items. For example, if you buy a big ole sack of rice, that’s crazy good value, because you can get multiple pounds of rice for about $2-3. On the other hand, sure, we all love cheese, but you might just get a mid-sized bag of shredded stuff for another $2-3. You tell me what’s more valuable/efficient. So here was the plan, and it was all about staples: Rice, barley, typically chicken (I like turkey and beef but chicken tends to be the most cost effective), no superfluous beverages besides Folgers coffee (that stuff still haunts me), just the produce you need to make a big batch of something like chili or jambalaya, apples for breakfast, oats, and frozen veggies to stay fit.

Now, occasionally when either myself or one of my music buddies would score a church gig, we would make it rain ($50-100 may not sound like a lot to you, but as 19-year olds, it was everything). That’s when we pulled out the big guns–Hawaiian Punch and Vodka. I’m telling you, this stuff is the nectar of the gods. I distinctly recall one time pre-gaming at my apartment in Uptown with roommates (drinking the aforementioned nectar) before taking the train to campus for the sole purpose of playing drunk pickup basketball. And the best part? We brought thermoses filled with more of the concoction, so that in between games, we could stay (de?)hydrated. Here’s the kicker, and you might not believe it but I promise to god it is true: We were better wasted than sober. I don’t know if it was divine intervention because we went to a Catholic university or simply the sheer power of Hawaiian Punch and Vodka, but in those moments, we were infinite. If you want proof, I played in a rec basketball league last spring. 8 games in a season. I probably averaged about 20 mins/game in 40 minute games. You wanna know how many points I scored the entire season? 0. My hops just aren’t what they used to be. I know people roll their eyes when I complain about getting old, but the marathons I’ve run and the hamstring and back issues I’ve had have really taken it out of me.

So here’s the point: Hey Restaurants–Get Off your High Horse and Show Me the Money. That’s what Cuba Gooding Jr (aka Rod Tidwell) told Tom Cruise in ‘Jerry Maguire,’ and he won an Oscar for that. Isn’t it enough that I actually showed up to your restaurant? I shouldn’t have to spend the entire meal eating in fear. That’s not fair to me, our communities, or America. I’m p certain there’s a clause in the Geneva Convention that prevents that. Leave it up to a bunch of fancy rich communist restaurants to turn their noses up to such a universally binding document.

All right, I ran out of things to say. See you this weekend for the podcast. Or before on the Blog if I think of something else. Also, I’m finishing up my Oscars monologue–If anyone has any good last second jokes, email me at beantownpodcast@yahoo.com or leave a comment here. You’ll get writing credit and it’s tax deductible! Also, trying to get hooked up with Justin Bartha so if anyone knows the best way to contact him, please also let me know.

Weddings and +1 Suppression: An In-Depth Look into the Totalitarianism of Modern Holy Matrimony

The Title Says it All, doesn’t it?

Well, February is here, and that means it’s wedding season. A time of great passion. A time of great joy. All sounds pretty nice, eh?

Hey folks, Quinn David Furness checking in here with our first ever installment in the ‘Beantown Blog,’ a new opportunity to bitch and moan about whatever’s on my mind at any point anywhere anytime. No longer will you the Friend of the Podcast have to wait for our weekly shows to see exactly what’s grinding my gears on a daily basis. Let’s jump in here.

So here’s the deal–I’m not normally the guy who gets invited to a lot of weddings. Surprised? I don’t know if it’s because people don’t want paparazzi at their special event, or what the situation is, but I accept it because I recognize that while many things are, not everything is about me. Long story short, weddings are not usually something I have a lot of material for due to inexperience. Well, in the past week or so, I’ve all of a sudden had multiple issues with wedding invites and +1s, and that brings me to what we’re here to talk about: +1s and their legal status.

Now I know what you might be thinking–“Oh man, Quinn, +1s? That’s pretty simple. You give your invitee a +1, and they get to bring whomever they want to bring. As long as there’s no weird bad blood or anything between the invitee’s +1 and the host of the event, it’s all good.” Well, you’d be wrong. There have actually been a couple of different instances involving +1s I could talk about here, but I’m going to focus on one specifically.

When you send out an invite and include a +1 for the invitee on the invite, you are giving up your right to control who the +1 is at that point. When you drop it in the mailbox or you send your e-card, BOOM. It’s done. I think there was some sort of Supreme Court law from the 50s that established this, but I don’t really remember. We’ll get someone from the writing team to check that out. Back to the bit here tho, I’ve got a female friend who’s got some weddings coming up this summer, and she wants me to act as her +1. Easy enough. I’ve done the +1 before. I know the +1. I was born to play the +1.

There’s only one problem. The hosts of these weddings [that’s right, multiple instances] is not sure if I’m a suitable +1 because they don’t know me well. Pretend for a second I’m that lawyer from Serial who botched the case (and she also died RIP in Peace): “WHAAAAAAATT??” My running buddy from grad school Elyse used to be a killer impression of her. She’s also getting married this summer! I’ll be there! No word on the +1 situation for that wedding yet…Feels like I’m jinxing it at this point.

So what’s the deal here? I thought this was AMERICA, where you could bring anyone you wanted as your +1 because it’s your God-given goddamn constitutional right. As a PSA to all of you out there getting ready to send out your wedding invitations: This isn’t the 1950s Soviet Union anymore. You’re not Stalin. Your totalitarian authoritarianism has no power here.

You might think I’m overreacting, but if this is indicative of a larger societal cultural trend, I won’t hear it and I won’t stand for it. Invitees should be free to bring whomever they choose! We all want the special day to be filled with joy, mirth, and happiness.

Has anyone ever read that novel House of Mirth by Edith Wharton? I read Ethan Frome once and I just remember feeling really depressed when it was over.

BTW Cristina Gutierez was the name of the Serial lawyer. She died in 2004, technically of a heart attack, but she had diabetes and MS too. Woof.

In conclusion, you don’t get to pick and choose your invitee’s +1s. That’s not what this country was founded on. You wanna know what America is all about? Liberty. Freedom. Passion. Fear. Greed. Obesity. Diabetes. Football. The TODAY Show. Howie Mandel. But it will never, and I mean NEVER, be about wedding authoritarianism.

Thanks again to everyone for reading. This was pretty fun, eh? Hope you’re having a good day, wherever you’re reading from. I’ll leave you with an inspirational quote

Fear is America’s #1 natural resource -Quinn David Furness