The Middleman

Who is he? The Middleman. What does he do? He…middlemans. By that, of course, we mean he saves the world.

Or so he tells Wendy Watson, his soon to be apprentice, after she is nearly killed by a gross tentacle monster.

BOOM.

The Middleman is one of the greatest TV tragedies of all time. Fantastic premise, characters, actors and plotlines, it just didn’t’ get the amount of attention needed to keep it on the air. The Middleman was originally conceived by Javier Grillo-Marzuach, who wrote it in comic book form, then television, and then comic book form after it was discontinued by ABC family. The villains.

Middleman is about a shadowy organisation that employs the Middleman (name unknown, but holds a fondness for milk) and Wendy Watson, his new apprentice. Wendy (or Dub Dub, as she is affectionately known, struggling artist and quipper at large) is a fantastically sarcastic artist with a heart of a gold. Middleman follows the course of her career with the middleman organisation, under the guidance of her boss and Ida, a foul-mouthed robot (clad, as is only appropriate, in a floral dress and cat-eyeglasses).

The Middleman (ft. Milk)

Okay, Griffin, but why are you telling me to watch this show with only 12 episodes? The answer, dear reader, is because it is absolutely worth it.

The Middleman is like Captain America! (Only, without the gritty reboot aspect of the newer Marvel movies. Also, he can’t swear). Wendy Watson is a smart, level-headed woman character with great relationships with her best friends and boss. Legitimately a complete bad ass in every sense of the word.

I wasn't kidding. Also, she can fly fighter jets.

Lacey (Wendy’s roommate) Noser (Speaks only in song lyrics) Ida (aforementioned grumpy robot) and Tyler (cute, funny, male, can I say more? Yes, but I won’t) and others round out a great cast.

Middleman is full of zany plot lines (zombie fish infections! Vampire puppets! Gorilla mafia!) Every episode is jam packed full of quotable wise cracks and heart-felt moments. It’s a weird blend of comic book antics, utterly absurd characters, and very funny situations.

This is the Middleman fighting the Nacho Libre wrestlers who kidnapped Sensei Ping, for example.

So, if you like the following:

1. Actual platonic partners with a great mentorship relationship!

2. Villains with evil plans that are sheer elegance in their simplicity

3. Great characters

4. Wise cracks! Pop culture references! Quips!  Jests! Banter! Puns! Wit! Okay I’ll stop.

5. A love for anything nerdy (comic books, zombies, boy bands, sci-fi, aliens, monsters)

THEN THIS IS THE SHOW YOU SHOULD WATCH.

It’s only 12 episodes, but give it a try.

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Pacific Rim

PACIFIC RIMthDirector: Guillermo Del Toro

Actors: Charlie Hunnam

Idris Elba

Rinko Kikuchi

Charlie Day

Rob Kazinsky

Max Martini

Ron Perlman

Genre: Action & Adventure

Run Time: 132 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Amyliabedelia Grade: A+

Plot Summary: A ragtag band of humans band together in the year 2025 to fight legions of monstrous creatures rising from the sea. Using massive piloted robots to combat the alien threat, earth’s survivors take the fight to the invading alien force lurking in the depth of the Pacific Ocean. Nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless enemy, the forces of mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee – who now stand as earth’s final hope against the mounting apocalypse.

Review

ARE YOU READY TO CANCEL THE APOCALYPSE?

As my friends can attest, I love this movie. LOVE. This. Movie. If I could see this movie all day everyday I probably would, but since I am a ‘functioning’ person, I cannot. But why? The plot is dumb. ‘It’s just Godzilla vs. Transformers’ my friends complain to me. ‘Hush up’, I snap back, ‘and prepare to listen’.

In the future massive alien beasts called the Kaiju have emerged from a rift in the ocean floor, sending humanity into a mad scramble to survive. Their solution? Giant robots piloted by two people whose minds are linked together. These giant robots – called Jaegers – engage the Kaiju directly, preventing them from making it to land. Over time however the Kaiju have become more evolved, and it’s becoming harder and harder to push the invaders back. In a last ditch effort to save the world, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) recruits veteran Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnan) to pilot one of the last remaining Jaegers in the world. That’s right – humanity’s solution is literally to fight aliens with the power of friendship.

Pacific Rim’s fight sequences and overinflated technology is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws to this movie. The visuals are stunning, and each fight between Jaeger and Kaiju amps up the ante, unleashing new moves for each one. While I enjoy watching robots and aliens pummel the crap out of each other, I love Pacific Rim because of the emotions behind it, silly as that may sound.

The ‘hero’ of the story is Raleigh Becket, who loses his brother in the films exposition and gives up Jaeger piloting as a result. This is doubly traumatic – jaeger pilots have to link on every level, physical and emotional. Raleigh believes that he has lost his co-pilot, and quickly fades into obscurity to work on the wall, a bureaucratic response to the Kaiju invasion (hint: it doesn’t work). While his backstory is super predictable I was pleasantly surprised by Raleigh’s character. When he is introduced to Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) his future co-pilot, he treats her with respect and deference. It is so REFRESHING to see such a humble, well-characterized ‘hero’ of an action film. Usually they just do whatever they want to do, spewing misogyny and getting the girl anyway. This doesn’t happen here! Mako and Raleigh’s relationship is far more friend/friend or mentor/student than girlfriend/boyfriend. Let me repeat that: HE RESPECTS HER. THEY ARE FRIENDS AND COWORKERS AND DON’T END UP TOGETHER. But such a thing is typical for Pacific Rim, which at its core is about relationships.

The movie may be billed as an action film, but it has a huge heart behind it. I watch it and I think of all the important relationships in my life – siblings, friends, family – and all the way that we work together. Sure the characters in Pacific Rim are just that – characters. But they feel so real. They have to struggle to work together, and nothing comes easily for them.

Moving away from the story aspect of Pacific Rim, this movie also deserves recognition for its fantastic shots. As I said before, the visuals are stunning. The Shatterdome (the home base for humanity’s last stand) reminds me of a World War 2 bunker. It’s a refreshing change from all the futuristic movies that I see today, where interiors seem to be composed almost entirely of white chrome. Pacific Rim is a movie based on people’s sweat, tears and blood. Nothing about it is pretty, but it’s such an effective visual piece.

Guillermo Del Toro has often been hailed for his visions and in depth world building. Pacific Rim is no different. We are treated to decades of backstory in twenty minutes, and he considers how finances would work, how popular culture would absorb the jaegers and the ‘celebrity’ of jaeger pilots. It’s amazing the amount of detail that he manages to create in such a short time – Hong Kong’s bone slums, for example, are just a small piece of the movie that has a powerful impact. Del Toro manages to build a world that feels lived in, even if you’ve only seen it in a minute.

Pacific Rim is a movie about people, first and foremost. It’s about humanity deciding to work together to keep out a threat, and they do it in the best of ways – by creating literal soul bonds. That’s awesome. This movie is awesome, and I could probably keep going on and on about how important this movie is to me, but I should stop now. Please, go watch Pacific Rim. If you think it’s just another dumb action movie, that’s fine. But if you think it’s as brilliant as I do, then please drop by my inbox.

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